Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Peppy vs. Cheap

I am generally a relatively friendly person. Some people have accused me of talking to strangers a bit too enthusiastically, but I'm only being nice. I hate feeling snubbed or left out, so I try to prevent other people from feeling that way. That's all. Bygones.

There is an exception to my zealous politeness. That exception takes place when my hyper-conversational side becomes threatened by my cheapskate side. I pride myself on being exceptionally frugal. (Cheap has a negative connotation and it implies that I buy things of cheap quality, which I do not. At least not often.) I consider shopping for bargains to be a contact sport and the person who saves the most money the ultimate champion. Coupons are a challenge and prices in restaurants are negotiable. I'm about to come out of my skin because I've earned $175.66 since July 10 on eBay. (Who knew I had such wealth stashed away in my closets?) Back to my exception.

The exception happens when some teenage kid with a clipboard rings my doorbell in the middle of the day. I used to answer the door when that happened. I used to be polite and smile and sometimes even buy a magazine subscription. That was before the Incident. The Incident that hurt my wallet. This is probably not going to seem like a big deal to you, but it tears at the heart strings of any true tightwad. Here's how it went:

I answered the door and a 20-22ish guy made terrific eye contact and told me how he was in a program for reformed street kids [criminals? rapists? he's at my door, i don't know!] to help them learn basic communication skills such as eye contact and working with the general public, would I be willing to help him out? The more magazines he sold, the more points he got and then he got to go to Cancun. Wait. What? How did we get from reforming street kids to sending them to Cancun on my dollar? I was lost.

I perused his (overpriced, non-discounted) list of magazines and selected one that I subscribed to anyway just to be nice and get him off my porch. That's when he added on a THIRTEEN DOLLAR PROCESSING FEE. And that's when SingingPig stopped opening the door for anyone with a clipboard. I now walk up to the door, look through the glass, see a clipboard, turn around, and walk away. I leave Gus to bark him off, a duty in which he takes great pride. Today, especially, since he had just had a bath, much to his chagrin, and was filled with angsty hot barky breath which he unloaded on Suspicious Teenager on Porch.

I know that's terribly rude, but I refuse to get into that pickle again! You just can't say no at that point. Well, you can, but then that clashes with my be-nice-to-strangers personality and I become all conflicted. And if it's one thing the SingingPig doesn't like to be, it's conflicted.

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