b3ta.com qotw
You are not logged in. Login or Signup
Home » Question of the Week » Parsimony » Page 1 | Search
This is a question Parsimony

Hullo tapirs, guffs Richard McBeef off the internet. One of my brother's friends once cycled from one side of London to the other to get some free lightbulbs from a condemned building, a 6-hour round trip. Tell us about the meanest, stingiest penny-pinching you've witnessed.

(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 9:58)
Pages: Popular, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

Stationery Supplies for School
As I entered Year 9, I needed to get more stationery as my previous stuff had either been lost over the summer holidays, broken and never replaced or lent to someone who never returned it.

I got on the Metro to Sunderland and went into WHSmith to buy a pack of pencils. They cost me £5 but I had only brought £8 (£1.20 of which was eaten up by a day ticket for the Metro) and I also needed to buy a pack of pens, notepad, highlighters, erasers and geometry set. After looking through the rest of WHSmiths' ludicrously overpriced stock, I realised that the only way I could fit my budget was to skimp on the rest of the supplies.

I returned from Sunderland and bought a geometry set from the newsagent which cost £1.50. With only 30p left, I had to find an even cheaper shop to buy the rest from. Luckily, there actually was an even cheaper shop a few streets down. I found a cheaper geometry set there, so I went all the way back to the newsagent to return their geometry set. After walking back to the cheap shop, I found that they had closed for lunch so I waited at the door for them to reopen. The geometry set was bought for the small sum of 80p. With only £1, however, I couldn't buy the rest of my supplies. So I went all the way back to Sunderland and returned the WHSmiths pencils (but kept the vouchers they had given me when I bought it). I was walking round the corner back to the Metro station when I spotted my saviour: Poundland.

I went in and bought the highlighters, notepad, pack of pencils, pack of pens and pack of erasers. I also managed to get a two-pack of audio cassettes (yes, I still use cassettes). I finally returned home after this long trip.

Summary: I wasted three hours going back and forth to try and buy the cheapest school supplies I could find.
(, Sun 13 Mar 2016, 19:13, 1 reply)
I got dragged out to Camden when I was
about 20 by an ex-girlfriend. I'm not very good at London because I'm a joyless stick in the mud with the soul of a 70 year old tax accountant, I usually deal with it by getting completely hammered.

This time (against my better judgement) I also took some ecstasy, in the line going in to the electric ballroom. By the time I got in I didn't know what was going on, serious confusion and hallucinations.

I vaguely remember this unhappy, pink dreadlocked and heavily made up girl trying to tell me something about a band called MCR. But her words were slurring together and try as I might, I couldn't understand what the words meant.
That's my story of Parse emo 'n E.
(, Sun 13 Mar 2016, 9:00, 7 replies)
Happened today.
An old dear came to me all flustered.

"My money! Came spilling out of my purse and some of it went under the photocopier!"

"Fear not granny", I didn't say out loud. "I've got this."

So I shifted the heavy photocopier, which was built before coaster wheels it seems, and almost put my back out moving it aside. I grunted with the effort and asked how much she had lost.

"Oh it was only 2p. There it is! Every penny counts!"
(, Sat 12 Mar 2016, 18:32, 2 replies)
Shared a house at uni
Most of us were undergrads the same age, but one bloke was older than the rest of us, doing a Masters or something. Slumming it living in the same house with us, obviously to save the cash, despite the fact he had enough to own and run a car, which for a student in 1991 made him seem like a millionaire. He only ever shopped in Netto or Morrisons late on a Saturday and bought only that stuff on the shelf that's reduced because it's out of date. I once saw him eat the non-mouldy bits of a banana that was clearly actually mouldy almost all over.

One day he came in and said "Where's my car?" How we laughed. Then called the police - it had been stolen. He was very, very lucky, however, because the rozzers later told him that the car had been found, completely undamaged, by the side of the road quite a few miles away on the far side of town. The obvious thing to do at this point was to get a cab and get over there asap and reclaim it, and this was in fact I think what I think the police suggested he do. Instead, he walked. By the time he arrived, some local scallies had rolled it over the side of the road, down a hill and set fire to it. A cab ride would probably have cost him almost five pounds.
(, Fri 11 Mar 2016, 13:31, 4 replies)
My dad
was born in the war child era (1947), which makes him a legendary tight ass.I'll always remember the Christmas where he was brought one of those gift cards telling you that you've donated a tenner to some third world cause, usually starving kids in Africa. Although the people that gave him the gift card were good friends of the family, he has never spoken to them again.....This is coming from a guy that has never brought anyone a present in his life....That's my mums job, apparently
(, Fri 11 Mar 2016, 12:13, 4 replies)
I once saw Simon Gregson pick up a 2p off the pavement.

