28 March 2009

The Meaning of Cheapness

"Which movie do we watch? Dark Knight or Hancock?"

"I love Will Smith!"

"Well, I hear this Joker guy's really good..."

"Fine then," Thomas said, "let's watch both of them."

"What! That's 70 Riyals! I'm not wasting that much money on movies!" Akash cried (you could make that out from the exclamation marks...)

I put my hand on my head, as in, just the palm part of it, like they do in the movies, and then shook - my head only, you know, not my whole body. Anyways, I did that, because I knew what would follow.

"God, you're such a cheapo!" Thomas declared. Here we go again, I thought....

I always had a predefined conception of a Cheapo. In the beginning, I thought a cheapo was someone who wore an over sized, stained shirt, with uncombed hair, grizzled beard, a toe sticking out of their left or right (maybe both) shoes. Then I went to school and learnt about Beggars.

After that, I thought a Cheapo was someone who'd walk into a shop, and exclaim when he sees the price tag of a Dolce & Gabbana jacket. Till date, that's been my view on the topic. Until I thought of Akash and Thomas.

These two buddies of mine are great to hang out with. But only if you knew how each of them behaved. Most of the time, I'd go with the two of them to the Mall, hoping to either enjoy Ice Skating, or catch a Movie. Akash would spend about half an hour wondering whether he'd spend his money on the skating, or the movie. Soon after that, Thomas, who'd have just finished watching a movie, would accompany Akash to the Ice Skating ring.

It's understandable ofcourse. Akash isnt the kind of guy who gets a thick wallet everytime he goes to the mall. Thomas, on the other hand, would never be able to guess how much money his wallet has.

The most painful example of Akash's money mindedness (or Cheapness, depending on how you look at it) came when we had to catch Transformers at the Multiplex. After getting out tickets, we reached the Snack Bar. "Three 7Ups'" Thomas said.

"12 Riyals," the lady replied.

Akash froze. He wasnt too bad at maths, so he figured out the cost of his 7Up Can. "Er, you know what, I think I'll buy my drink from the Supermarket downstairs."

Thomas, who wasnt too bright himself, asked incredulously. "The movie's going to start now. Why on earth would you want to buy your drink from the Supermarket. You can buy it from here right?"

"No, I cant, because, because I need Diet Coke."

Even the lady behind the counter raised her eyebrows, when Akash, a 5 foot 8 inch tall guy who weighed 61 kilos, said that. Thomas was too confused to ask anything more. I merely smiled. A can of soft drink from the Supermarket cost just 1 riyal.

I reached home, and wondered what the meaning of Cheapness was. Could Akash be called cheap? The lady behind the counter certainly would say so. Then something happened, which confused me even more.

Two weeks ago, we were at the theatre again. This time, Thomas's wallet felt considerably lighter. The reasons were clear to me ofcourse. His dad just had a huge pay cut, and the expenses at home were a little on the higher side. "Would you like something to drink?" The lady behind the Snack Bar counter asked.

"Yes, one 7Up," Thomas said, opening his wallet. There were just five riyals left. "Actually, I wont be needing the drink, thank you."

Akash looked around in surprise. So did I.

"Hey, why dont we walk down to the supermarket and get something to drink?" Thomas asked.

"Why?" Akash asked, looking surprised.

"I dont know. I'm in the mood for walking a little. Now, are we going or not?"

We got our drinks, and watched the movie. Still, my question wasnt solved. What is the Meaning of Cheapness? Was Thomas being Cheap, or just saving money? Then what's the limit for saving money and when does it turn into cheapness? Is there a standard for such stuff?

I dont know the answer. Why dont you tell me what you think?

If you are a new reader to this blog, check the Top Rated Posts, as well as the Best Posts of 2008.

If you haven't visited here for quite some time, take a look at the latest posts...

Please subscribe to the blog, so that you get the latest updates in your inbox. Besides, leave a comment, or if you are a blogger yourself, follow this blog.


