Squirreling Gone Wild #13: Youthful Mistakes

Within the last few months, there was a controversy in Italy about a large batch of mozzarella cheese balls having a blue tint after being exposed to air.  The cheese was produced in Germany, and the issue created quite a stir in Italy. Around the world, it was a general interest story.

I have to say, when I saw the story, I immediately chuckled. Not because I want anyone in Italy, or anywhere for that matter, to consume cheese that is alarmingly discolored. Rather, it’s because it reminded me of a story from way back, when a college buddy of mine scored a free pizza.  This 13th edition of Squirreling Gone Wild will tell the story of frugality gone amok, with youthful craziness as the driving force behind it.

The college buddy of mine who obtained the pizza had his share of money saving antics, as I shared in several of the early editions of this series. This was no exception. The difference, however, is that he got something for free that he should have paid for.

I remember the important details of the evening well enough to tell the story, even though it was about 20 years ago. It was a weeknight, probably 10:00pm or so, and we were hungry. Both of us were committed enough to our grades at that point to spend the evening studying, though we didn’t study together. Rather, we met up later.

At that time, we were both hungry, but had very little cash on hand. Back then, there weren’t ATM’s around every corner, and many delivery places didn’t take credit cards. We had enough to go in for a pizza, but each of us would be left with little for the next day if we ordered it. We went ahead and ordered a smaller sized pizza anyway.

Once the pizza was delivered to us, we devoured it in no time. We were still hungry. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the money to have any more food delivered to us, and we had no food available.  This is where my friend decided to take matters into his own hands. He called the pizza place, and told them that the pizza they delivered had spoiled cheese. When they asked what the pizza looked like, he improvised.

“The pizza has blue spots on it”, he said.

The pizza place argued with him and told him that they had had never heard of blue spots on cheese. Nevertheless, he insisted that this one did, and that we should get a replacement pizza.

They sent the driver back to us, and within 45 minutes or so he called to tell us he was outside.  We went out to get the pizza, and saw that he was considerably less friendly than he was when he delivered the first pizza.

“Where’s the pizza with the blue spots!” the driver demanded to know.

“Uhhh, we threw it away”, my friend said. I stood there and said absolutely nothing.

The driver shoved the pizza at us as he handed it off, and said that he would tell his management. We walked back inside and started laughing. This wacky tall tale had just landed us a free pizza, and took care of our hunger for the evening.

At the time, I thought it was funny, and still do. But deep down, I knew that it was wrong.

Now, I didn’t do any talking. I didn’t come up with the idea, nor did I call them or talk to the driver outside. Nevertheless, I did eat the free pizza which was obtained by less than straightforward means.

That’s taking frugality to the level of cheating.

Anyone that reads Squirrelers has probably picked up on my insistence on being fair when trying to get a good deal, and not taking advantage of others. Clearly, that one evening as a college kid, I did something different than that.

What about you? Have you had any youthful indiscretions when it comes to taking frugality too far?

Don’t worry, it’s ok to confess:)



  1. says

    Nothing is immediately coming to mind (if I have one, I’m probably repressing it subconsciously). However, your article does speak to the point where frugality ends. Frugality is about obtaining a great value for a reasonable price. Your friend was a con artist; he wasn’t frugal in the slightest. When they survey decamillionaires, over 80% say integrity is either important or very important. So it’s fine to be frugal, but it is not cool to be dishonest to save money.

    • "James Carter" says

      I’ve gotten stuff for free

      –when the food was horrendous – VERY greasy chicken at Boston Chicken, when the restaurant broke the law (Golden Corral had the plates facing UP– that’s a clear violation of health code)

      yet happily paid for stuff even when it was OK (tho both my father and i know “sauces and gravies cover a multitude of sins”

      — when a company’s product/ service wasn’t up to par Clear service kept going out because of a faulty box

      — AT&T landline/ internet/ u-verse. For awhile we canceled our internet/ u-verse because of the problems. We wrote letters, eventually getting the internet back (but the trouble with the TV was too much so we watch our videos instead nowadays)

      For me to complain a company has to mess up and royally so.

  2. says

    Hi Squirreler! Did you ever order pizza from that place again?

    My brother used to work at a pizza place when I was a teenager. If a pizza was ordered and not picked up, the workers got to bring the pizza home. So I would call in my favorite pizza, and obviously, not pick it up. (I did this usually 45 minutes before my brother’s shift ended.) He would then come home with free pizza for me. I did this 3 times I think, and then stopped.

    You did say it was safe to confess, right? :)

  3. says

    When negotiating tour prices in Asia, I would sometimes say that “My friend came here and he was able to negotiate X price”, or I would say “I just went to that other place across the street and they offered me price Y”, even though it wasn’t necessarily true. I would then sometimes get a lower price. I don’t know if that is necessarily cheating, but I did feel a little bad doing it, those couple of times that we did!

  4. says

    My boyfriend in high school worked at a Pizza Hut and brought me free pizza twice. I assumed he was allowed to, but maybe not. :-)

    As far as youthful indiscretions, when I was 8 or 9, I put a roll of Lifesavers candy inside one of the cardboard tubes that held the toilet paper. My mom paid for our groceries and we went home. I got the candy out of the tp in the car when she wasn’t looking. I felt so guilty after eating one or two that I ended up throwing the rest of the roll away…oh well, that’s my walk on the wild side…

    • Squirrelers says

      BFS – That’s funny and it also makes me think about what my kids will try. Really, that’s pretty innovative for little kid, what you pulled:)

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