The Cheapest Guy I Ever Met. . .
You can already tell what this post is about by the title.
Back when Myspace was poppin (o_O) I ran across someone that I went to school with. I didn’t remember him in the least, but that was besides the point. We talked for a little while and one day we made arrangements to meet at the bookstore. (If the meet-up turned bad, I could still buy a book, FTW!) To say that this guy was frugal is an understatement. Having not worked for 4+ years, I know the definition of frugal. I can stretch my .15 and get 1.00 worth of stuff. I appreciate the value of a dollar. That’s not what this was; this guy surpassed that. It honestly intrigued me because I had never seen such a specimen before except on tv shows. He started listing the ways that he would not “get got” for his money and I thought that I would share them with you.
1. No pair of pants could cost more than $10.
He took great pride in telling me that no pants that he owned cost more than $10. He was a teacher so I guess he could get away with nothing but hand-me-down Dockers. But what about going out clothes? Did he never dress up? He got them at Wal-Mart (?) and thrift stores. I have no idea which thrift store he was dealing with, because even there, men’s pants cost more than that. He sat beside me on the floor in the bookstore that day and his pants rubbed against my knee. I still have the scar from where the fabric scraped my skin. Surely, he was kidding. He had to be!
2. No shoes could cost more than $15.
I don’t know how he managed this because honestly, I have sandals that cost more than $15 and that’s less material than the sneakers he was wearing when he told me this. I’m not a label-whore by any means. I do realize that often-times, the more something cost, the better the quality. I said this to him and he justified his point by saying that since the sneakers (and subsequent shoes) only cost $15, then they could wear out easily. Not much was lost since they’d cost so little. (I guess he TOLD me!) He went so far as to tell me that if a pair of shoes cost more than $15 and he HAD to get them, that he got upset. And then he would look for a defect and try to bargain down the price. (say WORD!)
3. He slept on a futon, with an air mattress.
Now, I know that this borders on my possibly being materialistic. The double take that occured when I heard this was sitcom-worthy. I’m not saying that you can’t be in transition and sleeping on a futon, but to make that your way of life seems a bit “much.” He knew that a futon mattress wasn’t good for anyone and “fixed that problem” by putting an air mattress on top. Who chooses that?! I guess I should give him some points for at least having a futon, but honestly, any grown man that sleeps on a futon with an air mattress should NOT complain at the lack of pooty-tang in his life (which he did). I guess I should’ve felt honored that he wanted to share his mattress with me. GTFOH.
4. He didn’t have the basics.
He didn’t have ketchup, he had ketchup packets. He had plastic sporks from taco bell (“it’s a spoon AND a fork!”) He had plastic cups from gas station sodas. He had plastic wine glasses from Party Supermarket (oh you fancy huh?) He didn’t have internet, he drove to the closest university and sat outside in his car and used their WiFi. He did that internet business every night! “Suppose it’s an emergency and you’re already home?” I stupidly asked. “Then it better wait til the next day.” he casually replied. Well! Since he had his life system all planned out, then it was silly of me to question it. If someone was giving away something for free, then he was taking it. I told him that people give away free things because they don’t have value (i.e. Taco Bell sporks) and he told me that they had value to him. I think that might be a sign. Isn’t that how cases of hoarding usually start?
I know that it might’ve been bad of me to write this guy off just because he was cheap. I often say that it doesn’t take much to please me. Yes, I do prefer walks in the park to a fancy restaurant for a date (maybe because I’ve never been to a fancy restaurant) but isn’t there a such thing as “too cheap?” He talked about us getting together and he would cook me something, which I should be flattered at, if I didn’t know that cooking for me was his way of keeping his expenses low. He was a vegan, so what would he be cooking!? I couldn’t foresee my eating rice out of gas station cups with Taco Bell sporks. I’m sorry, I imagine my life to be more than that.
Looking back on it, I wonder if I was too quick to write this guy off. I sometimes have a problem seeing things from a different perspective (when it’s happening to me) so that’s where you guys come in. Did I judge him? Is that what I did there? Or did I spare myself many days trying to convert him over to the population that buys ketchup bottles and real forks? I’m not materialistic, but damn if I didn’t fast forward and start imagining what he would get me for Christmas (notebook paper wrapped in paper bags from the grocery store). I realize that that’s a little extreme, but I wouldn’t have put that past him! When he said that he wanted to “actively pursue me” then I did a nice “fade to black.” I was young(er), don’t judge me! Did I let a good one slip by? Speak your piece in the comments.
Peace and Love, Nick