Author Topic: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot  (Read 7280 times)

Wings5

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Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« on: February 05, 2015, 03:07:44 PM »
Has anyone else had a similar experience of frugality + rude, assuming people?

I just got off the phone with my wife, and thought I would share this one.

Our kids' elementary school has a fundraising night coming up, a dinner and auction type thing. We bought our tickets a while ago and arranged seating with other fun, frugal, laid back parents. Now there is another mom who is Mrs. Spendypants and wants everyone to know she spends a bunch; huge SUV, every "playdate" has to be something insane like private baseball lessons . . you can picture the type. By contrast, my wife keeps a cooler in the car with amazing food so we never have to eat out unless we want to.

A few weeks ago she offered my wife tickets to the fundraiser dinner, "To help you guys out." My wife politely thanked her with a raised eyebrow and let her know we, uh, already splurged for the $70 per couple tickets. Had to shake the sofas to find that much!!

Today we get a call from my cousin who is an acquaintance of Mrs. S. Mrs. S called my cousin to relay that she had offered us tickets to this dinner and we turned her down, "probably because they were too proud." My cousin has no idea what she means, and asks. "Well," says Mrs. S, "I really wanted to help them out because I know they have a few kids and they struggle with money."

My cousin basically laughs in Mrs. Spendypants' face. "They do just fine . . . trust me."

Unable to take a hint, phone a friend, or get a clue, Mrs. Spendypants then proceeds to tell my cousin that she "overheard" my wife say she was going to wear dress pants and a nice top to this dinner (just like every other wife in our group of friends). She tells my cousin that my wife "will feel pretty underdressed and embarassed" but here is the kicker....

Spendypants tells my cousin she wants to take my wife out for a girls' day out and "buy her some nicer clothes to make her feel good." Just to make sure I follow....you think we struggle with money but you're trying to buy other middle-aged women clothes. So they feel better. That's brilliant, really!

I'm actually pretty proud because it means we are doing it right if we don't put on a show.

PS-At the dinner, I am considering putting their SUV up on cinder blocks with a large note from Rent-A-Rim that they have been repossessed for failure to pay on their rental rims. I am also open to other sophomoric responses, as long as they are funny and non-damaging.

Anybody ever gotten a rude "aw, you're so poor" type offer?

Rezdent

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2015, 03:24:39 PM »
It sounds like the lady is socially backward but means well somehow...personally I'd try to turn this around by pulling her aside and letting her know that her generous offers are so appreciated, thanks, but not needed. Then let it go.  You never know, she may someday be a powerful ally - unless you escalate this.  No sense burning the bridge.

irishbear99

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2015, 03:58:33 PM »
Ok, the Rent-A-Rim note idea made me laugh. In all seriousness, though, I'd suggest you just keep doing what you're doing. Keep turning down her outrageous offers of "help", and let her talk to others all she wants about how you're "not doing well." The people who matter know your situation and know you're fine, and the people who believe her and partake in her gossip don't matter.

Hope you enjoy your dinner out!

fantabulous

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2015, 04:45:42 PM »
Ok, the Rent-A-Rim note idea made me laugh. In all seriousness, though, I'd suggest you just keep doing what you're doing. Keep turning down her outrageous offers of "help", and let her talk to others all she wants about how you're "not doing well." The people who matter know your situation and know you're fine, and the people who believe her and partake in her gossip don't matter.

Hope you enjoy your dinner out!

This. The Rent-A-Rim idea is kind of funny, but probably assuming a bit about her situation even though you might be right on the money. It's also crossing the line if you actually do it.

Jack

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2015, 05:16:35 PM »
Anybody ever gotten a rude "aw, you're so poor" type offer?

My sister-in-law (wife's brother's wife) offered to pay the cross-country plane fare for us to visit them last Thanksgiving.

I accepted, for a couple of reasons: I didn't want to go badly enough to pay for the trip myself, having us visit was as much for my mother-in-law's benefit as it was ours (she really misses my wife), and we "sort of are" poor (my wife has been unemployed for a while, so our savings rate is "only" 20% or so instead of 50%+). Besides, I figured that if somebody wants to save me money, who am I to argue?

A little bit of background: she does apparently make a higher salary than me (mostly because she's mid-career and I'm only a few years out of school), but she's also irresponsible with her money: she owned a townhouse here (which got foreclosed when her and my brother-in-law moved across the country), she had a boat (which sank), she spent a bunch of money for the wedding with my brother-in-law (they're getting divorced), she outsources pretty much every service you can think of, etc. She even drives for her job (which is some kind of on-site nursing/after-care sales thing) but doesn't have even liability car insurance because she says "I'm a really safe driver... I learned how not to get pulled over back when I used to run drugs." (!!!) o_O

(She knows that I'm frugal, and while we were visiting she asked me to help her with saving and investing... I had her start reading the MMM site and hilarity ensued. Most of the advice elicited a response of "I'm not gonna do that!" -- or worse, "I'm already doing that" when she really isn't. Thankfully, I haven't heard anything else about it from her since we got back home.)

