If you're unfamiliar, BP's C'mon Back Club offers a free ticket for every seven fill-ups of eight gallons of gas. You get a card stamped for each fill-up until mid-August, and a completed card yields you one free ticket to see select Brewer games each season.
Now I was underemployed and poor for much of the 2009 and 2010 seasons so I fancy myself to be a bit of an expert on scoring free or reduced seats to see the Crew. Of the last two and a half dozen games I've attended, I've probably only paid face value for two, maybe three. There's no seat too cheap--no view too obstructed that I won't go there as long as I go there for free.
Here are my tested and true techniques for making the most of the BP C'mon Back Club program:
1. Always buy your gas in increments of eight gallons. Never, ever, under any circumstance is it acceptable to fill your tank up at 14 gallons. My wife, too, knows that if she does this, she should expect an angry husband. I screwed up on Tuesday and could only fit 15 and a half gallons in my Nissan. Had I not needed to get my pneumonia-ridden son to the doctor, I almost certainly would've waited for somebody to come around so I could buy them a free half gallon of gas and get my second stamp.
2. Get your family and friends to save receipts. This one is simple enough. If they get you the stamps themselves, even better. Probably best not to hassle your loved ones about filling up no more than 8 gallons at a time, however.
3. Free Parking. So, I mentioned that some of these unseemly tactics were devised during a time in my life when I was short on cash. You might be asking yourself "What good are free tickets, Steve, if I can't afford to park?!"
I'm glad you asked. Use some of your free tickets to invite friends. "Oh, Steve, this is so kind of you to invite me to the game for free. Are you sure I can't pay you for my ticket?"
To which I reply, "No problemo, bro. If you want, why don't you pick me up at the Park and Ride, grab parking, and we'll call it good." Problem solved.
4. Return your cards early--OR real, real late. If you want to get your desired games, everybody knows you need to submit your BP cards early. But what if you can't? I've known too many people who've wasted good tickets because they couldn't make the last two or three BP games of the year. But once the tickets to the BP games are sold out (or you can't make those that are still available), they've generally provided vouchers for select April games. Free baseball is good any time of the year, but it's even sweeter in April when we're all suffering from withdrawal.
I stand by this advice, but I do urge caution. Because it can take awhile to fill up on gas, some of the dates for this promotion are heavily placed on the back end of the schedule--particularly in the season's final month. Last year, I thought that if my wife gave birth in late September, I could still catch a game during the final homestand (October 1-3). I had no such luck as the little guy was born on October 3. In any case, those late games took long enough to sell out that I wasn't able to snag April vouchers and had to eat a boat load of tickets. I'm still broken up over this.
5. Enjoy the offseason. By mid-August, the constant 8 gallon fill-ups, the shame involved in obtaining your receipts, and the thrill of the chase will wear you down. Take August 16-February 10 to re-charge and to enjoy the offerings of other gas stations. Fill up your tank all the way. Enjoy some of the excellent cuisine Kwik Trip has to offer. And rest up because come February, it's time to get back on the hunt.