Using a coupon or searching for sales is one thing, but some people play in a whole other ballpark. Putting their health, self-respect and often times sanity on the line, the following people open up about the most extreme case they've ever seen of people trying to save money on food.
Really Shelling Out For The BBQ
“I was once invited to a friend’s birthday BBQ. They were a successful couple in their 30s. I arrived at their nice home and there was about 12 of us there for the celebration. All the food this couple has is eight hot dogs which they grilled then slice diagonally in half (so as to still completely fill the length of the bun) to make it into 16, sad, skinny hot dogs. Oh, and for dessert, they brought out a half a cake. And not just a small cake, it was literally a semi-circle.”
Treasures From The Freezer
“My grandparents lived through the depression. They waste nothing. Their freezer is a menagerie of ancient treasures. Last year we ate Thanksgiving at their house. My mom did all the cooking, but my grandma contributed a couple of desserts. One was a marshmallowy jello sort of thing with pistachios. When we got done eating, she proudly declared that it had been sitting in the freezer since _1996 _(this was 2001 by the way). She was afraid we’d find out and would waste it by not eating it. Weird thing is it was still tasty!
I thought it was hilarious at the time, but it is kind of surprising we didn’t get sick. My dad was actually annoyed that I found it at all odd, to give you an idea of what being raised in that house was like. This was when my grandparents were moving out of their house into a retirement home, too, so they were being forced to use up what they had saved for a long time. I think that probably played a part. They’re both still alive today – grandma’s 92, and grandpa’s 94, so they must be doing something right.”
The Crazy Extra Mayo Lady
“This happened to me on the way home from work one day. This was probably one of the longest days of my life when I used to work retail and had literally spent the entire day dealing with some of the most moronic customers I had ever seen. Needless to say, I was not in a good mood.
It’s around 7 pm and I’m so exhausted, I decide, ‘Forget it. I’m too tired to cook. I’ll go get some delicious diabeetus in a box and go to Burger King.’ So I pull into the drive-through lane and approach the order box. To my astonishment, the usually busy Burger King has but one car in front of me. ‘Oh good,’ I thought, ‘There’s only one car! I’ll place my order and be home in 5 minutes flat!’ So I roll down my window in preparation for shouting out my order, and I wait.
It’s around this time I notice the woman in front of me (a rather rotund lass) seems to be arguing with the cashier. She’s doing so in such a loud manner that I can hear every word. Apparently, she has ordered one Whopper Jr. and nothing else. Just the one hamburger. The problem, it seemed, was that she was requesting extra mayonnaise (God bless America). The cashier was informing her that they were required to charge $0.25 extra for any additional toppings. The woman was angry beyond belief and demanded to speak to the manager. She was ranting and raving saying things like, ‘I’ve been coming to Burger King for years and I’ve NEVER had to pay for extra mayonnaise!’ After talking to the manager and getting the same story, she then demanded to talk to the owner of the store. The manager informed her that the owner was not on the premises that day. The woman demanded the owner’s home phone number to call and complain (again, all over 25 cents for extra mayo).
This went on, I kid you not, for a good 10 minutes. By this time, 3 other cars had pulled up behind me.
Have any of you reading this ever had a life-defining moment of clarity? One of those situations where you knew exactly what to do and you did it? I’m here to tell you today, friends, that on that day I had such a moment. An epiphany, really. I calmly got out of my car, walked up to the window of the woman’s vehicle and said, ‘Hello.’ Rather shocked, the woman looked at me with a dumbfound expression and said nothing. I casually reached into my pocket, and produced two quarters. I placed one in each hand and offered them to her. ‘Here you are, madame. I would be more than happy to purchase you not only the extra mayonnaise you require today, but provide the extra mayonnaise you so crave on your next visit as well.’
Her face turned the brightest, purest shade of red, and with God as my witness I tell you her tires screeched in rage as she peeled out of the parking lot and left (without her extra mayonnaise or a sandwich period).
I then got back into my vehicle, pulled up to the order box, ordered my medium #1 Whopper with cheese combo and Dr. Pepper to drink, and approached the pick-up window. Apparently, the employees had all been rather frazzled by the experience and had been watching the entire exchange on the camera they had set up at the drive-through order box. They literally broke into applause when I pulled up to receive my order, and gave it to me at no charge. The manager said, ‘I know I could have just given her the mayonnaise and saved us all the hassle. But your actions this day have made it all worth it, sir. Thank you for choosing Burger King.’
