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Is There An Anime Character Called “Moochie”?

This happened about 4 years ago in my last year of university, and I’m pretty sure I was in the right, though I probably wasn’t as ‘polite’ as I could have been.

I joined an Anime Society while at university, and ended up getting brought into a group of friends. Most of them had known each other for years but I was welcomed in. The group wasn’t very large, but due to schedules and just general life, it was odd to have everyone together at the same time. As such, certain people were naturally closer to others, a few that considered each other more ‘acquaintances’ and a few clashing personalities that tried never to be in the same room together – but never anything too problematic.

I got on great with the majority, especially a girl, Jane, and this guy Adam. However, Jane and Adam were quite friendly with another guy, Tony, who I very rarely saw. And when we did finally meet, I didn’t really like him all that much. I can’t actually put my finger on why – we had plenty in common and there was nothing particularly unlikeable about him – he just rubbed me the wrong way.

Anyway, not long after joining this group, I introduced them to anime conventions, and desperate to keep our money down, we’d often pool together and share rooms. One year, I shared with Jane and Tony (the first time I actually spent quite a bit of time around him), and found he could be a quite irritating roommate – he was loud, spilled food, invited other people to our room who would crash there, and barely slept. After that, I made a point to always share with other friends.

The year, I was going to a convention with Adam. We had chosen to fly, while Jane, Jill and the rest of the group had all made their way down by train or by bus the night before. They all had far more luggage than we did, and neither of us really like long train trips if we can avoid them – as a rule, so long as nobody is travelling alone, everyone just makes their way however they prefer or can afford.

This had actually been a bad year/time for conventions. A lot of the group were getting ready to graduate, or preparing for exams and generally been quite broke. And this was by far the most expensive one every year, just due to the city it was held in (hotel rates were almost twice what they were for other cons).

Plus there had been 2 other conventions in the last month, so some had just gone to one of them and sat this one out, or planned to go only to back out last minute. I’d booked a room to share with Adam and another friend originally, only to have other friend cancel about a week before. This was a little upsetting, since the city the convention was being held was expensive, and not having an extra roommate meant the rooms were a lot pricier than planned. However, said friend really couldn’t afford to go and was genuinely upset about it, and we could cover the cost, so we didn’t make a big deal about it. We did try to get another roommate, but by that point everyone who could afford to go had already booked rooms.

Fast forward to us arriving and heading to the hotel, when Adam got a phone call from Jane saying they’d met up with everyone, and that Tony, who had told everyone he couldn’t afford to go, had actually got on a bus and made his way there. Of course, he didn’t have a place to stay…and asked Adam if he could crash in our room for the weekend for free?

I just stared at him and asked if he was serious. Adam just shrugged, and I put my foot down. No. He wanted to stay; he had to at least cover some of the cost of the rooms. Adam relayed the message, and then told me that Tony only had £10 on him for the full weekend.

My jaw just dropped. £10 to get you through 2 days and 3 nights? In this area that would get you maybe a meal and a drink – technically not even that, as you needed to get public transport to get to and from the convention from our hotel.

I got a little more of the story. Turns out he’d found a really cheap bus and hopped on hoping Jane would let him crash in their room. Problem was Jane (who had really stretched herself financially to afford to come) had already invited 4 other people to stay in her room to reduce its cost (not that the hotel knew!) and there was just no space.

I know part of me should have felt guilty, but I kept my foot down and said no. Tony knew full well just how much people had to spend to come to this convention – he couldn’t just come last minute and expect other people to let him freeload. If he had maybe come to Adam before the convention and asked if there was any way we could take him in, even for one night, I might have been more lenient. As it was, I found it extremely rude and ridiculous that he’d come all this way when he clearly couldn’t afford it.

I never actually saw him during the entire con (I later found out he was so broke, he hadn’t even bought registration, so just hung outside the convention all weekend), but found out through Jane that he’d ended up staying with them on the floor anyway, and generally mooched off them for food and drink. Can’t say I felt too guilty after that, though did feel bad that Jane ended up supporting him instead. 1012-12

{ 87 comments… add one }
  • Bint October 22, 2012, 4:44 am

    How is Tony really any worse than Jane and her 4 friends ripping off the hotel? Clearly he wasn’t the only one behaving badly to attend an event he couldn’t afford.

  • Nicola October 22, 2012, 5:48 am

    Oh. My. God. I think you did hte right thing in putting your foot down, the problem is that Jane shouldn’t have then let him stay in their room either. Was he also hoping someone would pay for his registration? If you can’t afford an event, you don’t go. You don’t use the only money you have on travel and then expect people to pay your way. In letting him stay in their already overcrowded room, all Jane did was show Tony that he could get away with it. Should have sent him straight on a trian back home. This story actually made my jaw drop. What an entitled little snowflake!

  • Emmy October 22, 2012, 6:53 am

    I disagree with the OP’s statement “I know part of me should have felt guilty, but I kept my foot down and said no”. She should not feel guilty. Tony’s freeloading presence in her room would have diminished her enjoyment of the trip. Tony is the one who put himself in this situation and neither the OP nor anybody else was under any obligation to supplement his trip.

