Reminder: Free pancakes Feb. 24 at IHOP

I'm sure every pancake-loving WalletPop fan who read the notice I gave a month ago in writing about an IHOP promotion to give away pancakes on Tuesday, Feb. 24, wrote the date down and circled it in red ink on their calendar.

But just in case you forgot, here's another reminder: Go to IHOP from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 24 for a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes in celebration of National Pancake Day. The company is raising money for Children's Miracle Network and is asking patrons to donate what they would have paid for the pancakes to that charity or another of their choosing.

I was at an IHOP the other day and only remembered the upcoming free feast by noticing a flier on the table promoting it.

In light of the nearest IHOP to your house. People waited outside in the cold and rain for the free Denny's meal, with some lines stretching around the building.

Among the best restaurant deals, the Denny's freebie was worth millions in free advertising. And with drinks not being on the house, Denny's likely made $4.2 million in drink revenue, my compatriot Tom Barlow reported, and the entire promotion probably cost around $400,000, he estimated.

My guess is that a free meal, even if it's only pancakes and a donation to a charity is requested, will still pack in the crowds Tuesday at IHOPs across the land. So get up early and bring your appetite.

But beware: A free deal may not be as free as you think. With the donation for the price of the short stack of pancakes, plus a drink and a tip for the normal, full price of the meal, you may spend more money than you thought you would when you walked in for the "free" deal.

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at

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