And I drove off into the sunset.”
The Tab Abuser
“A bunch of the younger office staff and I would all go out for happy hour every other Thursday after work. Everybody was completely respectful…except for one. This one receptionist always showed up, always found some way to put drinks on other people’s tabs, then leave before everybody else, as to avoid having to pay anybody.
One time in particular, she showed up to a bowling alley with us and we made it perfectly clear that NOBODY HAD A TAB OPEN, so she was buying her own drinks. She brought her 6-year-old son, ordered dinner for them both and ordered herself 3-4 mixed drinks during the duration of an hour. She got up and left. We were shocked that she paid her own way for once. Our surprise changed directions when we found out that she put all of her tab on the lane, and we were all stuck with it (I had no idea that sort of thing was even allowed). She hasn’t dared attempt to show up to another event since.”
Worst Camping Trip Ever
Worst Camping Trip Ever
“A few years back, my (now ex) boyfriend asked me to go camping with him and his family. I had never been camping before and was really excited about it. We were going to stay on some islands in the middle of a lake, and the week before, his mom made us all come up with recipes and throw in some cash for the food we’d be eating for the week. I didn’t have a problem with this and we came up with some awesome pasta dish ideas.
When we got there, however, she changed her mind and decided no, she wanted to eat out in the town nearby every day (we were out camping for a week, and we had also brought a cooler packed full with the ingredients for each meal). Nobody warned me of this happening and well, as a 15 year old, I didn’t really think I’d need money when camping. Just the complete basics.
After she realized I didn’t bring any money with me, she screamed at my boyfriend for about an hour about how she shouldn’t have to treat his guest, how he’s going to have to pay for all the food I eat this week and how she expects this never to happen again, all while I sat crying in my tent nearby.
Needless to say, every time we went out, I had a water with the cheapest meal on the menu :c Even if it was something I knew I didn’t like.
Worst camping experience of my life.”
He’s Gluten Intolerant, Yet…
“I have a friend who is full-on gluten intolerant. However, he’s SO CHEAP, that he’ll go to ANY LENGTHS to avoid paying for food (or anything else!)…When he found out he could dumpster dive for unlimited bread in San Francisco, that became the staple- nay, the entirety- of his diet. He spends his days moaning in agony as his insides churn and roil, suffering from constant fiery diarrhea… yet he continues to eat his glutinous meals merely because they’re free!”
“I know a girl who is a bit of a silver spooner (dad bought her house, her car and provides her job) and she is rather comfortably well off as a result.
She takes her family to eat at soup kitchens on the weekends (not to work, to eat) and gets her groceries at food pantries. I told her once I thought her shopping at the food banks/pantries was pretty darn unethical and down right wrong. Her response was – they did not ask for proof of being poor and she was saving money. She would load her groceries into her big brand new SUV and take off…just wow.”
BIG Savings On Fruit
“My mom had a boyfriend that would pull the stems off of cherries before purchasing them from the grocery store because he felt they’d weigh less without the stems and he’d get more for the money. And a friend (who used to work at a supermarket) once told me about a customer who used to peel bananas before he bought them, for the same reason…”
What A Great Friend
“I had a friend back in high school that we use to hang out with during lunch.
During lunch, we would go off campus to hit up a fast food place. Well, this guy was so cheap that when the cashier asked him if he’d like to add cheese for .50¢ more he declined the offer. But when we sat down to eat. he pulled out a sliced piece of cheese from his pants and add it to his $1.59 burger.
Doesn’t stop there. He would ask us if we’re getting fries with our meals and he’d decline getting fries with his burger. Then helped himself to our fries at the table.
No soda either just asked for a cup for water but get soda when he’d go to the soda fountain.
We stopped taking him with us after awhile as it got really annoying.”
Screaming Over Ice Cream
“My aunt and uncle were visiting with their two kids. My uncle asked me if I wanted to go to Friendly’s for ice cream. He bought himself and his two kids ice cream then asked if I had money for myself. I was 9 so I did not have any money. He said ‘too bad’ and started back towards his car.
I realized, he just needed me for direction.”
The Courtesy Coffee
“At the bank I used to work at we had a Keurig machine in the lobby for our customers. And man, did we keep that thing nicely stocked! We had a huge variety of different strength roasts, flavored varieties, and even teas and hot chocolates. We also had every sugar and sugar substitute under the sun, as well as a variety of flavored creamers. In short, our coffee game was strong.
