Cheap you say?

Ever watched Russell Peters? He was one of the reasons I started watching stand up comedy! He makes the most outrageous racist jokes, not to mention the language... but still I watch and laugh! Although I had to keep closing Cheeky's ears.. and shooing him off to the other room last afternoon while I watched his show RED on Showtime:On Demand! Still I was holding my tummy laughing. But I am not here to recommend him to you, the reason I write this that one of his comments had me thinking (while I flinched). He called Indians cheap. Are you Indian? then you know what he is talking about! We have all seen it and like he says we think being called cheap skates is a compliment! We carry that air... I am CHEAP and proud of it! And I am no exception!

This weekend we went to the local grocery store for some weekly shopping. M picked up a bag of pistachios and threw it into the cart. I picked the bag up and eyed it suspiciously... turned it over and over (I have lived here so long but still look for the price tag on the pack like in good old India). Then ran down the aisle to look up the price $4.68. "I bet its a lot cheaper at Costco" !
"I am sure it is but I want to eat them now" said M. "I have almonds at home" I replied!
"Did you know that almonds and pistachios aren't the same?" M threw the bag back in the cart. Now I am cheap but not enough to throw a hissy fit over $4.68 in the middle of a store. Not to mention the look M gave me "Mention the word Cheap again..." he keeps shushing me so I just shift to Tamil to whine about the "Anju Rupa" (5 ruppes). But I sometimes have the good sense to know when the argument has been lost! So I brought my long face back home!
The bag was broken open and we sat watching yet another movie on the television.
I started again "These pistachios are so small, I bet the ones in Costco are a lot bigger"
"I am sure the ones in Costco are tastier and saltier"
"I bet you get a much bigger bag at Costco for the same $"
I was beginning to sound like a stuck tape of a Costco Ad. All for $5! M wisely ignored me and turned up the volume!
Today when Russell Peters talked about the Indian Cheap Skates.. this was like a Deja Vu. I could hear myself talking to a friend about the pistachio incident and shaking our heads "Who do these people think they are Donald Trump?" All for five dollars!

The other day I was watching a talk show on television and the book Tsar by Ted Bell was featured. I really thought I would love to read it! I ran and saw if it was available at the local library.. mm no luck. I looked it up on Amazon - 27$ .. I called my sister in India and asked her to see how much it cost. She was upset. I wont find it on the street vendors stall she moaned. (Pirated books can be got for Rs 70 - $1.50 there as against Rs 300 to 400 - $6.5 to $8.5 at the book stores ). Finally my uncle told her not to courier it to the states - too expensive. My friend's son's friend's uncle's sister in law is going to Seattle in 2 months. We will send it through her. (????) And she could just drop it out the plane when she flies past North Carolina! But who am I to talk, I look at the bag of pistachios for confirmation!

Talking of pistachios, a friend (Indian of course) told me the other day.. a Costco membership is a complete waste of money. We should share the membership among 4 of us that would be $25 per year per household.. then that would make some economic sense she told me! I looked at her in awe of course!

But we can take this farther. I went to a party sometime back. I stood there groping for conversation .. a friend nearby commented "nice table". Friend A was mighty pleased. "Really...guess where I got it?" I was wondering if you got stuff like that at Ikea. "I found it near the dumpster" she declared beaming with pride. As you can imagine I kept wondering every time I sat on anything in her house! I kept imagining germs crawling up my arms and back! Apparently this is not so uncommon I found out soon.. people even talk about "Dumpster Diving" as a divine hobby! But then who am I to talk.. the pistachio's stand evidence to my inclination! (img courtesy:

Another friend owned a humidifier one winter and it went suddenly missing in 3 months time. I was at a play date at their home and went to turn it on and it was missing. On inquiry it had been returned back to the store "They only allow us to keep it for 3 months!" Looking bewildered? This is why Costco and Walmart and Circuit City have a 3 month return policy on electronics. So that we could use the humidifier for the worst of winter!

Then there was this guy...years ago we were in a car crash in Arizona. The accident was my friend's fault as he made a turn without noticing the approaching vehicle. I had glass on my face and the car I was in was totaled. The other car had a displaced bumper. All of us were thankfully unhurt.. but as the police car arrived the other guy mysteriously developed a limp and then could no longer move his leg anymore! No this guy was not Indian (just for the records)

There is one thing though that you should grant to all the so called cheapskates! They are the most creative lot! But then its offensive to call yourself cheap.. call yourself thrifty or frugal!! After all we are not like the guy (I don't know this guy trust me.. ).. who wrote the wrong room number on the hotel bar tab, or the one who put the "To address" on the return address of an envelope so it gets sent "back" for lack of postage! (Want more tips at being cheap ... check this out - SNEAKY CHEAP). Me, I am unhappy enough looking at my bag of pistachios for now!

Coming up:
(c) Preethi @ Incessant Musings, September 2008


Rambler said…
Russel peters was here in Bangalore for a show which I attended, he is funny I agree.

Regarding Indians being cheap..I somehow dont agree with him, saving money does not mean one is cheap
Pavi!!!! said…
I'll confess I'm one of the people who love it when i get my stuff cheap!
The kind of joy brought by Shopping in janpath, karol bagh, sarojini market, fashion street..can NEVER be brought by the shopping in malls. If i pay over 500 RS for a becomes a "special" top ! Branded clothes don't excite me as much.

