Basically, the reader told me to get a life and go shopping in language that delivered a sharp rebuke to my alleged political affiliation. ("You've got to be an Obama voter," he said.) He also used the word "silly."
His arguments: Squeezing the last drop out of a bottle of hair conditioner and using smaller amounts of paper towels represented silly wastes of time. He implied that I was suffering from a recession of the mind and that my columns about thrift were only contributing to the economic woes.
And if I really wanted to save money, I should take real action and stop chatting on the cellphone, he said.
"Get a life. Really, if times are so tough that your skin-flint ways must be utilized, then get rid of your cellphone, cable TV, and start washing the dishes manually."
Hmm...There was more a bit more, but that's the main thesis.
Personally, I think the little things count. Squeezing the last drop of conditioner from a plastic bottle, conditions my mind to think about how I can get the greatest mileage from other areas of my life.
It's like playing scales on a violin. When I practise my violin, I play boring, scales -- nothing fancy. But I play small, basic notes -- over and over again -- to prepare my fingers, ears and eyes for concertos and other complicated compositions. It's an exercise in discipline.
Besides, small things count. That's what countless editors have told me during my days as a television desk assistant and, later, a newspaper reporter. When I would shrug about a small typo in a name or title, my editors would give me stern lectures. "If I can't trust you with the small facts, how can I trust you with the big facts?" -- one editor argued during a grueling editing session. (With that voice in my head, I have learned to master the art of fact-checking!)
As a writer, reporter and frugal blogger, I am far from perfect. But I've absorbed the lessons that I have learned from news directors, editors and other media professionals. I've learned to count small change in order to enhance my ability to count the big-ticket items in life.
And, Dear Reader, I already know how to shop. Trust me! I've been shopping for years. I could write a book on shopping. In fact, I have written a book about shopping. And I will continue to make purchases as needed, with a few personal treats and periodic manicures/pedicures. That's the Duchess part of my frugal gig. I don't believe in deprivation. I am so spoiled. I eat organic blueberries almost every day.
But the truth is: I have spent a lot of money during my young adult years, and I'm all shopped out.
And FYI: I have a frugal cellphone plan; I don't have cable television. I run my dishwasher about once a week, and I often wash my dishes by hand. But those frugal actions are also driven by another green -- I also believe in an eco-friendly approach to living. I've been shrinking my carbon footprint.
I'm grateful to that reader for writing. Thank You! He made me consider how the slowdown in consumer spending could further deflate the economy. He has a point! But his note prompted me to think about the shopping bags stuffed in my closets and cabinets, and he gave me something to write about on a rare cold day in Miami.
So, again, thank you sir!