Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Tighter Than an Italian Waiter's Trousers

I love stingy people, (that’s people who are tight with their money, not people who would try and sting you).

At first glance, they appear to be a bit of a societal blight but there are many positives to be identified when associating with tightwads. There is great fun to be had when in their company, but they must be treated with care as they are always trying to think a couple of steps ahead of everyone else. The ‘night out’ is their hunting ground.

The thing that I have always taken most enjoyment from is that they don’t think anyone has noticed. Such are the heights of their conceit, they see themselves as modern day Moriartys, outwitting their bovine mates with their superior intellect.

No you aren’t, you miser.

Everyone knows exactly what you’re up to, but tolerates it because it’s entertaining. For any, ‘every penny’s a prisoner’ characters reading this now, know this. As soon as you’ve gone to the toilet to avoid a round or pretended to tie shoelaces on velcroed trainers, the rest of your mates will be having a great laugh at your expense, accompanied by knowing glances and ‘he’s up to his old tricks again’ rolling of the eyes.

To be the consummate Tommy Tightarse must take iron discipline.

When you or I go out for the evening, we think about a couple of things. Do I have enough money? Have I got time to take the tram into town or should I get a taxi? Despite my best intentions, will the headache generated by tonight’s activities derail my entire weekend?

Your tight mate can’t afford to think like that, lest he spend more than a tenner. Every moment of the forthcoming evening is played out in infinite detail, with the aim of parting with as little money as possible, before returning home to count their unspent loot. Each probability and permutation is weighed up and assessed before being placed in his miser’s flowchart.

Several strategies are listed below. Use them either to scrutinise your friends and filter out the skinflints or to embark on a lifetime career of having a ‘reach impediment.’

The tightwad will take all steps necessary to share transport, usually a taxi. The tightwad will never get in the front seat because the driver will assume that that is the person who will render payment. On reaching the destination, the tightwad will either pat themselves all over, as if extinguishing an imaginary fire in a fruitless search for change or will simply exit the taxi with a nebulous offer to, ‘get the first round in.’

The tightwad will never go to the bar for the first few rounds. This is planned. The initial hour or two in a pub is quite structured. People drink at a similar pace, everyone’s requirements are uniform and inebriation is yet to provide the cloud of confusion require by the tightwad. When his moment eventually arrives, the tightwad, unlike his friends, will start to perform some sort of drink triage. Instead of asking the standard question, ‘What’s everyone having’?’ the tightwad will point to individual glasses and if they are more than half full, say things like, ‘You’re okay aren’t you?’ or ‘Do you just want half?’

If a premium beer or a double is requested, the tightwad will simply amend the order to suit the pocket. The lack of discernment creeping in with drunkenness provides the perfect cloak of invisibility for sub standard ales or heavily diluted singles.

Don’t even try to defeat the tightwad at the end of the night. This is his Becher’s Brook, something he’s planned for all evening. If he’s good at what he does, he will be the furthest from his round obligations at the point at which someone says, ‘Shall we double up for last orders?’

When it’s time to leave, the tightwad will quickly identify and latch on to his most boozed up companion, the one least likely to have any memory of fiscal promises the next morning. He’ll convince this friend that it isn’t going out of his way to drop off the tightwad in Wythenshawe on his way back to Swinton. At the crucial cab departure moment, as the tightwad alights, some money will be passed, usually 3-5% of the actual fare generated.

There are myriad techniques employed by the professional tightwad. The above are just a few examples. If you’ve been affected by tightwaddery, don’t be angry. They’re only likely to cost you a tenner or so throughout the evening and you should be happy to forfeit that fee, so that you can observe their shenanigans and have a chuckle with your freespending friends, whenever the tightwad’s developed a thousand yard stare whilst trying to work out how he can get to eleven bells without breaking into that fiver.

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