I remb we were out shoppin on mumbai streets for ear-rings; the shopkeeper quoted 15Rs for 2 ear-rings..n my dear hubby is like "Thats all?Are u sure?"! I remember being so mad at him for that :P

n yes, Russel peters is great fun!
Galadriel said…
heh.. so true.. this total abuse of consumer freedom in america is brought on only by indians. and i'm proud of it too, what we can't do in our country, we do here.. :D
rayshma said…
let me confess... since we didn't know how long we were gonna be here in this apartment, our couch, center table and bed were all picked second-hand from garage sales.
and now, while shifting to a furnished apartment, we sold them all at higher prices than what we bought them for! :D
LOL I love Russel Peters but its ok if he makes des comments..take it with a pinch of salt...besides he makes fun of every race..its reminds me of our college where we have terrible jokes abt ppl from every state but we all take it sportingly because its all done in good taste. And hope you enjoyed the pistachios! LOL.
Rofl !! That was one hilarious post. . . .We are what we are , and we are proud of it :D. . Awesome arent we??

& You forgot to mention that I would bargain with the street vendor to sell the 70 rupee book at 50 Rs !! :D . . .
Shilpa said…
The three month policy reminds me of my uncle's friend here in the US who buys his sons new toys and goes back to return them every 3 months. And this repeats. Mind you, he doesnt return coz its broken or damaged...he returns so he can get a new one!
DotThoughts said…
well... there is cheap and then tehre is being dishonest :) I am cheap. Was a dumpster diver duing student days, not I am a bit more spohisticated. I freecycle :)
Preethi said…
Rambler - Cheap is the word.. you read the incidents.. what say you? Yeah it is less offensive to say thrifty or frugal.. but cheap is funnier!
Pavi - You go girl.. for me its Pondy Bazar Chennai and Commercial stree Blore!!
Galadriel - well said!! :)
Rayshma - see.. I had never done that.. but about a couple of years back I bought a few things myself.. second hand.. and you know what still later discovered CRAIGSLIST.. nothing wrong in that!!
Akshaya - well said.. take it with a pinch of salt.. besides I am cheap and proud of it remember?
Vish - Aah bargaining power.. should blog about that next!
Shilpa - Dont the kids complain.. mine hangs on to his baby toys still!! :P
Dottie - yes I draw the line at dishonest!! dumpster diving.. never done that.. but then I first came here to work! So I have no right to talk!! Freecycle now there is an idea!!
Neera said…
I agree - there's a difference between being cheap and being dishonest. And yeah I too take pride in being cheap :)In the pre-kids era we actually drove down to 4 different stores for 4 different things for the fun of getting the best deal on each.

LOL at galadriel's comment!
Suma said…
HILARIOUS!!! poking fun at one's self is always fun :) esp when it involves getting the best deal...and i try to get my reading material from india too..its so mighty expensive out here...:(

@rayshma: that's business!!
Gauri said…
Russell Peters is indeed funny and his jokes outrageously racist. Used to watch his shows a lot earlier on but I don't know if its me - I find his language very abrasive nowadays.

That said, I do agree with the contention - there is a diff between being cheap (as in looking out for bargains) and being dishonest.

Looking at price tags even after being in HK for over 14 years now is something I stand guilty of even today :).
2 B's mommy said…
superb post! Loved it!
Fuzzylogic said…
Lol!I really enjoyed this post. The pistachios was a deja vu for me as well ,I've been there done that too:)But I am still the milder kind when it comes to being frugal. I've had friend who outdid me fabulously on that one. I say be proud:)
Whatfun ! bargaining is an art and if combined with miserliness..its great fun..its me I am talking about..but from this post & commemts it looks I have lot of company !

Very enjoyable the way you have narrated it
Mama - Mia said…
yea! went to Russell Peters show in blr and his opening line? I am surprised to see you guys spend money and buy tickets you cheap downloading b*******s! :p

yes, i am cheap too! very cheap! but if you insist, i will call myself thrifty or frugal.

but no i dont o any of the mentioned things in the blog. i just like getting a cheap bargain! :D

great post as always!1


PG said…
LOL! That was so hilarious!
Yes, then I'm cheap too!
This dumpster diving is quite normal here too. Guess in a different way. :)
A great post!
Preethi said…
Neera - you guys did have loads of energy.. pre-kid days we spent a lot more than we do now !! DINKS! :P
Suma - tell me about it.. still I have managed to buy so many books here.. that is one thing I can never be cheap about.. but I am frugal.. hitting all the bargain shelves!
Gauri - Old habits never change !! {wink} RP...actually you are right.. he is trying to ape all the other one night stand types I think!
2BM - :) Thanks
Fuzzy - See another friend told me the same thing about the pistachio story!! :) and yeah I have been outdone too.. as I said in the post!!
CU - I should make a post on bargaining.. I suck at it for sure!!
Abha - bargains are fun arent they!!
PG - Hmmm.. I am discovering a lot about dumpster diving! :)
Sandhya said…
Cheap as in spending wisely, yes we are! Don't Indians and non Indians both line up outside stores, speding the whole night out on Black friday to get that CHEAP deal?
Your comedy keeps me rolling!
K 3 said…
Eh bargaining for a good deal is sometimes fun .... keeps your brain up and running! ;) BTW, I dont think its just Indians who are cheap ... everyone does it one way or another. Check out the long lines after Thx's Giving day! Its more about feeling happy when you think you got a great deal than the big companies and made a profit!
Shilpa said…
Unrelated comment. I just read your Restless Feet post and you know what? I do think you win on the moving front just because you have a young son! It must be so touch movign base when you have a kid at!
Hilarious post! Being frugal is a good thing, methinks, look what over-spending and living beyond one's means has got the US into! :)

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