Let Us Now Praise Thrifty Men (and Women)

The cacophony of criticism (some of it mine) aimed towards financially profligate saints has become loud enough that it is easy to forget that Mormons have a well-deserved reputation for thrift.  Recent interest in exotic cheeses within the blogosphere notwithstanding, most of the Mormons I know buy foodstuffs that have no pedigree, drive decidedly unglamorous cars and consider $40 meals on the high side.  No doubt larger than average families are one reason many of us choose Toasty O’s and Puffed Rice over their better known counterparts, but I know a lot of people who could eat foie gras daily but choose instead Lynne Wilson. 

Although we are sometimes criticized for our thrift, we generally wear it as a badge of honor. We tell stories of millionaires who live in modest split-level ranches and cut their own grass. A few weeks ago a friend of mine related how he coincidentally found himself sitting next to his bishop on a recent Southwest Airlines flight–strange in itself, but stranger still considering his bishop counts his millions in the hundreds.  Perhaps there is an element of feeling good about one’s willingness to go slumming on a discount airline, but I think the more likely explanation is that ingrained habits die hard.

My favorite stories are those where thrift has crossed the line into plain cheapness.  There is the man who instructed his family how to use a single square of toilet paper.  And I’ll never forget my brother telling me how our neighbor shuttled him between fast food restaurants in order to get the best deal possible on a burger at one, fries at another and a drink at a third. 

 

I don’t have a larger point here. I can’t trace the tendency to be cheap to the Nauvoo Period and I see nothing in the Proclamation on the Family that will divide orthodox cheapskates from reform luxury hounds. If I thought about it long enough I could find something profound, but for me thrift is just a cultural quirk and source of great stories. So if you have any of your own to share, let’s here ‘em.

Comments

  1. I trace some of it to the Great Depression and its effects on those who lived through it and then passed thrifty habits to their children. I draw the line at washing Ziploc bags for reuse. Just buy some Tupperware!

  2. Many are the members I know who separate the plys of their paper products, be they towels or toilet paper. Also, many will dry out and reuse their paper towels.

    Most stingy mormon tale I know? Hmmm…. mormons do tend to save the little packets of ketchup, kind of how my Jewish friends never pay for Sweet & Low.

    The stingiest person I’ve heard of bought an unlimited MetroCard, which (as you may know) allows one person to swipe into the NYC subway every 18 minutes. So, it would take the guy like an hour to get to church each week because he would swipe his wife through, then his kids…..

  3. Steve,

    Was he perhaps just frugal out of necessity and not just stingy out of cheapness?

    I know one guy who keeps his heat bills low by having his family bundle in the winter months.

  4. John,

    You may be right–my grandmother was certainly pretty thrifty and I know that many of the older people I encountered in Europe who came through WWII would never throw anything out.

    But your explanation would suggest that Mormon’s were living the high life prior to the Great Depression. Was this the case?

  5. Mat,

    don’t be coy: you’re talking about me. But Sumer looks so cute in her little sweaters…

    but the guy in my story? It was never easy to tell whether he was cheap out of necessity or personality. I err on the side of harsh judgment.

  6. Okay, so I frequently wash out ziplock bags to reuse them. It drives Stephen crazy.

    I once heard of a family that instead of giving gifts at Christmas, wrapped up pictures of the gifts they planned to buy their loved ones at the after Christmas sales.

  7. Matthew,

    I don’t know about in general, but the family histories that I have both spell out that things suddenly got hard when the depression hit. Not that it was easy before, but it was a drastic change for the worse.

  8. My wife was advised by a YW leader that a good wife will cut open a nearly empty toothpaste tube so as to not be wasteful.

  9. john fowles says:

    I appreciate true thrift and feel that it is a virtue in moderation. I greatly dislike a seemingly ingrained LDS need to go overboard on thrift out of some kind of pride in pioneer ancestors’ ability to use it up and wear it out. That is all fine and well until you realize you are spending a dollar to save a dime.

  10. Mat — Upon moving to the burbs, I bought a decidely unglamorous car for my daily commute to the train. I have to admit I take some pleasure in pulling up to the station parking lot full of bmw’s and volvos. It is also somewhat nostalgic because it reminds me of the fond life I had as a poor student.