  • Margo October 22, 2012, 7:37 am

    I agree – you weren’t rude, you set appropriate boundaries. You should not feel guilty. You were all in the same boat, as students with limited funds. You, Adam and Jane all planned ahead,and saved.It’s not your responsibilityto support Tony, nor is it your problem that Jane was more soft-hearted then you . (Given what you said about his previous behaviour, I’d have hesitated about agreeing even if he was proposing to pay his fair sahre, and I’d have wanted some pretty clear ground rules, but that’s a separate issue.)

    Bint – how were Jane’s frends ripping off the hotel? It sounds as though Jane was paying full price, so the hotel was not losing out. If Jane was letteing people dsaty in her room and those people were not contributing towards the room cost then they were potentially ripping Jane off, just as Tony did, but that is Jane’s problem, not OPs.

  • Carrie October 22, 2012, 7:39 am

    Bint….at convensions such as this, it’s actually the norm to share a room with 3 or 4 friends. The ones I’ve attended, you have no choice but to because the hotel sells out quickly for convension weekend, and you can’t book your own room. If the hotel is completely booked, they aren’t missing any revenue.

    Don’t feel guilty, OP. I would have done the same thing.

  • siamesecat 2965 October 22, 2012, 7:45 am

    Nope, no reason at all to feel guilty. Tony came knowing full well he had nothing, no money, no place to stay etc., and fully entended to mooch off the others. Good job OP FOR putting your foot down and telling him no unless he contributed to the cost of the room!

  • Lychii October 22, 2012, 7:49 am

    Tony is an inconsiderate jerk for putting his (broke) friends in a position where they don’t have a choice but to support him.

    We’re all taught from childhood to share with friends and help them through hard times, so I can see how Jane couldn’t just throw Tony out and felt obligated to feed him too. I do hope Tony learned his lesson about freeloading eventually!

  • Lo October 22, 2012, 7:59 am

    This brings back memories. I only stopped attending anime cons maybe four years ago. I miss the camaraderie but I do not miss the mooching– seems like everyone group of friends has that one person who crashes in the hotel on the fly because they can’t really afford to be there. But that’s the beauty of subculture, we try to help out friends out because we know how much it means to be there. Except when they’re complete morons about it like this Tony guy seems. It’s one thing to work out that they’re going to sleep on the couch in the hotel room or something because they can’t afford to pony up for the room. I once booked a hotel for a con with some people and offered that the guys who couldn’t pay as much could stay in the 2nd room (with tables, chairs, etc,) on sleeping bags for very little. But this is an agreement you make among friends and far in advance. This is something generous you do for someone who needs a little help. This is not something anyone is entitled to.

    But people do come with no money for even basic necessities and expect that others will help. And they don’t understand why no one wants to keep doling out to a freeloader. The subculture is absolutely rife with it when it comes to conventions. You just have to keep putting your foot down. No one is forcing anyone to come. People need to learn to prioritize. Life is bigger than the anime convention.

  • Yarnspinner October 22, 2012, 8:18 am

    I’ve told this story elsewhere, but I attended one of these with the female version of Tony. She had money, but no sense in how to spend it. There were three of us in attendance at a famous Science Fiction Convention, but one of our party had a boyfriend and she spent most of her time with him, so I was stuck with Mooch.

    The three of us had agreed in advance (or rather the two of them agreed and I was told) that during the day each of us would take turns paying for each others meals. One person would pay for everyone’s breakfast, one for lunch and one for dinner and the next day it would be reversed. Knowing how much Mooch ate, this sounded inequitable no matter how you sliced it.

    The first night, Boyfriend was to “take the three of us” to dinner at amazing, expensive restaurant and he was paying!. I had my doubts about Boyfriend, so I deliberately ate a very cheap dinner. Glad I did: When the check came Boyfriend said “I’m only paying for girlfriend, you two are on your own.”

    Girlfriend disappeared that night to Boyfriend’s room, so next morning I told Mooch I would pay for breakfast, but because of some seminars I was attending that afternoon, I would not be available for lunch or dinner.

    Mooch ordered two different breakfasts because she couldn’t make up her mind. My breakfast came in at $7,50 plus tip…her’s was upwards of fifteen and change before tip. This was thirty plus years ago and that was a good portion of my budget.

    I don’t remember how I avoided Mooch (I can tell you she avoided ME when breakfast time came round the next morning). Because I was meeting with friends on the last day of the convention and spending vacation time with them, I had set aside a portion of my money to pay for the restaurant we were attending and the play we were going to see. Mooch Knew this and confronted me demanding I give her the money I had and write her a check because “I have seen the most beautiful painting and I’ve spent all my money and I need at least a two hundred down payment. I know you have it, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeze?”

    Back then I didn’t know that “No” was a complete sentence and kept telling her that I had budgeted for this and I was sorry but I couldn’t help her. I kept thinking “That painting has been available allweek, why didn’t you put the money down then?” She kept arguing that my other friends would pay for me and I could pay them back. (No mention of her paying ME back.) I finally decided to wait for my friends down in the lobby and left her to her own devices.

    Never went anywhere with Mooch again if I could help it.