It wasn’t unusual for some customers to take some extra packets of sugar, or a couple containers of creamers, or even the real jerky ones some K-Cups to use at home. But the worse had to be the witch of a woman who would come in every morning, make herself a cup of coffee, then walk out. Zero transactions to complete, zero banking business needed, just there for her morning cup of joe. What’s even worse is that SHE WASN’T EVEN OUR CUSTOMER ANYMORE. Yes, this woman closed all her accounts with us, yet still came in for her daily coffee. When I learned this fact from my manager, I was outraged, but she wouldn’t let me say anything to this lady.
While it’s not my money she’s wasting, this was still coming from the same company who denied overtime pay from me because I was ‘working at 2 different branches and not at the same place,’ wouldn’t let me have $25 to go with each branch out for a Christmas dinner (the max amount they would pay per employee regardless of status, yet because I was one person I had to split it $12.50 per branch and pay the rest out of pocket for dinner), and oh, gave me a cheap plastic pen for my one year anniversary.”
The “Offering” Of Leftovers
“A group of folks went out for dinner at a convention and several people had leftovers. When we returned, one of the people who had not been able to get out to dinner was bummed, so one of the diners said, ‘Well, I have some leftovers, if you’d like them.’
‘Okay, my meal was $10, and there’s about half of it left, so you owe me…’
No, I am not kidding. No, it was not me.”
A Whole New Meaning Of Street Food
“I got a kebab wrap on a night out, my friend wanted one too but didn’t want to pay for it (must’ve only cost me like £3). As luck would have it, there was one on the floor near a puddle outside that someone must’ve dropped earlier on. He picked it up and ate it, said it was still warm too.”
Pulling A Fast One On Granny
“My aunt, who is fairly wealthy (she and her husband both work, no kids, own multiple houses), is the cheapest person I’ve ever known. When she goes to the grocery store when the family is up visiting my grandmother, she’ll keep the receipt to give to my grandma so she’ll pay her back for it. This is the worst one, though. Lots of family was going up to visit grandma, and my aunt (who lives in Georgia) asked my dad to buy butter (in Virginia) and bring it up to New Jersey where my grandma lives because apparently butter is cheaper in Virginia.”
That’s Not What The Sale Is!
“Working at grocery store. Item rings up as $1.35
Customer: I thought it was suppose to be 3 for $4.
Me: Oh, I’m not sure. It’s ringing up $1.35
Customer: Well then I don’t want it!
Customer decided she didn’t want a product over a price discrepancy of one and two thirds of a cent.
One. and two. thirds.”
It’s For Charity
“Last night this happened at a fair. The man at the front of the line for ice cream offered to pay for all the kids in the family behind him because he was taking awhile. He gave the booth $40 bucks and said what was ever left over should go to the charity (the church was running the ice cream booth). The people with the kid’s ice cream totaled $21 and they insisted for the change back. It wasn’t even their money!! When the lady refused she asked for the manager! She didn’t get the money, but she walked away all mad. To top it off, the guy in front of her already took a while (hence his generosity) and then her bickering took a while before they moved it off to the side, so the huge line behind her was mad as well. She was a witch on multiple levels… witchception.”
It’s A “Medical” Condition
“When I was a waiter I had a person ask me for ‘a cup of hot water and a glass of ice.’ He then pulled out a tea packet, brewed some tea, used our sugar to sweeten it, then poured it onto the ice for iced tea. I just shook my head and thought, ‘Congrats man, you beat the system and saved $2.’
I had a table split a dinner, which isn’t uncommon except they split a Pepsi too. I told them I can’t give them a refill if they’re sharing and they said that’s fine.
I had a woman throw a huge fit about wanting to order the kid’s steak. I explained to her that the kid’s menu was discounted heavily so we could appeal to families more (the kid’s 6oz steak was $6 while an 8oz of the same cut was $12 on the adult menu.) She demanded to see the manager and said that it’s a medical condition and she HAS to order off the kid’s menu because she can’t eat an adult portion. My manager said oh that’s cool, we actually have a special on the 6oz cut right now for $10, it’s the same size as the kid’s steak. She was speechless and I was laughing my butt off.”
“Use The Good Napkins”
“When I was a little kid I used to spend summers at my grandparents’ house, and one of my chores was to set the table before dinner every night. Whenever we were having company over for dinner, I was instructed to use ‘the good napkins.’ That meant the napkins that didn’t have restaurant logos printed on them.
