A friend of mine, Jenny (not her real name), lost 186lbs / 84.36 Kg over 19 months after weight loss surgery. Then she had two surgeries that included a bunch of loose skin removal, a breast lift, a butt lift, and a tummy tuck.
She has gone from being a very overweight woman to a size 6 and is overjoyed. She is training to run a half marathons and doing Crossfit. She says she feels better than she ever has and she’s thinner than she was in high school. We are all so happy for her. It is great to see her having so much energy and drive.
The only damper on my happiness for her is I’m starting to feel like her friends and family have become her spare piggy bank.
First was the GoFundMe to raise money for her surgeries. That didn’t seem so outrageous. She talked about how the skin pulled and moved when she was working out. How she was getting heat rash under the skin folds when she wore compression gear to keep it from moving around. How the weight of the loose skin on her belly was so heavy it made her lower back ache after standing for 20 minutes.
She also explained how it’s almost impossible to get insurance to cover skin removal surgery. They classify it as cosmetic despite the skin infections and problems often associated with it. All together the surgeries cost something like $12,000 and she just couldn’t afford that. So her friends and family banded together. We donated just over $10,000. She had the surgeries.
Next came a call for gift cards to Macy’s. None of her work clothes fit her any more. And since the GoFundMe didn’t raise all $12,000 for the surgery, she’d wiped out her savings to cover the remaining $2,000. Now she simply didn’t have the money to buy a whole new wardrobe.
She works in a professional environment (not business casual) and she only had three outfits to wear. Two of them items from before the weight loss that she’d taken to a local dry cleaner for alterations to fit her new figure. Basically she stated she needed new foundation garments and new work outfits.
She really likes how one of the lines carried by Macy’s fits her new body.
So she asked if people could please send her Macy’s gift cards.
Her friends and family sent her the gift cards. I don’t know how much she received in total. But she did post a picture of her bed covered in new blouses, skirts, pants, a couple blazers, plus several matching bra and panty sets. It was enough for her to buy a new work wardrobe.
About a month after the request for Macy’s gift cards came a new request. She stated that she is 36 and determined to get married before she is 40. So it’s time to start dating! BUT, she doesn’t have any sexy dating / night on the town outfits. She decided to host a wine tasting & game board party as a fundraiser. She provided 12 different wines to taste, plus some healthy nibbles. The fundraiser portion she called “fill the jug”. She had one of those big water jugs that go into office water coolers. She encouraged people to bring all their loose change to the party, plus any folding money they were willing to add to the pot, to “fill the jug”. She drew lines on the jug and as each new line was reached, she’d bring out a new wine for everyone to try. The jug got a little over half filled. 7 of the 12 wines made an appearance at the party. And she used that money to go out and buy a bunch of “husband catching” outfits and lingerie
I know that medical bills are very expensive and so are new clothes. But she’s a working adult with a professional job. It’s not like her house was wiped out by a fire or she’s a struggling single mom trying to make ends meet. She an upper middle class woman in her mid 30’s who has lost a lot of weight.
Is it really the obligation of her friends and family to fill her closet with “new clothes for” her “new me”? Am I being unreasonable feeling like she’s now taking advantage of her friend’s and family’s generosity? 1015-18
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I can’t wait until she does find a husband. Then the funding requests for her “dream wedding “ will pour in.
She’s taking advantage of her friends and family and will continue to do so until they say no. I probably would have donated for the surgery then that would have been it.
Yeah, Jenny is asking too much of her friends, but you don’t have to give every time she asks, and I suspect that a lot of people will stop giving at some point; either because they’re annoyed with Jenny, or they can’t afford it, or some combination of both. But, does Jenny have to have brand-new everything, or would she be willing to look into some other options, like thrift stores, or Dress for Success or a similar organization?
Does she have to have brand-new everything? Of course not, but I bet she thinks she does.
I agree with you that the answer is to stop giving. She’ll get the point eventually when the funds dry up.
Asking for help for the surgery is reasonable, IMHO, though if it were me I would have done my very best to fund it myself through a small personal loan paid back by cuts in daily living expenses. I’ve done this before for home improvement of roughly the same dollar amounts. For instance, many credit cards will allow existing customers to lower their interest rate to 0% for a year (or new cards have this as an incentive). Get that, put your big expense on it, and create a payment plan for paying it off within the year. A $12k surgery = $1k/month, which is easier to manage.
