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Oily rag characters

Oily rag characters

By Frank and Muriel Newman

I am sure you would have heard about Generation X, and personality types A & B. Well, not to be outdone by labels and generalisations we at the Oily Rag Research Institute have been doing some of our own ground-breaking research into the vexed question of oily rag personality types.

We all know people who live off the smell of an oily rag are characters, but what most people don't know is that there are many different thrifty personality types.

The first is the traditional oily ragger. This oily ragger personality comes from a long-line of penny pinchers that may well originate from England (Yorkshire in particular). They can been seen ferreting around the bargain bins, saying, "eh, by, gum, lad, ain't thart expensive". After a few years the pennies turn into pounds so these folk usually sleep well, knowing they have a good solid nest-egg under their mattress.

The second personality type is the hate waste oily ragger. They hate waste of any kind and can been seen frantically squeezing the tomato sauce bottle to get the very last elusive drop, and even when they get it all, they still think there’s more to be had. The never throw away a piece of paper unless both sides have been used, and you will sometimes find them rooting around in rubbish bins for aluminium cans and other recyclable goodies. They normally have stuff piled up in the garage, under the bed, in every closet, and even up in the loft.

Then there is the greenie oily ragger. These folk are not all that interested in the huge financial windfalls that come from living off the smell of an oily rag. To them it's about the more meaningful aspects of life, like saving the planet for future generations. Quite possibly the early signs of the emergence of these oily ragger types appeared many years ago when they were seen sitting in daisy fields reflecting on Woodstock and GE potatoes. Nowadays they are into electric cars and carbon free push lawn mowers.

At the opposite end of the oily rag personality scale is the Scrooge McDuck type. They are thought to be quite miserly and miserable, but such a harsh opinion is often given to them unfairly. Deep down (very deep down) the Scrooge McDuck oily ragger is a kindly person, perhaps a little insecure socially, but very concerned about financial security in their golden years. This personality type has an uncanny ability to have someone else pay for lunch, and whenever someone says to them "It's your shout" they tend to have a weak bladder moment and disappear to the little room long enough for someone else to have done the honours. They also tend to borrow a lot of stuff and never quite get around to returning it!

Then there is the core group - the making ends meet oily ragger. Typically they are on a tight budget. "Ask not what you can do for your dollar, ask what a dollar can do for you", they say. Often they are at the early stages of life's little journey - saving for their first home or studying to earn a future income - but sometimes they have fallen on hard times and need to tighten their belt a notch or two or three. In times like these, a living off the smell of an oily rag approach to life can make all the difference.

The final oily rag type is the serious saver. They are not stingy, just very serious about saving and have come to realise that the easiest way to save more is to spend less. These savers are the ones who will skip the latté and take a cut lunch to work rather than spend $15 on a meat pie, donut, and coke. As it happens, those who practice a lifetime of oily rag serious saving are usually the ones who least need to live off the smell of an oily rag!

The oily rag website is still undergoing an oily rag reconstruction so please don't forget to contact us via email rather than the website until we get things in order.

We welcome your questions and tips, so please keep them coming! You can send in your ideas and join the Oily Rag mailing list, by emailing us at or by writing to us at Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.


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