We only went to restaurants when my grandmother felt she could come out ahead on the deal, and there were many ways to accomplish this. She clipped coupons, of course, but that was kids’ stuff. Anytime she did anything for someone, she’d get them to take her to dinner to ‘return the favor.’ She had an enormous purse, which generally came back stuffed with napkins and food from the buffet. She didn’t see much point in going to any restaurant that didn’t at least have a salad bar. One year, when my mother and I offered to take her to dinner for her birthday, we ended up having to drive over an hour to get to a Sizzler she hadn’t been banned from.”
The Church Ladies
“At Pizza Hut where I work, customers will do just about anything to get free or very very cheap food (as if it isn’t already cheap). Sometimes, we make a mistake, and they are absolutely entitled to compensation, but some of these people will complain about ANY little detail of their pizza to get it for free.
Oh, but my favorite is a group of ladies who come in every Sunday morning after church. They all order on separate checks, and they all get water and one small item like a personal pan pizza or a cup of soup. Their checks only turn out to be about 4 or 5 bucks apiece, but they still, every single weekend, feel the need to announce and remind me, ‘We’re seniors so we need our senior citizen discount, too.’ That makes their checks even cheaper, so they feel entitled to leave a few nickels and dimes on the table as a tip. I should clarify that they aren’t elderly by any means. They are all in their late fifties at most. All of them are all well-dressed with nice jewelry and drive nice cars and not technically seniors, but we give them the discount anyway because my boss goes by the ‘the customer is always right’ motto.”
She Tried To Accuse The Chef Of What??
“I am a chef. A couple of years ago I was working on a carvery in a nice restaurant that had a reasonable lunch deal (2 courses for 6.99).
A lady walks in with her teenage son, alarm bells start to ring when she tries to order off the kid’s menu for him. Anyway, I slice her meat, she helps herself to vegetables and I head back into the kitchen. Ten minutes later the waitress says lady would like to see me so I head out and she says there’s something wrong. She lifts up the meat, which I sliced and placed on a clean plate, and there are about 10 little squares of chopped up rubber band. So I was like WHAT are you trying to pull? WE DONT EVEN HAVE RUBBER BANDS IN THE KITCHEN YOU NUTTER!! Long story short. after a ten minute argument she boldly stands up, refuses to pay and just walks out. I don’t get some people. Also, I hate to think how embarrassed her son was unless she was training him?!?”
The Cashier Was In Shock
“Saw a guy take money from the tip jar to pay for a muffin like it was nothing. Poor cashier was in shock I guess because she didn’t say anything. And this was from a cafeteria in an office building. The guy who did this was wearing an expensive suit.”
The Evil Woman At Subway
“I worked in a Subway and an evil woman came in one day. It was busy and she took forever to order asking a million questions and complaining about everything while an entire line is behind her.
She gets to pay but, ‘Oh, I don’t have enough money for that.’ The nice old man behind her offers to pay for food sincerely and she thanks him.
She goes to sits down, then gets up, complains to us while there is still a busy line about wanting to turn the ceiling fans off (never been off the 3 years I worked there).
To finally kick it off, she gets back up before leaving, orders two more footlongs and pays for it no problem with the same wallet she said she had no money in. We were all shocked at this evil woman.”
“I have a friend whose grandfather would take out all of the grandchildren to Dunkin’ Donuts. He would buy a single doughnut and then cut it into six pieces for each of the grandchildren. Then he would take a huge handful of napkins and take them home with him. At home he would cut them in half to use.
This same man also bought cat food when he first came to America because he thought that it was cheap tuna for people and that the cat was a mascot selling the tuna.”
They Were On To Her
“My great aunt would take us to lunch when we were kids, mostly Wendy’s, but also other fast food places. She’d always get the biggest burger on the menu, eat 3/4 of it, then take it to the front and complain about something. They’d refund her her meal every single time. When I got to be 8-9 years old, I started to skip those lunches as it was just too embarrassing. All the local places were onto her, so she would make a bigger and bigger scene each time. Crazy old lady.”
It’s a DOLLAR
“About a year ago, we had coupons that accompanied our bonus card for a small popcorn for $1 This was a great deal, considering that the normal price is $6.
This woman comes up with her coupon and hands it to me. I make her popcorn and give it to her and say, ‘That’ll be one dollar.’
