Author Topic: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29  (Read 13972 times)

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weeblewobble

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http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dear_prudence/2014/05/dear_prudence_my_husband_tried_to_secretly_film_a_19_year_old_staying_with.html

Ignoring the first two horrible (HORRIBLE) letters, the third letter is an interesting and more dramatic twist on my own situation with Bob the Tip Adjustor. Basically, the LW meets with a group of moms from her kids' school and at one of the early lunches, one of the more affluent moms in the group sat next to her and looked pointedly at her, claiming to have forgotten her purse when the bill came.  LW covered the other mom's bill, and now every time the group meets, Affluent Mom claims to have forgotten her purse and LW ends up paying for her lunch. It's not a lot of money, she says, but she's bothered by the idea that she's expected to cover this woman's tab, particularly when Affluent Mom drives an expensive car and her husband makes a good living.

She's tried sitting away from Affluent Mom, but now Affluent Mom is asking her directly to pay for her lunch.  LW is reluctant to say no because she doesn't want to be seen as "cheap" by the rest of the group. But honestly, I cannot imagine what Affluent Mom is thinking. What would make a person select someone within a group and decide, "This person is responsible for paying for my food every week."  I can't imagine what LW is thinking. Why doesn't she just say, "No."

I think I would either tell the Affluent Mom, "No, I won't be able to pay your way." and let the other moms in the group whatever they think of me. Or maybe, "It seems odd that you've forgotten your purse so often.  Maybe you should see your doctor about your memory issues."

What would the ehellions do in these situations?


Thipu1

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Re: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2014, 10:25:55 AM »
Moocher knows that these meals happen on a fairly regular basis.  She might have forgotten her wallet once but this seems to have gotten completely out of control.  She needs to be told flat out and in no uncertain terms that the free lunches are over. 

The LW says she doesn't want to be seen as cheap.  How does she think the other ladies view the Mooch? 

lkdrymom

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Re: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2014, 10:26:25 AM »
How about " I am sorry, I covered your lunch the last THREE times you forgot your purse, I am afraid it will not be possible this time".  If this woman does this every single time doesn't anyone think  she is trying to convey some sort of message to the OP since she is the only person she asks?  I am not sure exactly what that message may be...does AFmom think that the OP is not good enough for the group unless she is doing extra for them?

snowfire

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Re: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2014, 10:29:51 AM »
You can only be a doormat with your own consent.  One time forgetting a purse, plausible, though unlikely. Every single time? Nope, being used.  Time to tell Minnie the Moocher before lunch that you will not be paying for her this time or any time in the near future.

Yvaine

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Re: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2014, 10:30:04 AM »
I'm wondering if Affluent Mom is not really all that Affluent and is faking it (like with immense debt). She sounds like the same kind of person who orders all the best stuff on the menu, devours it, then pretends it was terrible to get her meal comped.

YummyMummy66

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Re: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2014, 10:31:09 AM »
But, over time, it is a lot of money.

She is worried about what the other moms think if she does not pay?   Right now, I bet they are thinking, "sucker" written on her forehead.

If they all go out together, I am assuming that they all have each other's phone numbers.  I would be calling said mom and let her know that I will not be buying her lunch any longer, so please do not forget your purse.

or, as I am sitting down, I might say, "Susie, guess what?  it seem I forgot my purse this time!  It is your turn to pay for our meals today!"      (I would have my card in my pocket or my purse in my car).

Or honestly, I would be telling her, "I'm sorry, I don't think so.  I have let this go one long enough.  I don't know whatever gave you the idea that I should pay for your lunch everytime, but it stops now.  Ok, who is having a burger?" 

LeveeWoman

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Re: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2014, 10:31:50 AM »
The woman who demands the LW pay for her lunch is a bully who selected her target early, one who believes that objecting to being mistreated will make her look like the bad person.

I'd have covered her once, but not the second time.

bloo

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Re: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2014, 10:32:23 AM »
LW is reluctant to say no because she doesn't want to be seen as "cheap" by the rest of the group.

I would have to say 'no' a second time because I wouldn't want to be seen as a doormat. I would never think 'cheapskate' if I saw someone defending their boundaries and refusing to be a doormat.

I've mentioned this before but my friend Dina pulled this all. the. time.

She only did it to me once because the second time she tried it, I told her - in front of a bunch of our girlfriends - that I was driving her back home to get her money. It was a Girl's Night Out, and another gal, Carrie, offered to cover for Dina. Carrie sighed, knowing what she was letting herself in for, but I figured if Carrie wanted to be a doormat that was her prerogative. Asking if she was sure (because I didn't mind driving all the way back to Dina's though we would be late for our movie) I took off and let her handle it.

Dina seemed to intuit that I was not a good candidate to cover for her when she didn't want to pay as she never pulled that on me again.