    On the other hand, I can point fingers, too. I recently took a vacation to a Mormon-rich southwestern city and was struck by the ostentation of the local ward. I don’t think this necessarily detracts from your central observation, but may just point to the fact that the behavior is rooted in habits passed down through the first two or so generations post-depression and that this behavior is disappearing within our own.

  11. Marko, you’ve always had a penchant for driving a total beater car, as I recall. Back in Calgary we were all driving some pieces o’ poo.

    I agree with the ostentation remark — the same mormons who grind their own wheat at home show up for church with pinstripes and cufflinks. It’s pretty funny. Also, the towing trailer full of jetskis seems to be the real indicator that you’ve “made it”. I don’t think you can be a stake president in Utah without at least one motorized craft of some sort.

  12. Actually, Steve, I was thinking just the other day of a trip we took together from Calgary to SLC where we (including the driver, whoever it happened to be) actually read church history q&a cards as we drove down the interstate in … a definite piece o’poo.

  13. Marko,

    I sort of agree that our proclivity for thrift is disappearing–although I recently read that the dismal rate of household savings within the U.S. might be attributed to an incease in trend productivity that induces higher permanent income for households–or, alternatively to a relaxation of financing constraints due to financial innovation. The author argued that if this were the case the low personal savings rate would represent a more efficient deployment of the economy’s resources. I don’t think I want to take that bet, but that’s probably why I’m not getting rich–I just don’t deploy my resources properly.

    One interesting (to me at least) observation I have is that many of the activities we used to view as thrifty have now become the domain of the well-off. When I was a kid we put up hundreds of quarts a year of fruits and vegetables from our garden and orchard in preparation for winter. I’m guessing that is is much cheaper to simply buy canned goods than do them yourself. But among Martha Stewart types from Connecticut it is all the rage to can a few quarts of preserves (presumably to give as thank you gifts throughout the year).

  14. When I was a child we had a very large garden. In the summers I would spend several hours a day working in it. My grandfather and my mother spent even more time in it. My dad figured that if we worked for minimum wage we would be able to purchase more food than we obtained from the garden.

    Similarly my grandmother made a quilt that was auctioned off for charity. At the time it went for more money than any other quilt had in the history of the auction. Once again, the quilt had taken so many hours that if she had simply worked at a minimum wage job for that time and donated the money it would have been a much larger sum.

  15. My father-in-law taught me a pretty useful lesson back when my wife and I were first married. We were in home depot and I wanted to buy a shovel for a small garden plot we had. There were a variety of shovels available. One of them cost something like three bucks and others were as much as fifteen dollars or more. I was pulling down one of the more expensive shovels and my father-in-law said to me: “You don’t need something that nice.” He was right. I bought the three dollar shovel.

    Ever since then I’ve had that principle in the back of my mind when I make purchases. Sometimes I really do buy for quality and pay the higher price but other times I say to myself “I don’t need something that nice” and go with the cheaper version.

  16. I don’t sew my own clothes, and I hardly even cook anymore, because it is “cheaper” to buy clothes or to eat out much of the time. But I wish that I did cook and sew more. Why? Many reasons, but foremost among them is that we have lost our ties to the land. I have heard it said that the time will come when we will have to live off what we can grow ourselves. I will be in big trouble, much like some of the reality shows, where people try to live like our ancestors did, I’d be lost without modern conveniences.

    They were tied to the rhythms of the seasons, they watched the stars, they knew more about plants and animals and all of God’s creations than we do, in an intutitive way. In their bones.

    I think that those Latter-day Saints who truly live off their food storage, grinding wheat and baking homemade bread, gardening and preserving their harvests, and storing fabric and sewing their own clothes benefit not because it is cheaper but because they have deeper roots in the creations of God, and are not as dependent on the creations of man.

    Remember that the Lord said at no time has He given us a commandment that was temporal….
    There are spiritual lessons in our physical everyday activities. What are the lessons when we simply go to the store and pick stuff up, rather than when we must literally sow seeds into ground we have had to till, then water and wait and hope and have faith that God will cause them to grow into food for us to eat? And watch and pray when the storms come, knowing they can destroy our family’s food?

    Great spiritual lessons in thrift, I think, though hard to learn when the easy life is so much cheaper these days…. Excellent post!

  17. Peggy,

    Thanks for your thoughts. Can you point me to where the Lord has said that no time has He given us a commandment that was temporal? I think this is a curious concept.

