It is important to have goals both personally and professionally and steadily work towards achieving your goals. Big goals. And a “bucket list” of experiences that can range from places to visit or events to attend. As of last week I can cross off one of the sillier things on my bucket list: winning free Chick-fil-A for a year.
CFA First 100
Every time Chick-fil-A opens a new location they offer a promotion called CFA First 100, which gives 100 participants the opportunity to win free Chick-fil-A for a year. The grand prize is a digital offers card loaded with 52 free Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich combo meals. Participants can earn this grand prize by camping out at a new Chick-fil-A location the 24 hours prior to its grand opening. My wife and I have always jokingly said we would do this one day, but the moment of truth came for us when we discovered that the fast food chain would be opening a new location directly across the street from our apartment. We knew that this was the best opportunity to achieve this goal and after getting the approval from both of our bosses to take off work in the middle of the week (thank you, Integrate!) we were all set to go. Side note: The art of asking for a day off from work to win free food is a completely different blog post.
5:30 a.m. is really early in the morning
The process starts at 5:30 in the morning when you, and around 100 others, show up to the Chick-fil-A parking lot. They only have 100 grand prizes to give away so if more than 100 people show up than a raffle is drawn to determine who will be eligible for the contest. Luckily for us, only 90 people showed up at the time of the drawing so we all received a wristband to showcase that we were eligible for the grand prize. We were quite excited to make the cut, but we still had to remain on-site for the next 24 hours. The morning was rough as it was raining and the temperature was in the mid 30’s. We quickly set up our tent and began the battle against the weather and boredom.
Things to do in a CFA parking lot for 24 hours
So what do you do when you have 24 hours to kill? First, technology is key. We both had our own iPads loaded up with content to keep us entertained. Secondly, you need to bring a good snack bag. We weren’t sure if they were going to feed us when we were there so we brought a lot of snacks just in case. (Turns out, we got three meals served to us and a midnight snack of a warm chocolate chip cookie!) Finally, when boredom really begins to set in, people watching is always great as you are with 99 other people that are just as bored as you are. It was crazy meeting people from all across the state and even the entire country. One person we met had been to over 50 Chick-fil-A grand openings. Who knew people would travel great lengths for free food?
Winning the prize
After spending all day in the parking lot, we inflated our air mattress and tried to get some sleep. While it wasn’t the best night’s rest, we both, surprisingly, were able to get some rest and survive the cold weather. We woke up in the morning and marched into the restaurant right before it officially opened to claim our prize. I can now officially say that I was one of the “First 100” customers at a Chick-fil-A restaurant and will be enjoying my free food for the next year.
Was it worth it? Yes!
I have always been someone who would do almost anything for a free meal, so when people ask me, “Was it worth it?” I can’t help but laugh and say, “Yes!”
“All work no play makes Jack a dull boy, All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.” As a young professional, early in my career, one of the first major challenges I have faced is finding and establishing the proper work/life balance. While I am extremely committed to my career, it is fun to have the opportunity to take a day off from work and check off something from the bucket list. Was it worth it….Yes!
Written By Ryan Cantrell