  • Abby October 22, 2012, 8:23 am

    People like Tony are completely frustrating. So, he hops a bus with the equivalent of about 16 bucks in his pocket, counting on the fact that once he’s there, no one will let him starve or sleep on a bench. What exactly would he have done if Jane’s 4 roommates would have said no more room at the inn? Or not had enough cash themselves to pay for his meals? Can you even change your bus ticket to leave early, or was Tony basically stranding himself in a town for 2 days with no money for food?

    Sadly, the only thing Tony probably picked up from this is that OP is the bad guy (NOT saying she is, just that Tony probably thinks that, and will tell anyone who will listen). The fact that Jane let him crash and covered his meals probably will encourage him to do this again. OP, don’t feel sorry for Jane. Her enabling is part of the reason Tony thinks he can get away with this. As long as someone caves in, Tony will conclude that this is perfectly acceptable and anyone who balks at subsidizing his vacations is just a mean person.

  • Leah October 22, 2012, 8:34 am

    As a 10-year veteran of cons, having a hotel room crammed full of people is quite common and the hotels expect this. So the OPs friends weren’t ripping off the hotel. That still has no bearing on Tony’s appalling behavior. I’ve known a few people like that, and have even lost my paid-for bed to one of them. The best way to deal with them is not to engage them. I treat moochers the same as crazies: avoid, avoid, avoid.

  • egl October 22, 2012, 8:44 am

    You have no reason to feel guilty. The guy came to a convention that he couldn’t even afford to get into. His lack of planning was not your responsibility.

    Frankly, I’m mystified on why he went in the first place. I’m assuming he knew no one could afford to pay for him to get in, and it sounds like there were plenty of people that he knew who weren’t going either.

  • Stacey Frith-Smith October 22, 2012, 9:06 am

    It’s pretty clear cut that expecting someone else to house and feed you for the duration of a weekend that you traveled to attend is dishonest. Tony was relying on the others to do for him what he should have done for himself. He couldn’t even pay registration? Yikes!

  • Library Diva October 22, 2012, 9:09 am

    OP was in the right, Tony was clearly wrong, but it’s only human to feel guilty in a situation like this. Even though Tony’s own poor planning was to blame for him spending a weekend skulking around the registration tables, sleeping on the floor, and most likely trying to stretch one box of crackers, it’s such a pathetic image that I even feel a little sorry for the guy. Let’s hope he learned something from this and has forsaken his freeloading ways.

  • Cat October 22, 2012, 9:22 am

    You did the right thing. Once you cave in to a mooch, you set a pattern. This is the guy who, when his wife kicks him out of the house, will show up at your doorstep, expect to live with you for free, and then head to your refrigerator to drink up your beer.
    I made the mistake of loaning a friend money to buy something when he could not afford to pay cash. He paid me back, but didn’t offer any interest. It set a pattern. Anything he wanted to buy, he expected me to front him the cash and then he’d pay me back over months. I lost the interest I would have earned on my money so I was actually paying the interest he would have had to pay on a loan.
    His excuse was always that he did not want to cash in a CD. I finally told him I had put all my money in CDs just as he had. That stopped him.

  • Amber October 22, 2012, 9:35 am

    So glad OP put his/her foot down. When I was OP’s approx. age in this story, I didn’t have the spine to say no and spent more than one event feeding and housing various moochers. I’m glad OP could say no, and s/he should have no regrets.

  • Traherne October 22, 2012, 9:43 am

    You still have extra people using water, electricity, etc. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s still ripping off the hotel to some extent. And OP admitted they did this to lower costs, not because there wasn’t accomodation available elsewhere. Not ok IMHO.

  • hakayama October 22, 2012, 9:44 am

    A “Moochie” could be garden variety chiseler, an annoying character that people can just smirk and tsk-tsk about.
    To me, Tony is not just someone with questionable social conduct. I see a pathetic and desperate addict, as bad and sad as anyone addicted to alcohol, gambling, cocaine or heroin… He appears to be so consumed with his passion and is willing to beg, borrow, steal and suffer humiliation to feed his addiction. He seems to be living for the next “fix”…
    I understand that GAMING, in some “escapist fantasy” ways similar form of “entertainment”, is also bringing chaos and unhappiness into families.
    The remaining question about Tony is, where will he be in one year and beyond. Will he ever graduate, get a job, etc.

  • Bint October 22, 2012, 9:49 am

    Margo and Carrie – in the UK, almost all hotels charge by *occupancy*. As in, if you put 4 people in a double room – assuming this is even allowed, which in most places it is not – they will charge you extra. Given Tony has ten quid, not ten dollars, and the travel set-up, I strongly suspect this is the UK, although the giveaway here is the OP saying ‘not that the hotel knew!’ In other words, whatever the location, Jane and her friends should not have been doing this.

  • Tracy October 22, 2012, 9:54 am

    “Problem was Jane (who had really stretched herself financially to afford to come) had already invited 4 other people to stay in her room to reduce its cost (not that the hotel knew!) and there was just no space.”

    Sounds like the OP knew that Jane hadn’t reported the number of occupants in the room to the hotel which often charges more for the room if you have more adults in it.