  18. D&C 29:34-35.

  19. Can non-thriftiness in one area be outweighed by thriftiness in another?

    For example, shoppingfor Parmaggiana Reggiano ($14.99/lb) at Zabars . . .

    . . . but doing so at 7 pm in order to benefit from the $1 sandwiches as it gets close to closing.

    Badge of honor? Great combination of taste and thrift? Or odd, Mormon-thrift-induced schizophrenia?

  20. Three comments related to this thread but not to each other:

    Some folks _think_ they’re being thrifty (or even augmenting their food storage) by purchasing in bulk, even if it’s crap they don’t need. I mean, the per-serving price on a five-gallon drum of nacho cheese sauce from Sam’s Club might make it a good deal, but eating that much fake cheese before the opened can goes bad would seem to me to stretch the limits of thriftiness.

    My wife and I used to be such slackers we could only react to thrifty, with-it mormons (the wheat-grinding, garden-tending kind) with derision. That changed when we had our third child, and, around the same time, discovered our city’s fabulous (and cheap!) farmers market. We started buying much more fresh produce, and, to my utter amazement, my wife engaged in a molly-mormon practice that she had mocked openly only a few months before: she began making and freezing homemade baby food. Our youngest was nearly a year old before he ate anything out of a jar.

    My dad is a legendary cheapskate. Not only does he fix everything with two-by-fours, but for the last 15 years or so he’s been using the same 3 or 4 two-by-fours. First, when my sister had to do a presentation on A Tale of Two Cities for her English class, he built a nearly life-size guillotine out of some lumber he scrounged up. Later, I was in a pawn shop and found an old xylophone, which needed a stand; after we bought it, my dad made a xylophone stand out of the guillotine; last time I checked, the same pieces of wood (identifiable by the stain he used to make the guillotine look weathered) had been reincarated as quilting frames for my mom.

    This improvisatory cheapskate trait seems to run in the family: one of my pioneer ancestors cured a toothache by blowing up the tooth with some gunpowder wrapped in cotton; my great grandpa, anxious to be the first in his town with telephone service and infazed by the fact that there weren’t actually any telephone poles nearby, ran a line along the ten miles of barbed-wire fences between his house and the next town over.

  21. One more:

    Despite our broke-ass grad student status, we managed to locate in a rather well-off ward. Not particularly onstentatious, but there are enough high-end, or at least recent-model cars in the parking lot to make the clunkers really stand out. The clunkiest of them all is a wood-veneer-paneled, dinged and dented, 70s-era station wagon. I mean, this car is, like, comically crappy-looking. As it turns out it belongs to a quite civically prominent (and, presumably, financially successful) medical doctor. And if you get up close, you’ll notice that the back window is plastered with bumper stickers from the Ivies he and his children attended.

  22. Unless necessary for reasonable comfort/survival (you draw the line) and disregarding grossly negligent waste, I class the very thrifty with the very extravagant in that they are both absorbed in material things. The materialistic wealthy person and the over-thrifty middle classer I think are equally distracted.

    I do think that most of us like think of ourselves as thrifty. We now pay for someone to clean our house once a week but my wife and I had a surprisingly long discussion about this before we started. We were worried about what our parents would think of our extravagant behavior (I personally do not miss washing toilets). On the other hand I am the only person in my department (or probably the firm) that brings a sack lunch to work.

  23. Aaron,

    I think its true that many of the very extravagant and the very thrifty should be lumped into the same absorbed-with-material-things category, but I think it is worth noting that society would be willing to excuse some types for being absorbed and less forgiving of others. Other have noted above, for example, that their grandparents’ thrift sprang from the deprivation of the Depression. I think most people are willing to look past a penchant for hoarding if its genesis is found in misery. Our reaction to a well-heeled yuppie who refuses to tip will be different.

    On a different note, the WSJ carried a fascinating article yesterday about the lengths the uber-wealthy are going to distinguish themselves from the merely rich. Most of the article focused on yachts–100 footers are now apparrently passe. Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen and the always hyper-competitive Larry Ellison are battling it out for the world’s biggest w/ yachts over 500 feet long. Apparently regulations allow you to have only 12 people who are crew-members aboard a sailing yacht at any one time–so everyone should have plenty of elbow room.