(Note: after the "drug running" revelation -- which I didn't know about until we were already there -- I have no plans to go back, or accept any more gifts from her.)

fartface

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2015, 05:44:15 PM »
People think me poor all the time.

I would have taken the free tix from the biotch and then bid on something at the fundraiser for $70...or more.

We recently attended our local school fundraiser ($80/couple) and that was just the tip of the ice-berg. Once we entered we were bombarded with more raffles, gimmicks, and auction items...so there are plenty of opportunities for you to "give" your $70 to the school one way or another.

Likely, I would have taken her up on the offer, then bid outrageously (y'know like up to $100) for something stupid like a carmel apple just to "show" her money really isn't an issue for me. That might stop her and her mouth in their tracks.


deborah

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2015, 06:05:15 PM »
I'm sorry, but I don't see this as rude at all. She thinks you are poor, and is trying to help in the ways she knows. She would like your company, so she is happy to offer you tickets to an event that she is going to. She wants you to look good in front of all the other people, so she is happy to take you out to buy new clothes. She is being very generous in a "lady of the manor" way, that can feel patronizing. But she id really trying to be friends with you.

Doing these dreadful things you suggest is just going to make her feel very bad - as well as being much worse than rude! Perhaps you can tell her that you are sponsoring a child in Africa, or whatever charity thing you are doing. This might change her outlook on where you are and make her less patronizing. Of course, there are tons of other ways to tell someone you don't want their friendship, that aren't as rude and humiliating as stealing her car and making her a laughing stock.

Timmmy

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2015, 06:28:04 PM »
DW and I get this from both of our parents frequently.  We are certain that we are doing better than they are financially but it's the only way some people know how to show they care. 

My advice would be to just keep on keeping on.  She'll figure it out eventually. 

Wings5

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2015, 07:23:38 PM »
Ok, for the record I would not put her car on blocks or even bring any of it up with her. It really isn't a big deal, I just thought it was funny.

Tallgirl1204

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2015, 08:24:42 PM »
My husband was helping the neighbors with some concrete work, patching their driveway.  When they were done, he asked if they had a rag to wipe up the excess concrete.  The man went in the house and came out with a t-shirt.  My husband looked at his own t-shirt, took it off, put on the neighbor's "rag" shirt and used his own shirt to wipe up the concrete.

The next day the neighbors brought us over a bag of t-shirts, most of which were in mint condition.  My husband is still wearing them.

I wouldn't presume to assume what the neighbors' financial situation is.  But I am pretty sure they think we are dirtbag broke hippies, and we haven't ever suggested otherwise.   

dividendman

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2015, 08:49:43 PM »
I think the people mentioned in the OP and subsequent posts have good intentions as others have indicated. That they are ignorant to your actual wealth and feel compelled to help someone they see as "worse off" isn't a character flaw per se.

I agree with the above poster who said to let them know you're fine and maybe direct their efforts to charities you believe in that help people who really need it.

No need to crush their souls to save your dignity.

As Rule of Acquisition 109 clearly states: "Dignity and an empty sack is worth the sack." :)

I find the Rules of Acquisition are quite helpful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvFYBkesqGU

sheepstache

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2015, 09:50:11 PM »
My husband was helping the neighbors with some concrete work, patching their driveway.  When they were done, he asked if they had a rag to wipe up the excess concrete.  The man went in the house and came out with a t-shirt.  My husband looked at his own t-shirt, took it off, put on the neighbor's "rag" shirt and used his own shirt to wipe up the concrete.

The next day the neighbors brought us over a bag of t-shirts, most of which were in mint condition.  My husband is still wearing them.

I wouldn't presume to assume what the neighbors' financial situation is.  But I am pretty sure they think we are dirtbag broke hippies, and we haven't ever suggested otherwise.   

Ha ha ha! That's a hilarious story. I pulled a t-shirt out of the trash at a job once because it was nicer than what I was wearing.

They might assume you're dirtbag hippies, but not necessarily broke. Most people are happy to get rid of things they don't want if they find that somebody else will use them. I've received a bunch of logo tees from my work that I'll never wear but feel bad throwing in the trash. But I'd definitely give them away if I could.

kyanamerinas

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2015, 12:17:00 AM »
When she has been told they've already bought tickets and are fine then goes behind their back telling people his they're poor and she feels sorry for them, that's rude. First time, sure, misunderstanding, easily done. Second time, not listening to people, rude.

eyePod

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2015, 08:57:39 AM »
This is making my blood boil. I had co-workers who would say stuff like "oh he won't go out to eat" because I was cheap. Same shit.

