Congratulations to our very own:
- Rhys Bowen, Heirs and Graces, nominated for The Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award
- Susan Elia MacNeal, His Majesty's Hope, ALSO nominated for The Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award
- Hank Phillippi Ryan, The Wrong Girl, nominated for The Squid: Best mystery set within the United States
HALLIE EPHRON: So I am embarrassed to tell you this (but it's not going to stop me from telling). I ended up with a 'free drink' coupon on a recent flight. Airplane leaves at 10 AM, arrives at 2:30. I am so not interested in wine, beer, and certainly not a single of vodka with the nice corn beef sandwich I picked up at TFI Friday's in the airport. But I am constitutionally unable to turn down a free drink.
So I get a beer. "No glass please, and don't open it." And take it home with me.
I also end up with free snacks (Jet Blue) lining my purse because I take one even when I don't feel like eating it.
This seems crazy, like I'm turning into my aunt who used to clean out the bread basket after a restaurant meal. She'd carried a little plastic bag in her purse and dump the remaining bread into it (while I hid under the table). Her excuse was that she grew up in the Depression. So what's mine??
Can you pass up a freebie?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, my gosh .We are the same person. EXACTLY what I would have done. And I take the free nuts on JetBlue "for later." Here's my rationale. I mean--it's ours. So why should they tell us when to have it?
Yeah, and that's why they've kind of stopped the "All you can eat" salad bars and dinner bars. Because people would feel compelled to take SO MUCH FOOD since it was free-ish. So now they call them--have you noticed this?--"all you care to eat."
I also take the tea bags out of my hotel room every day so they will leave me new ones. I can't believe I'm confessing this. (I do not take the coffee or little packs of Sweet and Low, however.") I don't take the soap anymore. at least. Unless it's really good soap.
HALLIE: Laughing, Hank! I'm trying to get my husband to STOP taking the soaps and shampoos. Running upstairs right now to show you why...
RHYS BOWEN: I confess to taking the soaps and shampoos (when they are good, as in Marriott) because I've paid for them and I put them in my guest basket at home. But I don't do the free drink coupons on planes, even though Southwest gave me a whole bunch once, but I always seem to be flying early morning and I don't want to arrive not at my scintillating best.
I was brought up in those lean post war years and we simply didn't waste food, so I hate going to restaurants and having to leave half the portion on my plate. But I can't take it with me when I'm on the road. So I usually end up just having the appetizer these days. But at home I'm not too proud to ask for a doggy bag, even at the fanciest restaurants. Of course the fancier the restaurant, the tinier the portion...
DEBORAH CROMBIE: I stopped taking the free shampoos for the guest bathroom because I got tired of cleaning them out of the storage basket a year later and throwing them away...
Hallie, giggling at you. I can't take a free drink home with me from the plane because I don't drink beer, and I think on the mixed drinks they just pour you something. I will take food home in a "doggie" box if it's something that will reheat, because I can almost never eat a whole portion. Like Rhys, I often just get an appetizer when traveling.
And Hank, I do the same thing with the hotel tea bags!LUCY BURDETTE: Tee hee, no beer, no tea bags, no hotel shampoos. I guess I'm the spendthrift in the bunch! I will take doggie bags though, definitely. Then we fight over who gets the good stuff for lunch.
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: I can't believe I've fallen in with other women who take the tea bags in order to get more. Also, the little Sweet-n-low packs, because they never have enough in those in the hotel coffee machine tray.
I have stopped taking the little shampoos and soaps, in part for Debs' reason - they really build up fast!- and in part because I'm always carrying my luggage aboard and bagging the wee liquids for the TSA check is a PITA.
However! For those of you who can't pass them up, I have a great way to get them out of your bathroom: homeless shelters, women's shelters and food banks can all use them for their clients.
As for the general concept of passing up a freebie... I'm getting a lot better at just saying no. Do I need it? Do I want it? Will I use it? If I can't answer yes to all three, then I'll leave the freebie on the table.
SUSAN ELIA MACNEAL: Free shampoo? Yes, because we give it to a local women's shelter. Doggie bags? Yes, isn't it always better the next day? Tea bags? No. But I was raised by depression-era parents, so even if that's not my generation per se, I'm very careful with things. I darn socks!
HALLIE: Susan, you DARN SOCKS?! I find this more impressive than writing a novel.
So here's our Jungle Red Cheapskate's Challenge...
__ Take home leftovers?
__ Take hotel shampoos?
__ Take hotel teabags?
__ Take Sweet 'n' Lo packets?
__ Darn socks?
And finally, do you find you are
__ Unable to pass up a free drink or bag of Terra Blues?
What would you add??