Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: bookworm252 on October 11, 2012, 02:33:07 PM

Title: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: bookworm252 on October 11, 2012, 02:33:07 PM
Hi all - long time member but infrequent poster here.  I wanted to ask about something that happened quite a few years ago but still feel humiliated by when I think about it.

A few years ago my then boyfriend became friendly with a couple that he met through a youth group.  They were a host family for an exchange programme that he was involved with through his work.  Long story short they invited us out to stay with them in Canada - we are from Europe.  They had visited our country before and I had met them and thought they were really nice people.

Anyway,we went out there for two weeks and had a wonderful time until a few days before we left.  Some friends of theirs had invited us all to a family function held in a bar/restaraunt in their town.  There were lots of kids there and we were enjoying ourselves and meeting lots of new people - so far so good.

I went to the bar to get some drinks and on the way stopped to chat to our hosts daughter and her friend, whom I had never met, and offered to buy them a drink (their daughter was 21).  They both asked for beers, I bought them, they thanked me, I went back to the table.  That's when I got in trouble.

The mother of the friend came to our table and started loudly chastising me for buying her underage daughter a drink.  Turns out the friend was only 17.  I genuinely did not know that, and it never occurred to me that an underage person would ask me for an alcoholic drink, in a place where both her parents were socialising.  I apologised profusely, said that I didn't realise she was only 17 and would never have got her an alcoholic drink had I known. 

Our hostess asked me to come to the ladies room with her, where she proceeded to berate me for another few minutes, asking me why I did it, don't I know it's against the law etc.  I just kept reiterating that I didn't know the girl was underage, I was really sorry etc.  There were lots of women in the bathroom and I was humiliated and close to tears.

 I *know* what I did was wrong but I really didn't know it was wrong at the time, or obviously I wouldn't have done it. 

When I returned to the table the hostess's daughter and her underage friend were at the bar drinking their beers.

My question is - shouldn't the mother have immediately taken the drink from her daughter, ascertained where it came from and quietly spoken to me or our host about it? 

Next day things were very strained and when I asked our hostess why the girl was allowed to continue drinking she said that none of the staff knew she was underage so no harm done, and she just dismissed the incident as 'no big deal'.  Ummm well if it was no big deal why publicly humiliate me?

Maybe I'm overreacting, and would really appreciate some perspective. Thanks!  :)



Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: NyaChan on October 11, 2012, 02:38:33 PM
I don't think this was really your fault.  They went out of their way to make you feel bad when the true culprit was the teenager who asked for a drink she knew she couldn't legally have.  For the future, I'd adopt a practice of not buying young people drinks unless you already know they are old enough.  While you knew the daughter was 21, it seems you didn't know the friend of the daughter or her age. 
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: Hmmmmm on October 11, 2012, 02:39:26 PM
That is very strange.  I don't think you are over reacting.  I could understand the 17 yr old's mom being upset and approaching you but once you said you didn't know the girl's age, she should have dropped it.  Then she should have had a very long talk with her daughter about underage drinking and made sure that the beer was removed.

I have no idea why your hostess chose to get involved or why she acted the way she did.  Her actions and  remarks the day after would really make me question socializing with them again.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: NyaChan on October 11, 2012, 02:41:42 PM
That is very strange.  I don't think you are over reacting.  I could understand the 17 yr old's mom being upset and approaching you but once you said you didn't know the girl's age, she should have dropped it.  Then she should have had a very long talk with her daughter about underage drinking and made sure that the beer was removed.

I have no idea why your hostess chose to get involved or why she acted the way she did.  Her actions and  remarks the day after would really make me question socializing with them again.

I think the hostess probably heard about it from the parent and was embarrassed that her guest was the person who bought the drink.  I think it was wrong of her to blame you that way - if she truly had a problem she needed to address with you, it should have been done in a respectful manner in a private place.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: lowspark on October 11, 2012, 02:44:53 PM
Your hostess was probably embarrassed by your actions since you were her guest and she took out her embarrassed feelings on you in a most inappropriate way. Not excusing her behavior, just suggesting a possible explanation.

What baffles me is that after all the fuss made by both the mother and your hostess, no one took the beer away from the daughter. How does that make any sense at all?

