If you’ve ever been at home, bored on a Saturday afternoon counting the few pennies you have left to devote to entertainment, you’ve probably never heard of Funcheap SF, and that my little Mobster friend, is about to change. We caught up with the creator of the site, Mr. Johnny Funcheap himself, to find out how this all started, and what the word “cheap” means to him:
SCOUT: Funcheap started as a Yahoo group in 2003. At what point did you feel like the Funcheap site was becoming a go-to for people looking for free or inexpensive things to do?
JOHNNY: When I moved to San Francisco I was unemployed and ridiculously bored. So combining things I read in the Chronicle, Guardian, SF Weekly and from flyers on Haight Street, I cobbled together a list of things to do one week that were free or really cheap and sent it out to the few friends I had in the city asking them if anyone wanted to join me at any of these events. I don't recall if anyone actually joined me at the events, but most everyone thanked me for digging up all of the events and asked if I was going to send out an updated list the following week. After a few weeks I put the list on Craigslist asking if anyone wanted to receive this week's fun & cheap events. The first week I got about 100 enthusiastic emails from people who wanted the list emailed to them. The next week I got about 100 more requests. That's when I realized there were a lot of people in San Francisco just like me looking for fun, affordable things to do, but didn't know how to find it.
SCOUT: You do a lot of research yourself, but invite people to send their event postings to you as well. What elements does an event need to have in order to make it on to Funcheap?
JOHNNY: Most of the events we feature on FuncheapSF are free, but it don’t have to be. We're also looking for great deals and fun, affordable events that are a bit unusual. So there's no specific dollar threshold, but $7 for "Archery and Hot Dog Day" sounds like it hits the spot. And since going to the movies are super expensive these days, a $5 ticket to see a double feature at a good old fashioned drive-in theater sounds like a great deal!
SCOUT: How many Funcheap activities do you attend in an average week?
JOHNNY: Not as many as I would like! I'd love to be going out 7 nights a week, but often I'm working on the website at night, so it can unfortunately cut into my fun time. But I'm a huge live music fan so I try to go to at least one or two concerts a week and try to hit at least one fair or festival each weekend.
SCOUT: The word “cheap” usually has a negative connotation attached to it. What does “cheap” mean to you?
JOHNNY: Cheap can be a $5 movie night, or $10 for all-you-can-drink beer, chicken mole and birthday cake. To me, "cheap" means getting a great value and being smart with how what you spend your money on. I don't know if you've noticed, but "cheap" isn't a four-letter word.
SCOUT: Do you have a favorite spot in the city that regularly offers free events?
JOHNNY: It's not a venue that you would normally think of being free or cheap, but the Top of the Mark - the swanky bar on top of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins in Nob Hill is running a free wine
tasting and movie night each Tuesday through September. These are movies filmed in San Francisco. Most of the films are classics like "The Birds" or "The Maltese Falcon" but even if you end up on a night when the film is a dud (like "InnerSpace" or "Junior") the wine tasting is free and the views of the city at night are gorgeous.
SCOUT: Being that you like a good discount, what’s been your favorite Scoutmob deal?
JOHNNY: Bob's Donuts on Polk Street! There's nothing like hot, fresh & drippy late night donuts after seeing a concert at the Red Devil Lounge or stumbling down from an evening of cocktails at the Lush Lounge.
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