Friday, May 18, 2012

The New Cool

I guess it all depends on where your from and how you were raised that determines if doing something is an embarrassment or just plain natural.

I was raised with old school pride, simple as that. We had what we had, dealt with what we didn't have and never asked for anything. Dad slaved away his youth to provide for his family while mom kept the home front and us kids in order. We were frugal, simple homesteaders that cared for ourselves and others.

I am fortunate enough to say even though I could have qualified for most of the programs, I have never eaten a free government meal, took free government money or had the government provide for me in any way.
I understand those programs are in place for the people who need them and I do not look down at the ones who get that assistance if needed. I may one day have to as well.

A lot of that old school environment I was raised in rubbed off on me. I know it sounds silly but Goodwill and the Thrift stores were places I would not show my face, I had too much pride. It wasn't that I was any better than the people who shopped at those places, it was that I worked for a living and thought I needed to fend for myself. I was extremely poor just starting out in life as an adult and I felt those places were for the more needy than me.

It wasn't until just a couple of years ago I felt comfortable even being in Dollar General or stepping foot in Goodwill. If you have been a reader for awhile you also know just last year I had big issues on dumpster diving doing it only at night and without anyone watching.
I was still frugal though. I built what I needed, repaired what was broke and scavenged whatever I could find. I kept piles of junk around just in case there was something I might need in the future because yuo just never know.

Where I am going with all this talk is this, the lifestyle I have lived my whole life is now the new cool. I see people who once called me names like white trash, uneducated hillbilly and the armpit of humanity living the same lifestyle. The last time I was at Goodwill looking for deals I noticed several very expensive cars out front. Upon entering the store it was easy to see who owned them. These were the people who dressed in expensive clothes wearing expensive jewelry yelling at the store clerk to give them a better deal like this was Walmart or something.

They have infiltrated all aspects of frugality. You see them at the storage auctions running the price up just hoping they find a buried treasure like they do on the TV show. You see them in the thrift stores haggling with the price so they can brag to their friends on how they bullied the sells guy into a lower price. You see them at the trash dump loading more into their Cadillac Escalades than they brought with them.
This in turn has started driving the price of junk up, but it is not about the money to them. They would spend twice the amount on a older item than buy a new one and call it antique even though it is junk.

A new kind of second hand store just opened up close to where I work and they cater to the new movement of the frugal rich. It sure does not look like any second hand store I ever been in before that is for sure. I could not even afford the broom they sweep the floors with at that place.

So when did this movement start? Maybe you have seen it and maybe you haven't, but I sure have.
When standing in line behind a chick that has more plastic body parts than my truck and she is bragging to the cashier on how she is screwing the man by making the government buy her food, something ain't right. Or this high kept lady at Dollar General haggle over fifty cents then walking out and getting into her new Bentley, something ain't right. Or the guy in his business suit at the restaurant throwing a fit over his 3/4 eaten, slightly undercooked steak and when the manager takes his plate and says not to worry about the bill, he winks at me and says "That's how you get a free steak", something ain't right.

All I can say is they are giving me a bad name. The next time I am asked if I am frugal, I don't know if I want to admit it or not.
You might say these people are not frugal, they are just being jerks. The problem is, they are calling themselves frugal and they think it's cool. Maybe it is as simple as they were once like me and being frugal got them where they are today and by keeping up and expanding their practices into "Jerkhood" they are able to maintain their lifestyle. 

If this is the new cool then I don't want any part of it. I need to come up with a new name, maybe "Cheapo" will do for a few years. But I know deep down I was frugal before frugal was cool.

If you have seen it, what is your take on the new cool movement of the frugal rich?

25 comments:

  1. Those people you have described, and I've seen them also and were embarrassed for them, are just plan jerks. Finding a great deal is something to crow about, but bullying someone into that great deal is just bullying. Burst the bubble of a teenager years ago when she told me a "way to get free pizza", after she explained to me what she would do, I calmly told her "so you are lying and stealing at the same time"...she was not happy with me since I obviously didn't think it was such a cool idea. Plus then she had to look at it for what it truly was.

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    1. tehmom, Maybe so but they are still being called frugal and that gives me a bad name.
      Good for you by putting that girl in her spot. Her momma should have been slapped for it as well.