You made a inadvertent mistake by not asking the friend's age. But the host's daughter deliberately did something wrong by not telling you her friend was underage. Did no one say anything to either of them at all?
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: Outdoor Girl on October 11, 2012, 02:55:59 PM
OP, is there such a thing as a drinking age where you are from?  If not, did that play into it at all?

Secondly, depending on where you are in Canada, the drinking age is either 18 or 19.  I would know the correct age so knowing that the one girl was 21, I would assume her friend to be within two years of her age and therefore legal to drink.  It would never occur to me that a 21 year old was hanging out with a 17 year old in a bar, especially.

Your hostess berating you was absolutely out of line, especially when underaged friend sat at the bar, calmly drinking her beer!  If they were so absolutely up in arms about the whole thing, why didn't they take the beer away from her?  They also risked having some of your party thrown out because they were drawing attention to the fact that one of the girls was underaged.  The best thing to have done for all concerned was quietly ask you to come to the bathroom, let you know once there that one of the girls was underaged and to please not purchase another drink for her.  I mean, what's done is done and there was no way for you to take it back.  All you could do was apologize and promise not to do it again.

The bartenders could have asked you who you were buying the beers for, too, since the girls were sitting right there at the bar.  And carded underaged friend, if they thought she wasn't legal.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: Amava on October 11, 2012, 03:01:41 PM
I would not have apologised. I would have wanted an apology from her and her daughter because the daughter mislead me.

I would not have apologised to the hostess either, but told her /once/ that I had done nothing wrong, that I was being mislead by the daughter and berated to the mother and since I was her guest, how was she going to make that right for me? 
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: Judah on October 11, 2012, 03:06:19 PM
I would not have apologised. I would have wanted an apology from her and her daughter because the daughter mislead me.

I would not have apologised to the hostess either, but told her /once/ that I had done nothing wrong, that I was being mislead by the daughter and berated to the mother and since I was her guest, how was she going to make that right for me?

POD! OP, you did nothing wrong the under-aged girl lied to you to get something she wasn't supposed to have.  You were wronged.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: bookworm252 on October 11, 2012, 03:12:06 PM
OP here - I'm from Ireland, where the drinking age is 18.  The girl looked about the same age as my hostess's daughter, so it really didn't occur to me she might be younger.  The girls were not actually standing at the bar, I passed them on my way there, bought the drinks and brought them to them.  They ended up at the bar though I don't know if she had any more drinks.

I don't know why the drink wasn't taken away from her by her mother.  At that stage I was beyond caring and just wanted to get out of there :-\  Things were strained for the last few days of our holiday.  Hostess's daughter never mentioned it so she could well have been chastised about it.  Anyhoo.  Learned my lesson!
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: O'Dell on October 11, 2012, 03:14:22 PM
No you aren't overreacting. The hostess and her friend sound horrible. I think a simple apology from you should have taken care of it, but considering that they let the girl keep drinking there was no need to say anything to you at all. OK maybe they could have said don't buy her any more.

Honestly, their reactions were so ridiculous that I suspect they were caused by something other than what they said. What I don't know, but that makes more sense to me than it being over the drink.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: magician5 on October 11, 2012, 03:16:33 PM
At a certain point, you have to take back control:

1 - restate in clear but brief terms how the error happened, and "get a receipt" (get acknowledgement that you have been heard);
2 - restate your apology and any actions you may take to make it better;
3 - refuse to listen to any more of the harangue and leave the area.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: SPuck on October 11, 2012, 03:17:11 PM
Frankly, the mother of the friend sounds like an absolute witch who might have had other problems she was taking out on you. You were the one who was mislead.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: Magnet on October 11, 2012, 03:22:24 PM
it never occurred to me that an underage person would ask me for an alcoholic drink, in a place where both her parents were socialising.

