I used to have a friend whose husband insisted that lunches for her and her children should be made with own-brand bread from the discount supermarket, and the pre-formed luncheon meats. He on the other hand, was a Working Man (she was looking after 4 children under 12, and childminding as well) and needed bakery bread and proper ham sliced off the bone from the deli. They could drink generic cola; he wanted the brand name. There was a group of four of five families in the area with children much of an age who had frequent play dates together; it got to be well known that all the other mothers, if a child was there around lunch or tea time, would make an extra sandwich and find an extra yogurt and apple. It all came out in the wash - I'll feed Johnny with my children today, you'll feed the Elder Chick tomorrow when he's at your house to play. Even if they weren't there at a meal time, there would be a drink and a biscuit or a handful of raisins or whatever.
Not at her house. At her house, her children got fed and visiting children didn't, not so much as a grape. And not because she didn't want to - she was mortified by the whole thing - but because he wouldn't allow it.
And yes, he too did the thing about the children's toys came from jumble sales and discount stores, but he had all the latest electronics, club memberships, etc etc cont page 94.
He asked me once about doing some work for him when he was supposed to be setting up his own business - he was made redundant, with a big payoff: knew it was coming 9 months before it did and did nothing about this business he was setting up until he was actually sitting at home all day. It was something that involved sending off to the licensing authority for the industry and waiting for approval; he had all the qualifications, and filling in the forms took an afternoon, but then you would have to wait 3 or 4 months for the approval to come through. If he'd done them when he first knew that he was being paid off, he'd have been able to work from day 1, not sat on his behind at home waiting for the paperwork. I went over one evening and talked him through the first stages of what he needed to do, and then said brightly 'now I never contract with my friends, because of conflict of interest and because it makes for discomfort when you know that I know your income and outgoings, so I recommend that you go with Other Accountant.' I'm glad I did - within 12 months, the word all around town was that he was a bad payer. Questioned everything, always wanted a discount, didn't keep to agreed payment terms.