130 comments

You’ll Never Be Normal Again: My Terrifying Trip to Dairy Queen

by Mrs. Money Mustache

Once again I am making an unauthorized post on MMM, as he is currently out in the wilderness, far from the Internet.  Beware, as this post has not been edited by my better half.  Improper paragraph formatting and poor grammar may lie ahead.  Sorry honey.

You’ll never be normal again” is the slogan on the t-shirts at TwinFreaks Crossfit.  I really like this saying as it implies that you’ve gone beyond Normal into the territory of the Totally Awesome and that this Awesomeness has been triggered by some kind of monumental discovery.

I’m not even close to awesome, but to some extent I was beginning to feel normal in my own little world.  In my every day life I’m surrounded by like minded friends.  Over time, the people that I am close to have ended up being people with similar values and outlook on life that I have found.  Of course, I still run into many that follow a more conventional path, but I only see bits and pieces of these different lifestyles.

And then there’s the Mustachians.  They just keep coming out of the woodwork and are some of the most motivating and inspiring folks I’ve met.  When you’re surrounded by Mustachians every day in comments and in the forum, you kind of start believing that maybe you’re not all that different.  In fact, you might have a long way to go before you’re even close to being as Awesome as everyone else.

My Terrifying Trip to Dairy Queen was my reality check.  I am different and in fact, I might be downright weird.

Location: My hometown of Ottawa, Canada.

My parents suggest an outing to the movie theater to watch a 3D movie with little MM.  The movie theater is a 30 minute walk away.  We drive.  No big deal.  I’m relaxed about the whole thing.

We get to the movie early and lo and behold, it’s quite empty.  A nice surprise for a big city like Ottawa!  I cringe through a bunch of ads and movie trivia as people start filing in with their giant bags of overpriced popcorn.  I’m not even thinking about how anti-mustachian this scene is, because I am enjoying it from a different perspective.  I can’t remember the last time I was at a super fancy movie theater like this one about to watch a 3D movie.  My parents are footing the bill, which is a bonus (incidentally, the cost of the tickets is $52.96 CAD for three adults and one child), and all the Neon and Glamor of this night out is making me feel a bit dizzy and hazy.  It’s like being at a movie theater for the first time and it seems pretty cool and futuristic.  This feeling of experiencing things from a new perspective is one of the huge bonuses of a low-key lifestyle, by the way.

After the movie, we watch the credits and are rewarded by a little bonus scene at the end.  This is an MMM family tradition.  Almost everyone has left the theater and little MM comments that they “all totally missed out”.  They sure did.  I guess they’re on to the next big thing… and so are we, apparently.

My Dad is getting antsy.  He has a secret evil plan in the works: A surprise trip to Dairy Queen!! The following ridiculous quotes ensue:

– it’s “on the way”
– you always NEED ice cream after a movie, right?
– you only live once
– yeah, there might be a closer one, but this is the one we always go to

We drive and drive and drive (Google maps shows the trip as 4.2 km in the opposite direction of the house with an estimated 11 minute drive time one way).  The entire time I am sitting there nearly hyperventilating with every extra minute of driving.  My heart is racing and I am getting all stressed out.  What is wrong with me?  This isn’t normal.  People go to Dairy Queen sometimes.  I’ve even taken my kid to Dairy Queen once or twice.  Why am I suddenly freaking out?

I suppose I had reached some kind of threshold and my happy haze of the night had finally worn off.  This little detour wasn’t part of the original plan.  It’s like buying a magazine by the check out line at the grocery store, except that instead of buying it while you’re there, you drive 4.2 km to the next grocery store to buy it.  It’s an impulse purchase and it was being presented as some kind of special treat to my child.  But wait, we already had our special treat: The Movie!!  Duh.

But wait, there’s more.

We finally arrive and I look around.  We managed to secure the last spot in a dingy, cramped parking lot.  Our headlights illuminate the 50-something couple eating their ice creams in the car parked in front of us.  They are staring at us like silent Canadians caught eating ice cream in headlights.  It’s eerie.

We line up to order.  There’s a machine that generously takes your coins in exchange for watching the coin take a roller coaster ride into the DQ abyss.  The grandparents happily hand little MM a few coins to pass the time.  It’s a long wait but we persevere.  With ice creams and their assorted disposable accompaniments in hand, we proceed to the parking lot to find a seat on the curb.  We choose a well lit location next to a giant truck that smells like gasoline, since all the other good curb spots are taken.  We eat our ice creams without a word.  Little MM is full.  I finish his cup and am surprised to find the ice cream tastes like crap.  Is this fun?  Is this what I’m missing out on?  This sucks.  Maybe everyone realizes it too, so we decide to head home.

As we’re driving home, my Dad turns to me and says: “I just need to make one more stop.”

Are you experiencing anti-mustachian anxiety as well?  Tell us your story!

 

 

  • Jim July 27, 2012, 8:10 am

    … I’m glad I’m not the only one who isn’t too keen on Dairy Queen.

    Reply
    • Brian September 10, 2012, 5:57 pm

      You will never find the words “ice cream” in a Dairy Queen. Ever.

      Reply
      • AA July 8, 2013, 2:35 pm

        From the FAQ on the DQ website:

        http://www.dairyqueen.com/us-en/Company/FAQ/

        “Technically, our soft serve does not qualify to be called ice cream. To be categorized as ice cream, the minimum butterfat content must be ten percent, and our soft serve has only five percent butterfat content. While our soft serve product used to be categorized as “ice milk,” the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) eliminated this category of product to allow companies the ability to market frozen dairy products as “reduced-fat,” “light,” and “low-fat” ice cream.

        DQ® soft serve fits into the “reduced-fat” ice cream category and our shake mix qualifies as “low-fat” ice cream. But, even though our soft serve may have been categorized differently in the past, our recipe has not changed. DQ soft serve contains 5% butterfat, which is not the same as 95% fat-free.”

        Reply
  • RubeRad July 27, 2012, 8:20 am

    I’m not even close to awesome

    You may not be awesome, but you are definitely BADASS!

    Reply
  • October MacBain July 27, 2012, 8:32 am

    Dairy Queen ice cream has no flavor.

    Reply
  • darkelenchus July 27, 2012, 8:37 am

    Yes! We had a similar experience this past weekend when my mother-in-law visited and insisted we drive three hours away in her fancy, brand new car to visit a beach in northern Wisconsin, even though we live just a mile from a really nice beach on Lake Michigan. We sat in the car for 6 hours so that we could stand on the beach for for about 45 minutes. Then, of course, we just had to eat at a restaurant. The whole thing cost probably $250. We could have had a better experience for a longer time and for way less money (or no money) if we would have stayed in the local area.

    Reply
  • MBT July 27, 2012, 8:39 am

    My husband and I are working toward being on the same (frugal) page. Earlier this week, my loving husband DRIVES 0.4 miles (strike one) to buy bread. No other food, just bread (strike two). He didn’t buy anything else because we didn’t need it—our cupboards are so well stocked he left the bread in out on the counter. Apparently, we needed it right NOW vs. next week when I’d regularly buy groceries. The emergency was that we had peanut butter, so we “needed” bread (strike three). Note: hubby had looked past the celery, apples, Melba toast, and FLOUR. When we talked about the other options, he whined a “but I wanna” (player two, strike one). Unfortunately, there was no Sexy Time that night.

    Reply
    • Uncephalized July 27, 2012, 11:43 am

      While the story was pretty pathetic, I do hope you’re not using sex as a bargaining chip to force him to be frugal. That’s a one-way ticket to Resentyourwifesville, population: your husband.

      Reply
      • MBT July 27, 2012, 12:26 pm

        Never, never. Unfortunately, there is no bigger turn off than a grown man whining like a child. We both missed out that night.