Instead of paying ONE DOLLAR, she flips.
‘WHAT. I THOUGHT IT WAS FREE, I’M NOT PAYING A DOLLAR THIS IS RIDICULOUS.’
Are you kidding me. It’s a DOLLAR.”
Ruined The Whole Birthday Party
“My-13 year-old daughter was invited to a small birthday party at a mediocre chain restaurant (Ruby Tuesdays) for her best friend. This friend is over here quite often and regularly eats dinner, breakfast, lunch etc. if she is here, and sleeps over about twice a week during the summertime. She’s been included on trips to the amusement park and water park nearby (we have season tickets, but there is always something to eat, funnel cakes, etc.), movies, and the occasional trip to Dairy Queen and I’ve never asked to be paid or have her pay her own way. We treat her as one of our own. Imagine my disgust when my daughter calls me from the restaurant bathroom, nearly in tears, telling me that they just told her she will have to pick up her own check- after dinner and desert have been served (check was like, $13.00). The guy actually said separate checks to the waitress, but my daughter didn’t know what that meant. She had a few bucks on her but she was short about five bucks. The other girl’s father told my daughter that she would ‘have to stay and wash dishes or something’ and got real ugly with her like she misled them or something. I have the parent’s cell phone numbers, called him and asked him real nice like if he could spot her ten bucks until he brought her home, and I would pay him back. He refused and made it like somehow my daughter and I were scamming him. He suggested that I call the front desk and square it away, because they were leaving, and were going to leave my daughter there if she couldn’t pay so he wouldn’t, ‘have the cops chasing him down on his daughter’s birthday.’ I did call the front desk, gave them my credit card, included a healthy tip, and told my daughter I would be there to pick her up in ten minutes, don’t go anywhere. When I got there, he was trying to get my daughter to leave with his family, now that the bill was paid. His daughter was in tears. Needless to say, it got ugly.”
Crazy For Crazy Bread
“Saw something last week that’s got me a bit gobsmacked, even now. Every week, my daughter and I do pizza night from Little Ceasers. It’s cheap, it’s filling, and she likes it, so it’s a win-win. While I was waiting (I ordered a half-n-half deep dish that was half cheese, half pepperoni, which is off the menu, but they’re cool about it if you ask nicely), this guy who had been in there before when I had, and complained to get something for free, comes in and asks if they have any sausage pizzas ready. They tell him they’ve just put one in, and ask if that’s what he wants. He does, so they ring it up and he pays. Then when the pizza comes out, he says, ‘What do you mean sausage? I ordered a pepperoni. If I’m going to have to wait I want some free bread.’
The new shift manager who had just come in after this guy came in, agrees and takes care of him. All while the other employees and I are sitting there in shock that this dude had the stones to do that to get a $3 order of bread free. After he walks out, and I get my pizza, I talked to the employees and said, ‘I heard him order a sausage pizza, I watched you ring him up for a sausage. I’m not nuts am I?’ They had all seen/heard the same.”
“I Need Thanksgiving Dinner!”
“I work as a butcher at a grocery store so I have seen a lot. I will share my favorite.
One Thanksgiving I receive a call from a customer. Customer- ‘I just opened my turkey and there is a problem.’ Me- ‘Does your turkey smell bad?’ (We had a few problems that year so were doing returns) Customer- ‘No, my wing tips are missing, I cannot prepare my turkey without them.’ Me- ‘Well in that case bring the turkey in and we can give you a new one.’ Customer- ‘Well I can’t do that I need to cook the turkey! I need thanksgiving dinner! Can’t I just bring in a picture of it?’ When I tried to explain a return involves returning the product, she became confused and belligerent.”
He Makes Over $100,000 A Year, But…
“A pharmacist at my work taking out spoiled food from the trash and eating it to save money. He’s not allowed to microwave it because it stinks up the entire pharmacy. Rotten fruit, moldy bread, shriveled hot dogs. He makes over $100,000 a year, and the guy doesn’t have furniture, just a sleeping bag and his laptop and lives in the most awful part of town and complains that his rent is expensive at $400 a month. I had to lecture him about hygiene, too, because he wouldn’t shower or wash and change his clothes. The guy is 29 and complained when we asked him to pitch in $6.60 for our boss’s gift on her birthday. He’s single, no pets, and his family drives Porsches. He drives a crappy Toyota. He is the pinnacle of cheap.”