The Art of Being …. Utterly SHAMELESS

SIDE NOTE:

I’ve never really understood the intention of employers to save on heating costs by turning it down so low, you’re forced to wear your winter jacket in the office. Literally.

I’m definitely a tightwad for heating costs, being the one who likes to put on thick sweatpants and a hoodie, along with snuggling under a flannel blanket on our futon “couch”, but in the OFFICE?

C’mon now. I have to TYPE here. I have to try and look professional!

I can’t be under a huge woolly blanket with MUGGs (faux UGGs) on my feet!

My fingers are freezing up and I’m shivering like mad.

People are actually walking by and laughing at me. Pointing at me shivering like an ice cube in my cube.

Torture, I tell ya.

This brings me up to the point of my post today:

What is the most shameless thing you’ve ever done?

Me, it’s not just one but many things. I reuse and take whatever is free (if I need it).

This includes any leftover sandwiches, cakes, fruits, food or drinks at the office from long-past retirement parties that no one wants (if it’s edible, that is), and never saying “No” to free food being proffered.

Yes, I admit it. I’m an office food scavenger who has no shame.

And where did I learn this useful skill, of being totally and utterly SHAMELESS?

From my dear parents of course. And my grandmother.

From The Sartorialist. Not my grandmothers.

Story time!

BF’S FIRST BRUSH WITH THE UTTERLY SHAMELESS CLAN (MY FAMILY)

BF had met my parents for the first time that weekend and he was treating the WHOLE family out to a big ‘all-you-can-eat’ dinner, except it was in a real restaurant and not at some random “All you can eat” buffet, so each meal and appetizer was priced separately.

Basically in his eyes and in his words, you could order whatever you wanted, as much as you wanted and he’d pay, no questions asked, even if it came out to $1000.

(My parents eyes widened at this, because they are the type to share food and pad it with white rice to make it last, so this was a big deal).

This is where you say: OK wait, hold up! Seriously, $1000 worth of food?

In principle, yes. In reality, no.

We don’t roll like that into any restaurant like that, but what he means is that he’d pay a hefty price for a meal like that, because he doesn’t really go out to eat often, and when he does, it’s a real treat.

Shameless Culprit Thing One: Brother

Asked if he could order extra meals during the dinner to take home to eat during the week, padded out by lots of rice.

This definitely earned a big stink eye and side glare from me, who then said: Don’t look the horse’s gift in the mouth or you might end up paying for your share in this dinner, sweet treat or not!

Shameless Cuplrit Thing Two and Thing Three: My parents

Rotated roles and asked shamelessly for all the sauces available (for free of course) in large quantities.

My dad would ask. Then my mom would wave over another waiter and ask. Then they’d switch asking roles and waiters.

Why?

My mom is a spice freak.

She can eat spice like nobody’s business, trust me on this. I’m admittedly a spice wimp, but just a LICK of a little bit of the kind of chili paste she eats, and my mouth went up in flames. Other less wimpier types like my father, still can’t eat the way she does, and he takes half a tablespoon for each meal to spread out across all the appetizers and meals.

She eats it at every meal with at least 5-6 tablespoons or more.

Generally, my parents will ask for free sides, free soup, free dessert, free sauces, and everything but the actual meal… and the kitchen sink itself.

Their motto: We’re just asking. If we get it, great. If we don’t, no biggie.

Shameless Culprit Thing Four: Myself

BF was laughing at this afterwards but I had no idea why.

See, Mom had nudged me saying: Ask for some of their chili paste to go (specialty on the house) before we leave. It’s so good and so hard to make at home from scratch. I have to go to the bathroom. Make me proud.

Translation: Your father and I are blacklisted at this restaurant now. We’ve asked for too much. Your turn now, youngest apple of our tree…. do me proud!

FB: *waves waiter over* Can I get 4 cups of your chili paste to go with our leftovers?

Waiter: Umm……uhhhhh.. ahhh.. well I don’t know. 4 cups? It’s a lot of chili paste.

