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Moochie, Moochie Hot Cha Cha

I wanted to share a story about the most shameless mooch I’ve ever met.  I’ll call her Brittany.

I met Brittany, a sophomore at my then college, during my senior year. She struck up a conversation with me as I was walking to my dorm, carrying a brownie I’d just bought. Apparently, my acquaintance had told her that I was really good at physics. (I’m not.) She was struggling in her physics class. Alas and woe! If only she had someone to tutor her! If only some kind soul, perhaps someone who was really good at physics, could tutor her for free!

I knew exactly what she was getting at and tried to express sympathy without committing to anything, but eventually she straight-up asked me if I could tutor her. At that point, I felt kind of bad for her and decided it couldn’t hurt to help her out. “I’m busy this weekend,” I told her, “..but we can set up a time next Tuesday and I’ll see if I can help you out.”

She thanked me profusely. Moments later, she noticed the brownie I was holding. “Can I have some of that?” she asked. “I want to try all the treats from the cafeteria, but I don’t want to spend my dining dollars.”   Apparently my dining dollars were fair game. Right after I’d agreed to do her a favor, no less. I handed her a piece of the brownie, wondering if I’d made a mistake in humoring her.

The following Saturday morning, I was woken up by the sound of someone banging on my door and yelling my name. Surprise–it was Brittany. “I need you to help me with my homework!”, she yelled through the locked door.  Hadn’t I told her I wasn’t up for that over the weekend? Blame it on being half-asleep and just wanting her to go away, but I told her to come back in a couple of hours and I’d see what I could do.

The tutoring session itself was time-consuming and deeply frustrating, although I can’t blame that on her manners. It did make me aware that I wasn’t exactly doing her a trivial favor. Why exactly had I agreed to do this for free?

Monday was the last straw. Brittany found me working in the library and plopped down in the seat next to me, looking distressed.  “Can I have some money?”, she asked. “I spent all of mine and now I can’t afford toothpaste.”  Once I’d picked my jaw up off the floor, I told her I wasn’t comfortable with giving money to someone I’d just met that week. I decided then and there that I’d go through with the Tuesday tutoring session I’d promised her, but after that I was cutting her off. Otherwise, she’d probably be asking me for a kidney next.

Come Tuesday, I explained to her that I didn’t plan to tutor her again. I reminded her that I’d met her only four days ago, and every interaction since then had involved her asking me for a favor. I told her that she hadn’t given me any indication that she was interested in getting to know me, that I felt used, and that I wasn’t going to play along anymore.

She looked disappointed and embarrassed, and for a minute I felt bad. The poor kid probably just didn’t have good social skills. I knew what that was like. Hopefully she’d learn from this experience that it isn’t appropriate to ask for large or numerous favors from near-strangers, and–  “So if I get to know you as a person and become your friend, then you’ll
tutor me?”

Yeah, her takeaway was that as long as she pretended to actually like me and went through the motions of conversation, I’d be at her beck and call again. I told her that wasn’t going to happen, and I haven’t seen her since.     0725-14


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Cherry91 July 29, 2014, 4:00 am


    At least she was honest and didn’t ask to “borrow” money that you would never see again – instead she just made it clear she saw you as her own personal ATM!

  • PatGreen July 29, 2014, 4:31 am

    Likely all she took away was that she needed to be more subtle in the future and is probably mooching off people to this day.

  • Margo July 29, 2014, 5:25 am

    Wow! It sounds very much as though you dodged a bullet by standing up to her early on. I wonder how many other people she tried it on.

  • cicero July 29, 2014, 6:02 am

    Ha – the last sentence reminded me of TBBT episode when sheldon worked really hard at befriending kripke because he was [wrongly] told that kripke controlled access to some lab equipment and only let his friends use it.

    But to your story – wow. reading it from the outside, i’m thinking “why did she agree to that? why did she give her the brownie? why did she agree to tutor her on the weekend after she told her she wasn’t available on the weekend” but to be honest, at that age, i probably would’ve done the same thing. I never could really *see* manipulation until it was pointed out to me, and even then – it was hard for me to accept that someone would do that. now of course i’m much older and wiser 😉

    But good for OP for telling her like it is. Would be interesting to know how Brittany turned out.

    • LiLi July 29, 2014, 10:17 am

      Armchair diagnosis for sure, but it’s interesting that you bring up The Big Bang Theory. A lot of people state that Sheldon displays charcteristics of Autism/Aspergers (whether or not the writers intentionally mean him to do so is up for debate).