        Reply
        • Uncephalized July 27, 2012, 1:38 pm

          Fair enough. :D

          Reply
  • G.E. Miller July 27, 2012, 8:39 am

    Love your posts Mrs. MMM.

    It’s funny that you should mention DQ, as they are laying off all of their manufacturing staff in Canada so that they can begin outsourcing manufacturing of their ice cream for the lowest possible contract price. You thought it was shitty now – wait until a year from now when price trumps all other considerations.

    Anyhow – I feel this way ALL THE TIME. Every wasted dollar. Every acceptance of the insane common. Every senseless cliche excuse. And when it comes from your own family? Even worse.

    A little diversity in viewpoints is a good thing, right? Ahhh… fuck it. This world would be a much better place if everyone had Mustachian values.

    Reply
    • RubeRad July 27, 2012, 8:56 am

      Actually, if everybody turned Mustachian all of a sudden, the bottom would fall out of our economy. The reason Mustachianism works, is because Mustachians have learned to take advantage of the system created by non-Mustachians

      Reply
      • G.E. Miller July 27, 2012, 10:26 am

        That is a statement that I’ve heard before, but don’t think is the case. Take the DQ or movie theater examples. What if there were no more DQ’s or 3D movie theaters because everyone was Mustachian? Mustachians would be more likely to eat locally made ice cream from a local retailer. Local economy wins, everyone eats better ice cream, less societal costs with the pollution, animal mistreatment, and environmental degradation required to produce that cheap-ass DQ ice cream. Sounds like a huge win for everyone.

        With the movie example – you’d probably see a lot of theaters close down, but the entertainment dollars would be shifted elsewhere to things people could do at home, people would get out and exercise more, and less pollution of driving to the theater. Sounds pretty damn good to me.

        I know these are simplified statements, but saying everything would collapse is a gross over-simplification, in my opinion.

        Reply
        • Jamesqf July 27, 2012, 11:47 am

          Except for the assumption that locally made ice cream is going to be better (not just flavor, but in every way) than non-local ice cream. Ain’t necessarily so.

          Reply
        • Kristi July 27, 2012, 12:01 pm

          I think there are a few industries that would fade away. But then again, is that really a bad thing?

          Reply
          • SunTzuWarmaster July 27, 2012, 1:15 pm

            It would be a complete disaster for the 3D movie industry!
            And the car leasing business!
            And the consumer lending industry!
            And the gasoline dispensaries!
            And the frozen meal manufacturers!
            And All-American McDonalds!


            So how soon can we start?

            Reply
            • FreeUrChains July 31, 2012, 2:25 pm

              The Mustachian Virus has already begun to spread. Why do you think we can’t recover from this recession? ;)

              Reply
        • Melissa June 27, 2013, 1:50 pm

          Theoretically you are both right in a sense. The bottom would temporarily fall out so to speak. Just as it did in the industrial revolution. Many workers lost their farming/labor jobs as machines took their places. The workers eventually find a new trade. We are experiencing this on a smaller scale with technology (note: I am in no way suggesting this is the sole cause of the recession for it is far too complex to do so). It is a necessary change however to move into a more environmental and conscience friendly market. Over a relatively short time-frame (granted the government keeps their bailouts and subsidies to themselves) the market will set their products and price based on the consumers demands. Although this is another oversimplification it is proven that if a product or service is not purchased on a large scale the company will no longer offer the goods and services. BTW Mrs. Mustache you are admirable to say the least. My husband and I always felt like outsiders until my mother in law brought over the Washington Post article. We are now proud live the mustachian way and no longer duck and cover when people try to impose their wasteful ways on our family. The article and blog site has also motivated us to start saving at an exponential rate and for that we thank you.

          Reply
      • Mr. Money Mustache July 27, 2012, 9:16 pm

        I actually wrote about that subject once right here on this blog: “What if Everyone Became Frugal?” http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/04/09/what-if-everyone-became-frugal/

        Reply
        • Jake D July 30, 2012, 11:32 pm

          I was hoping someone would point that out, I assumed it would be a member of the MMM community, they’re usually onto things like that.

          Reply
      • Baughman July 30, 2012, 9:57 am

        I disagree. Mustachians tend to be highly educated. They are predominantly engineers. Engineers bring value to society by creating life-improving products.

        Frugal individuals (or intentional/deliberate consumers) bring value to society by shifting demand from worthless crap to high-value consumption, such as medical care. Imagine how much money could be invested into medical research and R&D for tech companies if the rest of our compatriots diverted money from tabloids, vices, dieting fads, and cell phone companies towards life-saving medical research? That’s a world that I’d like to live in. Garbage trucks would run once a month rather than weekly once our consumerist mindset dies.

        By producing more value than one consumes, an individual makes the world a better place (assuming that externalities are priced into market transactions). Few among us do it.

        Reply
      • Zany Caswell August 11, 2012, 7:57 pm

        It might be a violent transition but the world on the other side would be beautiful.

        Reply
  • Erik Y July 27, 2012, 8:42 am

    Sounds a lot like having that “one last drink” of the night when out partying back in college. It practically destroys the fun you just had.

    I love the line: “silent Canadians caught eating ice cream”.

    Reply
  • RubeRad July 27, 2012, 8:57 am

    Wait, so what 3D movie with an awesome bonus scene after the credits did you see?

    Reply
    • kris July 27, 2012, 10:19 am

      I looks like “Brave”.

      Reply
  • Christian July 27, 2012, 8:59 am

    Waking up is not as fun as people tell you it is going to be. :)

    I want to say a thank you, by the way, for not making me feel so alone in the world. I have to live on $1400 a month so my life turned weird like you, MMM. Reading your blog is like talking to a good friend.

    Reply
    • FreeUrChains July 31, 2012, 2:30 pm

      But you learn to live like a monk, and once FI, you get to Volunteer to train other potential monks :) Teach them out to fish, fight, grow food, and socialize outside their prison cubicles.

      Reply
  • Joe @ Retire By 40 July 27, 2012, 9:02 am

    Hahaha, sorry to hear about your DQ experience. I haven’t been to DQ for ages. Mrs. RB40 likes the super deluxe ice cream experience and they taste great in the summer, but I cringe every time we pay $3 for a scoop. She doesn’t spend much money on other things though so I keep my mouth shut. :)

    Reply
  • Holly@ClubThrifty.com July 27, 2012, 9:18 am

    I have felt similarly before. Some things that others find fun aren’t really fun to me…especially when “fun” requires unnecessary spending.

    My kids have never been to Dairy Queen even though we drive by it every day. Actually, I bought a case of juice boxes at the grocery recently and my daughter squealed with delight as if she had never seen such a thing in her life. Since a juice box brought her so much joy and excitement, I feel like I am doing a good job depriving her….just as my parents deprived me.

    I love my kids and don’t want them to be spoiled. If they can become so incredibly happy with the little things in life then I feel they will be happier people as they grow up and become adults.

    Reply
    • Acorn July 27, 2012, 9:29 am

      Was coerced into going on a cruise with extended family (didn’t have to pay) and almost nightly, had to visit the upgrade restaurants instead of the restaurants that are included with the fare. The upgrade restaurants are an additional $25/pp and while it is reasonable (maybe), the included restaurants provide wonderful service and food. For frugal folks like us, the included restaurants (all you can eat) seemed terribly indulgent already. Don’t get me started about the alcohol tab. Ugh. When we have our summertime hols with family, your DQ experience is a regular occurrence for us.

      Reply
      • Holly@ClubThrifty.com July 27, 2012, 10:05 am

        That sounds like a nightmare. Why not just eat at the included buffet and be happy with it? I have an unsophisticated palate so I wouldn’t pay $25 for any meal, especially when a free meal was already included. This sounds like something my sister would suggest and I would have gladly been the one to tell her no.