FB: *waits patiently, blinking eyes*

Waiter: Well, I can give you 2 little tubs for free, but any extra and we’ll have to charge …..

FB: Okay. 2 tubs are fine. :D Thank you.

Waiter: *to himself* “What just happened?”

BF was dying in the corner after this. I wasn’t sure if it was from embarrassment or laughter, but it might have been a bit of both.

When we finally get back to my parents’ home, he tells me why he had a funny look on his face — it was because I was SO SHAMELESS in asking!

I had caught the waiter off guard in just asking, and he didn’t know how to say “No” to me, having no practice against such practiced, natural shamelessness.

I didn’t even notice the above exchange had happened out of the ordinary until he recounted these 3 things to me:

  1. My mom already milked the restaurant of all of their chili paste to satiate her spice needs
  2. I asked so casually and comfortably, it was like I have been doing it all my life <—- he wasn’t too far off in this; I have been trained since I could speak, to ask for freebies
  3. I wanted 4 CUPS, but I settled for 2 little tubs because I didn’t want to pay extra for more chili paste, but if the guy had said: Sorry we can’t give you any, I would’ve shrugged and said “OK“.

My only retort to this was: We spent a lot of money feeding 5 people, 2 of which eat like elephants (myself and my brother). I feel like a little chili paste was required with our leftovers!

He had apparently never seen such a display in his life, and was half proud, half in shock.

We laugh about this now, and I bring it up to make him snort, but this won’t stop me from asking for freebies.

Granted, I don’t do this every time, but on occasion, if the case warrants it, I do.

Especially if my mom asks me to.

To me, asking for free stuff when it isn’t a huge deal (we weren’t asking for a free chicken, here), is normal.

I’ve grown up doing this my whole life, and I am shameless in the asking, but I don’t expect anyone to give in to me all the time.



JUST A LITTLE IS ALL I NEED

My second story is short and of my grandmother. I don’t remember this happening but my dad said that when he was young, my grandmother would take him to the market and buy lots of food.

Before she left, she’d always ask for a freebie. Like just one or two stalks of a vegetable, or one or two carrots, just because she didn’t need to buy the whole bunch or package.

She only needed one or two, after all!

This became perfectly normal to my father, asking for just a little bit, but not enough to be imposing, and with my parents having grown up in poverty, it became part of their habits and lives… which they passed on to the rest of us shameless apples.

I wish I could remember other stories like this, but I’m sure you’d all be embarrassed for me and my family on the other side of the screen and never want to read this blog again.

Therefore, I’ll keep it to myself and only recount them if I am lucky enough to meet any of you in person ;)

IS BEING SHAMELESS REALLY SO VERY BAD?

I don’t really see anything VERY wrong with being shameless to a certain extent.

It helps with negotiations to not be ashamed of asking for a higher rate, for example. Or a better salary.

Or asking for a better service when you feel like you’ve paid for it.

I just think you have to know where the limits are, and to not (for example) like Shameless Culprit Thing One, ask for FREE MEALS to eat outside of the dinner BF was paying for, just so he wouldn’t have to pay for his own food for the week.

That isn’t being shameless, it’s being cheap.

Being shameless is seen as a bad thing, or at least, in a very negative light, but only if you really care about image to the point where you handicap yourself financially, or you just don’t get what you paid for or expected.

I guess it might be because I don’t really care about image. I do to a certain point, but sometimes you have to ask for what you want before you can get what you want.

Like all that free leftover food in the cafeteria for anyone to eat? I am the first one to spot it and have my plate out.

So what if people think I’m poor? Or that I can’t afford to pay full retail for something?

Or I’m trying to squeeze another $2 out of something?

It’s no skin off my back what they think of me, as long as I don’t cross the line throw a hissy fit or something similar because I couldn’t get 4 tubs of chili paste.

It’s just asking, politely, and it’s up to them to decide what they want to do or not do.

I respect either decision.

What is the most shameless thing you’ve ever done?

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About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.