Seriously?  Am I the only "bad girl" on this board?
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: NyaChan on October 11, 2012, 03:24:32 PM
 :D Well I wouldn't do it myself, but I know some kids act up in public where they think their parents won't call them out on it.  In a crowded bar, she probably figured that her parents either wouldn't see, or if they did see, wouldn't go to the fuss of taking it from her in front of their friends - apparently she was right.  Her parent chose instead to rip into the unsuspecting person who was just trying to be nice.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: Two Ravens on October 11, 2012, 03:26:37 PM
Well, I drank when I was underage, but it most cases it was my parents buying the beer for me. (I was allowed to have 2) I wouldn't ask a stranger to buy me a drink when I was underage.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: doodlemor on October 11, 2012, 03:29:08 PM
I think that the women were extremely rude to you, bookworm.  There was no need to make such a huge deal out of an honest mistake, especially since neither of them even bothered to confiscate the illegal beer.

I think that there was some other reason why these women were so mean, some other reason that was probably very petty and also was not your fault. 

Perhaps they were jealous of you in some way.  Maybe they were affronted because of your youth and attractiveness.  Perhaps you seemed more interesting and exotic because you were from another country.  It could be that they inwardly felt that you were more sophisticated and attractive than their daughters.  Sometimes people tend to be mean and catty - if so, this was certainly not your fault.

As far as the hosting woman's behavior, maybe two weeks of guests turned out to be longer for her than she had anticipated.  I'm sure that you and your BF were considerate guests, but maybe she just wanted her space back.  Again, not your fault.

IMO the two women were unkind and nasty.  When you look back on this please realize that you are not to blame for the error, and that the behavior toward you was both unjustified and unkind.



Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: bookworm252 on October 11, 2012, 03:33:22 PM
it never occurred to me that an underage person would ask me for an alcoholic drink, in a place where both her parents were socialising.

Seriously?  Am I the only "bad girl" on this board?

LOL no you're not,  I have done it myself at home but I know other countries are not so tolerant, that's why I really didn't think about it  :D
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: Amava on October 11, 2012, 03:36:37 PM
it never occurred to me that an underage person would ask me for an alcoholic drink, in a place where both her parents were socialising.

Seriously?  Am I the only "bad girl" on this board?

I don't know? Maybe the only "bad girl with completely oblivious parents"?  ;D  ;)

I know I did a LOT behind my mother's back, but not when she was right there in the same room. That would just not have been possible.

********
Apart from the quote, to the thread in general:

Also, I'm really having trouble wrapping my head around the fact that the mother *let the girl finish her beer while she was telling the OP off for giving it to her* !  :o
If you think your child should not have something, would the priority not be to take it away from her? Especially because it was apparently *illegal* for her to have it in that specific location?
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: bookworm252 on October 11, 2012, 03:47:35 PM
I think that there was some other reason why these women were so mean, some other reason that was probably very petty and also was not your fault. 

Perhaps they were jealous of you in some way.  Maybe they were affronted because of your youth and attractiveness.  Perhaps you seemed more interesting and exotic because you were from another country.  It could be that they inwardly felt that you were more sophisticated and attractive than their daughters.  Sometimes people tend to be mean and catty - if so, this was certainly not your fault.

As far as the hosting woman's behavior, maybe two weeks of guests turned out to be longer for her than she had anticipated.  I'm sure that you and your BF were considerate guests, but maybe she just wanted her space back.  Again, not your fault.

IMO the two women were unkind and nasty.  When you look back on this please realize that you are not to blame for the error, and that the behavior toward you was both unjustified and unkind.

Above is a quote from another post - obviously not worked out how to do this properly yet  :-\[/b]

I hope there was no other reason, to be honest.  We were good and considerate guests. We paid our way, we brought host family out for meals, we bought groceries, we cleaned house -  Hostess and I got on well up until that night.    :-\




Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on October 11, 2012, 03:49:51 PM
If one of my boys did something like that, I would be saying something to the person who bought it for them, something along the lines of "I am SO very sorry they misled you!" While taking the beers from them and telling the bartenders they are not to be served any more alcohol.

And the boys would be getting the "You are SO getting an earful when we get home!!!!!!"
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: doodlemor on October 11, 2012, 04:06:23 PM
I think that there was some other reason why these women were so mean, some other reason that was probably very petty and also was not your fault. 

Perhaps they were jealous of you in some way.  Maybe they were affronted because of your youth and attractiveness.  Perhaps you seemed more interesting and exotic because you were from another country.  It could be that they inwardly felt that you were more sophisticated and attractive than their daughters.  Sometimes people tend to be mean and catty - if so, this was certainly not your fault.