        Reply
      • Mr.Thrifty July 27, 2012, 10:12 am

        That whole upgrade scam on cruise ships is ridiculous. Most of the food is exactly the same as what’s on the buffet. The only difference is that there’s a waiter that will come by and wipe up your crumbs.

        I prefer the buffet since I can get a little bit of each dish and you can’t do that in the restaurant.

        Reply
        • Acorn July 27, 2012, 11:35 am

          I know, I know. The included restaurants aren’t even all buffets – there were a wide range of fancy sit down and get served type restaurants. I only succumb in order to maintain family harmony – and I grit my teeth to do so.

          Reply
    • Llama July 27, 2012, 11:33 am

      You should stick some of those juice boxes in the freezer for a few hours, then cut the top off and eat the slush with a spoon. Your kid won’t know what hit her! :)

      Reply
      • Holly@ClubThrifty.com July 27, 2012, 2:17 pm

        That’s a good idea!

        I want to keep expectations low though…..
        Maybe for her birthday.

        Reply
  • Mr. Everyday Dollar July 27, 2012, 9:29 am

    I like ice cream, a lot, but as a treat. Do I go out of my way to get it, nope. Every once in awhile I will actually buy a small container of Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked when it goes on sale. This is normal.

    A lot of people do way too many things out of moderation like drinking soda (http://mreverydaydollar.com/the-financial-lessons-of-giving-up-soda/) or my favorite, buying stuff that fills their houses (http://mreverydaydollar.com/the-clutter-epidemic/)!

    I get anxiety being surrounded by a lot of crap in my living space.

    Reply
  • spider1204 July 27, 2012, 9:29 am

    I actually have some more Mustachian like memories about Dairy Queen. When I was in middle school, I came into a ton of free ice cream coupons for DQ. I do mean a ton, I’d probably have had to eat 5 ice creams a day for months to use them all up before they expired.

    However, the DQ was rather far away for a kid with no car (3 miles each way), so during the summer me and my friends would ride our bikes almost every day to use our coupons. Even though today, I probably wouldn’t even eat DQ ice cream if it was free and delivered directly to me, looking back it was actually an awesome time. More so than the ice cream, I remember feeling an immense amount of freedom from realizing just how far one could ride their bike. Then I didn’t even feel the need to get a car until senior year of college.

    Reply
    • Dee July 27, 2012, 12:39 pm

      What a great story! I got such a mental picture of kids riding banana seat .bikes (don’t know if that was the reality). Thanks for posting this!

      Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache July 29, 2012, 8:13 pm

      Excellent Story! Yes, it wasn’t DQ itself that was the problem of course. It’s that the “experience” was pretty empty.

      Reply
    • C40 July 30, 2012, 10:24 am

      When I was in college, my friend/roomate and I both worked at the same Goodyear factory. For some reason they gave out coupons for a free spaghetti meal at Fazolli’s (an italian fast food place). Well, the security guard there had a thing for both of us, and she gave each of us a stack of coupons. Some days I’d eat Spaghetti for lunch AND dinner.

      Reply
      • Marianne G May 19, 2014, 11:01 pm

        There was a DQ walking distance from my high school, and I used to collect stray change abandoned by kids playing games with coins in a jar in my locker. I called it my slush fund and I collected enough each week to pick up a cone on Fridays, free to me! Now I live in a place with no DQ (gasp!) and actually, when we head to Southern Canada I have to admit it’s our first stop :)

        Reply
  • Mr.Thrifty July 27, 2012, 9:30 am

    I have this happen all the time when we visit my in-laws. Every meal is a production. We can’t just have some food, or even go out to eat. No, we have to ride 30, 45, 60 minutes to get some food. I appreciate good food as much as the next person, but we literally pass dozens of restaurants to go eat at a special and usually expensive place. To make matters worse, they’ll drive another 20 minutes for dessert. With every mile we drive, I can’t help but wonder – how much gas will we waste before we can finally eat? Is the food actually good, or is that I’m starving by the time we get there?

    The worse is when they visit us and we go out to eat an restaurants near our house, and I hear nothing but complaints..the Pad Thai isn’t authentic..the steaks are select..blah blah. My other favorite…let’s split the check. Wait- we split our entree and have water, while and you each have an entree and drink.

    Lord knows there’s nothing but complaints if I cook. I once threw out two pans of lasagna and salad because they were going to eat out come hell or high water. Technically, I didn’t have to throw it out, but I admit it, I was pissed off. I mean, who the hell has a home cooked meal waiting for them and drives an hour away to go out to eat instead?

    Reply
    • October MacBain July 27, 2012, 9:42 am

      Sounds like it’s time to divorce the in-laws.

      Reply
    • Acorn July 27, 2012, 9:52 am

      Mr. Thrifty, I think you might be my husband! This describes my family to a T. :(

      Reply
      • Mr.Thrifty July 27, 2012, 10:18 am

        I feel your pain. Luckily, our daughter is too young to understand the differences. The Thrifty household does not have iPads, iPhones, 3DS, and 6 foot TVs. How do you explain to a 7 year old that she isn’t going to get $100 to spend any way she wants when her cousins do?

        Reply
        • Brad July 27, 2012, 1:34 pm

          I would say “Everyone is destined to make only so much money in their lives; some like to spend it all early and then mire themselves in debt by borrowing other peoples’ excess.”

          Reply
    • Gino June 11, 2013, 2:27 pm

      My sister and her family used to come visit my mom who was busy creating a home-cooked, delicious meal in the kitchen while they would stop somewhere on the way [once it was at Dairy Queen] and eat all the while knowing she was preparing food that they then would not eat once they arrived.

      Reply
  • RichUncle EL July 27, 2012, 9:44 am

    Your father could have bought a nice breyers ice cream for 2.50, and bought some cool toppings to go along with it for say another 5-10 bucks. You probably would have a lot left over as well after everybody had a serving. I guess you have to force him to read the blog more often and become more Badass, lol. I am still thinking of what was the other stop he had to make.

    Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache July 29, 2012, 8:14 pm

      Yes! Buying ice cream at the grocery store would have been an excellent idea. Especially since the grocery store was right there.

      Reply
    • Joe July 30, 2012, 2:16 pm

      Yeah, can’t believe you left us hanging at the end there… Where’d he stop!?

      Reply
  • RubeRad July 27, 2012, 9:44 am

    Exactly, I’m with you RichUncleEL! Ice Cream is my achilles heel, but I can’t stand paying for ice cream-store prices. My kids get Baskin Robbins gift certificates as prizes from their wonderful piano teacher, so once in a while we’ll have a family bike ride and spend them.

    But apart from that, I can’t justify paying $2-3 for one serving of ice cream when I can get 1.5qt ice cream (aka four servings) for $3-4 at the grocery store (one of the three premium brands is always on sale), or a whole gallon of regular ice cream for just $5.49.

    Reply
    • Dancedancekj July 27, 2012, 10:04 am

      I prefer home-made ice cream! With eggs and cream or coconut milk. Mmmmmmmm custard based ice cream….*Homer Simpson drool*

      Reply
      • Gipsy Queen July 27, 2012, 12:03 pm

        Scientific Ice-cream rules!
        Ingredients:
        -1liter of milk
        -500cc of sweet cream
        -~0.5kg of sugar (yes, you need a lot. When it’s cold the taste buds are numbed)
        -whatever flavor you desire (we tried coffee, chocolate, crushed strawberries, crushed passion fruit – it all worked)
        -the secret ingredient: liquid nitrogen. And then you can use it to teach the kids about temperatures and stuff…

        Reply
    • Nurse Frugal July 27, 2012, 10:23 pm

      Totally with you on that one! Me and my husband took a walk to Rite-aid the other day and couldn’t stand the idea of paying so much when we could buy a gallon of ice cream for the price of two single servings! I enjoy making ice cream with my ice cream, it’s actually can be a little bit pricey, but the quality is way better and it’s a fun activity to do!