(, Thu 10 Mar 2016, 22:49, 1 reply)
My great great great
great great great grandad got into trouble by trying to bribe the Bishop of Truro to be made vicar of one of his parishes. Alas for him, Par simony was seen as a serious crime in them days.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2016, 21:34, Reply)
The older generation
Reposting this and in defence of my father in law he's very generous with his time and grandchildren...

My father-in-law is very practically minded - he can build and repair pretty much anything having worked as a mechanic, engineer and carpenter. He has a small flat that he rents out about 30 miles from our home town and his tenant is a lovely lady who had just had a baby. The washing machine broke down so he very quickly ordered one online from Currys or somesuch.

It arrived at my father in laws the next day and he volunteered me to help fit it. I took an afternoon off work and borrowed a trolley from my neighbour who had to spend 20 minutes getting it from the back of his shed. We cleared out f-I-l's car, folded down the seats, heaved the washing machine into the back, drove 30 miles, unloaded it, carried it over soft ground, lugged it up 4 flights of narrow stairs, removed plinths from the kitchen units, spent 15 minutes trying to unscrew the hoses which were really awkward to reach, removed the old machine, lined up then shuffled the new machine into place over 30 minutes, improvised extended hoses, screwed in new hoses which took even longer than removing them, cleaned kitchen of detritus, sweat, dirty water, etc, lugged the old machine back down 4 flights of stairs, carried it over the soft ground and heaved it into the back of the car before driving 30 miles home 4 hours later.

In the car on the way back I mentioned that a lot of companies now will deliver to the correct address, install and remove the old machine. Apparently, f-I-l was very aware of this but he chose not to take that option because, "the cheeky buggers wanted £10 to install it and £10 to take the old machine away".

Oh, that's OK then!
(, Thu 10 Mar 2016, 11:09, Reply)
Lidl and Aldi.
I understand the produce is considerably cheaper than at Waitrose, but is it really worth the penny-pinching for one to endure the shrill cries of irate, overly-tattooed, teenage mothers berating their ghastly, cabbage smelling (and plentiful) loin-fruit? Or to be forced to decipher the utterings of a checkout girl with far too many consonants on her name tag? I think not.
Plus the Cognac is dreadful. Avoid.
(, Thu 10 Mar 2016, 8:40, 6 replies)

A Persian fellow I went to university with had a fair amount of cash.
(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 22:03, 2 replies)
Gus' lawyer story reminded me
My sister - a microbiologist doctor - ended up marrying a Kiwi bloke who eventually became a partner in a City law firm. They had a five bed place in Stoke Newington, a holiday bungalow (3 beds) on the south coast and a let property in Milton Keynes, he drove a Discovery, she had a Ka, then there was a VW Camper, an MGBGT, a '65 Mustang coupe, a Dodge SRT10 pickup... short of cash they were not.

I stayed with them one night (very early start in the City next day) and we went out to (I think) the Shakespeare in N16 for dinner - pints 'n' burgers. They managed to have an argument over whether a 50p cheese slice on a burger was an extravagance/justified. Tight arsed twats.
(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 21:31, 1 reply)
My brother-in-law paid for his family of four to go to Calgary
in Canada to see my sister-in-law (he being married to sister #1, visiting sister #2, I married sister #3).
He actually caused a full on family row by having a stand up debate at the counter with people waiting behind them as to how many portions of fries they required with their McD's, to save maybe 79 cents - arguing that the kids could share. This, having spent three grand on flights (accommodation was free). Tightass.
(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 21:20, Reply)
The tight meals thing has reminded me.
My boss had got a grad in for me to be in charge of and this bloke had volunteered to be in charge of looking after new grads because he'd put his name to anything for a bit of recognition.

Anyhow, he asks me if I'd be up for going out for a lunch with the new start on their first day and naturally I agree because it's a nice thing to do, people did the same when I started there and any excuse to get out of the office, eh?

'oh that's good! The thing is the grad budget can only stretch so far so I'm afraid you'll have to pay for yourself.'


When the meal came he had an argument with the waiter because the receipt didn't have a vat number on it, presumably because he feared it's absence would leave him liable to pay for 30 quids worth of food.
(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 20:40, Reply)
My father (whose name is Simon) is prone to complaining
gawd he bangs on about stuff that really doesn't matter
so yes, I know all about pa Si moany
(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 14:29, 4 replies)
An old landlord
Was really miffed that we weren't getting a landline installed and he'd have to call us on our mobiles if he wanted to get hold of us, because it would cost him more to call a mobile.

