Dear Mr. Cheap,
You know exactly who you are so I don’t feel a need to name you. While I know that you think that you are being sly and saving yourself a lot of money, let me say that your true nature shows through loud and clear. This would not be an issue except that you call yourself “frugal” when in fact all you are is “cheap.” In claiming to be something that you are not, you do a great disservice to all of us that are truly frugal. You see, many people have the impression that cheap and frugal are the same thing because of people like you.
Let’s lay it all out from the start. First and foremost, you get on everyone’s nerves to no end because cheap people are annoying. Me saying that you are “annoying” is being quite diplomatic about it and I’m sure that many others would use a few more choice words that can’t be printed in this article. No, they probably don’t say it directly to your face because they actually have some manners, but I assure you that they say plenty about how they feel when you aren’t around.
As an example, when we go out to eat as a group, none of us cares whether we split the bill by the amount each person bought or divide the bill equally among us. What we find extremely annoying is having you immediately grab the bill each time when it comes and deciding which way we will pay that day depending on what is less costly to you. Furthermore, if someone leaves an extra generous tip in their share, that doesn’t mean that just because you have chosen to be in charge that it is acceptable to only leave a 10% tip and pocket the difference.
I wish that I could say it stopped there, but unfortunately your cheapness shines through in many more places. While you complain that you are overweight, this is a direct result of you being cheap. There are many people in the office that are kind enough to bring in cookies, pastries and candy from time to time to share with everyone. This is by no means expected, although the kindness is always appreciated so it’s not an issue that you never do this for others. However, this does not mean that once you have calculated that everyone has had one of these snacks that the rest are yours. In fact, I am probably being generous in assuming that you calculate that far. While it is obvious that you don’t realize it, people don’t bring the snacks so you can replace your meal with them on those days.
In the same vein, when the office manager places free things on the “free for anyone” table, this doesn’t mean that everything given away is exclusively yours. There are others who would enjoy taking home a freebie from time to time, but since you pass by the table every hour on the hour, nobody else has a chance. This alienates you among your office workers and it is another reason why you may feel that nobody here particularly likes you. Another little hint, it could also be a prime factor in why you don’t have any friends which you constantly like to complain about.
But by far the most annoying habit that shows your cheapness through and through is your belief that in the name of saving money that common rules don’t apply to you. Just because the office provides free toilet paper for the bathrooms doesn’t mean that you are free to take it. Not only is it theft (I’m sure that your friends and family will be exceedingly proud of you when your 15 minutes of fame comes to you upon your photo appearing in the local newspaper for being arrested for stealing toilet paper to try and save a buck), it’s a real pain when I’ve finished going to the bathroom to find there is no toilet paper in the stall — or any of the other stalls.
I would probably be willing to forgive these transgressions if I knew you weren’t making a lot of money and money was tight, but the fact that you make more than most of us (and definitely more than I do) only perpetuates our hostility toward you even more.
Being cheap is not a badge of honor that you seem to think it is. What is so pathetic is that you believe that being cheap is saving you money, but in reality it’s just making you look cheap. There is a difference between getting the lowest price and getting the best value for the price. Cheap people always go for the lowest price while frugal people will always look for the best value. This is the fundamental difference that you have failed to master which can be seen in the way you decorate your office and actions you take.
Stop pretending that you are wise with money and nobody but you understands what it takes to save a buck these days. We do and we know a fraud when we see one.
The rest of the office
Image courtesy of Ghostboy