      Reply
  • Dancedancekj July 27, 2012, 10:02 am

    At least the grandparents aren’t taking Little MM for a ride on the yacht to dine on caviar and bubbly :)
    Given that I have to work with Philistines every day in an area that deals with money, the behavior is no surprise to me anymore. Instead of stressing out about it, I just try and entertain myself with the ridiculousness of it all.
    When you’re out with MMM, you should make it like a game of slug bug. Punch or pinch each other when you see a specific example of non-Mustachian behavior. Warning: This may result in a lot of punching and some awful bruising. I accept no responsibility for any injuries that may occur.

    Reply
  • George July 27, 2012, 10:13 am

    haha! that is funny the last part where you say: ice cream tastes like crap. Is this fun?

    I have not been to a DQ in years, sometimes though we will get ice cream from the grocery store and have it at home after dinner in small portions, its so much simpler that way.

    The 3D movies are just a way that the theaters use to justify raising their ticket prices by at 50% or double the regular price they used to charge.

    It seems grandparents always love to spoil the grandchildren. Maybe next time you can suggest a nice evening walk in park and skip DQ; you can even bring bugspray ahead of time in case they give an excuse about the bugs being out or something like that

    Reply
  • Bronxite July 27, 2012, 10:26 am

    My husband and I were trapped into going to a Hard Rock Cafe in Manhattan (not original … midtown fake) once, standing on a long line with elderly parents, to appease the “Let’s Have Fun in a Famous Place” g-ds for an in-law who seemed to think it would be fun for the kids.

    After a seemingly endless amount of time, we entered and were seated at a crowded table, had to order overpriced mediocre food, listen to way-loud music and look at other people’s old clothes hanging on the wall. So happy to leave. How do people find this fun?

    Why don’t people actually ask other people what would be fun for them? Usually it’s most fun for the people who push the event. It seems like we are all pre-programmed to check something off a list. I think we’re all guilty of this to some extent. It takes a little strength to push back.

    Reply
    • MustacheB July 27, 2012, 2:52 pm

      Hello!

      Your comment made me realize that often, it’s in these types of busy, high-priced, consumer-oriented situations (Disneyland, HardRock Cafe, etc.) that one sees kids having meltdowns. It’s ironic, because the parents/grandparents are spending a ton of money because they think it’s going to be “fun” for the kids, but the long lineups and excessive stimulation often result in worn out, grumpy kids (and parents, too!)

      Now, I’ve rarely seen kids having meltdowns on the hiking trails or mountain bike park, but I’m not a parent myself yet, so what do I know? (I do teach Kindergarten though, so I figure that gives me at least some street cred’!)

      Reply
      • Michelle July 29, 2012, 9:20 am

        You are so absolutely right. We met some friends at Disneyland when my son was 4.5 and he hated it! He kept asking “Can we go home now?” It was hot, noisy, and crowded (this was supposedly one of the least busy days of the year). One thing I do is to let my son judge things on his own merits. I didn’t hype Disneyland as some kind of magical lifetime experience, but simply told him we were going to a place with games and rides.

        Reply
    • Nurse Frugal July 27, 2012, 10:28 pm

      I visited a Hard Rock Cafe the other day for the first time and it was ridiculous!!! Talk about over-priced!!! I was in Orlando and options were very limited! I felt like I would have had just as much fun at McDonalds without feeling the guilt of spending so much money on food that wasn’t even worth it!

      Reply
  • Tyler July 27, 2012, 10:29 am

    Maybe it’s just me, but a 10-minute side trip to DQ after a movie with the family seems like a wonderful day. Wouldn’t do that every day, but sometimes those moments are worth a modest few dollars.

    FWIW, in small towns in the south DQ is wonderful. I have many great memories there with family and friends and a small amount of change in my pocket. Riding my bike around all day, there’s no better way to cool off. Maybe it just tastes that much better in the Texas heat than the Canadian chill. ; )

    Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache July 29, 2012, 8:16 pm

      I see what you’re saying, but the whole point was that the experience was not great at all. I think we all felt it. We’ve had some epic grandparent experiences on this trip. This was definitely on the lower end of the scale…

      Reply
      • Scott & Kenda March 31, 2014, 4:08 am

        I really enjoyed your story Mrs MM, notwithstanding the cringing — it was personal recognition of many long-ago sadly similar situations where I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t just be happy like everyone else seemed to be! Thinking there was something wrong with me… (this was way before I even thought about frugality and the ridiculous consumer-marketing complex that we live with). Thanks

        (ps: I realize this is a very old post; I’m new to the blog via a very lucky reference from MarketWatch about 2-3 months back…so glad I clicked that link! and am now catching up.)

        Reply
  • Clint July 27, 2012, 10:48 am

    And to think, Berkshire Hathaway, run by one of our favorite investment minds–Warren Buffett–owns DQ.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache August 24, 2012, 12:25 pm

      That’s a bit if trivia that I didn’t know before!

      If Warren Buffett and I disagree on anything, it’s nutrition. He’s got See’s Candies and shares in Coca Cola and all of these other places that sell, basically, addictive highly-toxic shit to people who shouldn’t be eating or drinking it. But he doesn’t realize how bad it is, because he has always had a pretty unhealthy diet himself!

      In general, he likes just ol-fashioned American-style capitalism. Buying the BNSF railroad system recently was a good example of that. He was steeped in the thrill of US economic progress for all of his life.

      In the end, all his profits will do far more good than harm – through the Gates Foundation. But hopefully the next generation of superinvestors can afford to shift things away from what we’ve all learned by now is bad, by being more selective about what to sell to people.

      Reply
      • Joe August 24, 2012, 2:40 pm

        Sounds like you think that Mr Buffett has a responsibility to not invest in companies that make products that are unhealthy if not consumed in moderation? Does that obligation apply to you and me as well? When’s the last time you checked the companies our Vanguard Index Fund has invested in? I think you’ll be surprised what’s in there (e.g. Phillip Morris and even Buffett’s Coca-Cola are in there).

        Reply
        • Mr. Money Mustache August 24, 2012, 5:34 pm

          You’re totally right – I was talking through my hat there because I do indirectly own shares in all the big US corps.

          I guess what I meant is that he doesn’t seem to see the harm in Coca-cola in general. I think that (and all soft drinks) is a particularly harmful product, because it trashes your body, and yet it’s marketed to kids, consumed widely, and generally considered to be a harmless treat. But with the obesity epidemic traceable directly to our crappy refined-sugar diet, it’s among the biggest killers in the world!

          So I wouldn’t take a controlling interest in Coke and try to promote its business interests. And if people stopped drinking it and the company went out of business, I’d look at my slightly reduced portfolio value with deep satisfaction.

          At least with cigarettes, there are serious warnings and everyone who smokes them knows they are doing something dangerous. And in the US, the anti-smoking education efforts have had a HUGE effect on smoking, right?

          From my understanding at least, drinking sugary drinks is just as bad for you as smoking – I’d actually choose at least part of cigarette over a can of Coke if I were forced to consume one, even though I dig neither. In reality, I still drink alcohol too, but again I do it with guilty pleasure, knowing that I’m playing with pure poison!

          Reply
          • Joe August 24, 2012, 6:35 pm

            Totally agreed on health warnings for sugary junk. It should be regulated like tobacco! I just read “Why We Get Fat” and it totally blew my mind about carbs as the major dietary culprit.

