Clicking past the cable TV channel TLC is like trying to walk by a train wreck: It's a gruesome disaster unfolding before your eyes but your morbid curiosity just won't let you look away. Such was the case last night when some friends and I chanced upon TLC — which, I suspect, now stands for Total Lunatics Channel — only to see a recent episode of "Extreme Cheapsakes." The show regularly features "average" Americans who try to stretch every penny well beyond its normal tensile strength.
As the episode started, it previewed all that was to come, including a Kansas City woman, Angela Coffman, who refuses to buy toilet paper for her family and instead uses reusable cloth wipes, which she washes wih the rest of her laundry. There was a collective groan of revulsion in the room at the sight of her kids holding up the skidmarked rags — "Don't worry, they're clean!" mom insists. But before the channel could be changed to something less nauseating, we all began to recognize some familiar local landmarks.
Lo and behold, this week's episode (original air date: December 28, 2011) prominently featured Vermonter Roy Haynes, aka the self-anointed "cheapest man in America." Haynes, 58, lives with his wife, LIsa, in a surprisingly attractive house in Huntington. There, the couple runs a dog-rescue shelter called Save Our Strays, which was featured in Seven Days' March 2009 Animal Issue. Previously, Haynes was also featured for his Dumpster-diving proficiency in this September 2003 7D story, "Cheap Tricks."