  • Lerah99 October 22, 2012, 10:09 am

    OP, I am really impressed with the amount of polite spine you had in college. You shouldn’t feel guilty. Tony put himself in his situation. That was completely a “you made your bed; now lie in it” situation.

    I have lots of friends that go to Dragon Con in Atlanta every year. Many save the entire year just to share a room with 3 other people, car pool from Florida to Georgia, and stock their room with snacks and beverages from the supermarket to avoid the high cost of convention food.

    Each of my friends have versions of this story. Some free-loading friend shows up last minute assuming that they will be allowed to crash in the room and graze on everyone’s snacks for the weekend.

    My favorite story was the guy who showed up at the hotel Thursday night. He talked his way into staying on the floor in the room of some people he knew from the internet. Then on Sunday he started asking people for a ride back from Atlanta to Miami because he could only afford the bus ticket one way and had no ticket home. He figured he’d find someone headed back to Miami and they would be more than happy to take him along. Apparently he ended up at the traveler’s aid office when no one had room in their car for him.

    The best part: he was escorted out of the hotel when he started yelling in the hotel lobby about how “People at Burning Man understand community.” and that he “never has any trouble getting a ride home from freakin’ Arizona but apparently the up-tight yuppies at sci-fi conventions have fallen into the media’s trap of thinking ever man is an axe murderer!”

  • Yvaine October 22, 2012, 10:26 am

    hakayama, that’s just sensationalist hyperbole. I’ve met plenty of people who have this lack of social skills and it’s really stretching to call them all “addicts.” If this was really about feeding an anime obsession, he could watch at home–you don’t watch any more anime at a con than you do in the regular course of things. It’s more of a social event.

  • Cherry October 22, 2012, 10:36 am

    @hakayama, where does gaming come into this at all? The OP was talking about anime, which is something completely different.

    You comment just comes completely out of left field and feels like an opportunity to take a swipe at a hobby a lot of people (myself included) enjoy using a tentative link to the topic at hand

  • Ashley October 22, 2012, 10:49 am

    Hotels are used to people cramming into rooms during Cons, they tend to overlook it unless you are trying to cram twelve people into a room designed for four or something. So while what Tony wanted to do is nothing out of the ordinary for this type of event, the fact that he wanted to do it for free is horrible. Good for OP having a spine! This is exactly why when I go to conventions, I make sure I’m going with a group of people who KNOWS that the rule is if you don’t have money, sorry, we’re selling your room spot to someone who can pay us before we get there.

  • --Lia October 22, 2012, 10:55 am

    Hotels charge different ways. In the U.S., the most common way is to charge by the person. If one person is staying in a room, it might be $100. If 2 people are staying in that same room, it might cost $180, or $90 each. That might strike them as unfair, but the hotels are generally upfront about how much they charge; this is legal, and sneaking extra people in is considered stealing from the hotel. If the guests don’t like the deal they’re offered, they’re welcome to go elsewhere.

    I understand it’s done differently in Europe. (I’ve traveled only a little and welcome corrections if I’ve got this wrong.) In that model, the room might cost $100 (or equivalent) for one person. If 2 people stay in it, the total cost might be $110 with the extra money going towards the breakfast that’s included with the room.

    A hotel might make arrangements for a con (or a wedding) where there are group rates or different rates or different price structures. Whether in the U.S. or Europe, the hotel does have an interest in knowing how many people are staying and who they are. That’s for reasons of fire codes or crime. It’s not a situation where someone can say that they’ve paid for the room and it’s no one’s business how many people are there and what they do there. Being dishonest about it is being … well, dishonest. So while people might disagree as to whether sneaking an extra person into a room qualifies as stealing, there’s still something moochy and shady about it.

  • Rod October 22, 2012, 11:02 am

    Nah, don’t feel guilty. Limits and their enforcement make for solid relationships with people.

    A long time ago I was part of a varsity team. We found out that a team member was having financial issues but was a bit socially awkward to sort things out openly. He was a good guy, well respected and valuable part of the team, just a bit shy and anxious with others.

    The rest of the guys took turns paying for his meals (lodging was provided by the university). No one abused this by having extravagant meals or anything like this. The “strategy” was that a predetermined team member would offer to pay for him before any meal. It worked well, there was no bickering or fighting.

    On the way back, the bus stopped at a rest stop (it was a large contingent with many varsity teams) and to our surprise he takes out his wallet, states “whoa, I have hardly spent any money this trip – still lots of cash!” and gets some food. To his credit, he did buy me a snack there.

    Moral of the story – make things clear with others. This guy was not a moocher, and by us assuming he had no means we just covered him unnecessarily.