  24. My wife and I used to be such slackers we could only react to thrifty, with-it mormons (the wheat-grinding, garden-tending kind) with derision. That changed when we had our third child, and, around the same time, discovered our city’s fabulous (and cheap!) farmers market. We started buying much more fresh produce, and, to my utter amazement, my wife engaged in a molly-mormon practice that she had mocked openly only a few months before: she began making and freezing homemade baby food. Our youngest was nearly a year old before he ate anything out of a jar.

    There are reasons other than being thrifty to grind wheat and home-make baby food. Ground whole wheat and things made with it are much better for your health than the processed crap you buy in stores. Even whole wheat flour purchased in your local store often has many of the nutrients processed right out so it has to be fortified!

    And don’t even get me started on bottled baby food.

    We make our own baby food, grind wheat, make our own bread, etc., but it is not because it costs less. Often it is more expensive because the stuff we get to homemake our babyfood is usually organic. It is because we care about our health. Well, that is, my wife cares about our health. (She always gets disgusted at my proclivity to highly processed foods packed with fat and sugar).

    Not to say that people who don’t do these things don’t care about their health. I only mean to say that thrift is not the underlying motivation for this “molly mormon” behavior- which to be honest does not actually seem all that “molly mormon.” Most mormons we know don’t do these things. Haven’t you ever seen how many kids are eating fruit loops and marshmallows as snacks in church? Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it seems to me that the “molly mormon” thing to do is to eat lots of processed and canned foods, rather than using fresh veggies and unprocessed, non-sugary ingredients.

    Now- about thrift: I think it’s good, but what is the point of making money if you can’t enjoy it? Obviously to keep making money and stay out of debt one has to adhere to sound financial principles, like not spending more than one makes, etc., but other than that I never saw much purpose in being thrifty just to parade thriftiness. Rather, I like to use earned money for trips and good food! I would conclude that, garage saling aside, we really don’t have that many thrifty habits.

  25. john fowles says:

    Kaimi asked Or odd, Mormon-thrift-induced schizophrenia?

    That’s it, I think. I suppose you could make the case for the $14.99/lb. cheese if it was a two dollar savings from the other imported cheese shop. That is how I personally experience this “odd, Mormon-thrift-induced schizophrenia” (yes, I admit it’s in my blood too, which might explain why I will reuse paper before recycling it–i.e. printing on the back side too–or save any nunber of things for no good reason). For example, I will spend $5.00 for a two-serving (!) pack of German white asparagus soup and feel good about it b/c the store where I bought it had a better price by 50 cents than the other store where it is available. This is absurd since I could buy any variety of powdered soup in a two-serving pack for literally pennies, but go to a special store just to get this item, and pay through the nose for it.

  26. john fowles says:

    Jordan, don’t go knocking the Brahm’s double-bacon cheeseburgers now!

  27. john fowles says:

    I’m ashamed. That should be Braum’s.

  28. Oh- I would never knock that. Hamburgers are my secret addiction. That and many other forms of junk food. Andrea is the one who would knock my hamburger obsession… :)

  29. I only mean to say that thrift is not the underlying motivation for this “molly mormon” behavior- which to be honest does not actually seem all that “molly mormon.”

    I realize, of course, the added health benefits–I just meant that we arrived at homemade baby food because we found a place that sells really cheap produce. As for the “molly mormon” label: you seem to think that a “molly mormon” is an average mormon, like the dozens to be found in every chapel (with tupperware full of froot loops on hand); I always thought “molly mormon” meant the rare, overacheiving, above-average mormon, of which there were only one or two in each ward.

    Incidentally, Brahms, without the beard, might bear a vague resemblance to Dave Thomas; still, I think it’s a celebrity endorsement that’s bound to fail.

  30. A few random stories and comments of my own:

    Let’s not forget the stories of washing out condoms and reusing them. Ewwwwwwwww! Now we know why Mormons have so many kids.

    Each year in the ward I grew up in, for a fundraiser the young women would sponsor a nice sit-down dinner for couples in the ward. When people paid, it was always fun to see who worked out the tip to the exact cent so it would be 15%, and who generously gave much more, to support the young women.

    Steve:

    You have indeed discovered the secret of being given a prominent leadership position in the Salt Lake valley. If there isn’t a boat, jet skis, or snowmobiles parked in your driveway, kiss that bishop calling goodbye. It’s best if you rotate through all three throughout the year if you’re going for the gold. Of course, don’t forget the suburban or ridiculously huge truck to tow them all.

