I’ve found being a blogger can be a little weird at this beginning stage I’m in. For months I sort of plodded along in my own little world here, with a couple dozen visitors who I started to consider friends. Then, nearly overnight it seemed, I switched over to a couple hundred visitors a day and my inbox started filling up with some really bizarre junk mail.
And the occasional intriguing offer.
A small offer of $10-20 to write a guest post for a blog. An offer of a free book (that actually looks interesting) to review. Legit smaller bloggers looking to guest post on my blog (which is a post in itself on how to vet that mess).
And then the most intriguing offer of all so far – an email from Extreme Cheapskates.
To begin with, I thought it was spam, or a joke. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? So I shot them an email back saying I was pleased they though of me and my blog, but I really didn’t think I was an extreme cheapskate by any means.
And I immediately received a reply TLC and we started a conversation about how they were considering adding a role of someone who acts like the voice of reason and provides commentary on the craziness that’s happening in the episode and general advice about how to moderate the madness and still live a frugal lifestyle but not be an extreme cheapskate.
That sounded pretty incredible to me. So they sent me a questionnaire to fill out and I spent a few hours on it. It was the standard questionnaire for the program and asked a lot of questions about my own thrifty ways.
My thrifty ways are really boring. Live below your means! Save part of your income for retirement! Eat leftovers!
Seriously, my craziest thrifty trick is to water down the end of the liquid soap to get the last little bit out. It’s not extreme.
But none of this mattered much anyway, right? Because as I’ve recapped above, supposedly TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates were looking for someone a little less on the bat-shit crazy side.
I sent in my questionnaire and made it to some next level of interviewing/auditions and had a lengthy phone call with one of their casting agents.
This was my first big red flag. Our conversation focused entirely on my thrifty ways. While that was definitely a legit conversation we should’ve been having, she kept pushing and asking things like:
- do you patch your own clothes?
- do you steal toiletries from hotels and keep them?
- do you ever take other people’s leftovers home from restaurants?
Hmmm… this is all going in a questionable direction. So at that point I double checked that they were looking for more of a spokesperson of reason. She gave me a “oh yeah, of course, just asking some standard questions.”
I made to the next round after that, which was to film a video. I was kind of excited about this one, because I felt like I could present myself in a clear voice of reason way. I started working out what I was going to say and was literally in the middle of filming it when I got another call from them.
It was the same casting director and she called me to pitch me the first idea she would want me to work on with them. She wanted me to sign up for a bunch of free online dating sites and start going out with guys so they would buy me dinner.
Besides the fact that that’s wrong on so many levels, this was not, in any way at all, what we had discussed.
Not only was I not remotely a spokesperson, I wasn’t even interesting enough to be an Extreme Cheapskate on my own… so they invented an Extreme Cheapskate “issue” for me.
Furthermore, not only was it cheap. It was downright wrong. It used other people. Even worse, it used other people for more than just money. I mean, you kind of get your hopes up going out on a date. What was I supposed to put in my profile? Only looking for dude’s willing to pay for dinner?
I don’t even think the guy should usually pay for the first date! I think you should go dutch! (But, gentlemen, I do absolutely expect you to offer to pay.)
So… there’s several hours of my life I will never get back. And one of the most awkward phone calls I’ve ever had while I tried to not yell at this crazy woman that she’d lost her ever-loving mind. And eaten up so much of my time under false guises.
Even better, when I told her that made me extremely uncomfortable and was not what we had discussed, she began to pressure to do it anyway. So I hung up on her.
There goes my chance to be a TV star.
I can live with it.
I still stand by nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Moral of the Story: To the personal finance bloggers out there – stay away from Extreme Cheapskates… unless you are an Extreme Cheapskate and want to be on the show, then, hey, have I got a contact number for you.
For another great story about someone who did go on TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates and then wrote about what a load of crap it is, check out Jordan’s story over on My Media Guy.