As far as the hosting woman's behavior, maybe two weeks of guests turned out to be longer for her than she had anticipated.  I'm sure that you and your BF were considerate guests, but maybe she just wanted her space back.  Again, not your fault.

IMO the two women were unkind and nasty.  When you look back on this please realize that you are not to blame for the error, and that the behavior toward you was both unjustified and unkind.

Above is a quote from another post - obviously not worked out how to do this properly yet  :-\[/b]

I hope there was no other reason, to be honest.  We were good and considerate guests. We paid our way, we brought host family out for meals, we bought groceries, we cleaned house -  Hostess and I got on well up until that night.    :-\

I am so, so sorry that I gave the wrong impression in my post.  If there were another reason, I think that it was something beyond your control, that they were unjustifiably jealous of you for some reason or other.

It's obvious that you were kind and considerate guests, because that is the type of person that you are.  Only a truly good person would ponder over this egregious behavior for so long.

They were completely in the wrong.  Their behavior was mean and out of line.  Even if you had deliberately bought alcohol for a girl you knew was underage I don't think they would have been justified in the strength of their reaction.

You aren't the only one who thought the girl was of age.  After all, the bartender didn't ask for ID, so she must have looked old enough.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: TootsNYC on October 11, 2012, 06:01:59 PM
. . .

I think that there was some other reason why these women were so mean, some other reason that was probably very petty and also was not your fault. 

. . .

IMO the two women were unkind and nasty.  When you look back on this please realize that you are not to blame for the error, and that the behavior toward you was both unjustified and unkind.

I agree. (nicely explained)
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: SPuck on October 11, 2012, 06:15:28 PM
I hope there was no other reason, to be honest.  We were good and considerate guests. We paid our way, we brought host family out for meals, we bought groceries, we cleaned house -  Hostess and I got on well up until that night.    :-\

There is nothing here for you to feel guilty about at all. The fact is that people got nasty on you and no adult ever has the right to yell at another adult unless there is a dangerous situation happening. Nothing dangerous happened, just a teenage girl who managed to pull one over on her elders.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: Acadianna on October 11, 2012, 06:38:13 PM
If one of my boys did something like that, I would be saying something to the person who bought it for them, something along the lines of "I am SO very sorry they misled you!" While taking the beers from them and telling the bartenders they are not to be served any more alcohol.

And the boys would be getting the "You are SO getting an earful when we get home!!!!!!"

Totally this!

It sounds like it was easier for the mother to be nasty to you, instead of dealing with her own daughter who had (A) lied about her age and (B) accepted a beer under false pretenses, knowing she wasn't of legal age.  Since the daughter did all this in full view of her own parent, it seems apparent that she's used to calling the shots with her mother.

Your error was completely innocent,  in good faith, and very understandable -- you did nothing wrong.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: sparksals on October 11, 2012, 11:27:53 PM
I don't know if it is the same across Canada, but in my province, Minors are not allowed in a bar.  Period.   Not even with a parent.  Every adult knows this, at least in Alberta they do, so if the parent 'snuck' their underage kid in, THEY were in the wrong.


You did nothing wrong, OP.  The hostess was horribly rude to you. 
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on October 12, 2012, 06:03:14 AM
If one of my boys did something like that, I would be saying something to the person who bought it for them, something along the lines of "I am SO very sorry they misled you!" While taking the beers from them and telling the bartenders they are not to be served any more alcohol.

And the boys would be getting the "You are SO getting an earful when we get home!!!!!!"

Totally this!

It sounds like it was easier for the mother to be nasty to you, instead of dealing with her own daughter who had (A) lied about her age and (B) accepted a beer under false pretenses, knowing she wasn't of legal age.  Since the daughter did all this in full view of her own parent, it seems apparent that she's used to calling the shots with her mother.

Your error was completely innocent,  in good faith, and very understandable -- you did nothing wrong.

I was thinking that, too.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: cabbageweevil on October 12, 2012, 06:14:04 AM
bookworm252: reading your OP, my blood boiled on your behalf.  IMO vile behaviour on the part of your hostess, and the friend's mother.