  • Ellen October 22, 2012, 11:06 am

    Yarnspinner’s story reminds me of a weekend I spent with a longtime friend/neighbor and her mother, who had travelled to visit us in the Big City. When she came over for coffee at my very modest one-room apartment, which I spent a lot of time painting and decorating with curb-picked/thrift-store finds, she kept commenting on how “rich” I must be. I replied that instead, I was very fortunate to live in a city where people throw nice things away.
    The next day, friend called to say that her mother had invited me to join them at a very expensive nearby restaurant – one where I would occasionally save up to splurge on coffee and dessert, but never eaten a meal. I was a bit suprised at the invitation, but thought it was a very gracious gesture. However, having met Mother I made sure to bring all my grocery money for the week, so I would be able to cover my meal in case there was a misunderstanding.
    I ordered salad and water. They ordered wine, appetizers, entrees and dessert. When the check came, Mother made no move to reach for it and Friend started to blush and hang her head. I reached for my wallet and said, “Oh, I was not sure – were we going Dutch?” Mother replied, with the appearance of great offence, “I thought you were taking US!”
    I gaped at her open-mouthed for a moment and eventually replied, “I don’t see how that could be, since you issued the invitation. I would never invite you to this restaurant, since I cannot afford it.”
    The Mother sighed as if dealing with a very unreasonable child, and said, “well, then I suppose we’d better split the check three ways. I certainly don’t have THIS kind of money.”
    At that point, I laid all my cash on the table and said, “I’m so sorry for the misunderstanding. This is all the money I have to live on this week. If I had known your expectations I would have suggested another place.” My cash covered my meal plus probably enough for the tip on the whole check. Mother whipped out her credit card and continued her act of being affronted. In retrospect, I wish I had handed the tip amount directly to the server, as I would not be surprised if that woman stiffed him.

  • doodlemor October 22, 2012, 11:13 am

    OP has no need to feel guilty – Tony’s behavior was thoroughly wrong and entitled.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Tony had heard through friends that Adam and OP had extra space in their room because the 3rd room mate had backed out. I bet that he fully expected/planned that he would be able to stay with them.

    It’s also interesting that Adam received the phone call, and not OP. Tony probably thought that Adam would be an easier *mark.* He is likely a very sneaky, skilled moocher, and Jane should have told him to get back on the bus.

  • PhantomJen October 22, 2012, 11:19 am

    As others have shared, mooching unfortunately runs rampant at conventions. The first time I attended an anime convention back in 2008, I was pretty much conned into paying half of the $600 hotel bill by some “friends.”

    Originally there were only supposed to be four of us staying in the room. About six months before the convention, the others came up with an idea to put together a “convention fund” to cover everyone’s hotel and food costs for the weekend. They all thought $300 was a good amount for each person to put in. I thought it seemed like a bit much, but since it was agreed that any excess money would be returned, I agreed to it. Soon after, I handed my share over to “A,” the friend who was the designated money handler.

    When the convention finally came, “A” and I got to the hotel a few hours before everyone else. “A” asked if she could pay the bill upfront, and the cashier rang up the total to just about $600. I said, “Wow, so we must have about $600 left over as well!” A’s response was, “Uh… no we don’t…” I asked what did she mean and didn’t we all agree to each put $300 into the fund? A just shrugged and said, “I dunno, that’s all there was.” I was so taken aback at the time and nervous that maybe I was the one who made some kind of mistake or something that I didn’t demand a better explanation. On top of that, A then told her girlfriend, who had previously stated she wouldn’t be staying in a hotel due to not having the money for it, that it was fine for her to crash in our room for free, even after I’d expressed discomfort with this since having five people in our room would be “room stuffing,” which is against hotel policy AND convention policy.

    After I got home, I checked the email I had received about the “convention fund” so many months before and did indeed see that $300 was the amount everyone had agreed on. To this day I don’t know for sure whether or not everyone else had contributed the amount they were supposed to and A just pocketed the extra money or whether or not the three of them, after seeing how quickly I had handed over MY share, had actually jointly planned on paying less than was agreed… but considering that the other two never mentioned the discrepancy, I’m inclined to think it’s the latter. Another thing that really bugged me about it in the end was that THEY all had jobs at the time and I didn’t, and what I’d contributed had come out of the rather small savings I had. I had also witnessed A buy an expensive set of markers and a costume for herself during the convention, proof that she had more than enough to have paid for her share. I never did confront anyone, but needless to say, the only person I share a room with at conventions these days is my husband!

  • Goodness October 22, 2012, 11:21 am

    I’m not into gaming or anime at all, though I used to be quite the science fiction fan & attended a few really wonderful cons in my day. It was like spending a weekend on some cross-roads planet, rubbing elbows with beings from all over the universe, and you went home exhausted but mentally and emotionally refreshed.

    So I have to take issue with Hakayama’s remark that gaming is ” bringing chaos and unhappiness into families.” For one thing, fan subculture and gamer subculture are different species entirely. Second, ‘gaming’ means gambling; what she’s probably thinking of, role playing games, is RPGing and its players are ‘gamers.’ The kind of fan activities where you dress up like your favorite characters, whether anime, steampunk or elves, is called cosplay.

    The point is, ANYTHING done to excess can cause unhappiness, even spending all one’s time on one’s career. Attending cons is not inherently bad; the problem arises when one stops attending to school or other duties because the next con beckons.

  • PhantomJen October 22, 2012, 11:23 am

    And Leah: The convention that I’ve volunteered with for five years most certainly does have a policy against room stuffing, as do all of the hotels we work with. People have been banned for doing it.