Everything after the surgery ask is over the top. Sure, she can put the word out to family that birthday/christmas/etc clothing gift cards would be best. But she should be figuring out how to create a professional wardrobe on very little money. It’s possible. I did it when I was first starting out, and I know a lot of other people did as well. You hit sales, you hit thrift stores, you buy classic pieces that can mix and match to different combinations in the same week.
Oh, I wouldn’t NOT give (or stop giving after a while) out of annoyance with Jenny; I’d stop (or not start) because I couldn’t afford it. I’m enrolled in Dress for Success myself, because buying job interview/work clothes for MYSELF is a stretch, let alone other people.
You helped out with her surgeries when there was real medical problems attached and that is admirable. You helped her out so that she would have new business clothes, that is also admirable but not as necessary. I think she has gotten bit by the Gimme Bug and now realized if she complains hard enough about her new found woes, people will give in but you are not required to give her anything, even the stuff you all ready did.
I really hope this is fake. It is almost too credulous to be believed. But if it’s real, then we know why the gimme-pigs in the world thrive. People keep feeding them!!!
It’s high time to stop enabling the gimme pig. As long as people keep opening their wallets, she has no clue they’re not ok with this.
Helping to pay for Jenny’s surgery is one thing – having to deal with pounds of sagging skin, etc., is definitely a health issue. After that, she needed to be on her own financially. If she has a good job, she can afford to buy her own clothes. If buying a whole new wardrobe at once was problematic, she could buy a few pieces at a time – or buy from a consignment shop, where she could get quality clothes at a low price. And to ask for help with her “husband getting” clothes is just totally beyond the pale.
I’d be tempted to send her a google maps link with all the local Goodwills located.
I can *maybe* see donating to help with the skin removal surgery, but it would be a hard no for new work clothes and “husband catching” /sexy dating clothing and lingerie. OP stated that she works and her friends & family paid for a large portion of her surgeries, work clothes and “husband catching” clothes, so what is she doing with the money she earns from her job?
Call me stingy, but I would not have contributed to any of this. I can understand her wanting to have the weight-loss surgery, but it’s her responsibility to pay for it–not that of her friends and family. The skin removal surgery? She should have worked that out with her insurance company. The new wardrobe? NO. I need new clothes too but I have to pay for them myself. The husband-catching wardrobe? Is that a joke? Sorry, but from the very beginning, Jenny was asking too much.
I’m with you. All of these things are WANTS, not NEEDS. Jenny would not be receiving a penny from me.
“She should have worked that out with her insurance company.” Yeah, I’ve tried that with other things. Like talking to a brick wall.
But there are other avenues she could have taken before putting up a gofundme. She’s upper middle class, she probably has credit for a personal loan. She might have equity in a house. She might be able to take something out of her investments. And if $2k wiped out her savings, either she’s not upper middle class or she’s a poor financial manager.
I can certainly understand the wanting to have a life improving surgery and the need to have professional attire which is not cheap. When I decided to have Lasik I worked with the doctor’s office on a financing plan and budgeted money to make the payments. It meant money was tighter for about a year, but all I asked of family was a ride. When I started working professionally I could not afford a wardrobe in a single payment, so I used store cards to get started and budgeted from my salary to repay them. I also asked family and friends that I exchanged gifts with for ties and dress shirts as gifts for holidays.
It is possible to make these situations work without greed. It is more difficult, but far from impossible.
I’m afraid I wouldn’t have donated to any of it if I was a friend — if I was a close family member, I’d probably help with the first surgery. I’ll let “Jenny” in on a secret — if you have surgery you want that insurance doesn’t cover, you can save up, there are banks that make loans, many doctors will let you make multiple payments in advance of the procedure, and, while not my choice to use, there are credit cards. You don’t go running to others to fund your every desire.
I had a cosmetic surgery to correct a mild deformity that bugged me, and insurance wouldn’t cover it. I made payments and paid for it myself. I never dreamed of asking anyone else to pay for it!
Couldn’t agree more!
