Posts Tagged ‘chimps with sticks’


There is no spoon

November 28, 2008

On the weekend I put a new tyre on my bike. I had to. The old one was so worn that patches of the red underlayer were showing through the black rubber. There is no such thing as a second-hand bicycle tyre, and it is not frugal to endanger your health by skidding off your bike, so a new one was quite justified.

It is customary to use a special tool to pry the tyre off a bicycle wheel. In our last move, I must have misplaced mine. I ransacked likely areas of the house, but I just couldn’t find them.

Suddenly I remembered what Dad used to do when I was kid: he used old teaspoons. So I did too. Worked a treat, problem solved, spoons went back in the cutlery drawer.

I think one underlying frugality principle is illustrated here: using things you already have for a new purpose. Hence the common pattern in tips “you can use an X to make a handy Y.”

I get a big kick out of this kind of thing these days. I have a feeling we’ve been brainwashed by marketers into believing that every activity requires its own special, purpose-built product. This is why I feel almost naughty when I find a new use for something, and why other people can be unreasonable and turn their nose up at a perfectly good solution.

Done anything smart recently?