Frugal is such an ugly word; tightwad is even worse. I prefer "thrifty" or "scrappy." Being a thrifty lady who also happens to be broke, I have been doing more of my shopping at thrift stores. In these second-hand shops, I seem to overhear things I don't overhear anywhere else. I hate to keep all the fun to myself, so here is the first vignette of my novella, Tales from the Thrift.
Between browsing the pages of "Mathematical Fantasies" and "Palindromes Spelled Backwards," I noticed the store manager join me in the Used Books section. I had stopped into a thrift shop to kill time as I waited for an appointment. As the manager (I'll call him Manny) stocked smelly, worn books onto the rusting shelves, two employees rushed towards Manny, both speaking at the same time.
"That man, he stole underwear," spoke Thing One.
Thing Two interjected: "And a package of undershirts! I saw him trying to get away."
Manny seemed to know about That Man. Thing One and Thing Two battled for the glory of the moment.
Thing One: "When his vouchers were rejected, he tried to take off with the underwear on one of our store's bikes."
Thing Two: "I'm the one who saw him go for the bike!"
Manny started to walk towards the storefront. Thing One and Thing Two tagged along, chattering the entire time.
I set down the Nancy Drew book I was holding and had a quick ponder session. A desperate man tries to steal underwear and undershirts from a thrift shop, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are trying to make heroes of themselves. Let The Man have some underwear! In fact, I will secretly go offer to pay for the underwear myself. If that doesn't work, I'll picket: Equal rights to underwear! Equal rights to underwear!
As my ponder session ended, I searched for Manny. He was nowhere to be found. Then I heard sirens. Blast. After my futile effort to help The Man, I left the store sulking about the desperate state of the poor.
Whatever became of The Man? Wherever he is, I hope he at least has dirty underwear (as opposed to none at all). As for myself, I have an increased appreciation for clean underwear.