When someone comes over to your home for dinner, don’t you want to treat them with hospitality? Conversely, when you visit someone else’s home – don’t you want to treat them with generosity by bringing something along with you?
For most of us, I’m guessing the answer is yes on both counts.
For some, the idea of social graces is simply a foreign concept. Perhaps we can write such people off as not having life experiences that provided them with good examples. Personally, I know very few people close to me that fit this description, which is fine by me. Maybe I’m fortunate that way.
For a select, small group of others, graciousness is not a foreign concept – yet they deliberately try to take the cheap, sneaky approach in pretending to be gracious. This 24th edition of Squirreling Gone Wild dives further into the depths of The Extractor and her family, who were introduced in the Squirreling Gone Wild #18 story.
As a brief review, recall that The Extractor was good at trying to get free stuff from companies, and her husband was skilled at avoiding sharing the bill at restaurants. I eventually concluded that crafting these tactics was practically like a form of art to them. They are true outliers, unlike anyone else I have known when it comes to squeezing free stuff out of people. On the one hand it’s comical, yet ultimately it’s distasteful when they pull stunts on you!
Now, there are some times in life when you have to offer up some food or gifts to people, and that’s where the cheapness came out in a different way for them. Despite the otherwise innocuous behaviors they had, their cheapness would shine through in situations where people visited their home, or when they visited yours.
One example of their cheapness was when we visited their house once. After sitting down, they politely asked if we wanted anything to drink. In this regard, they followed norms of behavior. It’s when food was involved, they apparently get freaky. This visit was the classic case, as after getting my drink (I just asked for water), The Extractor asked me if I wanted something to eat. I politely refused (I was hungry though), at which point she played the game by responding with an offer of a snack.
Now, the snack you might expect at someone’s house might be mixed nuts, chips, pretzels, or something of the like. You get the idea. Instead, she offered me an ice cream cone. Wow, I thought, that sounds pretty good!
Excited like a kid, I responded: “Sure, whatever flavor you have sounds great!”
She paused and said, “Oh, I don’t have ice cream – I have cones”
“You mean actual cones without the ice cream?” I said.
“Yes” she responded.
Now, these people weren’t hurting for money. Not wealthy, but middle class. I try not to be overly picky, but this seemed odd. I was beginning to question why I interacted with them in the first place. In statistical terms, they would be several standard deviations from the norm.
It was made clear soon after, by her husband, why they offered plain ice cream cones. The guy told me that they got the cones from a friend of theirs who owned an ice cream shop, and was getting rid of excess cones. I took that as meaning old, stale cones, but it doesn’t really matter. They were hoping to serve me, a guest, sugar cones without the ice cream – because they got them free. They were basically trash to the original business owner.
I guess the mixed nuts or chips were too highbrow for me in their eyes 🙂
What was interesting was the way The Extractor’s face froze a bit, as she briefly shut her eyes, when her husband freely shared the source of the cones. It was one of those looks that screamed “I can’t believe he said that!” This, of course, confirmed to me that she knew she was super cheap.
You know, I do try to be thankful for whatever food I have. Many parts of the world would love to have any food that provides sustenance. Additionally, part of being a polite guest is not being a burden on the host. I don’t want people to do anything special for me, there’s no need to at all. I’m just plain ole me. But in the context of the abundance these people (and many others) have, this was an uber-cheapo maneuver.
These people also proved to be cheap guests when the opportunity presented itself. The one example I have here is when they and their youngest daughter visited our place. The daughter is an adult, so I view her as an independent person, but she’s still in the same family. Thus, she’s influenced by Mr. and Mrs. Extractor, and has probably received graduate-level instruction in extracting pennies.
So, there was a gathering at my home, and was asked if the daughter could come over too. Keep in mind, this was before I figured out what these characters were like. Naturally, not thinking anything unusual about it, I said sure she’s welcome. Why not, right?
Anyway, the cheapskates didn’t bring anything with them, which I noticed but didn’t really care about. The daughter arrived late, and brought a bottle of wine in a wine gift bag. The thing is, the bag looked like it had been used before. No big deal, right? I wouldn’t give a shoddy looking bag, but as you probably know, I can appreciate some frugal choices so that was no big deal to me.
Ultimately, after the gathering was over, the daughter took a very large amount of food home with her. She really cleaned up. Later, when they were all gone, I took a look at the bottle she brought: it was a Charles Shaw varietal, of Trader Joe’s fame. “Three Buck Chuck”.
Then, it occurred to me that she came over, pigged out, AND took home a staggering amount of leftover food – all the while bringing a very cheap bottle of wine.
The best part was what I noticed upon an even closer look:
- The bottle had a short personal note on it addressed to her. Apparently, she had been given this ‘exquisite’ bottle as a gift by someone else. She didn’t bother to care that the bottle she gave us had that note still on it. It was a blatantly regifted bottle of cheap wine.
- The used wine bottle bag I mentioned earlier had a gift tag hanging from it, where she (Extractor’s daughter) had written on it words to the effect of: “Uncle XYZ, Congratulations on…..” Thus, from what I can tell, she gave some wine to an “Uncle”, and then got the bag back from him – only to reuse it in a ‘gift’ to me.
Maybe I’m a little off base on my interpretation of these two situations. I’m open to that concept. However, it was all very odd. I chuckled about it, not quite knowing who I was dealing with just yet. I found out later, as detailed in SGW#18, with the tricks they later revealed. This was just a precursor 🙂
My Question for You:
Have you ever dealt with anybody that has been a super cheap host, or ultra penny pinching guest?