Penny Pinching

Penny Pinching

My mum is 88 years old and doesn’t drive. She pretty much stopped driving about twenty years ago following an incident with a stationary lorry which she … ‘just didn’t see’. Whilst dad was still around this wasn’t a problem – as he did most of the driving anyway this didn’t impact much on the scheme of things.

However this has become more of an issue with dad no longer being around. You would think that mum would know all the Glossop taxi drivers on first name terms…but no…Taxi’s are not mums ‘thing’ ….why would she get taxis when she has two sons!

Actually let’s get this right:

Two sons

Two daughters in law

Four grand children

Two neighbour’s with cars

A mobile hairdresser with a car

Eight friends with cars

…and a cleaner with a car

…so mum has the whole transport thing covered. In case of a requirement she works her way down the list until someone consents and she gets her travel arrangements sorted.

Now you would also think that mum would be eternally grateful for this…but no…if the chosen ‘driver’ is not exactly on ‘time’…mother gets very worked up. ‘Where is Michael’….’what time do you call this’….’I’m going to be late for my coffee morning’….all phrases often heard coming from my wonderful mothers mouth.

A recent example of this manipulation goes as follows;


Mum has a dentist appointment.

Rings son who is unavailable

Rings son’s wife Pam who is unavailable

Rings second son (who lives in wales) – unavailable

Cleaner hears all this and pipes up – ‘I will take you Ruth’


So mother accepts this generous offer.

A few days later in conversation I asked her – ‘did you get a lift to the dentist mum?’ – she replies – ‘yes I did, the cleaner took me – it was a long appointment so he sat in the car and waited for me – I was in there for nearly two hours…then I got him to take me to Marks and Spencer so I could do my shopping whilst he waited for me in the car outside’…

‘Whoaaaah’…. I said…’how much did you pay him?’

Mums response …’£5’….’I didn’t have any change’

Now this to me is taking ‘being tight’ to ridiculous lengths. My darling mother is not short of a few bob but guards it with an almost biblical zealousness …

I sat and explained to her that a taxi would have cost at least a tenner and that the driver would not have waited for her. If you put in the cleaners hourly rate on top of the car and fuel she should at least have been giving him £20 if not more.


Bloody hell… I said I’m surprised he didn’t throw it back at you.

This to me is a prime example of how people do not appreciate time and money and the value of a service offered.

It’s not just my mother – she is just the tip of the ‘tight arse’ ice berg.

We have a client that asked us to visit a site in Liverpool recently to fix some timbers back onto a fence panel. We quoted £140 plus VAT which the client said was a ‘rip off’ and that he would do it himself rather than pay us to do the work (fine by me).

So what Mr Client would you charge for sending somebody from Manchester to Liverpool in a van with tools and equipment to fix a fence – ???

Maybe a fiver would be more in line with your thinking? Or maybe free of charge…as a gesture of gratitude for having even being asked?

All I’m asking is for people to think about the actual ‘cost’ of the service provided. We have overheads, we have training costs, we have health and safety, we have to do risk assessments and we have to provide PPE…all of this has to be paid for.

So yes £140 to nail a few panels together may seem like a lot of money – if we were on site doing something else and could just nip over and bang a few bits of wood together ….but that wasn’t the case.

And mother please …be a bit more generous with your cash…please!


Mike C


0161 723 2000