We all want to save a buck, right? Some people (myself included!) have completely embraced a money-saving lifestyle. I love getting the most for my money, but I don’t consider myself to be a “cheapskate” per se. My moneysaving habits would not lead me to resort to anything I consider to be unethical, fraudulent or illegal. That’s not the case for everyone though. My readers have been sharing some surprising examples of cheapskates that cross the line between frugality and fraud:
When I dine out and choose to order water as my beverage, that is what I drink – water. I see others ordering water and ‘extra lemon’ and proceed to sit there and make lemonade with the sugar/sweeteners also provided for normal use. Most restaurants have lemonade on the menu … is this not stealing? If you can’t afford lemonade or are too tight to buy it, drink water!
We frequent a counter-service burger place. After you order your hamburger and pick it up, you can head to a condiments bar where there are all kinds of things set out for you to add to the burger you have purchased: lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cheese, pickles, even things like bacon and fried onion straws.
Several times when we’ve gone there for dinner, we have seen families come in and sit in the back. Mom will go up to the counter and ask for ‘extra plates.’ When the restaurant is busy, you can’t expect the kids at the counter to know who has already ordered and who hasn’t. Mom gets her extra plates and goes to her family’s table to give them to everyone. Then, they go to the condiments bar and make ‘free salads’ from the lettuce, tomato, cheese and bacon there. They eat their salads, toss the plates and walk out.
It makes me so sad because this burger place is great. I don’t know if these families are cheapskates completely working the system or really just can't afford to eat, but either way it is theft!
I agree. In both of these scenarios, customers are taking advantage of the restaurants to the point of ridiculousness. It has never occurred to me to ask for extra lemons and sugar and attempt to create my own lemonade at a table in a restaurant – nor would I have dreamed that people would use a hamburger condiments area as a “free” salad bar. It does make me wonder why the restaurants allow people to get away with these practices (especially in the case of the burger place.)
Reader Gigi spotted another form of fraud at her local store:
There are several people who shop at my area drugstore who have an entire key ring of loyalty cards for the same store. The best money-back sales that make products free or cheap are tied to the loyalty card. Instead of these sale items being limited to one per shopper, they will stand there and buy one item for every card they have on the key ring. Why doesn't the store just take the duplicate key cards away? This is fraud, but it's also just plain dishonest.
I agree. Most drugstore loyalty cards state in the signup terms that participants are limited to one card or account per person or per household. I do wonder why stores don’t confiscate multiple cards when a shopper openly displays multiple cards at the checkout lane – something I too have seen. I’ve even seen shoppers with so many loyalty cards (again, for the same store) that are labeled numerically so that the shopper knows which card goes with which loyalty reward coupons. I believe the opportunity for stores to do more in this area certainly exists, but at the same time, I would guess stores may not want the public relations nightmare of making their employees responsible for confiscating multiple loyalty cards.
I’m always interested in hearing from cashiers and retailer employees on these issues. Got a story to share? Email me at email@example.com.
© CTW Features
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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