Friday, July 23, 2010

Frugality Doesn’t Always Pay

Folktales abound in my family. Just recently at a family barbecue my brother and I were sitting around with our nieces roasting marshmallows over the backyard fire pit. That evening we sank into telling family tales. We talked about our paternal grandparents and that led to Ralph's retelling various folktales about his sojourns to Wyoming where they lived. Here is one such story and it succinctly conveys what can happen when one is too frugal.

Fresh out of high school Ralph and our family friend Tim they took off in Ralph’s convertible for Wyoming where we had family they would stay with. For those who don’t know, Wyoming is an outdoors man's paradise. Fishing and hunting are among the more popular outdoor activities and both Ralph and Tim were hoping to catch enough trout for themselves and our grandparents to enjoy the next morning for breakfast.

In order to fish, however, a fishing license is required and at the time in Wyoming there two types of licenses: one for residents and one for non-residents. The resident license fee was, at the time, $1. The non-resident fee was $3. My brother purchased the non-resident license and Tim, eager to save money whenever he could, decided he would get the resident license and save himself a few dollars.

It took only a short period of time for the park ranger to make his way to the young men who were just settling into their day of fishing. He asked for their fishing licenses and for some form of picture identification. Ralph whipped out his driver’s license and so did Tim. Unfortunately, Tim's California picture identification did not match his resident fishing license so off he went to jail.

Bail was set at $60. Tim ended up losing much more money than he thought he would be saving by getting the resident fishing license. I don’t think he ever did something like that again.

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