This week’s reader comment of the week shocked me. When I first read reader Julie’s response to the guest post, 17 tips to keep it cheap in Vegas, I didn’t understand why she was so upset over a total stranger taking tissues and toilet paper from a hotel room. The author of the guest post, a longtime reader and Vegas-aficionado, recommended others take home these items at the end of a hotel stay as a way of saving money. Julie’s comment reads:
Just have to jump on the bandwagon — please, no more posts including info like “take the tissues and tp.” I come to this website to get info about frugality, and be inspired by other people’s smart ideas, not to become a cheapskate and — yes, I’ll say it — total douche.
Mind you, I don’t take home tissues and toilet paper – lotion and soap are enough for me – but I don’t care very much if others do. To each their own, right?
But Julie’s passion troubled me, so I brought it up with Hubby.
“Why is she so upset?” I said. “And another reader threatened to break up with me for the post! I don’t get it.”
Hubby wasted no time.
“Because taking tissues and tp makes frugal people look cheap.”
The fraught relationship between frugal and cheap, otherwise known as the difference between swiping lotion and taking tp.
Who know toiletries could cause so much distress?
Here’s my take on being frugal v. being cheap. Being frugal is making choices to conserve money in your own life, like riding a bike instead of driving, renting a movie instead of going to the theater, brown bagging your lunch instead of buying it.
Being cheap is forcing your frugal choices on others: buying a gift on sale even though it is the wrong size for the recipient or insisting on ordering the cheapest bottle of wine at a restaurant.
Being frugal feels good. Being cheap leaves a bad taste in your mouth (and it ain’t the wine)!
Does taking tp and tissues leave a bad taste in your mouth? Does the hotel expect guests to take these supplies? Certainly the cost of providing them are built into the room price. Perhaps more importantly, what does the hotel do with these supplies after a guest checks out? Are they tossed out or left for the next guest?