Things About People and their Money that Make Me Angry

lighting fire

We all have those little pet peeves about people and money. These are some of the things that put the flame to the fire when I see them happen:

Left receipts at the grocery store. This is a blatant indication that someone could easily be overcharged, that they don’t care where their pennies go, and that they don’t check their account statements against their receipts.

Perpetually tipping poorly. Service industries are the one place you can get paid for how well you do your job vs. how long you’re clocked in. Our society values hard workers, but then there are these people who tip poorly on principle. Even commissions are based not on the quality of work but on the value of the sale.

Kids being told that something is not affordable. This usually isn’t true. Kids see parents splurge on things for themselves. How is this affordable? Use the word “practical,” then make suggestions, like more practical alternative purchases (which you can manipulate into cheaper items) or suggest you and your child make something similar. Teach frugality, not poverty.

Large bills. If you’re seen breaking a hundred, you can be a target. It suggests your wallet may hold several of the same, and even if not, the change can be figured from what you’ve bought and even fifty bucks is worth picking a pocket for.

Rubber check writers. Too many people write checks that can’t be cashed. Some people depend on computer delays at banks, deposit runs being made the next morning, etc. These days, it’s too hard to beat the bank, and it can really cost you. Other people don’t keep careful records, and assume the balance that is in the bank is available for withdrawal, not taking into account these computer delays or a check that hasn’t been cleared.

Loose cash. There are wallets and money clips of all sizes, shapes, utilities, purposes, designs, leathers,…and some people still don’t have a better place for cash than their pocket or the main pouch of a purse. It’s so easy to drop your cash while scrounging around.

The token upgrade. From trim packages on your car to the most expensive item on the menu, people upgrade just because they can, just because it says they spent money. Some have no interest in what they’re getting, could get something better for cheaper, avoid sales, or have no use for the extras. Spending more money does not make you look cooler: it makes you look dumber.

Disposable regulars. Purchasing disposable products for daily use is a waste of money and resources, and terrible for our landfills. Paper plates, plastic cups, paper napkins, paper towels: the perpetual use of single serving products drives me crazy. (This goes for individual serving packages, too.)

The value of money on a sliding scale. When people think that their money is more valuable than mine, I fume. There are those that get a sense of entitlement when they’re spending loads of money at one time, like at a restaurant. Service is expected to be more attentive, more careful, and more prompt. I could be sitting right next to those people, and they expect me to be ignored. The truth is, where they spend all their money in one night, chances are, someone there at the same time is a regular and spends that kind of money spread out over a month or a week.

Sale harvesting. People check the papers and if something that they’ve just purchased goes on sale, they’ll return it at the price they bought it, and buy it again for the cheaper price. If that store doesn’t have a policy to give to you the difference of an item on sale now, you don’t have a right to go claim that difference in your own way.

Image courtesy of young_einstein

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19 Responses to Things About People and their Money that Make Me Angry

  1. Fred333 says:

    I never heard of sale harvesting before. That is very interesting. I would have never though of it.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I disagree with several things you listed, and you seem to have problems both with people who are too cheap (undertip) and those who are expansive with money (don’t take care of loose change and don’t take receipts from the grocery store). I never bounce a check, always tip well, and pay my bills on time. Why should it bother you if I leave a receipt at a grocery store? I watch the items as they are being toted up, and I don’t need one more piece of paper cluttering up my wallet that I will just throw out in a week or two. Also, I’m not at all sure that “you don’t have a right” about sale harvesting is true–if the store permits it, what’s your problem? Isn’t your blog about saving money?? You don’t like people who don’t do things exactly your way, it sounds like. (And you don’t use paper napkins? Really? You only wipe your mouth with cloth?) And why exactly am I not allowed, by your standard, to keep change in my pocket? Let’s see, I have an excellent credit rating, I own my own home, I’m saving for my retirement, I recycle, volunteer in my community, and vote, but I still hit at least 3 of the things you don’t approve of. Maybe you should broaden your perspective?

  3. Laura Williams says:

    Hi,I just read your unique Idea of Sale Harvesting and I have a query on that!
    Can we talk now or should we talk later at your convenient time?

  4. Pat says:

    Quite frankly, what other people do is other people’s business and not yours. I’m sure you have some habits that may very well tick other people off.

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  6. Joan says:

    Angry? These things actually make you angry? Some of them might cause me to wonder, but that is a far cry from being angry. Maybe you are exaggerating for the sake of getting some response here.

  7. Projoe says:

    Boy, then you’d really hate what I did last year when I got married. I basically took everything back to the place we registered, and then repurchased it all for the 10% off you got on things that weren’t purchased for you.

  8. Moxiequz says:

    “If that store doesn’t have a policy to give to you the difference of an item on sale now, you don’t have a right to go claim that difference in your own way.”

