Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cheap Shots

As promised, a month ago, I am posting some "Cheap Shots" from comments on Cheap Defined. This is from Dr. Blogger, a sometimes reader and poster on even rarer occasions. I try to encourage him to start his ownblog, but he either resists or just ignores me. But he has some great stories, and here is one:

My Grandfather was cheap, . . . intelligent, loving, caring, responsible, but still cheap. He saved old pencils from his work as a school principal. He sharpened them carefully down to the point that even as a small child, I found them hard to hold. In fact, the lead in some of those pencils had been around so long, that the graphite had begun to break up to the extent that one simply could not write with it.
Then he saved rubber bands. He carefully wrapped them around his wallet. This actually served two functions: it saved the rubber bands and it kept the sacred contents of his wallet encased. And, as you might expect, when called into service, the rubber bands invariably broke when stretched the least amount.
Also, he would clip every grocery store advertisement from all local newspapers, compare and contrast them, and then on shopping day, drive his car to each store and pay the lowest regional price for the various items. My guess is he spent dollars in gas in order to save pennies on carrots and tomatoes.
His miserly and Calvinist ways would also lead him to pinch pennies on his alcohol consumption. He liked having family at Christmas because he could justify buying a quart of eggnog and a half pint of bourbon. Then he would make himself literally a half serving of weakly-spiked eggnog on Christmas Eve and that would be it. He would not drink another drop. The family would easily consume the remainder so that nothing was wasted. Several uncles accepted a serving only because one should not waste the resource. His one other "bout" of drinking would be on a very rare Saturday in August, when after a lawn mowing session he would visit a neighbor and accept a small glass of beer, after being reassured that it was indeed good for him "in this weather" and that the remainder of the beer would be taken care of by the neighbor.
Clearly, having lived through the Great Depression led him to believe that if you take care of the pennies, the dollars will take care of themselves.

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