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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Comic 951: Money Funnies

Title: Working; alt-text: And if you drive a typical car more than a mile out of your way for each penny you save on the per-gallon price, it doesn't matter how worthless your time is to you--the gas to get you there and back costs more than you save.

Okay, I'm going to begin by drawing attention to the stupidest part about this strip: the guy's response to Sarah's question.

"Because a penny saved is a penny earned."

You're not saving pennies! You're not saving anything! This quote is so completely inappropriate as a response that it would make perfect sense if the girl was the one saying it! The only justification I can possibly think of for the quote is if you take it absolutely literally; that is, that every penny you save is directly equivalent to pennies earned while working, and every time you make money you should consider it to be some sort of salary. Obviously that's stupid, but it's also the point Randy's trying to make, so who knows.

The worst part is that I actually disagree with what Sarah (yes, that is her name, get used to me calling her that) is saying. If I fill up my car with 15 gallons of gas at $3.62 instead of $3.57, you know how much I'm saving? 75 cents. Three freaking quarters. Heck, I go to gas stations that I know have my gum, and if their gas is the cheapest, that's a bonus. And yes, that means I agree with Randall. Ouch.

But the thing is, I know people who do this. My mom and grandparents do this. And to be fair to them, they're just trying to be thrifty. That's not a bad thing, even if you compare it to "working less than minimum wage." Not everything is a freaking job, Randall. You should know this better than anyone, given that you only "work" about an hour a week. Should we stop donating money to charities? Should we not volunteer? After all, that's like LOSING money! That's even worse than this gas thing!

Don't kid yourself, Randall; you only did this as GOOMHR-bait. Stop being such a utilitarian douchebag.

P.S. Jon alluded to this in his bingo post yesterday, but it does seem like the forums are getting a bit more cynical (or at least more critical). I like this trend.


  1. Using your math of saving 75 cents for the 15 gallons, and my rough estimation of using 2% of a gallon for each mile you drive (so about 7 cents using your lower price) and assuming that you are travelling 60m/h (for simplicity) "five minutes away" would be 5 miles away. Then assume minimum wage is $7.25 . So five minutes pay would be 60 cents and 5 miles drive is 35 cents. 60+35=95, so you are "spending" 95 more to save 75 on a complete fill up... so you are sort-of wasting 20 cents that you really shouldn't be.

    I think his point is that people are trying to save money when what they are really doing is wasting their time for no real profit.

  2. 1. Curious what Randall chooses to draw in pedantic detail. Here it's the pistol. Also contrast this car to the ones in 946.
    2. Did the woman climb out of the car and only afterwards make that exclamation? Or does she work for the gas station? Or is she a random passer-by?
    3. I know engineer types might have the kind of discussions depicted here. But the rest of us would just answer "Well see if I care", or, "I have a steady income just so that I don't have to calculate every damn penny"

  3. I fucking hate this comic. I hate it so much that I would have to resort to a Harlan Ellison quote in order to adequately describe how much contempt I hold for it.

    I guess my biggest problem with it is how the "punchline" (and I use that term loosely) is handled. What we have here is that Megan asks a legitimate question, to which Randall answers with a witty comeback, which is actually so witty that IT NEEDS TO BE EXPLAINED IN THE CAPTION! God, I fucking hate this comic! To further illustrate the stupidity, please imagine how the conversation in this strip would continue:

    Megan: Why are you going here? Gas is ten cents a gallon cheaper at the station five minutes that way.
    Randall: Because a penny saved is a penny earned.
    Megan: What? But you're not really saving anything by not going there.
    Randall: No, you see, by going to the other station I would be spending nine more minutes in order to save maybe a dollar, which would be like working for less than minimum wage.
    Megan: But that doesn't make any sense! And two times five minutes is ten minutes, not nine...

    And, Jesus, that word "nine" in the caption... Is there any reason why Randall had to write "nine minutes" there other than "fuck math!"? I know, I'm grasping at straws here, but I'd really expect the self-proclaimed "webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language" to make more sense than that.

    Fuck this strip.

  4. you know what my issue with this comic is? (well, beyond the fact that i, personally, would happily drive 5 minutes to save a couple of £. but then, i'd happily drive 5 minutes not to. i enjoy driving. i have a nice car. its fun to drive. you'd have to pay me not to drive it.)

    its yet another example of randall setting up a strawman and then tearing it down.

    i dont think anyone, ever, has deliberately gone to a gas station 5 minutes completely out of the way to get gas.
    they'll go to one thats 3 minutes away rather than 2 minutes away if its a bit cheaper, or likely to have less of a queue, or anything.
    they'll go to one that costs 2 cents/gallon more because they get vouchers.
    they'll play a twisted game of chicken with the fuel gauge over just exactly what 'red line' means, and if they can just make it to the next station along the road they're on where they know its 1cent/liter cheaper or if they'll run out and have to get out and walk and buy a gas can to bring a couple of liters back in.

    but, and this is important, what noone i know has ever done is to make a 10 minute round trip to save $1.50 on gas( and thats what you'd have to have done for the '5 minutes that way' and 'more than 9 minutes' comments to match up - drive 5 minutes there, fill up, and drive 5 minutes back to exactly where you are now).
    and you know why? because noone is as completely fucking stupid as randall's strawmen.

    thats why gas stations are built on main roads rather than in the middle of the country. thats why gas stations on the motorway cost 10p more per liter than off the motorway. because people understand that its not worth driving for 10 minutes to save a couple of £.

  5. I think most people will pick the cheapest one that is on their general route. Sure, it means putting effort into paying attention to the signs around you so that you have some idea of the average rate in order to make the best choice, but it's not the expenditure of time. It's maximising what you get out of your time.

    His point is also completely moronic. If you feel doing some work at less than minimum wage will help you get ahead, frigging do it. His joke is basically "LOL @ povos." What a cocksucker.

  6. I really disliked this comic. It's not funny, it's not touching, it's not insightful; all it is is smug. Randall going "Look at stupid people doing something stupid! Boy, am I glad I'm smarter than them."

  7. I think the forums have been somewhat critical for a while actually. I recall that the 'I didn't like this comic' has always been one of the more popular squares on the bingo card.

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