He'd just turned up to take our deposit for the flat in his BMW, and had been telling us about how his property empire now extended to 20 properties in North London.

(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 14:23, Reply)
rachelswipe paid for the pizza

(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 12:35, 1 reply)
1p ghost

(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 12:32, 1 reply)
My boss asked me to design a website and corporate identity for a new client
They were an investment management company and along with the branding, website, hosting and IT infrastructure that we were supplying them with, our company was charging them hundreds of thousands of pounds which they, being completely and utterly loaded, happily paid. Out of the prospective logos I had designed for them, the one that the client really liked utilised a typeface I'd downloaded that was free for personal use but not for commercial gain. Knowing that it would shortly be plastered all over the client's website and advertising I contacted the typeface's designer and he said he was happy for me to use it in exchange for an item off his Amazon wishlist. I think I got him something for about $20 in the end.

My boss then refused to cover my expenses, telling me that "this guy on the internet" was an extortionist and that I was an idiot for giving him any money in the first place.
(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 12:07, Reply)
I have a mate who spends ages in the booze aisle working out the best value based on units of alcohol per pound.
Over the years I have witnessed him buying and drinking things such as tesco own brand malibu, cut price vermouth, tudor rose, cheap and nasty sherry, something called Vodkat and many others. I would expect this from an alcoholic but he's genuinely just tight. He got in a right flap and threatened to give up drinking when minimum pricing was suggested a couple of years back.
(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 11:58, 4 replies)
As a pimply youth, I played cricket for a pub team in Dumfries, Scotland
And even though I'd left Dumfries and moved to Edinburgh years earlier, I still joined my old team on their annual summer jaunt to Lancashire. One year I was asked by the skipper to pick up another guy he'd roped in from Motherwell. His name was Vincent, and Motherwell was on my way south, so fair enough.

Vincent was the tightest man I'd ever met. Every penny was a prisoner. The weekend usually consisting of cricket, pub food, pub drinking, and well, pubs generally. Not for old Vince. As he slung his bag into the boot of my car, I couldn't help noticing the loaf of bread and tub of margerine almost falling out of it. While we were all gorging on pub food and buying rounds for the whole team, his plan was to feed himself for the weekend on bread and butter and going into every pub and asking for their cheapest pint.

Apparently he worked for Lanarkshire Council in financial advice. Well at least he practiced what he preached.
(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 11:43, Reply)
scared shitless of spending anything
First place I worked at was in IT Support at a college. The head of the repair department - lets call him Tony - was well known for being tragically tight - Tony always bought his lunch in, never bought a coffee, never went for a lunchtime beer, used teabags twice, grew a beard so as to save on buying razors.

Anyway, one day a new guy is starting, and - unusually - the manager of the whole department (different fella) decides we should go out for lunch to welcome him. This was uncommon, because he was a crap manager.

Tony is shitting himself - he's actually going to have to spend money. He makes it perfectly clear we are NOT splitting the bill when we get there, as he's "not very hungry". We go to this pizza place, and like me everyone is ordering what they actually fancy: giant pizzas dripping with ingredients, beers, garlic bread - who cares. I'm only on a small wage, especially compared to Tony, but it's hardly breaking the bank.

Tony scans the menu carefully, and orders a small neapolitan pizza. Tomato and Cheese. That's not a pizza, that's a pizza base. No drink, nothing else at all. The waitress brings them out, and puts condiments on the table - parmesan, dried oregano, etc. Tony cautiously asks "Are these free?". Fuck me - the poor twat has just outed himself as being so tight that he has obviously never been to any kind of cafe or restaurant in his life. Even the waitress is laughing at him.

Tony POURS on the dried parmesan, POURS on the dried oregano until his tiny crappy pizza is buried under a mountain of yellow-and-green dust. Not just too tight to spend money, but too tight not to take advantage of freebies and utterly ruin his food. Tony, tightwad though he is, is no iron-stomach champ. He's choking on this dry dusty shit pizza, but he's determined to finish it all. Meanwhile we're sipping beer, eating large moist slices of delicious pizza each larger than his tiny beermat of a pizza.

At the end, Tony is there red faced, practically dry heaving - but looking very smug. He's out of this for a fiver despite eating a fivers worth of parmesan and oregano on top. Practically cancels the expense out! While us idiots have gone through god knows how much money on our huge lunch and beers, despite actually enjoying our meal and ready to groan home on very full bellies. The bill comes, and Tony's eyebrows shoot up in smug curiosity - "How much is it!" He's DYING to know just how smug he should be.