            Reply
  • Debt Free Teen July 27, 2012, 10:50 am

    The crazy thing is, after we switched to a primal/paleo diet, eating out isn’t nearly as much fun. When I order bacon in a restaurant, I think about the fact that I could buy a whole pound of organic for the same price. Yes I’m ruined too! But I still love my truck!!
    Chase

    Reply
  • Tara July 27, 2012, 11:21 am

    I am with you Mrs. MM! While reading your father’s comments, I was thinking BINGO! He pulled out every excuse/cliche you can think of for wasting money and time on useless unlpleasant experiences. To me, movie theaters and restaurants are just a giant time and money sink. So much better to watch a money on TV at home and make your own ice cream, popcorn or whatever.

    We were on vacation last month in Montreal and our friends suggested going to a popular restaurant for dinner together. It was frighteningly expensive – for 5 people with a bottle of wine it came to $500. I nearly died. My SO thinks nothing of such an expense but it pained me. I still can’t get over what a waste it was.

    Reply
  • Lance@MoneyLife&More July 27, 2012, 11:36 am

    I bet it can feel like a lot all at one time if you don’t go out that often. I’ve been to dairy queen a few times and really like their blizzards. I wont go to a 3d movie though so I guess that is my trade off in this situation.

    Reply
  • Teresita July 27, 2012, 12:04 pm

    Totally on board, Mrs. MM. I’ve been to two movies this summer (with my son who was on leave from the military), and I felt like I was in some surreal state of being…I usually go to a family-friendly dollar theater when I do splurge on a movie away from home. New movie in a full price theater was sticker shock, and a completely unnecessary expense (my son insisted on paying, but still…). I will, however, be borrowing The Avengers from our local library, once it comes out on DVD. It was an awesome movie, but totally NOT worth $40 for the four of us to see it…. $40 is a huge amount for entertainment…I could have purchased 80 VHS movies from local thrift stores, and gotten WAY more entertainment value for the same price. Plus, we could watch the VHS movies more than once if we owned them. That’s a YEAR’S worth of entertainment. We blew it in 2 hours. Sheesh.

    Reply
  • Kristi July 27, 2012, 12:05 pm

    Thank you for a great post! I think you’ve really hit the nose on the head with your observation and have put it into a post that a lot of Mustachians can relate to.

    Reply
  • Sarah July 27, 2012, 12:45 pm

    This reminds me of the stress I feel after spending an afternoon with my mom. Mom claims to be “trying to be frugal,” so she wanted to go to the upscale mall across town “just to browse.” (Famous last words!) I agreed to go with her because I just wanted to spend some time with her. Over the course of 2.5 hours, she paid $4 for parking, strolled by many upscale shops neither of us could afford (though Mom wanted to “just have a look” at more than half of them), treated us both to fancy coffee drinks, and bought a couple of shirts she admitted she didn’t really need (but they were on sale! 2 for $40!). Mom declared the afternoon a frugal victory (!!!) while I ended up feeling like some kind of cheap penny-pincher when Mom kept encouraging me to treat myself to something. All I could think was how I do NOT want to pay mall prices for fancy-brand clothing I don’t really need. 99% of the time, I totally happy with our choices, but spending an afternoon with my mom always makes me goggle-eyed at how much money other people can spend so casually.

    Reply
  • Dee July 27, 2012, 12:51 pm

    Thanks, Mrs MM, for your post. I don’t think it was too long at all. Hope the little MM thought it was a fun evening, at least. Going to the movies and ice cream at a chain with his grandparents may stand out at more memorable for him since it will not get conflated with the umpteen other times he went for the same kind of activity with his parents.

    Reply
    • Gerard July 27, 2012, 2:11 pm

      Yeah, I was thinking this (or something like it) when I read the post. Presumably the grandparents want to do something “special” for the kid while he’s visiting, and this is their idea of special. And they really don’t see what’s wrong with it. Although as Bronxite says, it would be nice if people just asked what other people would like.

      Reply
  • Mike July 27, 2012, 1:04 pm

    This is definitely getting shared with my wife, another cross-fit and healthy eating fanatic. Paleo diet is changing our views on eating. Have you tried coconut milk ice cream, by the way? Not completely paleo, but it is pretty good!

    Reply
    • Dave July 28, 2012, 2:19 pm

      Can someone please explain the connection between eating a “paleo” diet and mustachianism? I noticed that many people on this site seem to follow that type of diet.

      Reply
      • Dancedancekj July 29, 2012, 11:33 am

        I believe MMM is going to be doing a post on it soon, so I don’t want to steal his thunder too much. Personally, I believe it to be of several Mustachian values including
        1) Focusing on good health and nutrition
        2) Not consuming empty calories and processed junk that offer no advantage in the diet
        3) Consuming nutrient dense and satiating sources of food that give you the most bang for your buck
        4) Not consuming foods that cause inflammation, autoimmune, and leaky gut issues to improve quality of life and performance.
        5) In my experience, it actually decreases the amount of money I spend on food.
        6) Relies on reading peer reviewed evidence-based studies to guide and support its existence.

        There are a lot of parallels between eating and spending money in my opinion, and the Primal/Paleo diet appears to be most Mustachian to me. Also, it will allegedly make your mustache (the actual facial hair one) silky and shiny and strong :)

        Reply
      • Mike July 30, 2012, 6:38 pm

        Eating healthy is certainly an investment in your lifespan and your quality of life in the future. It’s also has the side effect of reducing medical expenses. While I’ve got no recommendation about the paleo diet, it certainly makes sense that people that are interested in their financial health would also mind their physical health. After all, where’s the fun in financial freedom if you haven’t got your health to go with it?

        Reply
  • kh July 27, 2012, 2:56 pm

    Was that the Dairy Queen on the corner of St. Laurent and Hemlock?

    Reply
  • Nancy July 27, 2012, 3:29 pm

    Is this the Montreal Rd. Dairy Queen? We used to go sit on curbs and eat there too…

    Reply
  • mike crosby July 27, 2012, 4:15 pm

    I also like my frugal friends via this wonderful online community. It really got kicked into gear reading ERE, and MMM has taken it to a whole new level.

    Where once I read these blogs because I found it a passing interest, now its become my passion. Without a doubt living life this way makes one a better person with a ton of benefits added in.

    Here’s my DQ moment from a few days ago: a visit to the mall for lunch. Observing people with their designer bags to carry their designer goods. I remember how long ago I felt I was cool that I bought something and had a special bag to show it off. In fact, I believe some stores actually sell their bags–the bags themselves become an object of desire.

    Along with the designer bags, came the designer hairstyles to go along with the designer clothes. I liked wearing my $1.99 Tshirt from Goodwill. (And I’m not taxed on that either;-)

    Reply
  • Happy July 27, 2012, 4:17 pm

    A couple of months ago we visited family and “morning tea” was had at a cafe specializing in chocolate..totally yum but >$100. Same pleasure could have been had by buying just one of their chocolate bars @$7 and sharing it in my view, since we all felt sick from over indulging in chocolate. Then a brief stint in the park (my idea), then a return to the shopping mall for shopping . ???Wait! We don’t know what we’re looking for since we weren’t planning on shopping. Apparently its “normal” to go shopping when you don’t necessarily need anything. Then back to the food hall for lunch..another $30 of yucky food. And then, more shopping. I looked down off a balcony to a shop below that was completely full of tizzy useless trinkets designed to tickle the tired fancy of shoppers, but all without function…I stared at this carcophony and had some sort of weird dissociative experience: we had raped the earth to produce this shiny useless crap. I got increasingly agitated and finally called a halt to the outing – I just had to get out of the mall.

    Reply
  • Daniel July 27, 2012, 5:17 pm

    I have a friend who works 3 jobs.

    Three. Jobs.

    She probably works 60 hours a week. And what does she do with the money she earns? What she doesn’t spend on bills, she spends on cars and jewelry. If she has anything at all saved up, it isn’t much. Thank goodness she doesn’t have any debt.

    Every time she posts a picture of her latest shiny acquisition I nearly hit the ceiling. I don’t know if it’s anxiety, but it’s at least an allergy.