  1. actually being money minded and selfish is cheap but spending money cautiously isn't !!! rite?

  2. even i dont know what cheapness is exactly...but its used in different situations for different meanings...in your case...its for money...i alwayz thot it means "a gud for nothing person."..dont know if i am right..

  3. its true that happens a lot...people are called "cheap" when they are actually trying to save some money too! :D It's not miserly, acc to me, its being smart, buying a can for 1 riyal! nicely put!

  4. lol
    u cant be called cheap permanently all the time...sumtyms money runs out or sumtyms u dnt want to spend...frnds may make fun of u as cheap bt u r nt..coz u gt the power spent

    though i always keep calling others cheap mostly bt they rnt..its all fun..bt it shud be limited..n saving money is gud

  5. Nice story!...actualy u confusd me even more about cheapness!....yeah what is cheapness in itself is a good question--probably when someone nehaves in such a manner when its realy disgusting?...all teh cheap stuff they speak!?...i have no idea!>..just my thought about it!

  6. errr.... i never thought dat way but now i guess even idon't know wat cheapness means exactly!

    but watevr it means i'm pretty sure dat being money is not "cheap"

  7. nd btw... i've put up anew post so u can read dat too.

  8. Actually I wouldn't call either of these guys cheap...

    Although I'd buy it now (since I have a job and make my own money) I can't see myself spending 4Riyals on a 7Up back when I was at school.

    Besides, I guess there's a thin line between being cheap and being cautious.
    Cheap is when you don't buy that jacket you really need.
    Being cautious is when you skip that new PS3 even though its on Sale.

  9. there's a very thin line between cheapness and saving money....i think saving money becomes cheap when u do it only 4 urself....

  10. "Then I went to school and learnt about beggars." LOL.

    i dono the defintion of cheapness..but if u want a practical example..take a look at me! i've got cheap written all over me! hehe

  11. In my opinion, Mustafa, you have got your concepts wrong. Being economic or spending extravagant have nothing to do with cheapness. But you would be cheap when you do something very... cheap. For example, when you are a friend who lends me money whenever I ask and without pestering me for a payback, if I refuse to lend you money without a valid reason, it would be cheap.

    I believe that Thomas was spoilt rich. So he would often treat himself (and maybe even his friends) grandly. But Akash was cautious from the start. Towards the end of the story, Thomas learns his lesson and begins to spend his money wisely (rather, he's forced to). But I do not find any of these characters to be cheap.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong. This could be a very interesting discussion, with various opinions.

  12. cheapnes is...


    please refer to them
    :P loll

    and im happy that you learned about the begger :P

  13. Well, I would say cheapness is about not doing things which you 'need' and lavishness is unnecessary spending on your 'wants'.
    once we get that sorted, then we have the definition clarified i suppose :)

  14. u hav still not read my new post. whr r u?????


  15. I am pretty Sure its a Real Life Incident with you....It has happened to most of us... But I find something amusing...I can't decide What I am... Thomas or Akash... Sure, AV and AD would say I am Akash.. but there are others who would call me Thomas... Who do you think I am, Muth?

  16. hey whn r u gonna write again????? m missin ur writins

  17. I completely agree with ZARDY..... there;s a fine line between being Cheap & being Cautious !!

    Spending money wisely is being a cautious spender and it was a necessity for Thomas during the period his father had a setback, in his good times Thomas didn't hesitate to spent on himself and his family, and that's a wonderful trait which he adopted. At least he had the heart to spend when he had the moolah and was cautious in times of stress as well, shows what a mature individual he was. Whereas maybe for Akash he had realized the importance of being a cautious spender early in life and valued the same.

    Both acted wisely in their situations !!

  18. Cant think of much ryte now so wellllllll..... in cse of your stoy the title i think should have benn meanin of cheap skate and not cheapness .......welll cant think of much else well this post gets a 6/10............ :-P