I’m happy “Jenny” is feeling so much better about herself. Think how much better she’ll feel when she stops relying on others’ bank accounts to fund her life choices. “Jenny’s” friends and family are not doing her any favors by continuing to feed her greed and entitlement. Those beasts will continue to grow and their demands will only get more outrageous.
I know someone who did a fundraiser to try to raise money for the loose skin surgery. She’s actually a missionary so she lives off of donated funds already, but she does great things for the community she has called home for many years, and I’m sure a lot of people were happy to donate.
If anyone else had solicited funds for the same reason, I would have definitely given the side eye – I think most people should save the money, or use credit if you have to, before soliciting friends/family/coworkers for an elective surgery (although I understand it doesn’t seem elective! It sounds almost necessary! but still, it’s not a secret or surprise: plan for it!). If someone solicited funds for a new wardrobe – from Macy’s! – I would be hiding them from my feed. There are consignment shops, etc, and/or you can buy one outfit at a time, maybe every pay day or something. Crossfit memberships aren’t cheap, they’re much more expensive than a regular gym. Forego that, and get a regular membership instead. (I totally get that Crossfit is a community, and some members would never let go of their membership, but it’s all about your priorities).
Once it hit the “I need lingerie to get a man to marry me and I need my friends to pay for it” stage, I think I’d distance myself hard. I wonder if her party turned a profit at all, after buying 12 bottles of wine (even though she didn’t open all of them) and food, and only getting some change in return.
The saddest part of all is, if she is so desperate for a husband, she’s going to make herself unattractive. It has nothing to do with her size, and everything to do with her personality.
I can’t imagine that she made more money from a loose change jug than what she spent on all the wine and food. I had one of those jugs (that I filled up myself over years) and it only came out to about two hundred. And even the cheapest wines add up if you get enough for 12 rounds of wine tasting. Seems like she could have just bought herself some new clothes and left everyone out of it.
I know! Food related events aren’t generally good fundraisers unless the food and drink are donated. Perhaps she gave some poor merchant a sob story that allowed her to have the wine donated? In any case, she’s about 3 or 5 rounds to far into the descending spirals of Etiquette Hell, in my view. This is the problem with supposed “exceptions” to the normal rules of etiquette, EVERYONE believes that their “exception” is valid.
Given her cheap behavior, I’ll wager that she had old bottles around. You can go to the bargain supermarket and get 12 wines for $5 each. She only uncorked after it reached so high. She most def returned the unopened ones if they weren’t ones she had stuffed away over the years from hostess gifts.
I’m surprised she didn’t ask everyone to bring their own bottles though..
I am a psychologist employed by a large bariatric surgery practice. There are quite a few insurance panels that do cover the bariatric surgery provided the patient meets BMI criteria (not enough information but it sounds as though Jenny did meet criteria), and there are some skin removal surgeries that are covered by insurance typically. A panniculectomy is typically covered, while an abdominoplasty is not. It is certainly admirable that Jenny has worked hard to lose weight and is exercising and working hard to maintain her weight loss, but it’s not anyone else’s responsibility but hers to pay for it and the associated wardrobe swaps. Many bariatic practices also host support groups where patients can swap clothing, including professional outfits when they have lost weight, as the weight loss during the first year is quite rapid. I honor and respect bariatric patients and the hard work they put in, but Jenny is giving them a bad name by acting in such a greedy manner. Sooner or later, her friends and family well get fed up paying for her new life, as they rightfully should.
Working the in the medical field, I can sympathize with the lack of coverage for procedures that are not ‘medically necessary’. But did I read correctly that from all of this she has only come out of pocket $2000 and that wiped out her personal funds?!? If she is a professional in her late 30s and has such small reserve fund, I have questions about how she’s managed money her whole life. I’m sure she has bills, we all do, but what is she doing to help supplement these expenses herself. With all this new found energy, might I suggest a part time job. Heck working at a Gym would probably help fun her expensive CrossFit habit. Also, places like target have stylish work clothes and date night outfits, or better yet find like minded gents through your exercise groups. She’s a gimmie pig, time to stop funding!!
This caught my eye, too. She either doesn’t make as much as OP thinks or is terrible with money. (I’d bet the latter just based on my own experience with friends and co-workers.)
I think you and Jenny’s other friends have created a Gimmiemonster. Stop feeding it!
