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Cheapskate or just plain stoopid?


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(Dear reader, I know this entry is a bit long but I really need your opinion on this matter. Don't worry it's not a heavy read)

PROLOGUE
I have this friend.

I remember him being an OK friend.. a bit of halitosis, but nothing holding one's breath can't fix.

Like I said, he's an OK (in a sort of so-so way) friend. Academics wasn't his thing (anything that involved learning), though he did try ever so hard, bless his soul. Then he got into business in a big way doing MLM, and because of his family connections he managed to become quite prosperous.

Calls every once in around 6 months, usually when he's in JB for his business.

But starting from around a year ago I was loathe to pick up his calls. When I see the number on my phone I cringe because I can't stand what a cheapskate he is.

Here is a chronology. Judge for yourselves.

1) Four years ago. I was a struggling language instructor. He comes down to JB for business. We meet up for the first time after a long while. I am enthusiastic about buying him dinner. Problem was I didn't have cash on me. After hunting for 30 minutes for a ATM that was working finally I give up. Swallowing my pride, I borrow RM10 so we can have a meal together. I pay for my food and drink and his drink using that money.
Note: If we were in the same position, and I saw my friend in the dilemma that I was in, especially one that I had not seen in a long time, and he was kind enough to be enthusiastic about buying me dinner (even a measly plate of fried rice), I would not have hesitated to volunteer to pay... Not having to see my friend swallow his pride and ask me to lend him money because all the ATMs were out of service.

2) Two years ago. I was already a lecturer in UTM. I go to KL with my colleagues because we have an assignment in there. I call up my friend and tell him I'm in town. He insists on picking me up for lunch. I am a bit reluctant because I know my colleagues are going to have lunch, and hang out at some cool spots until dinner. But I think 'what the heck...he is my friend'. So I get into my friend's car and we drive off.

He asks 'where do you wanna have lunch?'.

I say 'Anywhere...'

He says 'I don't mind'

I say 'Let's go somewhere where we can spend time and catch up.. KLCC?'

He says 'sure'...

So we go to KLCC. Upon arrival at the food court he says 'I'll wait for you here. I wanna get Ice-cream' . He gets his ice-cream, sits down and eats it. I am a bit surprised that I was expected to pay for a lunch that he invited me to.

I get my food. Only have RM20 left in my wallet. I sit at his table. I listen to him drone on.

Next, I want to test him. I remember that 2 years ago I had borrowed RM10 to have dinner with him, which also paid for his drink. I give him the money, half-expecting him to say 'No.. keep it... besides, I invited you... So I'm paying'...

But no...

He smiles and says 'So you do remember..."

I fake a smile.

The evening drones on. Finally he says 'I gotta go pick up my kids. I can't send you to your hotel I'm afraid'

I cringe...

He invites me out... Doesn't pay for anything... And then leaves me out to dry...

A good thing another old friend comes along (bless his heart), and takes me under his wing. First thing he does -

Brings me to Dome cafe and says 'Order whatever you want... It's on me'

What a Godsend for a traveler who only has RM10 in his pocket.

Next, another old friend comes and takes me out to dinner. He too says 'What are you going to have? I'm buying'.

As I head home in this friend's car, I get a call from the cheapskate. He wants to take me out tomorrow again.

I politely make an excuse to decline.

NOTE: In my rulebook, there are two occasions in which I would normally treat my friend. One, if my friend were on my turf, and he came traveling from afar. Two, if I am the one who calls up my friend (but there is usually an understanding in which normal people take turns). He calls me up, making me miss out on some good time with my colleagues, and he doesn't even pay for lunch. Look what the other two friends did.

3) Another visit to KL. He gets to know about it. I invite him over to the swanky restaurant my colleagues and I were having dinner at. He comes over and has a drink (on us of course).

He invites me to lunch tomorrow.

I politely make an excuse to decline.

4) He comes over to JB for a business trip. A successful MLM businessman has to do that you know. He calls me up. I can't escape. I take him out to dinner. My treat. He asks me to send him back to his hotel about 20km from where I met up with him which meant I would have to send him 20km, and then drive back to the point of origin for 20km, and then drive myself home for another 20km... A total of 60km in a night just so that he doesn't have to call a cab.

I ask myself 'is he for real???'.

I politely make an excuse to decline.

5) About 6 months back, I go to Putrajaya for an emceeing job. I meet up with the guy who showed me compassion and friendship at Dome cafe (story number 2). I return the favour and buy him dinner 'cos I'm the one who invited him.

During our chat he says 'Can you believe it? Our friend (the cheapskate) calls me up and invites me out to dinner. During the dinner he drones on about his business opportunity (the MLM). After listening to him for THREE hours. He just waits. I had to pay!! Can you believe it???'


EPILOGUE

And so dear readers, after a lengthy tirade of bottled up emotions that I have kept inside for many years, I leave it to you to judge.

Am I a bad friend for not picking up his phone call yesterday? It probably meant he was in town and wanted to see me.

What do you think - Cheapskate or just plain stoopid?