She is rude and assuming a lot about you based on how outward appearances. What a B.

eyePod

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2015, 08:59:01 AM »
(She knows that I'm frugal, and while we were visiting she asked me to help her with saving and investing... I had her start reading the MMM site and hilarity ensued. Most of the advice elicited a response of "I'm not gonna do that!" -- or worse, "I'm already doing that" when she really isn't. Thankfully, I haven't heard anything else about it from her since we got back home.)

Just an FYI, but I've found that MMM is a little harsh for a lot of people. Dave Ramsey is a good starting point. Then I'd say YNAB is great, and finally MMM for us crazies.

Angie55

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2015, 09:19:44 AM »
I'd rather have people think I'm poor and take pity than people think I'm rich and should be spendy. Then you just get called cheap.

My husband and I are both engineers. We both learned we hate the competitive and super-corporate engineering jobs. So we have accepted lower salaries to have a less demanding job so we can have free time. Meanwhile we took out the expensive private engineering school loans.

My friends always call me cheap and assume I won't do anything. Unlike my friends, whose parents paid for their college, wedding, and 2+ vacations a year we bore all those costs ourselves. I try to brush it off (and it really doesn't happen much anymore) but sometimes its a little uncalled for. Its usually about ridiculous things too. Like a 75$ pp dinner. Or $65pp concert tickets just to see the opening band that will only play for 30-40 minutes. Because they know we are engineers they just act snarky because we "can" afford it. I just have separate priorities (my husband says he's onboard for the life plan but if I mention saving money he's really not so I don't get much help from him). Ugh. Just ranting. I think we can also get it worse because another couple in our group doesn't have good paying jobs but they still go to all those events/dinners and spend completely as a free spirit with plenty of assistance from parents again.

austin

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2015, 09:48:11 AM »
A lot of people don't understand military pay or benefits, so my parents were pretty surprised when I told them how much I took home each month. They of course were not rude to me.

Zikoris

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2015, 11:52:38 AM »
My boyfriend's extended immediate and extended family all think we're on the brink of bankruptcy because we:

-Rent a tiny, cheap apartment
-Walk and bike everywhere
-Have no car, licence, or interest in either
-Don't go to restaurants
-Never buy clothes or shoes
-Work entry-level office jobs

They think we spend everything we make on our trips, because we travel frequently. We actually do spend a lot on travel by our standards - about 10% of our income. 65% savings rate, which we've told them. They frequently ask my boyfriend if he can afford to pay his rent and buy food, when they're not giving him bad investment advice (they're really against Canadian equivalent of an IRA for some reason).

They just flat out don't believe us when we give them numbers. We give them specific numbers any time they ask. It's mind-boggling.

irishbear99

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #18 on: February 06, 2015, 12:09:01 PM »
I think the people mentioned in the OP and subsequent posts have good intentions as others have indicated. That they are ignorant to your actual wealth and feel compelled to help someone they see as "worse off" isn't a character flaw per se.

You're right; that's not a character flaw. However, gossiping about them and their "situation" to other people is.

Apples

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2015, 12:58:29 PM »
The initial offer was coming from a ok-ish place, as long as it was done discreetly.  Everything else after that was terribly wrong, and quite embarrassing.  If the woman's true intent is to help, I think she should have been discreet and quiet about it.  She was the exact opposite.  She is a high school gossip that never grew up.  It is possible to offer "help" (whether needed or wanted or not) quietly and not have anyone not in the conversation know about it.  If I were you and brave, I would politely ask her to not spread her speculations about our financial situation around, it's not polite, and we don't want our kids to learn to gossip, right?  That addresses the main issue while still leaving you on good moral ground, as opposed to the cinder block situation :p  If you want, you can also tell her you're financially secure, thanks, and maybe your two families just have different priorities in how you spend money.  If you're feeling extra persnickity, you could talk about college savings...  Unless they're uber wealthy, they probably have very little.  That is, assuming you've chosen to save for college.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Judge a book by its cover, and look like an idiot
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2015, 01:15:41 PM »
There was a little bit of a language barrier, but some years ago some neighbors invited us to go in on a limo ride downtown to celebrate one of their friend's birthday who we had casually met at a few previous get togethers.  I think it was going to cost around $75.  We were very young mustachians at the time and politely declined.  When the day came, we wandered over just to say hello and wish the fellow a happy birthday.  They insisted that we come along despite not having paid, so we did, and had a great time!