  • The Elf October 22, 2012, 11:26 am

    Bint, those hotels know. It happens every con. As long as it isn’t extreme, rolling up on the floor of a hotel room is accepted con practice (and much preferred to sleeping at the convention center!)

    There are Tonys in every fan group, and I’ve known a few myself. They’re usually just socially clueless, devoted fans, who really don’t think about the impact of mooching. With some friends, I don’t mind paying their way because I want their company and I know they can’t afford the con or event. With other friends, no way no how. And in any case, a last minute mooch would definitely make me angry.

    Tony had enough money to take the bus home. And that is where he should have gone.

    Hakayama – any hobby can be taken to an extreme of desperation and psuedo-addiction. Anime, comics, and gaming are no more likely to produce this or any less likely. Some hobbies are just more popular than others, which makes the extreme fans seem more “normal”. Been a gamer, anime fan, comic book collector, Trekkie, and fantasy book reader for a few decades now. Shockingly, I hold down a job, am happily married, and can pay my own way at cons! All this despite my “entertainment” in the way of “escapist fantasies”.

  • The Elf October 22, 2012, 11:32 am

    Who goes to cons without actually going to the con? That’s the entire point! Even if he was socially clueless enough to think it wouldn’t be trouble to mooch off his friends for crash space and food, he should have at least sprung for his own registration!

    I hope Tony learned a lesson from this.

  • Shalamar October 22, 2012, 11:44 am

    I don’t get all the replies saying “OP and her friends weren’t ripping off the hotel.” Yes. They were. If a room is only intended to hold four people, and eight people stay in it, the hotel has essentially been robbed of the revenue they would have gotten by booking a second room. Saying “this is common behaviour during conventions and hotels expect it” isn’t an excuse.

    That said, Tony is a jackass.

  • Elizabeth October 22, 2012, 12:08 pm

    Definitely a burden to the hotel – message to all: if you cannot afford to attend, stay home.

  • Calli Arcale October 22, 2012, 12:10 pm

    About hotel rooms…..

    Yes, it is normal to share rooms when attending cons, but normally the hotel needs to know about it. Jane did something most of us would consider “gray”, and the way OP puts it (“not that the hotel knew”) suggests it was behind the hotel’s back. Hotel room fee usually covers a certain number of adult occupants, and if you have more than that, there is typically a surcharge. More if you also rent a rollaway bed. This is because more occupants means more water used and more wear and tear on the room. There may also be fire code restrictions that set a maximum occupancy per room, and if the hotel allows you to exceed that, they may get in trouble. An increasing number of hotels also provide a free breakfast; if you have paid for one but brought four mouths to feed, that’s also a problem for the hotel, especially if a lot of guests are doing this. An increasing number of hotels are requiring guests sign in when getting breakfast, in order to stave off some of the moochers.

    Now, a lot of people do this anyway, and for many folks, it’s a sort of moral gray area. But it will annoy the hotel staff, and with good reason. Tony wasn’t just mooching off of Jane; he was mooching off of the hotel too, and they didn’t have the opportunity to decline.

  • L October 22, 2012, 12:18 pm

    Bint, I’ve been to a lot of conventions and 3-4 of us in a room is the norm. The room is booked, we paid, we usually take our meals at the hotel, it is not getting ripped-off at all, because usually it’s sold out and raised its prices SPECIFICALLY for the convention (rooms might be booked a year in advance, such as Steampunk Worlds Fair). We split the room between us, we leave it clean, and we always get one with 2 queens or kings, so as long as those we have staying with us don’t bother the other rooms and get kicked-out, we can share with whomever we like.

  • Con-Goer October 22, 2012, 12:21 pm

    Oh con mooching, let me count the tales.

    My first major con, a friend, called for this tale Roommate Z, allowed me to join her group. Because I was the interloper and this was my first con, I felt uncomfortable questioning a lot of things that now, I would have NO problem hashing out ahead.

    I was told there was five of us sharing the room. Ok. Only see, there was *six* of us because Roommate X always brings her autistic son. The autistic son was 20 and high functioning but the bill was split five ways. I didn’t balk much at that, I was the interloper. However Roommate X was also using our room as Grand Central Station for her friends…. who I later found out had no rooms of their own and were loafing from room to room with friends for the entire weekend. Roommate Y figured this out as well, and put her foot down that only people paying for the room were staying at night in the room. Roommate X’s kid inhaled all of the snacks I brought (snacks are for everyone but really, it was crazy) and Roommate X decides on Sunday afternoon (the con ran from friday to monday with several of us leaving tuesday morning) to put her cooler in the shower to drain out the water and ice for her drive on monday evening.

    Roommate Y, and Z, and W aren’t questioning any of this, in part because Roommate X has a strong personality – I was afraid to discuss politics with her, for example, because I didn’t want to spend the weekend arguing over political differences when the con was about science fiction and fantasy. Mentally, I decide to make the best of it and tell myself that if I go to the con again, I will go with people I know a little better.