    Reply
  • lindsey July 27, 2012, 5:40 pm

    We go through the same thing with my parents, but, really, if they want to do it and they pay for it, is it the end of the world to just let them be in control? Some day your grandkids may be saying, “And then when they come visit those cheap bastards just take us for a bike ride to an organic farm and we have to pick our own dessert off the trees. Why can’t they ask us what we want to do and spend a few bucks on us?”

    Do I like where my father takes us for a meal? Nope, too much and too expensive. But I try to keep my eye on the fact that when we leave to go home, he is very proud that he could afford to take us to what he thinks was the best and that he could introduce us to the maitre d’ (Christ, I can’t even spell that fancy position) as his daughter and son in law. My dad immigrated and started as a bricklayer until he learned English and then went to school and got in a profession where he made a lot of money and now lives comfortably as a retiree. A little humility about being a mustashian would not go amiss sometimes—it strikes me that sometimes we are pretty self-righteous.

    Reply
    • Daniel July 27, 2012, 5:46 pm

      I would tend to agree if the people spending the money can afford it. But my parents waste money like nobody’s business, and while it’s certainly nice to be splurged on (I freaking love sushi), I know they worry about money. I would prefer to have a more mustachian meal if it means I don’t have to worry about them as much.

      Reply
    • Jill the Pill July 27, 2012, 8:48 pm

      “letting them be in control” is a slippery slope we’ve been on for years. This year, grandma is pushing for a Disney vacation on her terms. Yes, it’s generous, but it can also be manipulative.

      Reply
      • Linden July 27, 2012, 9:50 pm

        I think we ALL manipulate, just in different ways.

        Reply
        • Emmers July 28, 2012, 2:01 pm

          Even if that’s true, it’s no reason to cave to manipulative family members.

          Reply
  • Joe July 27, 2012, 5:44 pm

    Mrs. and Mr. MM,

    Enjoyed the story.

    Would love to read successful tips for raising the kids to be mustache in the face of YOLOing parents and culture.

    –Joe

    Reply
  • Adrienne July 27, 2012, 7:50 pm

    Sounds like grandparent anxiety to me – an I suffer from it as well! I cannot for the life of me get my mother to realize that it’s the time she spends with the grandkids (not the money spent) that’s important. Her constant over indulgence of the kids is a very sore spot between us. It’s not only wasteful but it is harmful to the kids. After spending an overnight with her they come home with such attitudes it takes a full day to have our regular kids back. When they get treat on top of treat on top of treat … well nothing is special. It is nails on a blackboard frustrating to me.

    Reply
  • Mirwen July 27, 2012, 11:30 pm

    I’ve been working hard to re-program my consumerist brain. I knew I was making good progress when my mom called a few days ago and asked if I would like a “girls day out” including eating at a restaurant and shopping. Even though she would be buying I still cringed at the idea of wasting money in the search for family time. I said yes, of course, but I’m hoping to change the plan as the day approaches.

    Reply
  • Fuzz July 28, 2012, 12:02 am

    What a tension! Your parents love your grandson and want to take him out. Yet the way they celebrate him (or celebrate for him) is antithetical to MMM values. What we talk about when we talk about money is so much more. No doubt you appreciate the intent, but it’s tough.

    Reply
  • Rob July 28, 2012, 2:49 am

    We tend to have trips out on either walks or to visit gardens. One place we visit has an annual ticket of £40 plus a guest which works out well over a year, especially since they could never maintain that garden on that money.

    Most people take the path straight to the restaurant or cafe (depending on how poor they are) and straight back. We look at the plants. The result is that the gardens are very quiet, the cafes very busy and the tickets subsidised.

    Averages less than a £1 ($1.50) each for us per trip – for them about £20 ($30). Crazy…

    Reply
  • Dan July 28, 2012, 4:51 am

    LOL! Sorry Mrs MM, I think you are weird. I don’t see the anxiety inducing stress that you felt. I save about 50-60% of my income, and I don’t feel guilty at all if I drive my beater to the theater and go for beer and wings after with buddies. Sounds like you need to stop worrying so much about how your parents spend their money if it causes you so much stress.
    P.S, I like dairy queen ice cream. To each their own.
    P.P.S, now having said the above, I dont enlist in doing the buy buy buy thing every day. I avoid malls like the plague, and dont buy stuff unless its for my hobbies and it enriches my life. I buy new clothes once a year, and thats when someone else buys them for me. I darn my own socks, for christsakes. If people want to spend their money on crap, let them. you can smile, and be comforted that you choose to spend your money in accordance with your principles.

    Reply
  • sara July 28, 2012, 5:18 am

    I have similar feelings as Mrs. MM frequently when I go to mainstream consumerist places where people line up to buy things they don’t really need and that have no real value at all. Sometimes, you will see people (especially young people) just looking around hoping for something to buy, even though there isn’t anything really there that they want. I tried that life on kind of briefly but even before I started changing to mustachian ways, it bothered me. I sometimes hit up the local yard sale scene and often stand there feeling quite queasy about all of the products now for sale for next to nothing that families paid full price for, products that raped the earth, stole the people’s time and life energy, preventing the family from becoming wealthy and probably disrupted the families intimacy. And sometimes the families will be gloating over the few hundred dollars they just made and thinking about what they can spend it on. Very few seem to have the thought that, gee, I spent about $5000 on this stuff (not even including the gas and time spent) and I just made $250 selling it.

    Reply
  • kyle July 28, 2012, 7:05 am

    To be frugal is one thing, but to be freaking out in the back seat as you drive a whole 4 km is kinda sad. Sometimes this lifestyle can be taken too far. Just enjoy your time with family a little instead of constantly shuddering at the cost.

    Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache July 29, 2012, 8:36 pm

      Hi kyle,

      You can read my response to aspiringyogini above. I think you missed the point. The point is that I am different and everyone else is the same. That’s okay. I’m a pretty relaxed person and am happy to pay the price of things if I feel they are worthwhile to me (a good example is paying for crossfit).

      I just think some people should really evaluate their idea of fun. I really don’t think the trip was fun for any of us, but we thought it would be. As someone else mentioned, going home and having ice cream and maybe playing a game of cards all together would have been way better. I’m sure everyone in my family would agree with that…

      Reply
  • carolinakaren July 28, 2012, 7:18 am

    I had a moment like this last night when we were at an outdoor festival with friends. John bought two beers, one for each of us. Now, I love beer….The part that almost made me hyperventilate was the “upgrade” to etched pint glasses wrapped in leather that were monogrammed with the local brewery logo. WTF???

    Reply
  • Liz July 28, 2012, 10:07 am

    I hope your father didn’t read this.

    Reply
  • Heath July 28, 2012, 10:42 am

    Woohoo! Another post from Mrs. MM :-) Always glad to hear stories from your perspective, as it helps round out the ‘ideal family’ image that I’m shooting for. I know you guys aren’t perfect, but you’re way beyond what I’ve managed to reach, and you’re a very healthy mid-level goal.

    Keep the posts coming!

    Reply
  • Joe J July 28, 2012, 3:33 pm

    I really like reading most of these articles, however I am struck by the fact that you would let something this minor bother you so very much. If this was an every week occurrence, I can see getting upset by it. But this sounds like a once in a while experience for your parents to take their daughter/grandchildren out for a treat, and you sound like you are on the verge of having an anxiety attack! I would remind myself that tomorrow is never promised, and if this brings joy to your parents, then by all means allow it. Many may disagree with me, but this does not sound like one of those “slippery-slope” scenarios. If you are having this much anxiety over something that hasn’t effected you, maybe its not your parents who are the ones with the problem to sort out?

    Hopefully I dont get flamed for my opinion here. I have to agree with lindsey, sometimes mustachians can be very self-righteous.

