Thursday, June 13, 2013


You're out for dinner with friends, great restaurant, terrific food and an interesting and stimulating discussion. Your server comes over, leaves the check and thanks you for coming in. Suddenly the mood changes. In all the years you've been friends, they very rarely pick up the check. But you've decided that tonight it's going to be different! It's their turn to pay the bill and you won't pick up that check, no matter what!
No doubt you've experienced people with Alligator Arms. Yes, Alligator Arms! Their arms are so short they can't reach the check or their wallet! They not only have Alligator Arms when it comes to paying for dinner, they're just plain CHEAP about everything! Stingy and miserly people who go to great lengths to avoid spending their own money on almost anything! This is not a good trait.
Now keep in mind, we're not talking about being "financially conservative", "a wise shopper" or "thrifty." Those are positive qualities! CHEAP is taking those positives to the extreme, and it becomes a serious weakness that can alienate your friends, turn off your associates and estrange you from loved ones.
Using a scale of 1 (really cheap) to 10 (really generous), how would you rate yourself? A passing grade might be a 6 or higher. Those friends with the Alligator Arms would be a 1, 2 or 3. And the person who always picks up the check, puts on the parties, funds scholarships for needy kids, pays for a neighbor's kid to go to summer camp, and slips the homeless guy 20 bucks, is a 10!
Most people, it seems, fall between a 4 and an 8. How about you?
If you're cheap in other people's eyes, you might not even be aware of it. But trust me, those that know you, know you.
To help you improve your generosity, here are a few suggestions to consider...
  1. You decide to split the check. Two couples, 4 meals, $80 bill, 50/50 split, $40 each. Don't say, "but you guys had salads and we didn't so it should be $30 us and $50 you." For ten bucks be a sport! Next time maybe you'll be the salad people and they won't.
  2. The tip you leave is seen too. As you know, if things are even just "OK" in a restaurant, 15% is the minimum, 20% is good and 25%+ is generous. Be generous if you've gotten great service and write a thank you on the check to your server.
  3. Someone invites you out as their guest to play golf or tennis at "their club." Offer to buy the balls, pay for drinks and food, or follow up with an invite to "your club."
  4. Do you get to go boating, fishing or waterskiing on someone else's boat? Always offer, no, insist on paying for the gas! Our family is really into boating. We own a houseboat, fishing boat, ski boat and jet skis and they all use gas. For 25 years we've invited friends out to be with us. Most offer to at least pay for gas. One good friend brought me a T-shirt that said, "Saying Thank You doesn't pay for gas!" I loved it, but probably won't wear it because if you have to ask someone to pay, it's just not the same, is it?
OK, you get the point. Alligator Arms do not go unnoticed! And you know the kind of people I'm talking about...
"He's so tight he squeaks when he walks." "He's so cheap he named himself as the beneficiary of his life insurance."
"He's so cheap he married a skinny gal so he could buy her a smaller ring."
"He's so cheap when he got run over by a liquor truck it was the first time the drinks were on     him!"
Hopefully now you're laughing. But the next time you're given a choice between being cheap or being generous, choose generous! Why? Because it's only money! And you can always earn more money... but it's hard to mend a relationship when you have... Alligator Arms!
MAKE it a great day!