The art of the mooch



Are you tired of buying and cooking your own dinner?  Are high fuel prices wreaking havoc on your wallet?  Are rent, cable, and internet bills adding up to unbearable amounts?  Well then, I’ve got the solution to all your problems.


Here is all the information you need on how to become a professional moocher.  But first thing’s first, there is a difference between a moocher and being cheap.  No one likes a cheapskate.  On the other hand, everyone wants to lend a hand to the mooch.  That right there is the key.  A cheapskate has the means to buy their own stuff, and is just being cheap.  They appear snobby and stuck up.  A mooch is much different. 


The first step to living off the fat of your hommies is to know a lot of people.  Don’t leach off someone for too long.  If you plan things correctly, you won’t burn a single bridge in your plight for food and shelter.  People will want you to come back for another visit.  Remember, you need to be everyone’s friend.  You never know where your next meal may come from. 


 “Oh you’re making steaks tonight?  I’ll bring the salt.”


Here is the moocher’s number one favorite arena of battle: dinner.  Dinner at a friend’s house is easy.  Some may not even consider it mooching.  But if you plan things out in advance, you can go for days eating at your pals’ table. 


Offer to bring something.  It can be trivial to the meal, but make sure you contribute.  A side dish made of left-overs, a half eaten bag of chips, a salad with tons of spinach.  The more obscure the better.  The key is to not let these things be eaten.  Make a spicy dish or something weird tasting.  That way you can take it home and re-use the dish at someone else’s house the next night. 


Getting a ride somewhere.


This one’s easy.  If the ride is long, offer to pay for a coffee and gas and you’re golden.  Keep up good conversation during the trip and the driver will be glad to have you back.


Doing small favors.

This right here is the key to mooching.  Take all the opportunities to help someone out and they’ll be more than happy to return the favor.  Lend someone a hand moving their furniture.  Help them fix up their bike.  Lend a sweatshirt.  Take their girlfriend on a date.  Do small errands and the rewards will flow in like the water that rushes down the gutter in November when all the storm drains are clogged with leaves. 


Couch Surfing.


This is much more difficult than any of the other areas of mooching.  Only attempt this when you’re comfortable with the other categories of mooching first.  It usually takes years of practice before a successful bout of couch surfing comes to you. 


The best way to find a place to sleep is to go straight for it.  Just ask.  Don’t dodge the question or act coy.  And let your friend know that it won’t be for long.  A couch surfer is fun to have; think of it like an extended sleep over back when you were a kid.   Everything goes smoothly and both you and your buddy are having a great time at first.  And then you start to get tired of each other and eventually someone gets hurt when your wrestling on the trampoline.  Before long, all hell breaks loose and you’re both in a time out.  Everyone enjoys a couch surfer, but no one likes a couch bum.  Get in and get out.  Nothing much longer than a week.  If need be, come back and crash on their couch after an extended absence.


When couch surfing, make sure you have plenty of other options for places to sleep in case your #1 choice goes belly up.  Always plan out your next two or three couches weeks in advance. 


Other tips:  You may be sleeping at their house, but you don’t need to spend all your time there.  The more you hang out there, the bigger mess you’ll make, the more empty their fridge will get, and the more annoyed your host will be.  Be socialable and hang out, but find other places to spend the majority of your time.


You’re a scavenger, grab opportunities. 


You need to be on the look out at all times.  If you’re at someone’s house just hanging out, look around for a second.  Everything you need is right around you.  If your friend is dumb enough to leave you alone with the fridge for two or more minutes, dive in and make a bowl of cereal or chow down on an apple or their left-over Chinese food.


If you over-hear someone talking about a dinner party, make yourself a part of the conversation.  When you get invited and show up, be a hit and make sure those strangers become your friends.  The next time they have a get together, you’ll be on the list. 


At a house party.


Wait for your opportunity to make a dash to the kitchen.  Late in the night is the best time to hit the fridge and pantry.  By then, the hosts are too wasted to care that you’ve drunk all their grapefruit juice and are in the process of raiding their chocolate supply.  And don’t be bashful.  If you’re going to eat something, you might as well eat all of it and destroy the evidence.  Don’t leave things like bags of chips and ice cream containers half empty.


As a final note, don’t borrow anything you can’t replace because it might get damaged.  Or stolen.


If you want any more tips about mooching, give me a call and I’d be happy to talk to you about it over dinner.