      Thanks for the comment

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  2. MDR, buddy - great post! i don't see these "new frugal cools" around here, PTL - everyone around here is frugal to begin with. we have one friend with about 8 different trucks in his yard and whenever anyone needs a part - guess who they go to? nothing anyone here has ever makes it to the goodwill store or the dump - as soon as someone is ready to throw something out - they call all of their friends to find out if someone wants it. this sets off an explosion as the friends now call all of their friends, and so on and so on until someone wants it. like i say, almost nothing ends up in the dump.

    but back in the city, those "new frugal cools" were popping up everywhere. it was suddenly cool, as you say, to shop at second hand stores and whatnot. i couldn't stand seeing expensive cars out front of the goodwill store! and i have a cool new term that you can start calling yourself....."Le Cheapo"....it's french. and that's gotta be cool - bahahahahah!

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Kymber, I don't like the French so you will have to come up with another name. LOL
      I guess the movement has gone world wide now. I thought maybe it was just a inner city thing.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. back when you were growing up we didn't call it frugal we were just trying to get by and live by our means not credit cards it was not that we thought we were too good for gov aid but didn't use it because your dad did work so hard and so long all those years I was able to stay home with you kids because he did work hard
    which I am very thankful for because I believe that is where a mother belongs [there goes the old school again]
    I am very proud so much of "the old school" rubbed off on you and our family
    We went to dinner with some friends one time to an all you can eat they actually brought a bread bag to put food in [they weren't poor either] using the excuse that they paid for it any way that embarressed us badly that is not something we did or ever do
    now extra catsup and mustard packets that is another story
    you are so right about seeing the expensive cars and trucks at these places but in truth they probably could not buy your cokes each week without a credit card

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    1. Thanks mom. I wouldn't have it any other way.

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  4. My mama says that if you have a 'nice' friend or acquaintance that is rude to or bullies a waitress or sales clerk, to keep a very close eye on them because they are not really nice at all.

    I got to experience it first hand, with a co-worker a few years back. She was surgary sweet in the office. One day we went to lunch and she was so rude and such a bully to the waitress that I was embarrassed and asked her to back off. The waitress had done NOTHING to provoke that kind of behavior. She still works here but I will not socialize with her at ALL.

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    1. Very true DFW.
      I would not think of that as a bad loss. You are a better person because of it.
      Thanks for the comment.

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  5. MDR, I see this now when I go to yard and estate sells (which it's not that often that I go). I still use the word frugal but I also place emphasis on being thrifty and careful.

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    1. You nailed it Sandy, thrifty and careful. I would rather be those any day than just frugal.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. mdr, there is a huge difference between those who are frugal and thrifty and those who are just plain cheapskates...i grew up in a large family, in the middle of the ozark mountains, poorer than the dirt. we never went hungry even if all we had to eat was scrambled eggs..we never went without clothing even if mama had to make over one of her own dresses or cut down a mens suit from the goodwill. we always had a roof over our heads even if the boys had to sleep on the back porch. these cheapskates you are talking about-have absolutely no idea what life is like living this way and have no appreciation for living within their means. when they foreclose on their homes or leave their jobs with a pink slip you will find these items at their garage/yard sale along with their other stuff and still not have any idea of what the worth is. i worked at one time in home health care and one of my clients was a 94 yr. old lady who had everything-i mean everything a person could ever want..she dressed in the best finery, had the best furniture made, and so on ..anyway, one day i was doing her laundry and noticed that every pair of underwear she had was held together with safety pins and eaten up with holes...the conclusion i came to was that they only want the outside to be seen but the inside is rotten. these kind of people are phoney and self absorbed and stingy-

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    1. Anony, yes there is a big difference.

      Thank you for the story, how sad is that. Great metaphor on the underwear being how the inside of a person is only hidden skin deep and hidden from all the world.

      Thanks for the comment.

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  7. MDR, you are so right. We have seen people wearing designer clothes and buying their kids clothes at Goodwill. We have had neighbors come into the rental office I can't pay my rent because of "XYZ" then get into a brand new car and drive away laughing. Another neighbor some years ago the outside of the house looked like a dump, the inside looked like Trump lived there.

    My oldest works at Red Lobster, the stories he tells us every night. The games people play. The same when he worked at Disney. So very sad.

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    1. I blame Walmart Rob. No really I do. They are the ones who started the whole "The customers always right" bull crap in the first place and people started thinking all business are like that.
      "Give them what they want so they will just leave" kinda mentality.

