Mark Your Calendars For FREE CHIPOTLE!

Remember when I said there were few words more beautiful in the English language than “free coffee?” Well, here are some of those words: Free Chipotle. On Jan. 26, the personalized burrito purveyors will be launching a promo geared towards getting you free food. Lunchtime just got a whole lot more exciting, no?

But, as you might expect, there’s a catch — or rather, a few catches: First, whatever you order on Jan. 26 must be filled with Sofritas, the vegan spicy tofu option the chain debuted in 2014. And second, you don’t actually get your free Chipotle on the 26th. What you do get is the ability to return to Chipotle anytime between Jan. 27 and Feb. 28 and trade in your receipt from your Sofritas order for a free burrito, bowl, salad, or order of tacos of your choice. Are you in the habit of hanging onto your receipts? If not, you might want to start. Otherwise you will be sad.

For the curious, the fine print on Chipotle’s website reads as follows:

“Must be original receipt — no copies — and receipt must be dated January 26, 2015. Receipt must reflect the purchase of one or more regular-priced Sofritas entrees. Limit one free regular-priced menu item per Sofritas entrée listed on receipt; free items must be redeemed simultaneously in a single visit and are subject to availability. May not be combined with other free offers; additional restrictions may apply.”

The good news, as revealed by this surprisingly readable bit of legalese? The promo isn’t limited to one per customer; you’re entitled to as many free entrees as you purchased Sofritas entrees on Jan. 26. However, they’ve also made sure that you can’t game the system: You can’t use your receipt, then use a photocopy of it to get yourself or a friend another round — and additionally, you have to redeem all of your free stuff in one go (so no, you won’t be able to eat free Chipotle for a week just because you bought five to seven Sofritas things on Jan. 26. You can, however, attempt to eat your own weight in Chipotle in one sitting if you like).

Not going to lie: I’m kind of curious about what the promo says about the reception of the Sofritas menu option. When we got word in October that it would be arriving at locations in nine new states that month and becoming a permanent fixture in all locations in the U.S. by the end of the year, we found out that its early tests had been quite successful. Is the new promo therefore geared towards raising awareness that Sofritas is now available everywhere? Or, perhaps less positively, does it indicate slumping sales for the option and a subsequent effort to drum up interest in it? Or is it something else entirely? I don’t have any answers for those questions, but each possibility seems equally likely to me.

But hey, you know what? The bottom line is, free Chipotle. I’d be willing to try Sofritas regardless (if there were actually a Chipotle location near me in the wilds of southern New Jersey — sadly, there is not), but I’m even more willing to try it if I can get free food out of it later on down the line. Barbacoa tacos? Totally my jam.

Check out the Chipotle website for more info.

Images: shawnish/Instagram; Giphy (2)