    Was it just in my neighborhood, or is it common among all well-off Saints to complain about money because they’ve spent it all on really nice things? I’ll never forget one woman (a good friend, actually) complaining about how high property taxes were. I suggested it was necessary to help those were weren’t as well off. She retorted that it was easy for me to say since I didn’t have to pay much. I responded that it indeed must be rough to have to pay property tax on a huge house, boat, 5 cars, snowmobiles, and a cabin in Kamas to boot. My own dear mother had her precious moments like this as well. Getting bills and groaning about the cost of gas and electricity (it costs a bundle to heat a pool and hot tub, you know!)

  31. John, except for the EXTREMELY DISTURBING recycling you mention, I agree completely with your remarks. Perhaps we can come up with some sort of formula:

    Suburban+Jet skis=bishop
    Suburban+Jet Skis+snowmobile=Stake President
    Suburban+Jet Skis+snowmobile+lake cabin=??

    I’m speaking tongue-in-cheek, of course, but you do see a lot of those jetskis…

  32. “I’m speaking tongue-in-cheek, of course, but you do see a lot of those jetskis…”

    I am too, and yet, there’s something sadly to what we’ve said. It’s probably better for a new topic, but I’d love to see a concise, thoughtful look at Mormons and how they view money, financial success and independence, wealth, business ethics, etc.

    It’s a topic I can’t quite figure out. I know Mormons both preach and largely practice honesty. I don’t have a sense that Mormon businessmen and women are ripping people off left and right. And yet, while we’ve got hard and fast rules for so many commandments, we seem pretty vague on what constitutes unethical. It’s probably inevitable.

    It’s just this feeling I can’t quite shake that we just don’t care as much about how people make their money as we do if they are coffee drinkers. Unless it’s patently illegal, we generally seem ok with how wealth is earned.

  33. My parents have been fighting the wars of the thermostat for many many years. I was just visiting them recently and my Mom was glaring at him and saying that he was being sneaking for changing the temperature 2 degrees. My father comes from the if-its-cold-put-on-a-sweater in the house school.

    My wife and I have our utilities included in the rent. Needless to say the heat or air conditioning runs pretty much full-time at our place — though it’s rare that I adjust it at all.

  34. John H- Have you ever noticed that stake presidents/mission presidents/GAs only really fall into two categories:

    1)very wealthy (businessmen, doctors, etc.)
    2)very poor, but only because they work at the COB or for CES

    Does this imply that anyone who is financially unsuccessful is *unworthy* to hold such a calling?

    I would love to hear some great stories out there of any indigent SPs that you know…that would brighten my day.

  35. Let’s not forget the stories of washing out condoms and reusing them. Ewwwwwwwww! Now we know why Mormons have so many kids.

    Oh, let’s DO forget those stories, especially since it happened in the 16th century, and they were made out of vellum. I don’t want to hear about more recent instances of the practice.

  36. I had a skiing buddy whose father was a stake president. He was a cement finisher (in Utah). My parent’s stake president (just released and again in Utah) is a school administrator and lives in the very sort of modest split-level ranch I originally described in this post. One of the stake presidents (from Idaho) from my childhood was a moderately prosperous farmer.

    While I agree that there are a lot of people who have excelled in business and otherwise shown good administrative skills who then become stake presidents, there are a fair number of regular middle-class types who are called as well. I think we tend to forget about them because they are less glamorous.

  37. Mat-

    Thanks for your examples of non-rich SPs.

    I think you are probably right about not remembering/paying attention to non-wealthy ones since they are less glamorous. Plus, as I’ve been thinking about it, my personal sample set is pretty skewed–probably the reason all of my SPs growing up were wealthy is because we lived in UT on the right side of the tracks. Seems kind of obvious to me now that I think about it.

    Hmmm….since leaving UT the rich guy/CES guy trend has held true…in every case. Even in areas that covered diverse socio-economic groups. Especially NYC.

  38. Oh yeah … well I once had a stake president who lived at the bottom of a lake.

    http://www.davidpbrown.co.uk/jokes/monty-python-four-yorkshiremen.html

  39. Well I don’t want to pretend that there isn’t a trend for wealthy people to hold leadership positions, but just to point out that this isn’t always the case. As I alluded to above, I think that in a lot of cases it makes good sense–wealthy people often have more time and resources to devote to the calling. For better or worse, wealth acts as a signaling device that we use to easily differentiate people from one another and I’ve found it to be largely the case, whatever else their failings may be, wealthy businessmen tend to have their act together in terms of not flaking out on appointments, ability to delegate and managing constituencies w/ different goals. Pretty important stuff for an administrator.