    Reply
  • sue July 28, 2012, 11:11 pm

    My first comment… but I had to comment! I have only had Dairy Queen once, when a girlfriend of mine that I hadn’t met in awhile (I’m a girl, in case you’re wondering) suggested we meet up and chat, and her suggestion was to go to Dairy Queen, pick the ice creams up and chat in the car. I remember thinking to myself who likes this ice cream?… its so thick and artificial tasting. I do like normal ice cream.

    Reply
  • Jen July 29, 2012, 6:32 am

    Once you are out of the loop, you start to see the weirdness of all the things out society considers “fun”. I took my son to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, and it was hellish. The kids were all walking around alone, looking like zombies and barely interacting with one another. The parents are yelling at the kids to eat the pizza they paid $20 for and kids are crying because they didn’t get the prize they wanted. If you really pay attention, no one is happy. But, I think our memory makes us believe it was a good time later on so we do it again and again.

    I hope you didn’t complain about your evening out the whole time though because it would ruin it for everybody. I grew up poor and my mom didn’t take us out to do very much so when another family member came along and took us out for ice cream or to a movie it was really special. If my mom had told them “no thanks, it doesn’t align with our values” I think I’d have punched her in the face! :)

    Reply
  • aspiringyogini July 29, 2012, 6:41 am

    I really understand the frustration that MrsMM has with her parents, and how they grandparent little MMM. However, I think that the perspective needs to shift just a bit so that MrsMM can feel better. For a child to have grandparents who love him and want to do wonderful things for him is a great gift that should not be taken for granted. And from what I have read this little boy has 4 grandparents who he gets to see every year and he gets to see how they live and know who they are (not just how they spend their money or that they give him stuff). There are many grandparents who are now raising their own grandchildren which is not what they ever expected in their retirement and do not cherish the grandchildren and may even resent the kids being foisted on them.

    My own grandparents worked all their lives, yet were poor (but with mustachian standards!) and I loved them dearly and learned a great deal from them. My GM would often give me $5 for gas when I came home for college, which reduced what she could spend on groceries the following week. What I realize now is that she was proud and happy to do that small bit for me and the money wasn’t really the important thing which was given, received and acknowledged between us.

    Reply
    • Posted On July 29, 2012, 9:43 am

      good point, aspiringyogini !
      I never met either of my grandfathers, one died before I was born, and one died when I was very young, too young to know him. My folks moved west when the married, so I saw my grandmothers maybe a total of 10 times throughout their lives.

      I can see MrsMM’s conflict though. The grandparents try to “treat” the children in a way that mustachianism doesn’t really consider to be special. In fact, quite the opposite.

      But a lot of people who work their whole lives to “have it good” want to spend their wealth (or what is left of it) on their children or grandchildren.

      As I have grown older, I try to consider “time” a better goal than “money.”

      The MMM blog helps me do that.

      Reply
    • Mrs. Money Mustache July 29, 2012, 8:28 pm

      Note that I have absolutely NO issue with how my parents grandparent my child. In fact, they are incredible with him and Little MM loves them sooooo much. I do believe that he has a very special relationship with them that is like no other. Partly because we can come live with them every summer for weeks at a time. I am very close to my parents, particularly my mom, and there is hardly ever any tension between us. After all, we spend SIX WEEKS living with them every summer. That’s saying a lot about how well we all get along.

      This story is simply an anecdote to show that even seemingly normal behavior by perfectly normal and wonderful people can start to seem very un-normal to someone like me. It’s something I’ve seen a LOT on this trip and it’s just a reminder that the way we are living is very different from the norm. It’s something that you usually have to consciously change and it goes against the grain from the way society functions. This story is not a story about how anti-mustachian my parents are… not at all! It’s about my perception of things and how much they have changed over the years. It’s a reminder that it isn’t easy and that people don’t always understand. It’s also a big reminder that it is the right thing for me and now comes so naturally that I sometimes feel out of place.

      Yeah, I was a bit stressed in the car with the extra driving, but I didn’t say a word. I was hopeful that the experience would be fun, but it wasn’t. Those were my observations for that day. I enjoyed the movie immensely and we have been here for many weeks driving around and doing all kinds of things I wouldn’t normally do. So, perhaps this was just one more thing in a list of many things. I actually thought the whole scene at Dairy Queen was quite ridiculous. I can’t understand how anyone would enjoy sitting in a parking lot to eat ice cream. Yet the place was packed… bizarre.

      Reply
      • Gerard July 30, 2012, 6:49 am

        Thanks, Mrs. MM, this frames the original post better and helps me see what you were getting at.

        Reply
  • C40 July 30, 2012, 10:42 am

    I have similar experiences when I go hang out with my family, or with spendy friends..

    I’m always resistant when they want to go watch a movie. I don’t really see the point of doing that. We have to travel a long way to see eachother and don’t get much time, so I wish we’d do something together (sitting in a dark room watching a movie doesn’t count). I guess we do stuff together nearly all day long, and it can be instense, so it’s not so bad.

    Most recently, when we were together in a small town, we decided to go have Dairy Queen. It was within a mile, so we walked there. The DQ was in bad shape. As we walked in I noticed many dirty tables. When ordering, I noticed the back area was dirty also. Dirty floor, grimy looking grill, etc. The kids working there looked disheveled – shirts not tucked in, grease stains on them, etc. Someone was ordering from the drive through, and their voice came over a speaker for all to hear – so loud that it was almost hard to order at the counter.

    As we were preparing to leave, half a softball team of girls came in. One of them ordered a banana split. There was a commotion and I turned to see the teenage boy who had been making the split had slipped and fell while putting ice cream into the container. He was laying out on his back on the floor. He had dropped the bowl on the ground. The ice cream machine lever was still down and ice cream continued pumping out of the machine, building up in the bottom reseviour, and spilling down the front of the machine. All the other employees were standing around laughing or yelling “oh my god!!!!”. I stood and watched this state continue for at least 4-5 seconds. I had a very strong urge to walk around the counter, shut off the ice cream, and help the kid up.

    It will be a long time before I go to a Dairy queen again – and after that, probably the same for my family.

    The other funny thing about this trip was that while our family was in this small town, we found many places of business that were in big need of good management. This DQ… The golf course… the gas station… etc.. We had a whole conversation about how we could turn this town around!

    Reply
  • Brave New Life July 30, 2012, 4:24 pm

    I have this experience every single time my parents or my in-laws visit.

    Fortunately, they’ve all come to realize that my wife and I have grown so different from them, and they’ve all accepted that my wife will play along with the non-MMM life for a week or two, and I won’t. I’ll hang out and play games at home all night (afterall, I do like them), but I won’t go out for $50 BBQ when we could cook a better version at home for a fraction of the price.

    I don’t know… I guess I don’t mind standing out. I don’t push my agenda on anyone, I just stay consistent with my values.

    Good article, by the way. You sounded so much like MMM that I wouldn’t have noticed had you not stated it up front.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache July 30, 2012, 4:45 pm

      Great point, Brave!

      Many beginner Mustachians are afraid to stand up for their new values among Standard Consumer family members. Eventually, they will lose this fear and begin a cheerful revolution. It really works – if you are confident and honest about your own beliefs, others will have a VERY hard time challenging them.

      In fact, since the typical Consumer got that way by being a natural follower rather than a leader, they may end up following YOU if you lead by example well enough, and for a long enough time. Standing out from the crowd is a great thing, and I personally wouldn’t want it any other way!