Also – I managed to catch 2 husbands without fancy clothing. When I met my 2nd (and current!) husband I was wearing cut off jeans and a t-shirt.
When I started my new job (fresh out of college) naturally I didn’t have a lot of wardrobe for a professional environment. The office I worked at was suits, or at least skirts and blazers. NEVER pants for women. I bought mix and match clothes at places like target, and managed my money so I could buy a little each month. I learned how to accessorize!
Your comment made me laugh – I imagine a woman in the woods wearing cutoffs and a tee, setting a trap 🙂
Two thousand dollars isn’t much of a savings account for a 36 year old professional. I know a number of people in their thirties and forties, who have good incomes, who save almost nothing. They aren’t even saving for their retirement.They don’t seem to have any concept that at some point an emergency is going to come up and they won’t be able to pay for it. I think it can be a mistake to help out people like this because they won’t learn if they are bailed out. Two of my in laws have stopped helping out siblings because the receivers just won’t change their spending behaviors.
There is a tip for those who have trouble saving: automatic withdrawal to a retirement account and to a savings account. It really does work.
Don’t be too quick to judge middle-aged people with little to no savings. You have no idea what sorts of crises occur in other people’s lives to wipe out what they have, or to limit the amount of money they can save. And let us not forget variances in our economy that help to contribute to money troubles. Each of us has a story, and people don’t appreciate the suggestion that they’re irresponsible because their savings account doesn’t have much in it. Some of it is a lack of real money smarts, but most of it (at least in my case) is circumstances beyond their control.
Maybe her friends should return the favor with a list of “calls” for funds for vacations (to ease job stress), counseling retreats in Beliz (to ease marital woes), funds for better childcare (you don’t want to help your friends’ children to attend the BEST schools?!)…? Bonus points if it’s presented as a seemingly random series of requests that are a coordinated campaign that succeed in making her rethink the merit of asking others to help fund non-emergency items.
Yes to all of the above.
The only thing I have to add: I winced at the idea of having to see photos of someone’s new bra/undies sets!
I wouldn’t have given her a red cent for any of those items. I wouldn’t have given anything for the surgery, skin removal or clothes. These things are her choices and no one is obligated to pay it. If you’d like to help – then fine but I wouldn’t have felt even a little bit guilty about not giving anything. No one has funded my life choices. I have paid for everything myself and I have never asked for money from anyone. She past greedy a ways back in my book.
I’ve also been asked via social media to provide for medical costs that are wants and not needs. I’ve had friends totally agree with this concept and promote the heck out of them. I refuse to contribute to anything that isn’t a dire, life-saving need. Anything that isn’t an emergency. You want it, you plan and provide for it. They can call me cold-hearted or similar if they want to.
Life is expensive for everybody. Her requests have gotten more and more frivolous. Maybe I can see the need for the medical procedure and her desperation, however I think she should borrow money or find another method before hitting up friends. I wonder if she would give back to one of those who helped her in their time of need or if she would cry poor. If somebody keeps asking for handouts, it shows they think life is all about them and others should fund it. If she is a professional without a family, she should be able to afford her own clothing. I don’t spend a lot of money and get many of my clothes in thrift stores and have been told I have a great sense of style.
If you were to write, as a comment, under her FB post something like, “I just got a new jacket from *whatever brand* for 5 dollars at Goodwill! Can’t afford to give too much but I’ll gladly show you my favorite haunts where you can find fabulous stuff at a fraction of the price!
It offers friendship and quality time, takes you away from the need to donate and also calls out the bad behavior in a very soft way. 😉 Her reaction to such a thing will give you answers you need with regard to her gimme pig nature
When I lost a ton of weight a few years ago, i bought an entire new wardrobe for $2 a piece from the local thrift store. (Except for undies, which I did buy new.) I went every week and went through the racks.
10 years later, I’ve regained all the weight (sob), but I still have a couple of those skirts hanging in the closet in the hopes that I’ll stop eating ice cream and get back back down! Stop the gimmee pig!
This is all excessive and inappropriate. Every request. She is an adult and works a job. We all want plastic surgery and new clothes but somehow we save our pennies and get it done. This is so rude, childish and immature. Seems she needs a talking to and perhaps not such generous friends and family.
I lost 130 lbs and shopped at Wal-Mart. With my own money.