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Moochers In The Third Degree

My story is about some new “relatives” I became familiar with during the planning process of my Quinceanera (sweet 15).  A year before my “quince” I met my biological father and his whole family and let them know that my adopted parents where throwing me a Quinceanera.  I am invited him and the family members I just met, even his weird cousin Maria. 
Apparently, Maria and her family were called by the family “Gypsy” because they moved constantly never staying more than nine months in the apartments they would rent.  Little did anyone know that the reason they would move so much was because they would pay a few months then not paying anything until the landlord would legally evict them.  They were also known to be moochers of the third degree and drug users.
The ceremony of my quince was beautiful and moving.  Everyone who was invited came and all in all 150 people came to both the ceremony and the reception.  At the reception after dinner and before the dancing Maria came up to me in a huff saying that her and her family where leaving.  She did not like that the bartenders were asking for I.D. from anyone who looked 30 or younger because her daughter who was 23 didn’t have ID and they wouldn’t take her word for it.  I said that I was sorry,  (I was underage myself couldn’t do anything about it since the bar was for family and parents of age only), and I hoped that maybe we could see each other again sometime.  A little after my goodbye to Maria she came back to me and asked if she could take a plate home with her since her husband didn’t come with her.  I didn’t think anything about it and said, “Take what you would like,” assuming if she only wanted side dishes and not a whole plate.  I didn’t think anything bad would happen and was just being innocent about the whole thing seeing how I just turned 15.
Days and weeks after the Quinceanera and many hours of reliving the details of the event with family members, my mom started wondering why there were no left over’s.  We had planed to feed 200 people and only 150 came so there would have been a good amount left, but we didn’t think about it since we figured some people had seconds.  Anyways, that day we had family from out of town come to visit and since they were unable to attend we played the video of the whole event for them.  Durring the reception part of the tape, it all became very clear what happened to all the food.  The video guy was shooting guests dancing and my mom and I start noticing people walking back and forth behind all the dancing people.  The hall in which the reception was held had a on-site kitchen from which the food was served from and the people in the tape were walking from the kitchen to the main doors of the site.  Then the same people were taking whole trays of side dishes, whole bags of rolls, and one whole bag of deep pit roast beef.  These people were Maria and her family.  According to them, when I said “take what you like,” they thought any and all left over’s were fair game.
My parents were beyond mad and contacted my biological dad for information on how to get a hold of Maria and her band of thieves.  After two failed attempts to reach them by phone my mom and I ran into Maria at the supermarket and of course she had no idea we were trying to reach her.  My mom was very calm and told her we knew what she and her family did at my Quince and while we were not mad we just wanted her to pay for the food she took.  She told us she didn’t have 64 dollars to pay us back, but if we wanted she could pay us in FOOD STAMPS so long as we got in line with her!  My mom wouldn’t take the food stamps, so Maria then gave us her new address and phone number and told us to come by her house Friday when her husband gets paid for the cash money.  Friday rolls around and my mom and I hop in the car to Maria’s house.  The address took us to a vacant apartment and when we called the phone number to see if maybe we wrote the wrong address the phone was disconnected.
Please Please Please to all future guests of sweet 16, sweet 15, bat mitzah, and bar mitzah parties, please direct all important questions to the parents of the birthday boy or girl.  10-11-08

Con artists will exploit the weakest link and that was a naive 15 year old.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • livvy April 28, 2010, 12:19 pm

    Given that the poster admits that she gave Maria an open ended invitation to scavenge, I thought it was pretty tacky of the family to go after a guest for money for leftovers.

    Granted, Maria should have asked the host, and shouldn’t have been so greedy, but it is also possible that she assumed everything had already been paid for, and would have gone to waste otherwise. Given that when confronted she offered to pay with food stamps (which also indicates her poor economic condition), at least some effort was made. After such an offer, I can forgive her for wanting to give the collectors the slip. I imagine that her family probably had plans for her husband’s paycheck already. (if he was making minimum wage, $64 could be around 25% of take home…)

    I realize that there’s probably more to this, given the description of the family as world-class moochers, but I find the idea of hunting down people for taking too many leftovers more tasteless than “freecycling” the buffet.

  • Kiki August 9, 2010, 1:13 pm

    I cannot believe the op and her mother jumped in a car to track this cousin down for $64. That’s beyond tacky and cheap. What’s done is done, and in the future, they will have to make an effort to avoid this cousin and her family.

    P.S. Did no one in the party notice this going on? I’m curious as to how guests could leave with large quantities of food and no one notices.

  • Jillybean August 9, 2010, 3:43 pm

    Forget that they tracked them down for $64 – they invited 200 only 150 came and ate, so they should have had 50 people’s worth of leftovers, but had none becasue Maria and crew took the rest. I want to know where you can get 50 people’s worth of food for $64 – I’d love to use that caterer!

  • Jay September 27, 2010, 4:41 pm

    “Given that the poster admits that she gave Maria an open ended invitation to scavenge, I thought it was pretty tacky of the family to go after a guest for money for leftovers”

    Oh please, that’s not at all fair. They asked a 15-year-old girl if they could take home a plate of food and then intentionally misinterpreted her polite respose. If they’d walked out with her gifts or her purse, would that still seem acceptable to you? “But she said ‘anything’!!”

    (I’m surprised they bothered to go after her.. that makes little sense to me and had no hope of any good outcome, but it’s certainly *Maria*’s bad behavior here)

  • Miss Raven, confused October 20, 2010, 12:48 am

    I have no way of knowing how long ago this story takes place, but it seems to me that $64 is ridiculous for food for 50 people, and clearly inflation is a factor here. That’s only about a buck and a quarter per person. Instead of concentrating on the actual monetary amount, which would be much different say, 30 years ago, I think the focus is on the value of the money, which was equal to *food for 50 people*. I can certainly see tracking down a well-known ne’er-do-well who had conned you out of what would essentially be dinner for your family for two good weeks, which you had rightfully paid for.

    I sympathize with Maria’s family being on foodstamps, but the fact that she could not afford to pay back the debt does not excuse the fact that she STOLE it.

  • Cindy September 2, 2011, 5:35 pm

    Nothing new to add, since Jay said it all.

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