    Then when Roommate X leaves, Roommate Z drops a bomb on Roommate Y – Roommate X had no money for the room or the con and Roommate Z, a kind but gulliable sort, had offered to treat her and her son for the whole weekend… Even though Roommate Z is hardly rich and Roommate X has a much better job. Further, Roommate X has been doing this for *years*, and Roommate Z (who has some asperger like social issues) has been coughing up the dough for Roommate X and her son to attend because thats what friends do….

    Roommate Y and I help Roommate Z see that no, this isn’t cool at all – there’s helping someone out in a bind, but no one *needs* to attend a convention and if Roommate X is always in a bind at con time, then Roommate X needs to reconsider attending.

    My rules going forward for conventions? All the money paid up front – if you can’t afford to go there’s no shame in that. No extra people unless everyone agrees and no inviting people up to the room without the understanding that they aren’t sleeping over. Kids count as extra people and parents need to pay for them. (Apparently Roommate X was never required to kick in for her kid because “he’s just a little boy and he sleeps on the floor” which is understandable when he was 13, not so cool when he’s 6’2 and 20 years old)

    Roommate X, once required to actually pay to attend, no longer attends.

  • Snarkastic October 22, 2012, 12:39 pm

    Yikes! I like that your friend made the offer for her boyfriend to pay for dinner when he clearly had no such intentions. Then the entire meal-sharing plan of the trip fell apart. At least you didn’t let your friend coerce you into buying her painting.

  • Twik October 22, 2012, 1:18 pm

    hakayama, I disagree that Tony is an addict to anything except getting things for free/cheap. Anime conventions are interesting, but not so much that I would call them addictive, and I find the idea rather unconvincing. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who will attempt to get other people to pay for their pleasures, whether it’s restaurant dinners, clothes, travel or even homes. This is not addiction, this is cheapness. If there’s any addiction/compulsion, it’s to the thrill of “I got this, and I didn’t have to pay for it! I made someone else pay for it instead!”

    Where will Tony be a year from now? Probably with his hand in someone else’s pocket, most likely over something completely unrelated to anime. (“You hardly ever use your car, right? So, can I have it? Sort of a permanent loan? Of course, I don’t want to buy it. This way, I get to drive it, and you get to pay insurance and licensing!”)

  • PM October 22, 2012, 1:23 pm

    Some people honestly believe that they are just so darling that people will go to any lengths to spend time with them, whether that means paying unexpected admission fees or concession stand prices or footing a bill for dinner when the mooch orders food and wine he/she can’t pay for.

  • Just call me J October 22, 2012, 1:29 pm

    Good on you, OP for saying no to “Tony the Mooch”. I feel a little bad for Jane as well, but she chose to let him stay with her.

    I’ve been to more than a few conventions, both sharing a room and not. While I love my friends, I am glad I can afford to choose *not* sharing most of the time, though mostly because I keep earlier hours than a lot of them.

    To the folks critical of Jane for sharing her room: If the hotel is sold out, which is almost always the case with big conventions, the attendees are not ripping the hotel off by doubling up (or quadrupling up) in the rooms. As long as it’s not a fire-hazard, and the extra guests aren’t destructive, it’s usually not a problem. Any hotel that regularly hosts a convention gets used to that part of the culture, and they even come to expect it.

  • Yenda October 22, 2012, 2:58 pm

    Hakayama, please don’t label all gamers by this idiot Tony. For the most part, gamers are people who enjoy role playing games or video games as a hobby. It isn’t an “escapist fantasy”, it’s just the hobby we enjoy and choose to spend our free time on. Some people enjoy fishing, or sports, or whatever, we enjoying playing RPGs. I’m have a group of friends who are gamers and we live in Georgia, so we get together and go to Dragon Con every year. We all have stable jobs and families, and most of us have small children, so we usually just play together online every other week and get together in person for a session every other month. Our families and jobs take precedence over our hobby, and it in no way brings “chaos and unhappiness” to our families.

    However, since we do only go to one convention a year, we tend to splurge a little. It’s our girl’s getaway weekend and we love it. We spend the 4 months after going over how much fun we had, and the rest of the year planning our next trip. We tend to see the same people there, we’ve gotten to know them over the years and we now consider many of them friends.

    Tony comes across as the kind of character that would be a mooch no matter what hobby he was into. Unfortunately, it’s characters like these who give gamers a bad name.

  • Spike October 22, 2012, 3:23 pm

    I don’t think you should have felt guilty in the slightest. People like this count on other people’s feelings of guilt so they can get what they want. When you go on a trip you have to plan for it, end of story. I was recently taken advantage of by such a person, and unfortunately it took a lot longer than it should have for me to put my foot down and say “get lost.” Lesson learned for next time. Good for you for enforcing your boundaries.

  • DannysGirl October 22, 2012, 3:29 pm

    I know it’s off topic, but I am confused about something. When did it become “mooching” to share a hotel room? Is there was a one person/one room rule now? Have I missed something? Hotel rooms can house at least four people in two full-sized beds. If each person pays his/her share of the room how is the hotel being ripped off? I know when DH and I book a hotel room on-line there is a place to enter the number of guests who need accommodations.
    If Jane booked a room, and lied to the hotel staff that she was to be the only occupant, then, yes, that is underhanded. The OP doesn’t specify how the room was booked, so it seems like a rush to judgement to say Jane and friends “ripped off” the hotel, until we know for sure.

