I'm not cheap. If anything, I could use a 12-week seminar on how to be more frugal. (Which, ironically, I'd probably overpay to attend.)
In fact, I feel like I've worked my whole life to prove the stereotypes about my chosen people wrong -- overtipping, overbuying, overgifting, overtabpickingup.
And still... there remain little, simple things I just hate paying for. I think everyone has a few of these, and they're different person-to-person. For instance, I don't really sweat gas prices and I won't drive out of my way to save eight or ten cents a gallon (which, over the course of a fill, adds up to a whopping $1.40 or so in savings)... but I know people who drive three cities over to save that buck-forty.
So here are the 11 little things I just hate paying for (including the first one, which was the inspiration for this list). Where you agree and disagree will definitely vary... but definitely add yours in the comments.
Is the towel and Blow Pop worth the dollar?
Bathroom attendants. This is the inspiration for the list. I was out having a few drinks last night and the bar had a bathroom attendant. It's a Hollywood place. That happens.
But as I pulled Catherine-Zeta--Jones-in-"Entrapment"-style moves to avoid having to take a towel from him (and, thereby, not have to give him a dollar), I realized, wow, I just hate the concept of bathroom attendants. I hate having to pay a tax to use the bathroom (even if that tax is accompanied by a stick of gum or spritz of Cool Water).
This might be the most universal entry on this list. I'm yet to meet a single person who feels like their life is enhanced by dealing with bathroom attendants.
ATM fees. For better or worse (mostly worse), I'm a member of Bank of America. And I will do whatever it takes to withdraw cash only from their ATMs.
I hate ATM fees. Especially when the ATM is at a place that's cash only, so the ATM is there specifically so you can give the cash you're taking out right back to the place. Casinos, strip clubs, mom and pop restaurants -- why soak me out of somewhere between $2 and $5 just because I'm desperate for cash to enjoy your blackjack, black women or blackened chicken, respectively?
Pay-per-view movies. For some reason, I view pay-per-view movies as this huge taboo... I'm not even talking about pornographic ones, I mean regular ones. I don't know why. I readily pay $12 to see a movie in a theater... and the pay-per-view fee would just get lumped onto the cable/Internet bill which I don't even bother to audit anyway.
Or maybe I just can't justify spending $6 on movies I didn't see in theaters. Like "Hotel for Dogs".
Roses from the rose woman at a restaurant. Is there any more awkward moment than when you're on a date and the woman who's selling roses table-to-table comes by? You have to look at the girl you're with, she has to say, "No, you don't have to get me one"... then you have to try to get past all that awkwardness to hopefully steer things back to going back to your place for the first third of a movie and some casual fondling.
In memory of all those moments, I refuse to buy these roses on principle.
I'm such a sucker for those sale tags.
Things at the grocery store that aren't on sale. Grocery store sales are, quite often, the biggest scam ever. Occasionally there'll be a really solid deal. But most of the time, that bright yellow piece of paper on top of the price tag is just giving you, like, 30 cents off your six pack of applesauce or 90 cents off your 64 slices of unwrapped American cheese.
And still... unless I see that bright yellow tag, I'm probably not buying that food this week. Even if I really need it or want it. It's why I only eat Egg Beaters on a quarterly basis and pretty much never eat beef jerky anymore.
This flair of thriftiness is amplified even more when it comes to beer. I still don't understand why I never even blink at paying $4 or $5 for a beer at a bar, but if the Bud Light 30-pack I came for isn't on sale for less than $18 I'm buying something else.
MP3s. I went to college just as mp3s were exploding. I remember when the first mp3 player came out during my junior year or so. I remember when Napster was Napster.
So while I am now old enough to pay for music... not to mention that I think music should be purchased from a moral, ethical and legal standpoint... every time I'm about to buy a song on iTunes I think to myself, "Really? I'm about to spend a hard-earned dollar on Gwen Effing Stefani?"
E-cards.If I can't get my sentiment across in a free card, my sentiment is being delivered in another way.
That sounded dirty, but shouldn't have.
Homeless people. If I have a nickel in my pocket, I instinctively won't give it to a homeless person who asks for change. I used to be a little more gracious to the homeless until I moved to L.A., where homeless people actually walk into restaurants and panhandle table-to-table.
I mean, really. Not only is that unprecedented levels of rude, but the urine-soaked smell really ruins my food from that point on. Unless I'm at Arby's, where that smell helps the situation.
Flat water. I appreciate fancy restaurants, I do. But when I'm given the choice of "flat or tap water"... the word "tap" just flies out of my mouth.
I've never even been worried about doing that on dates. Because even though I, like most savvy men, go above and beyond not to appear cheap on dates... any woman who doesn't recognize the absurdity of getting a bottle of Italian flat water is far too high maintenance to make it to a second date anyway.
I never should've given up animation rights.
Pens. I mean... why buy them when there's an unlimited free supply at work!? And that goes for notebooks, highlighters, staples, scotch tape, file folders, thumbtacks and CD-Rs too.
Now, for some side notes...
To my employer: (Just kidding, employer! Since we moved offices I don't even know where the supplies are! This one's just for the sake of comedy. I'm a model employee! I'm already searching for who took 97 of the 100 bananas out of the kitchen yesterday.)
To other readers: (Seriously. That banana caper is happening. We got an e-mail because the company bought 100 bananas and all but three were gone within 24 hours. So there's a banana hoarder loose and we all have to work with him. Frankly, I'm scared of what he'll hoard next, because I have a sweet-ass desk chair.)
Co-pays. So you're telling me this doctor did eight years of school, another eight of residency, is about to diagnose me using a level of expertise that's unparalleled in the history of mankind... and you want me to pay $10? Ridiculous.
Help a brother out and cut that shit down to zero, Barack!
This post was originally published on Friday, June 19, 2009 at 12:01:00 AM under the category Personal.