    Why not? So long as you’re not returning an item under false pretenses (lying about why you’re returning it or altering the receipt, etc) there’s nothing really wrong with this. And honestly, how often does this really occur? Do *a signficant percentage* of people really go through the trouble of monitoring sales flyers and returning an item (which may or may not have been used since they bought it) just to get a slim discount? Maybe it’s more common with high ticket items such as electronics. I suspect businesses would quickly adjust their policies if this became a money-loser for them.

    I have to agree with the other commenters – most of the items listed are rather pathetic things to get angry about.

  9. Jewel says:

    I’d like to add one that I ran across recently. . . . . Trying to force someone to work under inappropriate conditions because they have paid for your services.
    Actually, I’ve run across this several times in my profession. Working with the very wealthy, I’ve noticed some believe that they’ve paid you, they own you.

  10. Amy F. says:

    I think that some readers are taking this article much too personally. We all have money-related pet peeves. Why not use the comment area to have a productive discussion about our financial pet peeves and what the bigger issues might be that lie behind them? Improving one’s attitude towards money is a good way to attract more of it into your life and decrease your own negative energy.

  11. Jack says:

    Ann, relax. Life is too short to worry about things you truly have no control of. People may actually have good reasons for doing some of the things you don”t like.

  12. Jo says:

    Methinks you have way too much time on your hands, since you’re spending it casing out areas where people do these things.

    The lowdown is that if you are going to spend time judging others’ actions, I would advise that you look in the mirror first.

    Remember, while pointing the [index] finger at others, three point back at you.

  13. MLH says:

    Harvesting seems to have raised the most feathers. It also raises mine.
    I live on a very small budget. When I purchase something full price I think I am getting the best price I can find, then to open the Sunday paper and see what I just purchased on sale is a blood boiler.
    Even a small amout of savings makes a difference in my monthly budget, and I do take it back. It doesn’t matter if that isn’t the store policy or not, I will do just as U said, return and repurchase at lower price.
    I can use that savings just as much as the store can, maybe to purchase something in that store.

  14. Living Off Dividends says:

    one of my friends is the ultimate sale-harvester.

    he’ll buy things and regularly return them within the return period (usually 90 days) and just buy the same thing again.

    And the most annoying part is that he’s single, makes over 100k a year, pays little in taxes but is still as cheap as landfill-dirt.

  15. Shana says:

    I didn’t know there was a name for it but one way to avoid “sale harvesting” without being overcharged is to simply ask the sales person if the item will be going on sale soon. I did this with my new couch and the sales person gave me the sale price before the couch went on sale the following week. It saved us both a lot of time and effort. I’m not saying this will work all the time, but at least it’s worth a shot.

  16. widowspeak says:

    On the subject of Sale Harvesting:

    Some stores actually encourage customers to do this. I know Circuit City does if their computers are being finicky about giving customers the difference on an item they bought then went on sale within 30 days of purchase.

    Heck, a lot of stores are okay with this as long as you aren’t returning it to get a better price *elsewhere*. With all the cut-throat competition boing around these days, stores are just happy to keep purchases within the company, period.

  17. Publishers Weblog says:

    Yeah sale harvesting is a new one for me.Undertipping, I am guilty off, but most of the times I do it when the service hsa been lower standards than usual.

  18. not a gator says:


    yes, I have given low tips too, but I wouldn’t consider it “guilty of”. Usually I tip 20% or more (if it was a small bill, I tip more … very large bills I’ll make it closer to 15%, as that’s the customary payment … it’s more about not punishing the wait staff at the cheaper place). However, if the service was really, really bad and I feel like the wait staff was responsible for this (rather than the kitchen), I will tip much less, but I will still pay. In this case I will tip around 10%. After all, I received services … they just sucked.

    @parent post
    As for “sale harvesting”, that’s a new one to me, especially as some stores will not give you full price on a return during the sale period. However, I know of a fairly scummy practice that occurred at a retailer that will remain nameless (as some of you will undoubtedly try it!). You buy in bulk on a sale, only to return most of it or all of it without a receipt a week later for store credit. Once you have enough store credit, you buy items you really want (or that you can sell or pawn for cash).

    It’s a pretty simple scam, and it hurts people who need to buy those items at the lower price, but find that they are already out of stock. Basically poor people hurting other poor people. It also hurts the retailer. The store I worked at was operating in the red.

    There are also scams involving rain checks …

    I guess I don’t know what it’s like to be really, really poor. What do I know, I was just an underpaid grad student with five figures in student debt! No, I didn’t have any kids I couldn’t afford. Don’t cry for me. Gosh, I didn’t have to stoop to scamming retailers to get by. Hmm, no drug habit either! Maybe that was it!

    I think that we may be becoming a society where even with good choices moral compromises may become a necessity (the Jean Valjean scenario), but as of a few years ago I would vehemently argue otherwise.

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