Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Is anyone else as cheap as I am?

Last night we traveled two hours north of New York City to Bard College in Annandale, NY. This was our first venture out of the five boroughs, so we were in need of gas.  Making it through the Lincoln Tunnel into New Jersey, after the skyline was behind us, I started looking for a gas station. 

The first couple stations were passed by because they didn't look to have much of a food/beverage selection. Finally seeing one that seemed to have plenty of coffee, I pulled in. Upon stopping, a guy came up to the car and asked, "How much?"

"Oh, I can do it myself. Thank you though." 

His look let me know how dumb he thought I was. "It's full service. You can't pump it."
Out of my mouth: "Oh, I'm sorry. Thank you - but I'm going to keep going. My mistake."
In my head: "There is NO way I'm paying extra for someone to pump my gas."

We drove on. Pulled into another gas station only to pull out when we saw it had an army of guys, all with matching shirts, waiting to fill 'er up. We passed a ton of "Full Service" stations, but still did the in and out thing a couple more times because a few of them didn't have clear signs of what type of station they were. 

Me to Jeannette, "I'm not going to sit in the car and watch someone pay for my gas, paying them for something I can do."

After driving for a while, she says, "You might have to give in."

My stubbornness responded with, "No I won't."

Mind you, we were just under a quarter of a tank upon entering the Lincoln Tunnel. It had been 20-30 minutes when we had pulled into the station where I got the accusatory look of being dumb. So she was saying this because we really did need to find a station rather quickly. At the same time, I really didn't need someone to pump the gas for me.

Fortunately, within another five minutes or so we came to a station with "Self" written on every pump. It was written in large, bold letters so that stubborn, cheapskates like me could see it from the highway. With smirk firmly in place, as I was getting out of the car I said to Jeannette, "See, not paying someone to pump my gas." 

Is anyone else like this?  Is it prudence or just being cheap? 

Completely understand that the attendants are trying to earn a living. I get that and don't have a problem with it at all. That's just not a service I want to spend my money on. Similarly, there are other things I hate to have to pay other people do:
  • Push my cart of luggage from the car to my hotel room
  • Park my car and retrieve it for me
  • Load my luggage onto a shuttle
There aren't any control issues here. In my mind, it's all about the money and trying to save mine.

So, is it prudence or being a cheapskate? Who's with me and who's rolling their eyes?


Tim Dearborn said...

I am with you; I am cheap and hate to pay for services that I can do myself.

But more than that, I want to learn. Over the last 2 weeks, I made 4 trips to the hardware store and a couple of hours to piece together some PVC pipe that would have taken anyone else 1 trip and 15 minutes. For me, the ultimate goal wasn't just completing the job, but learning and developing in the process.

To go even more on a tangent, this is part of what we will be doing for eternity -- learning, growing, and developing skills. No, God isn't going to dump a truckload of knowledge into our heads - we'll start with the knowledge we have when we die, and grow from there. In that case, I want to get an early start!

Jessica said...

This might sound stupid, but seeing as I've never been to New Jersey, everything I know about it I've learned from Harlan Coben books and maybe Jersey Shore... :) I thought I read in one of his books (or maybe somewhere else) that all of New Jersey was full-service and that you actually couldn't pump your own gas. Not sure if this is old info and now some are self-service, but that's what I remember.

Also, I don't think you're cheap. I wouldn't want to pay someone to pump my gas, but it is nice to have someone around in the event that my bags are awfully heavy and the hubs is not available, hahaha. :) So I guess I like having the option to pay someone else to do something I don't want to/can't do, but I don't want to be forced into it. I think that is being smart with money.

I also like Tim's thoughts on learning how to do something. Definitely something to think about.

bobby moss said...

Well, I already know how to pump gas, so I don't need to learn that. =) But I do agree with Tim on the idea of learning new things.

You hit the nail on the head for me - it's the not having the option that gets annoying. If other people want to pay for it - I could care less. I'm just concerned with my wallet. =)

kevin schwartz said...

Jessica's right. New Jersey (and Oregon) have laws that all gas stations have attendants to pump gas. My wife is from there and we go back often. You don't pay extra and aren't expected to tip. It was originally designed to create more jobs.

Belinda Loomis said...

Years ago there was always an attendant, you didn't have a choice or give it a second thought because it was never offered in the first place. When they started having people pump their own gas I was eager to do it whenever my parents would let me. Now that I've done it for more years then I care to admit, someone can pump my gas any time they want to providing the price wasn’t much more. So the older you get you may want to stop in city where they pump your gas!

Hoyle said...

Cheap? No way. Possibly a little stubborn but honestly I would have a hard time paying someone else to pump my gas for me like you said, when I can do it myself. I have a hard enough time PAYING for the gas in the first place.

I think there should be an option there.

Sounds like a mini monopoly that you were dealing with, haha.

Krista said...

We do pay people to do things for us. In certain things we try to be careful how we spend our money. But we see it as keeping people in a job. The more we use the services they provide, the more likely we will not be paying for them later to be on welfare.
We also see it this way. God has provided my husband with a really good paying job. We feel that as part of our responsibility with the money God has given us that we have been called to use that money for the services people give. There are things in the home improvement realm of things we do for ourselves because it is a hobby.
I guess my point is this. What does God tell you to do? Save your money or use it to bless someone a little less fortunate? After all if you make more that $1500 a year, you are richer that 90% of the world.