More on the “Frugal” Cranks

Sunday, June 15, 2008
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Concerning this post of mine, some more thoughts after a conversation with friends about this topic. They are often called “compactors, freecyclers, freegans, frugalists,” names they apply to themselves. However, they are anything but frugalists. They are bums/freeloaders/losers.

To be frugal is to be concerned with, and minimize, your use of resources. Frugality, and low time preferences, are virtuous. A few of my frugal ways would include:

1- using coupons
2- shopping at “double coupon” grocery stores
3- shopping at sales and clearances
4- avoiding overpriced items (especially clothing) that are “symbolic” to the masses but offer no good value (I’ve always disliked the notion of “fad” items anyways.)
5- taking care of my stuff and getting twice the life from it (14.5 years and 250k miles for my truck)
6- being creative and resourceful in terms of maintenance/repairs, and doing your own labor, where and when you can

I will go over these things in more detail, perhaps, in a future post.

Frugal means the consistent and wise use of resources so you can use and enjoy those items and services that make your life easier, less uncertain, and/or more time efficient. Frugal does not mean being a jobless loser, and excusing your choice of life through a claim of “resourcefulness.” The bums criticize capitalism and the “excesses” of people who take advantage of great technology, affordable fashion, and superstores with super choices and low prices. When working to make your life better becomes an “excess,” the message is clear: the bums dislike happiness and people who create happiness out of their hard work and passion for market alternatives. I suppose one’s misery is kept moving along via the life-from-a-dumpster route.

The dumpster divers are bums and losers who can’t get up the ambition to seek out and establish a career or hold a stable job. People who don’t want to work are bums – there is nothing “frugal” about them. “Freegan” is a kind word developed by the bums to try and soften the image of being a perpetually unemployed drifter living off of the scraps of others, and begging friends and family for a place to shack up. And the mainstream press is paying a lot of attention to these cranks, lately.

The homeowners and employed people who practice the fine art of dumpster diving and curbside shopping (as described in the story) are a mystery to me. If one gets a thrill from such actions, one’s life must be quite uninspiring and filled with a nasty sort of boredom. Those people are tragically hopeless, and, I’d say…….crazy.

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