  40. To buy into Aaron E’s assertion that thrifty people are absorbed with material things, I think you have to make assumptions about what these people do with the money they would otherwise spend on, err, replacing their vellum sheaths. While it is certainly true that some thrifty people are actually penurious and hoard their money, I wonder whether this form of “thrift” is prevalent enough to warrant the generalization.

    To be clear, I have no evidence, empirical or anecdotal, to offer here, but it seems that a thrifty Christian may be thrifty so that his or her excess could go to others who have greater needs. In fact, if I didn’t buy into the depression-era hoarding theory to explain thrift among mormons, I would assert that these manifestations of thrift are attempts (whether or not sincere) to live some form of the law of consecration, whatever that may be.

  41. Mathew, sorry I didn’t give the reference!
    D&C 29:34.
    “Wherefore, verily I say unto you that all things unto me are spiritual, and not at any time have I given unto you a law which was temporal; neither any man, nor the children of men; neither Adam, your father, whom I created.”

    And Jordan, I was grateful for your comments; I thought about that part of it, but was already going from another angle. Glad you spoke up!

  42. When I lived in Texas, a member of our stake presidency was a well-to-do farmer of some kind (I say well-to-do because his kids had better cars than I did). When the presidency was reorganized, and he was called again as counselor, he was listed in the Church News as being vice-president of the YYY corporation. I always wondered where that came from.

  43. I wonder if the high rate of wealthy bishops has more to do with other factors. Ie if you can afford to buy jet skis, cabins etc you are able to afford the “luxury” of taking time off for church service.

  44. I can think of 3 individual situations of men with “higher” callings that aren’t wealthy.
    1- My Father-in-law. He has been the Bishop twice and he is a trucker. His family is by no means indigent, but they are far from wealthy.
    2- My current Bishop. He is a mail carrier. Again, not indigent, but mail carrier + 5 kids = not a lot of accumulated wealth (at least not that is readily apparent).
    3- My current Stake President. He is probably on his way to being wealthy, but he isn’t there yet on account of him being rather young. Business world successful- yes, high income- probably, wealthy-no (not yet).

  45. John H,
    I have had similar thoughts about money in the Church. We tend to talk a lot about how people spend their money but rarely talk about how they make it. Maybe you could expound on your thinking. That would sure be an interesting post… very interesting… I know I would read it…

  46. Maria, you should come to Brooklyn or Queens and check out the leadership in the districts and stakes out here. There’s an architect who’s just opening his own practice–he’s doing all right, but he’s not wealthy, certainly not by New York standards. There’s a physician–a staff doctor at a hospital, not a Park Avenue plastic surgeon. I’ve been in his modest home–it’s in Flushing, which should tell you a lot. There’s a lawyer, who has had a pretty decent year this year, but whose beat up old minivan is used as an example among some in the district, as in “See, Pres. ______ drives a beat up old minivan, so why do you think we need to buy a new car?”

    And the bishops and branch presidents over here are similar. Some have more money and better jobs than others, and one guy I know even has a jet ski. But that’s another story.

    We’ve always been concerned that it not appear that wealth is a factor in decisions about leadership. Sometimes leadership and commitment in the church are duplicated by leadership and commitment in one’s profession or trade. Sometimes callings aren’t given because people don’t have the ability to serve, because they are trying so hard simply to survive financially.

    All that being said, three of the most uncomfortable months of my life I spent attending a certain ward in the northern suburbs of NYC. I don’t know that the folks there were intentionally acting as if great wealth were a direct result of their righteous living, but it felt that way to me then.

  47. Mark B., I’ve been to the Northlands and seen what ye describe. And the New Caanan I’ve been to must be that place flowing with milk and honey that only the righteous may possess…

  48. It’s fun to beat up on rich people! As I always say whenever I encounter one–good luck threading the needle camelboy. It helps to soothe my jealousy.

  49. It’s especially fun to beat up on the rich when you’re one of them!

    Wait, Mat, where do you live? Someplace north of the City?

  50. Keep propogating the myth that I am wealthy Steve–soon I’ll be called to be something more than the ward records clerk and rich people will want to make my acquaintance, give me tips on hot stocks and otherwise welcome me in as one of their own.

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