"Who cares," says our usually crap manager "lunch is on me."

Tony's face loses all physical support and sags into crestfallen shock - he would have pigged himself stupid and ordered more to take home and freeze if only he'd known. I don't think he spoke to any of us for the rest of the week.

TL;DR - tightwads too tight to risk money on a free lunch
(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 11:39, 6 replies)
When I told my Dad he was going to become a grandfather
he booked a table at a particularly posh seafood restaurant, famous for its lobsters and oysters. He drove there, and dropped his passengers outside the door (me, my pregnant wife and my elderly stepmother) before parking the car.

We ate a four course meal at a silver service table, eating lobster while watching the sun go down. There was coffee and brandy and creme brulee, and whimsical dreaming about the future of the next generation of the family brewing inside my wife. As the waiters cleared the plates, my Dad discretely put his gold credit card in the booklet to take care of the bill.

We stumbled out of the restaurant a few hours later into a bitter seaside wind that flung salty rain into our faces. "Where's the car?" asked my stepmother, looking around the restaurant car park.

"Well I didn't park it here," grumbled my dad. "Those thieving council cunts wanted three quid for parking. Three quid! I pay my council tax, this is public land, OUR land, I'm not paying three fucking quid to park on land that belongs to us all."

So we walked for 20 minutes in the driving rain, my dad propping up my nearly-disabled and tottering stepmother, me leading on my pregnant wife, through the dark miserable rain-lashed streets because "it's the principle of the thing", muttered my tight-arsed father.
(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 11:23, 7 replies)
Don't get me started on lawyers
Cut to 1999 and I'm a junior solicitor working for an international firm in a no-tax jurisdiction middle east office. The senior partner had his practice bought out by my firm 10 years previously which made him a multi millionaire then. He had a side venture which made him a few more millions. He worked (very hard I have to credit him) for 10 years as a senior equity partner for an international law firm making him a few more million (tax free salary, all expenses paid for, etc.). He could spare a few bob.

I was in his office when he took a phone call from the workmen digging a hole for a new pump for his swimming pool. The workmen were all ex-pats from the Indian sub-continent - think of those picture of the Qatari workmen living in squalor getting paid 5$ a day to build a football stadium while dodging death through lack of Health and Safety elves. They wanted a bit more money because they had to get in two more workmen to pickaxe some concrete (bearing in mind this probably 35 degrees in the shade). They wanted another 50 dirhams. On top of the 100 they had agreed to be paid for the 3 of them there already.

Partner point blank refused then complained to me that these workmen just use any excuse to fiddle the rich Western expats and they should have thought about their estimate first and stuck to it. Which is a fair enough excuse if your builder doing a trendy loft extension in Putney wants to charge an extra £10,000 for something unforeseen. It's not really an argument that I would have over £5 for two people for a day's work!
(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 10:35, Reply)
My ex, years and years ago
used to live with a guy who would buy a bottle of washing up liquid and then chase down his housemates for their share of the cost
(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 10:32, 2 replies)
Post-it notes
Working as a paralegal on the sandwich year of my degree at a firm of solicitors back in 1990. (Faxes were the big thing then but this firm resisted that new technology for a good couple of years; but I digress [literally just received a fax as I type this; first one in about 2 years! Spooky]).

I was tasked by Mr K to go through a set of accounts to flag up certain transactions. The accounts were literally in a big leather-bound journal and it was quite an important task as those pages then needed to be copied as evidence in some hearing or other. Post-it notes were comparatively new back then so probably quite expensive in the office-stationery scheme of things. But it was well known that Mr K was the only partner who had such things - proudly displayed on his desk in a post-it note holder. Behind him was the view of the car park which contained his classic Lotus and his Ranger Rover.

I waltzed in and asked for some post-it notes to stick on the relevant pages which elicited the response, "can't you just use cut up pieces of paper to mark the pages?". "No," replied I, "the paper might fall out and you would not know which page to copy. Post-it notes would be ideal."

After an exchange of 5 minutes or so (probably all chargeable to some client or other), I managed to negotiate the release of 3 whole post-it notes that I could, "cut up and make into smaller slivers because they are quite expensive you know!"
(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 10:20, 3 replies)
Mcbeef didn't pay for his icon

(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 10:05, 5 replies)
I went for a drink with Lighty

(, Wed 9 Mar 2016, 10:01, 2 replies)

This question is now closed.

Pages: Popular, 2, 1