But we found out later from some mutual friends that Dina and her DH, Rick, were flabbergasted to get a bill from Carrie and her DH, Sam. Apparently Dina had pulled this on her so much, that Carrie - crushing under the weight of the final straw - wrote out all the times she covered for her that she could remember going back maybe 4 or 5 years and invoiced her. I never heard whether Dina paid her back but I did note that their friendship cooled off for a while. They did eventually become close again and Dina did learn her lesson, at least with Carrie.

We, all three of us gals, live in three different states now and I have no idea if Dina is still like this.

I will cover for people but I have no problem hounding them for my money, I don't care if it's $10. But I'll never put myself in a position to have to hound them a second time by loaning money. I hate to be in a position to ask someone to cover for me because I find myself without means to pay for something so that is one thing I have genuine anxiety about. I hate to be a burden on someone else and cause them any anxiety about whether I'm going to pay them back.   

Outdoor Girl

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Re: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2014, 10:40:33 AM »
I have what a call a really good male cow excrement detector.  I seem to know when someone has genuinely forgotten their money or if they are trying to play me.  With the people trying to play me, I'll either say 'No' upfront or I'll offer to give them a $20 to make it easier to pay me back tomorrow (or the next time I see them).  And I hound them for that $20 to make sure they know that I'm not a doormat.  I write the $20 - and them - off, if they never pay me back.  Relatively cheap way to know who your friends are.

The genuine people?  I cover them with no expectation of being paid back but appreciate it when the majority of them do.

The LW is a complete doormat.  She needs to flat out tell the apparently not so Affluent Mom that she will no longer cover her lunch, in front of the group.  'I've covered you three times now.  Enough.  Either remember to bring your money or don't eat.  I'm done.'

I wouldn't put it past AM to tell the server to put her food on LW bill, though, so she'd need to be clear with the waiter that she is only paying for herself and has not approved any other people to be on her bill.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
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NyaChan

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Re: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2014, 10:47:42 AM »
"You forgot your wallet again?? But this is the third time and I'vw only planned on paying for my own meal." and then Id pointedly turn and continue my conversation.

Psychopoesie

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Re: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2014, 10:49:59 AM »
This definitely seems to be a pattern of behaviour and an unpleasant one at that. Saying no is fine and actually recommended under the circumstances. Once could be accidental...

This reminds me of what happened when heading out to meet a friend for coffee recently. I didn't realise until I ordered that my purse was not in my handbag (I have everything but the kitchen sink in there so it's not something that would be obvious until I rummaged around for it). Wasn't even a bit of loose change at the bottom of the handbag.

I felt really embarrassed. My friend was there at the counter with me so she saw what happened. It would never occur to me to ask a friend to pay for me. I started to cancel my order and decided to make do with a glass of water. My friend offered to pay. When she did that, I said I'd just have coffee but she encouraged me to have the cake as well, bless her. So I did, thanked her and said it would be my treat next time. & it was. So all good. :)

May be a good idea for me to hide a $10 note somewhere in my bag for emergencies.

miranova

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Re: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2014, 10:54:25 AM »
The threat of being thought of as "cheap" is very strong. 

Personally I wouldn't cover someone more than once if they hadn't paid me back.  But I understand how people get sucked into it.  If you are worried about being cheap though, you could just say that you don't have the money.  It's no different from affluent mom saying that she forgot her purse. 

LeveeWoman

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Re: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2014, 10:59:37 AM »
"You forgot your wallet again?? But this is the third time and I'vw only planned on paying for my own meal." and then Id pointedly turn and continue my conversation.

She didn't forget her wallet. She forgot her purse, which to me is as unfathomable as forgetting one's shoes.

Psychopoesie

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Re: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2014, 11:04:46 AM »
"You forgot your wallet again?? But this is the third time and I'vw only planned on paying for my own meal." and then Id pointedly turn and continue my conversation.

She didn't forget her wallet. She forgot her purse, which to me is as unfathomable as forgetting one's shoes.

Not sure I understand this. Wallet and purse mean pretty much the same thing where I'm from - although the former is usually for men, the latter for women. It's where you put your money, cards and stuff. A handbag is what I carry my purse in.

Yvaine

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Re: S/O Restaurant bill shenanigans: Dear Prudence Third Letter 05/29
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2014, 11:06:48 AM »
"You forgot your wallet again?? But this is the third time and I'vw only planned on paying for my own meal." and then Id pointedly turn and continue my conversation.

She didn't forget her wallet. She forgot her purse, which to me is as unfathomable as forgetting one's shoes.

Not sure I understand this. Wallet and purse mean pretty much the same thing where I'm from - although the former is usually for men, the latter for women. It's where you put your money, cards and stuff. A handbag is what I carry my purse in.

Where I'm from, "purse" describes what I think you mean by a handbag--it's an often sizable bag that contains your wallet, makeup, keys, hairbrush, or whatever else you carry around with you every day. The wallet is a smaller thing and is a gender-neutral word for the thing that the money and cards go in.