If I had been your boyfriend in the situation which you recount, I suspect that my actions would have been definitely not eHell-approved: envisage among others, having us packing up, and walking out of the hosts' house the following morning -- to spend our last few nights in the country in Salvation Army hostels or the equivalent, if funds allowed nothing better.  magician5, as below, submits excellent etiquette-OK possibilities for handling the matter without lying down and letting oneself be trampled over -- which I doubt whether, in the situation, I'd have been able to think of.

At a certain point, you have to take back control:

1 - restate in clear but brief terms how the error happened, and "get a receipt" (get acknowledgement that you have been heard);
2 - restate your apology and any actions you may take to make it better;
3 - refuse to listen to any more of the harangue and leave the area.

A point to consider, made by a number of PPs, is that the two women may have had issues beyond the buying-for-underage-drinker incident, and taken those out on the OP -- with the incident, as a pretext.  Trying hard to be more charitable and self-controlled than comes naturally at any rate to me: there are folk who are not outright bad people, but who can at times, under stress, behave like monsters. "Use every [person] after [their] deserts, and none would 'scape whipping", etc.

At all events, bookworm252 -- the way things played out, you were not at fault; the two women were very much so.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: Thuringwethyl on October 12, 2012, 01:47:08 PM
I don't know if it is the same across Canada, but in my province, Minors are not allowed in a bar.  Period.   Not even with a parent.  Every adult knows this, at least in Alberta they do, so if the parent 'snuck' their underage kid in, THEY were in the wrong.


You did nothing wrong, OP.  The hostess was horribly rude to you.

USian here - whenever I went out bar-hopping the bars had people at the door checking ID's before they let us in.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: Roe on October 12, 2012, 03:35:05 PM
I don't know if it is the same across Canada, but in my province, Minors are not allowed in a bar.  Period.   Not even with a parent.  Every adult knows this, at least in Alberta they do, so if the parent 'snuck' their underage kid in, THEY were in the wrong.


You did nothing wrong, OP.  The hostess was horribly rude to you.

USian here - whenever I went out bar-hopping the bars had people at the door checking ID's before they let us in.

This is probably why the mothers didn't make a big deal and take away the daughter's drinks.  (and probably why the hostess asked you to go to the bathroom, so she could yell at you without the bartenders knowing what was up)
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: JeanFromBNA on October 12, 2012, 03:45:37 PM
The persons who should have been hauled to the bathroom for an earful were the teenage drinker and her friend.  Daughter is 17, not 7, and capable of knowing right from wrong.  I smell a special snowflake or two.  Your hostess should have given you the benefit of the doubt as someone not familiar with local laws and customs.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: Iris on October 12, 2012, 03:54:22 PM
If one of my boys did something like that, I would be saying something to the person who bought it for them, something along the lines of "I am SO very sorry they misled you!" While taking the beers from them and telling the bartenders they are not to be served any more alcohol.

And the boys would be getting the "You are SO getting an earful when we get home!!!!!!"

Totally this!

It sounds like it was easier for the mother to be nasty to you, instead of dealing with her own daughter who had (A) lied about her age and (B) accepted a beer under false pretenses, knowing she wasn't of legal age.  Since the daughter did all this in full view of her own parent, it seems apparent that she's used to calling the shots with her mother.

Your error was completely innocent,  in good faith, and very understandable -- you did nothing wrong.

I was thinking that, too.

I suspect this is the cause of the dressing down, personally, not jealousy of the OP or anything else. I have seen parents who have no control over their children take the "well then I'll just have to control the whole rest of the world" route. She can't control her daughter, therefore she can't take the drink OFF her daughter, therefore it's the OP's fault that daughter is drinking  ::) I'm with Amava - I got up to plenty when I was young, but never when my mother was right there. No way, no how.

Short answer: You were fine, the two women were wrong.
Title: Re: I know I was wrong but...
Post by: lmyrs on October 13, 2012, 03:31:07 AM
As a previous poster mentioned, in Canada the drinking age is either 18 or 19 depending on which province you're in. The 17 year old was at most 2 years away from being legal. And she was with someone who had benn legal for 2 or 3 years. This was on the 17 year old and the 21 year old. I know if I met someone in a var who was with someone who was 21, it wouldn't even cross my mind that they'd be under age. I don't think the OP did anything wrong.