Comments

Ed Saminathan said…
And you're still referring to him as a friend till the last line?! Bless your soul, bro..
Abdullah said…
Cheers mate... It's kinda difficult to just totally cut someone off..especially since you've known him since standard 6... I still have a certain fondness for him somewhere in my heart... It's just that his cheapness drives me bonkers!
Greg Wee said…
He's a cheapskate, & you're abdullah gump. Avoid.
Shaiful Ridzuan said…
Not everybody is friend Dolloh ye, sometimes kena la ignore org macam tu. Kekadang kena jadi ati batu sket, not worthy layan org gitu. Jatuh ke bodo plop bila tahu doh layan gop. Maz ader sekor dulu siap ngaku sedara agi :D hehehehe lening bila dok layan ati pom dok sakit, dosa pom dok banyok jadi nyer hehehe... Org bodo kena layan cara bodo. ceredik cara ceredik. Yang gi makang DOME sokmo tu macam sedap sangat, cari gop Chili's ker mender ker... DOME dok laku doh lening :D adoi la.... :D
Cat-in-Sydney said…
Dear Father of Biscuit,
Maybe next time he calls tell him to his face. Some people need to be told the truth. Avoiding him will not solve the issue, you know. My Mama's standard answer to this kind of "friend" is: "You're such a cheapskate, I'm not going out with you. For anything." Some, surprisingly, change their behaviour. Some, unfortunately, will never change. At least your "friend" call and talk to you instead of making "missed call" and expecting you to pay even the phone bill. purrr....meow!
Abdullah said…
Greg - Life is like a box of Choklits... You gotta pay before you eat em... ;)

Shaiful - you remember that meeting at Dome right? hehehe.. yeah man.. I hear you... Bile kite nok makan kat Chilli's ni?

Mother-of-cat - Believe it or not, I once had a girl friend who was sooooo dirt cheap that she wouldn't even SMS me.. she'd just miss call... 3 guesses how long that relationship lasted..
Shaiful Ridzuan said…
Dolloh hok best ge aku nie takboh cerita plop hehheheh :D Hok ge taik ye kawan :p
Abdullah said…
Mu dok perasan ke dlm cerita nombor dua tu mu ade? tobbak bengong natang ni... hehehe...
Shaiful Ridzuan said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaiful Ridzuan said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shaiful Ridzuan said…
Sebenornyer aku nok tulis : Ler aku jadi Hero jugop ker dalam cerita nie hehehhehe ... mmg takdir jadi Hero hehehehe Lepas nie DOME dok kelas, dok sedap setarang habuk doh Chili's ploop deh hok kelas sket heheheh :D Cheers hehehhe
percicilan said…
You are not a bad friend. He is just a thick skinned opportunist. Blergh
Ozzie said…
bubbs,

isn't it a wonder why these cheapskates are normally swimming in dough? i mean, they brag about the fact that they have tonnes of money, but they are super cheap! methinks that's why they're rich. they never pay for anything!!!

i have friends like that too. once, when i was still with my kenari, the 6 of us (roomates) would want to go out to lunch or something, and we'd have to cram into these kenaris and tiaras and kancils the 5 of us owned - we were the ones who had enuff sense to volunteer our cars. the one who drove a vios (far bigger than our cars) would just say - 'ooh... my parking spot is perfect today, so i'm not taking my car out'. why don't they just admit they're afraid they'd have to pay for gas? thank god i was small enuff to squeeze into the small cars!!

i take my hat off to you for being so patient and polite with such a dud bubbs!!
Abdullah said…
Sepu - Mu mmg hero dlm cerita aku... mcm ge hero hindustan..

CC - Thick skin does wonders for one's complexion I hear...hehehe...

Sue - It's always a wonder i think that there are people like this huh? But my question is, do they do it on purpose or are they blissfully oblivious to how cheap they are and how much this pushes people away?
Ozzie said…
bubbs, people like this don't have the decency to realize anything. if they can't realize that their friend is with an empty wallet, or that they are cramping inside a teeny tiny car with 5 other people, i doubt they have the ability to realize they are pushing people away. as for being cheap, well.... they got rich that way. so maybe they think that's a survival thing!
AmoiG said…
We do come across such characters in our lives and we wonder what is wrong with him. But must admit, he does add colours to yr life and hey...he is here in yr blog and we are talking about him. Perhaps, his true existence is this world is for us not be like him...
Razee Salleh said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Razee Salleh said…
Hi, sorry, just came by your blog today. I like the fact that you are still considering him a friend. Says a lot about you as a person.
Abdullah said…
AmoiG - Thank you for providing that insight..it certainly adds food for thought.. and things don't seem as bad as they did... What a paradigm shift!

Razee - hey man, welcome to my blog.. Really love getting new readers and responses. Thanks for the compliment.. But I think it's wat many people would do... Isn't it?
Maz Al Eidrus said…
waa kat sini rupanya hero kita tu yer? siap ngata ke org ye hero hindustan mata sepet? wupps :p

Dolloh, sblm ke NZ tak singgah KL dulu ke?

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Aku, Bini dan Ginger Beer

Aku haus...

Tekakku yang kering ini menginginkan rasanya yang menenangkan jiwa itu...

Perasaannya apabila ku menggenggam botol kacanya yang sejuk dan berwap-wap dan mengangkatnya keluar peti ais kecilku, perasaannya seperti seorang kanak-kanak Taman Keramat memegang aiskrim Malaysia 10sen pada hari yang panas membara...

Riang... Nikmat... Penantian yang menyiksakan, tetapi penantian yang lazat...

Dengan pergerakan yang perlahan seperti 'slow-motion' dalam sinetron Indonesia kegemaran surirumah-surirumah di Malaysia, muncung botol Ginger Beer kegemaranku mampir bibirku yang terketar-ketar sedikit, sehinggalah aku dapat rasa cecair yang sejuk membasahi tekakku...

Nikmat...

Sedap tidak terperi...

Aku menghulurkan kepada biniku, dan dia juga meneguk kenikmatan...

Aku menadah tangan meminta kembali Ginger Beer kesayanganku yang berjenama Bundaberg buatan New Zealand.

Saat itu tidak tiba-tiba...

Aku tertanya-tanya... Mata terkebil-kebil...

"Ni saya punya ya Bang..." ujar …