      Thanks for the comment

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    2. I think you can blame Nordstroms. They are tops in customer service. They will take back anything they sell, in any shape. Daytons in MN,(Macy's now) used to be the same way. One women brought back a coffee pot that stopped working. Turn out she never cleaned it. They gave her a new one.

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  8. Well we just got home from the thrift store. We didn't plan to stop by but it is Harriet's birthday and we were in the neighborhood. We were so excited that there was a sale with all clothing $0.99. I got a few pairs of needed paints and she got a few shirts and shorts at a price we could afford.

    I also give to this same store when I have things to pass on. I don't throw things away that still have use in them. Now that is what I call a waste.

    To me there is such a thing as "good trade". If I get something at to much of a bargain then I feel I have cheated someone and I don't feel good about the item I received. There must be some kind of equal exchange.

    I had a teen the other day help me relocate 17 bales of hay to another barn. He got an old stereo and equalizer for his truck. He just got his license. I am sure I will regret it in the future when he drives by blaring country but I'll have to smile because I helped him have that opportunity.

    I guess what I am trying to say it there are people with good intention and bad. Selfish and selfless. We don't need labels really because our actions speak for themselves. You are a good man MDR. I think that is label enough for you if you ask me. - Genevieve

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    1. Genevieve, it is good to see you back, sorry for your loss.
      Thank you for the compliment and you are right about the labels but, and there is always a but, society puts them on us more than we do ourselves. By doing that we are put into different classes if we agree or not.

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    2. That is an unfortunate thing that happens. I just still try to live the best by example.

      Thank you regarding our loss. - Genevieve

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  9. Well, I haven't seen this sort of thing here. The people who come to the thrift store here are poor and we also get a lot of illegal aliens. However, I have seen my sister in law go out and buy 15 Sunday papers ($30 worth!) so she can brag the next week about all her coupon savings.
    We have gone to the thrift store every week for years now...when we can afford it anyway.

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    1. That is so funny Becky. I know some of same kinda couponers. They pay a service to get them and they also buy loads of newspapers just to save a couple of bucks.
      I follow them people around in the store because they usually leave extra coupons on the item they do not want.
      In the long run I actually save more than they do sometimes just by picking up their discarded coupons, now that's funny.

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  10. I know what you mean. I've been a big thrift store shopper for ages, ever since I went off to college and had to fend for myself. I have definitely noticed that prices have gone up for goods at thrift stores. Just means I buy less there and find other avenues like yard sales and auctions.

    2 quick stories for ya:

    Went out to eat last week (normally don't but we just needed a treat). I hadn't been to this restaurant in a while, but I got my usual. It just didn't taste the same. I asked the waitress if they had changed the recipe. She tried everything she could think of to give it to me for free. I had to finally tell her that I wasn't trying to scam her out of a dinner. I just thought the recipe had changed. She was relived and proceeded to tell me how often just little comments get free meals. I assured her we weren't going for a free meal. It just didn't taste like I remembered. She got a big tip that night. She packaged up our left overs and we didn't realized she snuck in a free dessert until we got home. That was some good karma there.

    The other story, we had a yard sale a few years ago, and at the time our residence was in between hoity-toity neighborhoods with flashy cars. Every yard sale, we have a free box to entice people to come look at least. A black 300S with tinted windows and big chromes wheels pulled up and a couple got out. They looked over everything and occasionally turned up their noses. They had seen enough, huffed, turned around and were leaving until they saw the free box. They rifled through that box, took two ice cubes trays and took off. We laughed so hard at that. It was such and unbelievable thing to see. It's like they felt obligated to at least get something for having been troubled to stop.

    People just don't get it. I don't know if you would call it pride, common sense/decency or just plain humanness, but it sure is missing from a lot of folks these days.

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  11. TF, Thanks for the two stories. Both are right on what I was talking about. The same thing happen to us a month ago at the local pizza joint. The guy burned the pizza and we were not going to say a thing until he asked. I showed him the burnt pizza and he wanted to give it to us for free. I would not hear of it. He is a friend of ours and trying to run a business so I insisted I pay for it.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing the stories.

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  12. I so agree with you and with TransFarmer, too. Prices have gone up everywhere.
    And manners are not taught anywhere, I don't believe.
    There are a lot of people who believed they are owed this or that, and want it for free.

    Found your blog from Lana's blog. I think I'd like to stay a while.

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    1. Thanks for the comment LindaG
      Hang around as long as you like. It is good to have you.

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