Donald MacInnes: I'm almost as extravagant as an Eighties pop star

In The Red

Who's the stingiest person you know? I have no doubt that, as soon as you read those words, someone sprang to mind; someone who would rather crawl naked across the floor of the monkey enclosure at the zoo than pay one penny more than they absolutely had to.

I certainly once knew a bloke who was at the, eh, Scroogier end of the Spectrum of Tightness (or, as it is known in certain circles, the Grasp-o-meter). To paraphrase the great Ferris Bueller, this geezer's fists were so tight, if you asked him to hold a lump of coal for you, in two weeks it would turn into a diamond.

Personally, I'm anything but a skinflint and probably chuck it around too much. The worst example of this was a few years ago (in fairness, it was after I had inherited a chunk of money). I was in Miami visiting my sister and one day I was helping her fold the laundry. She threw one of my tennis shirts at me and I happened to catch a whiff of it.

"What is that SMELL?" I cried. The amazing bouquet turned out to be the fabric softener, the name of which escapes me. Don't get me wrong: over the years, I have had as much interest in fabric softeners as the next guy, but this stuff smelled like Heaven after a rain storm. I figured I would track some down when I got home. But this US brand wasn't available in Britain, so I ordered some online. The actual bottle of fabric stuff cost about £6.99, but to ship it over from the States was going to run me about £35. I trust you will return your fallen jaw to its default position when I tell you that I paid it. A total of £41.99 for some fabric softener. On reflection, these may be the campest eight words I have ever typed. It's shameful, I know, but I would not have done it had I not just inherited a few quid.

This remains the high watermark of my financial profligacy. And it's beaten only by a story I heard about the 80s pop group Duran Duran.

Seems while the five mullety Brummies were touring America, bass player John Taylor (left) had a hankering (or hunger, say, like a wolf) for some Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate. Their manager arranged for a box of the stuff to be flown over BY CONCORDE in time for the band's show that night.

Now, this might be apocryphal, Smash Hits-cultivated nonsense, but I don't care. At least it makes my fabric softener excesses seem less ridiculous...

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