      Reply
  • Brooke July 31, 2012, 11:51 am

    I can’t handle the peer pressure in social situations that leads to exhorbitant overspending. Its really very hard to stand up to, especially when you are on the mustachian path to financial independence! Right now everyone I know is having social events from engagement parties, to weddings and baby showers and it all feels like an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, like this is a good excuse for everyone to sign up for the most gauche exhorbitantly overpriced registries – spoil me, buy things for me that I would never afford on my own…and well, I certainly couldn’t afford these things either so why are you asking? Very hard to decline (and I do decline!) because you’re looked on poorly even though you have your priorities straight. The big thing right now in my social circle is everyone asking for expensive electronics if “everyone pitches in its just $40 bucks each, no big deal right?” And the same group pitch in idea for renting luxury hotel suites at $350 a pop as if it ain’t no big thang. Many of you have mentioned in this string that this spending coercion is manipulative and I think that is about right! Sorry but I’d rather pay for my car maintenance, thank you. Same folks in this ex. just had a car die because they weren’t getting their maintenance done and had to put down on a brand new car and then they complain about being tight on money. Just plain irresponsibility. Grr.

    Reply
  • Jason August 1, 2012, 7:30 am

    A few things –

    1. I read the title you’ll never be normal again and DQ and figured that you got food poisoning. (Which could be a logical conclusion to eating out at DQ).

    2. My angst gets high anytime buying ice cream out. Locally we can get ice cream in the store for $2.50 a half gallon. ($1.99 for store brand). Ice cream truck that stalks us in our neighborhood charges $3.00 an ice cream sandwich. Our local ice cream shop (not a chain store) runs us $12 for a family of four. We do go out to get ice cream as a treat, but it is truly a treat and maybe twice a summer.

    3. I just got back from my parents house and had the same kind of angst, but not about ice cream. My sisters kids and mine were there for four days, one of which we had a family reunion. All my parents wanted to do the other three days were go places and spend money on the kids. The kids did not care, as long as they were out having fun. (My parents live on Lake Ontario and have a 120 acre farm in their back yard!) We convinced them to stay at home and we had a blast, swimming, skipping stones, running up and down hills, playing outdoors, etc. No need to spend $50 to do to a movie, or $100 to go to an amusement park.

    That’s it, I’m out.

    Reply
  • FreeUrChains August 1, 2012, 8:12 am

    Brave was a Fantastic movie to inspire Freedom, Independence, True Love, Happiness, Spending Time with Family and Friends, and spending time with the hobbies you love. Working and Consuming prevents all of this from ever happening, and you become stuck in an endless cycle. Just remember the freedom you had in College. 3 hrs of work, exercising, socializing, persuing your hobbies and intergrating them with what you were studying, walking/biking everywhere, meeting new people and trying new activities all the time. Etc.

    This is how the real world should be, and it is one difficult goal to accomplish, but FI is possible and so is changing your fate.

    Reply
  • Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple August 2, 2012, 8:57 pm

    I had one of these self inflicted days last weekend. It was really stupid. But a relative gave us a $25 gift card to Walmart for the new baby. I should have used it on line or given it away. I should have. But no, we drove 40 miles to Walmart. Sat in an hour’s traffic each way. Dodged people in the store to get a couple of items. And man, I can’t believe I wasted 3 hours of my life.

    I have a 3.5 weeks old infant. I’m barely sleeping, why would I waste 3 hours?? I could have been cooking dinner, playing, or napping!

    Reply
  • Chad August 7, 2012, 2:25 am

    I have been a long time reader, probably whenever you first got featured on lifehacker. Glad to know that it is possible to retire just by being frugal and not having to start a business.

    This is probably one of the most impactful articles that I have read on your site. When I go out now, I just cant contemplate randomly spending money anymore.

    Reply
  • Heidi August 7, 2012, 3:38 pm

    This is hilarious. A few weeks ago, I heard my 5 year old lean over to his sister while playing and say, “Did you know there is store called Burger King? And one called Dairy Queen?” They both started laughing and repeating these names for the next 10 minutes. Apparently the only Kings and Queens they know exist in fairy tales. Though we did see the Queen of Norway walk into a building last year. I don’t think that was impressive.

    Reply
  • c hefferan August 7, 2012, 9:14 pm

    Yeesh. I love this blog and read it frequently but the only thing that comes to mind after reading this post is the word “chill’. Calm down and have a good time with your family and stop worrying.

    Reply
    • Tom August 8, 2012, 11:41 am

      I agree, I happen to like reading Mustachian, but I thought “chill” also. That’s a bit too high anxiety for me, and I was under the impression that the Mustache’s enjoy life…but that article really threw me off, considering it was a “little” thing that the kid probably loved to be treated to.
      After all, don’t we just about do anything for our kids well being? I think the grandparents wisely sense a necessary treat, only if occasional, but jeez…I happen to LOVE DQ Blizzards. But I guess Mississippi DQ ice cream tastes better, maybe b/c its blazing hot all summer long.

      Reply
  • Kate August 14, 2012, 11:13 am

    We have just returned from a “family vacation” which was attended by about 15 people. A place is chosen and a house is rented for a week. This divided by the family’s work out to be cheaper than getting a small cramped motel/hotel room. We than divide the meals up and make most of the dinners and meals for the group. Again, to Mustachian the cost vs quality is amazing compared to eating out. Of course, this can be a opition for some if they so decide. Many outdoor activities are open for everyone to enjoy and get unplugged. Certainly some can’t seem to unplug for a week. This by the way is the only time I may watch tv as I’m just not into paying for cable. I see some like the fast food track, pop tarts, fruit loops and the list goes on of crap. Does it occur that most kids love junk if given the choice to eat and than when dinner arrives are not hungry? It certainly comes down to choices for everyone. Be outside enjoying nature or plugged into tv, computers or cell phones.

    Reply
  • John August 14, 2012, 3:43 pm

    I think the key to knowing whether or not to go to Dairy Queen (or purchase any discretionary item for that matter) is to look at the budget (and maybe your waistline). Is the money in there? If not, it’s a no-go.

    Reply
    • PtboEliz May 22, 2014, 1:17 pm

      I wouldn’t follow that logic myself. I would ask whether there was enough ‘bang’ for the purchase – value, a gained efficiency and/or some effort of mine which is the kind of bonus that makes something a happy experience for me. I think this is more what MMM is getting at when he writes that he doesn’t bother with a budget because it always works out that his family buys whatever they want and they still don’t spend over $25K annually. Empty spending has no appeal no matter how much extra money you have kicking around.

      Reply
  • Jay August 24, 2012, 8:47 am

    I had KFC the other evening because my beautiful pregnant fiancer wanted it… I had MMM anxiety because I dropped 20$ on food and it was the grossest thing I have ever eaten in my life… KFC…seriously, gross and anxiety inducing, for me!

    Reply
  • Oelsen August 29, 2012, 7:07 pm

    So far down, I doubt anyone will read it, but I have to write it.
    A wtf-terrifying moment was months ago when we had grand parents visiting and we were so glad they finally left town we decided somehow this moment “needs something” and we went to Burger King. My gf ordered something like a burger and I was curious to try out their desert. Well, both were disappointed. My gf ranted along the way home that she’s still hungry and I just could not accept that a global company can produce a desert that isn’t even sweet and had the consistence and smell of cardboard. I decided I will never again set a foot in a fast food restaurant. The other moment was when I saw this Mercedes in my local Mall: 66’000 Swiss Francs. W-T-F.

    Reply
  • Unplugged May 17, 2014, 2:05 am

    Great comments on this post! It’s shocking to see how far people will go to consume things for a ” special” time. We recently had a family portrait done with three generations of family members. We went to a downtown studio that has every restaurant imaginable walking distance away. But nope, had to pile into three seperate cars at 5 pm to drive to the outskirts of town. It took us 35 min to drive there. I wish gas was $8/ liter so this kind of fucktardery would disappear. Also had my parents buy $100 worth of Chinese delivery on our lady night of visiting them in Ontario. The food was poor quality, and just all deep fried nondescript shit. Could have just made rice, ordered egg rolls and a couple $10 specials and maybe had a little dessert after. Throwing money away does not equal pleasure!

    Reply

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