The poverty that comes with being in graduate school, living on loans and whatever random income I can find sporadically, has turned me into probably the biggest cheapskate on earth. Seriously, your grandpa reuses paper towels because he doesn't want to buy more? I'm almost there.
Remember when Victoria's Secret would send you a card in the mail that said "free panty!" every two weeks? Well, I'm pretty much the reason that was stopped. Every other week I'd walk in, pick out whatever style was free and walk up to the counter with my magical card and new underwear. I'll be honest, I have a fuckton of free underwear. At any given time, 60% of my underwear drawer was likely free. To be fair, you can never have enough underwear, in case of some sort of emergency - those free panties will get me way further than most people when the zombie apocalypse hits. When I'd hand the cashier the card and the undies, she'd always ask "Would you like to get the matching bra with that? You'll save $10." The first few times I politely said "No thanks." One day, when I literally had about 73 cents in my pocket and a free panty card to my name, I got the same question. "No thanks, I'm only in the market for free stuff today." That was that.
Back in the day, before I paid for my own shit, I wore $150 designer jeans. Now I walk into Forever 21 and balk at anything that's over $15. It takes me a good 20 minutes and some deep introspection to decide whether or not I want that $12 shirt. I mean, $12! That's TWO BURRITOS. I see a sale sign in the H&M next door. My idea of a sale is all things are $5. ALL THINGS. I walk up to a cute sweater on the sale rack and see that it's been marked down to $25. $25?!? ON SALE? Come ON people, I'm not fucking Bill Gates here. I can't be spending $25 all willy nilly, that's big money!
Hong Kong further ruined my range of acceptable pricing. As I walked around the stores in the little cheapie malls (the ones with the good Engrish shirts), I'd use my magical conversion app on my phone to convert HK$ to US$. The most expensive thing was like $11. That was WAAAY too much. I stayed in a store for 15 minutes holding three $4 tank tops (an item of clothing that I would get a ton of use out of) trying to figure out if it was worth it. I ended up buying only two and left feeling like I'd just blown my life savings.
So you'd think that someone as cheap as I am would LOVE a good Black Friday deal, right? NOPE. If there is an afterlife, and I'm judged to be a terrible human being (likely), I will be sent to a crowded mall where I can't find a place to sit or hide or ever leave the crushing weight of the mass of people sent to destroy me. I mean, there are other reasons I don't do Black Friday...
I don't have any money. Sure a $60 5-foot-wide flat screen tv is a great deal, but I neither have $60 nor do I need a TV the size of a refrigerator on my wall to watch from the couch no one has moved (or cleaned) since 1980. I have a lovely, appropriately-sized flat screen TV, and I will have it until (its) death do us part.
No, really, I don't have any money. $10 on everything at H&M? Still can't afford that. I mean, good on H&M for understanding that "sale" should never mean anything over $15 exists in the store, but with age has come the wisdom that I can't eat a sweater, even if I'm really fucking hungry.
I don't need to be arrested. Seriously, the likelihood of this happening were I to enter a large store on Black Friday where there are limited numbers of items is quite high. I'm not a thief, but if you try to grab something out of my hands I'LL CUT YOU, BITCH. The amount of anger that lives within this small body is astonishing, really. Just ask the guy that stole my phone.
I live in a world of student discounts, walking 10 blocks instead of paying for parking, and smuggling bottles of mini liquor into a bar, mixing it into my plain (free) Coke in the bathroom while hiding in the stall like Rob Ford and his grocery bag of crack cocaine. Survival instincts at their finest.