Billionaire Andy Beal beat Ted Forrest (and the corporation) out of $10 million in a poker game at the Wynn. Right after the victory, I overheard Beal confirming his travel plans with Beal Bank VP, Craig Singer. Towards the end of the call, he added, “And see if they’ll bump us up to first class.”
As shocking as Beal’s win was — I think some people would be more shocked to learn that Andy Beal flies coach. He’s not the only billionaire that hates to pay for first class. Apparently IKEA founder, Ingvar Kamprad, also flies coach. An interesting article about frugal billionaires can be found here.
I know people think my frugality is freakish. But I don’t get why people pay more than they have to. Of course, sometimes I go to extrodinary lengths to get a deal.
Last Thursday I walked into a rug store, part of a national franchise. I made small talk with the saleswoman. Then I asked, “Are you about to liquidate the store?”
The signs boasted a sale, but there were no liquidation or going-out-of-business signs. The store was filled with inventory.
“I’ll tell you why I think so, if you tell me if it’s true.”
She confessed it was true. But they weren’t advertising that fact until the Monday after Easter.
I told her I had seen something on craigslist. She quickly answered that they hadn’t posted any of their rug invetory there yet. I said, “Yes. But you posted some of the store fixtures. And no store sells its fixtures unless it is closing shop.
“Are you like the Rain Man of bargain hunting?,” she asked.
I had been looking for a couple of area rugs and I had been to the store in December. Most of their inventory was the typical nylon crap. But they had a few rugs that were handmade and 100% wool. They weren’t the finest weaves, but they were solid quality.
In a liquidation sale, these would go early. This was the stuff that decorators would feel comfortable buying on spec and house stagers could re-use forever.
“Look,” I said. “No one who walks into the store over the next few weeks will have worked as hard as I did for this. And there is no one who will appreciate what you can do for me more than I will. Trust me. This will be good karma.” She laughed and said, “I am so sick of working fucking retail. I could use some karma.” I got my deal.
Along with my two new rugs, my mother sent me two new pieces of art. One is kind of a folk art painting of me, while the other is a cool collage of me, my father and my paternal grandparents.
Btw, I’m speaking at The MoneyShow in Vegas in May. I got a notice informing me that they had rooms blocked at Caesars for the event. When I looked at the rates, I was shocked. I think they were higher than retail, averaging about $200/night. Any nickel slot player could get a better rate.
I booked next door at the Mirage for about half the price. I have more leverage with the MGM Mirage properties since that’s where I tend to play. And since I’m staying a few extra days, I’ll save a few bucks and my company will save a bundle.
I like when my poker life and investment life intersect. It happens more often than you’d think. For instance, I had a nice time catching up with spaceman a couple of weeks ago. He wrote this very cool article about poker and personal finance at PokerListings.