  • Bint October 22, 2012, 4:05 pm

    Dannysgirl, Jane’s friends were not booked into that room. She had 4 extra people in there that the hotel knew nothing about – stupid, illegal, a fire hazard and as I’ve explained above, against many hotels’ policies. The fact she hides it from the hotel speaks volumes. And did the hotel cough up four unpaid-for breakfasts, for example, when these people got up? Because that would be theft.

    The Elf, this is *not* acceptable in the UK, where I strongly suspect Tony is from given the travel and currency. Nobody gets to crash on hotel room floors with the hotel being ok about it. Ever. Our fire regulations are extremely strict, the health & safety laws are powerful and they would be fined so enormously if anyone found out that it simply isn’t worth it. You try getting out of a sixteenth century converted windmill in a fire, you’ll see why they don’t let this happen.

  • Lo October 22, 2012, 5:28 pm


    That’s one of the worst things I’ve ever read.

    Even if you could afford to treat them why on earth would she assume that this would be the case and run up a huge bill when you were only having salad and water? And when the mother realized she had been misled by her daughter she should have been falling all over herself to apologize for the brat she raised. The daughter ought to be beyond ashamed. You could be a millionare and these people would still be jerks for trying to con you out of meal.

  • OP October 22, 2012, 5:32 pm

    Hi everyone – this was my post and thought I’d try to clear up something that’s been mentioned a lot.

    Yes, this is a UK story, and although I can’t speak for all hotels, most I’ve stayed in con-wise have a 3 adults only rule. Even when the rooms have 2 double beds, you’re not expected to have more than 3 adults. I’ve often assumed this is to stop two couples coming together and thus losing an extra room, but maybe there’s another reason. Anyway, a lot of people ignore this rule and do have 4 people when the room has 4 beds, and only ask for 3 keys (as for breakfasts, it’s often pay additional, or they’ll have lists of who is staying in the room, so somebody will have to go without or they’ll all pay anyway).

    However, Jane had 5 overall in the room – 6 counting Tony. I don’t know where the fifth was staying, maybe the floor as well, so she was definitely bending the rules, though not as much as some I’ve seen.
    (We didn’t know about how many she had in her room until we were actually at the con. We did offer our extra space to her other roommates, but it was declined – Their hotel was closer, and they were all the type who liked to stay up and chat to each other, so were actually happy with the close quarters).

    Thank you all for your supporting comments – I’ve always wondered if I’d been unintentionally cruel to him just because we weren’t particularly close, and felt bad about making Adam say no. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who would have made that choice.

  • TimeLady October 22, 2012, 9:05 pm

    Good grief OP, that’s insane! O_O Wasn’t Expo, was it? I know how much the hotels in Docklands ramp up the price of their rooms the second they get wind of MCM setting up shop at the ExCel ¬_¬ I don’t think you ought to feel guilty; he was taking advantage of your friends by putting them in a very awkward position. No-one in their right mind should hop on a coach and go to an event they hadn’t paid for.

    I’m not going to get into the person-per-hotel-room discussion because I think it’s been discussed well and truly, and I don’t think I have anything to add to it! I can include a convention-shaped horror story of my own, however…
    When I was younger, and before I had my son, I used to visit my (then)fiancee in the States, and the pair of us would meet up with friends and go to a few conventions together. This particular event was one I’d never attended before, and so was very excited to go to. Our friend (we’ll call her Miki) lived in a different state from fiancee (Sei) and other friend (Mako) and arrived a day early. We were all sharing a room together (Sei and I in one double bed, Mako and Miki in the other). The problems arose when we got there. First, Mako announced she was terribly, terribly broke, so we were going to have to help her out. Secondly, we couldn’t find Miki anywhere. Turns out she’d gone off with a guy she’d met the night before at the bar and was in his room where they were (as she told us in delightful detail afterwards) humping like gorillas. We wouldn’t have minded, except we were stranded in the hotel entrance, surrounded by cosplayers having a great time…and all we could do was watch. Oh, we were able to get our badges, but we couldn’t get into our room to leave our luggage and get changed because Miki wasn’t around to give us the other keycard.

    The rest of the weekend, unfortunately, followed an awkward pattern of Miki disappearing to jump her new beau, and Mako whimpering, sniffling, and whining because she didn’t have enough money to buy this/that/the other.

    Nowadays at conventions (“safely” in the UK) I endeavour to room with friends (though not on the floor, far too old for that!) that I like, trust, and don’t want to murder after a day in the company of, and the hotel is paid upfront by one or the other of us.

  • gramma dishes October 22, 2012, 10:01 pm

    Ellen ~~ That’s one of the saddest and at the same time most disgusting and infuriating stories I’ve ever heard. How could the mother have possibly thought that you would be treating for that meal when she was the one who had issued the invitation? Or did your “friend” lie to her mother and tell her that you had invited them?

    Either way, that would have certainly been the end of that friendship! I hope it was! What a horrible thing to do to someone.

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