Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"Extreme Cheapskates" Makes My Head Explode

Have you seen this new TLC show "Extreme Cheapskates"? It's like a train wreck. You can't look away even though it's awful and you feel bad for every person involved.

I was channel surfing last night while eating dinner, and I came across "Cheapskates" in the middle of an episode. It featured a woman who was trying to help her daughter plan a wedding on a shoe-string budget. Now, I'm all for bring frugal. I know a few women who had very small wedding budgets and still managed to pull off lovely, joyful celebrations. But when you're buying a pee-covered wedding dress at a pawn shop? And serving your guests mayo-and-Wonder bread cheese sandwiches for the reception? Um, something might have snapped in your head. Don't even get me started on the eight-months-pregnant woman in the next episode who would go dumpster-diving behind hospitals for pre-natal vitamins. (I watched like four episodes before I couldn't handle it anymore.)

Then there was the couple that shares not only a toothbrush, but also a single piece of floss and a single cotton swab. This show just makes me feel gross.


I mean, seriously??? I consider myself to be an expert penny-pincher, but I would NEVER share my razor with Matt. You've gotta keep SOME mystery in the relationship, right?! Besides, you can get floss for free from the dentist when you go in for a cleaning, so how much is that really saving you? Same with toothbrushes. GET YOUR OWN.

Then there was the girl who was earning $4k a month at her job, but would bring her own food to restaurants and ask the server to heat it up for her. And this is where I started to get REALLY pissed off. If you're too cheap to eat out in restaurants, DON'T GO TO RESTAURANTS. If you're too cheap to pay for a wedding cake, DON'T TRY TO LOW-BALL THE BAKERY. If you are too cheap to pay for paint for your baby's nursery, DON'T TRY TO HAGGLE AT THE LOCAL HARDWARE STORE. I mean, these people that run these small businesses have to make a living too!  (No one was trying to pull this crap at Wal-Mart or Home Depot or Chili's — it was always the little places.)

I'm all for getting a good price, but that's what shopping around is for! I feel like the people on this show are incredibly rude — not for wanting to get a good deal, but for taking advantage of local service providers. Small business owners (of which I am one) have to decide what their products and services are worth based on expertise, project scope, market rates, overhead, supply/demand, and a myriad of other factors. I would be royally insulted if someone tried to argue that I should work for free just because they don't want to pay. I have to pay bills just like you do. OH WAIT, most of the people on this show live with their parents, so they can force mom and dad to foot the bills instead. (Dude, you're a professional wrestler. Your mom should not be shaving your back every day.)

Have you watched "Extreme Cheapskates"? What do you think of these antics? Do you consider yourself to be cheap?

15 comments

  1. We got sucked into watching several episodes of this show a while back--to me, it's fine if people want to save money by forgoing extras and stuff, but these people's priorities seem way skewed to me. Some of the things they are doing to save money don't even really save money--and they are hurting other people with their cheapness, which is wrong. Like you mentioned, they're hurting the small business owners, but also their family members. In one episode, a dad didn't give his children anything that wasn't trash picked off of a curb--they had a nice big house that was practically empty because he wouldn't buy furniture for them to sit on. :(

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  3. Yes! I've never seen the show, but I'm also a small business owner, and it kinda hurts my feelings when people haggle with me. It makes me feel like they don't think I'm "worth" the price I'm asking them to pay. But my prices really are the best around! My husband sometimes thinks it's kinda fun to haggle with people, to see if he can get a better deal. He does this, for instance, if I find a dress I like at a store but it's missing a button or something. It always makes me feel a little embarrassed and vulnerable. I'm a weird human.

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  4. Yes yes and yes! I haven't seen any of the new episodes, but I have seen one a while ago, and I didn't know whether to be inspired or disgusted. At the beginning. About 10 minutes in, I'd made up my mind ;) So gross! And I'm with you about lowballing small businesses--the one I saw had a guy trying to get an engagement party venue AND cake by singing to the lady at the bakery! So rude. The only consolation I could get was that maybe they were getting positive responses because of the TV cameras, and maybe the little bakery got some free advertising? Although shoot, if people saw that kind of stuff happening somewhere they might think that's something they could get away with too. I hope not!

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  5. I'm eating lunch while I read this, and it grossed me out! I haven't seen it, but nothing surprises me. I wonder if some of these people are sort of addicted to the thrill of the hunt, like the pregnant woman dumpster diving. That just seems really dangerous, and you can also get free vitamins at the doctor, just like floss. I have no problem asking for a small discount if I'm buying something damaged or stained, but I would never seek out things like that on purpose. When I shop online, I often buy things that go on sale the next day or there's a discount code issued after I purchase it, and I will email the company and ask them to apply it. That only seems fair to me, and they usually do it gladly.

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  6. Whoa, I've never seen this show and I'm kind of glad. Sure, I like to shop around and find the best deal, but I rarely haggle and as a former waitress I can't even imagine what my reaction would be if a customer brought their own food in to my restaurant and asked me to heat it up for them. What the heck?!

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  7. Sharing a toothbrush and a single piece of floss will only make their dental bill higher in the long run. That is disgusting.

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    1. I was thinking about this, that the wear and tear on that one toothbrush will now happen twice as fast, so doesn't it make just as much sense to get two?

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  8. Never seen this show and glad I haven't after hearing your description. I thought I was cheap, but definitely not near that level.

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  9. It really bothers me too. Nothing wrong with being frugal and respectful of nature's resources (like water etc) but this is boardlines mental illness. Like OCD or addiction type behavior.

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  10. I'm embarrassed to say I'm like the opposite of a cheapskate, I use way too much tape, floss, shampoo, etc. But yea, this show is crazy. I've seen one episode where a guy went up to other people's plates at restaurants and asked them for their leftovers to take home and eat later! EEWWW

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  11. I'm pretty cheap, but NO. Those people take it too far.

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  12. Hahahaa I literally cannot stop laughing. That is SO disturbing. I had never heard of this show, I'm glad you shared. I don't think I could watch an entire episode either :)

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