      Since the OP didn’t know Brittany that well, I wonder if he lack of people skills is part of her being somewhere on the Autism spectrum. I only say that because the behavior is rather straightforward and extreme. Usually moochers are more more sly manipulators, just for the very reasons that if they are straightforword this very sort of “uh…no” thing happens.

      • Daphne July 29, 2014, 4:07 pm

        Why is it that every single question on this blog, someone attributes boorish behavior to autism?

        • Jaxsue July 29, 2014, 5:17 pm

          I’m wondering the same thing that Daphne is. You can predict that the autism thing will be brought up. It’s getting tiresome. I have a son with autism and I know a lot of people with autism, and this is not something I see/experience. Sometimes people are just users.

          • Xandy August 15, 2014, 10:39 am

            Thanks for helping me to see things in a dinrefeft light.

        • Rayner July 29, 2014, 6:34 pm

          Because popular culture shows boil it down to boorish behaviour that’s funny and strange and to be laughed at. Because mental illness, neuro-atypicalness, and brain differences are ‘not represented well’ and something that people think nothing of representing as a chariacture of the reality that people face. Look at the Big Bang. Are we supposed to laugh with Sheldon or at him because he doesn’t ‘get’ things, most of the time?

          Autistic behaviour comes in many different forms, and many many many people who have it function in society with few or no difficulties, having learnt coping mechanisms to deal with life’s situation. Even those who don’t get on so well and can’t ‘pass’ will often do their best to do the right thing and interact well. Autism is not this massive monolith that encompasses everybody who just doesn’t get subtlety or being anything other than direct.

          Sometimes, people are just dense, or don’t get how it works because they have few life experiences to tell them otherwise when it comes to social interaction.

          • Daphne July 30, 2014, 2:11 pm

            We are supposed to laugh AT Sheldon because it’s a sitcom and it’s meant to be funny. He’s not a real person, he’s a character.
            And I think in this particular story Brittany knew exactly what she was doing. She seems to be a fairly experienced moocher and not “dense” at all. The OP did the right thing by standing up to her.

        • OMJulie July 29, 2014, 6:55 pm

          It’s become a fad across the internet, from what I can see. Every time anyone mentions awkward, socially inept, inappropriate, or even creepy behavior there’s someone saying, “But what about autism/aspergers????”

          I think it happens every time a mental illness suddenly becomes prominent online. People who read about psychopaths see psychopaths everywhere, people find out about Borderline Personality Disorder and suddenly everyone who’s wronged them has it. Right now it seems to be high-functioning autism, for some reason.

          At least in this case they weren’t arguing for OP *not* to call out inappropriate behavior, though. It’s always acceptable to straightforwardly address inappropriate behavior regardless of neural state, in my opinion, as long as it’s done in a way that isn’t vicious or mean.

          • Lera99 July 30, 2014, 9:31 am

            We had a guy at a Sci-Fi convention who kept groping the cosplayers and saying really inappropriate things to some of the underage teenage girls attending the event.

            When security tracked him down and told him to leave he started yelling “I have Aspergers! You can’t throw me out for not understanding how to behave! It’s discrimination and I’ll sue you!”

            Security let him know it was a private event and the tickets specifically state they can throw people out for any reason at any time.

            Sadly that guy was not the first nor the last person I’ve seen try to use Aspergers as an excuse to behave horribly and sexually harass others.

          • Daphne July 30, 2014, 2:17 pm

            I agree with you. Just because someone has autism, it doesn’t mean s/he is allowed to be completely oblivious and/or abusive to everyone around them. It’s just not a valid excuse for the problems OP had with Brittany.

          • Yet Another Laura July 30, 2014, 4:17 pm


            I’ve been to sci-fi conventions, too and that’s the excuse other people use on behalf of the groper. The gropee is asked to be more understanding. Meanwhile, my friends who really do have Aspergers and autism cringe every time this happens and I cringe with them.

            People are way too willing to excuse groping and otherwise bad behavior.

          • Rachel July 30, 2014, 7:17 pm

            Wrong. I’ve been using this diagnosis since the early 2000s when a friend was sure that our very stunted friend had Asperger’s. Oh and my uncle has severe autism as well so it’s not like I just “don’t get why it would be offensive” (I get it, but it’s not). But good armchair diagnosis attributing it to online lemming behavior.

        • Raymee July 29, 2014, 7:24 pm

          Can we please stop with the armchair diagnoses? Other peoples mental health problems are none of your business. You wouldn’t/shouldn’t publicly discuss whether a woman is pregnant, or make assumptions on health related to a person’s weight. A persons mental health should be treated the same. Making it a public discussion is beyond rude. And harmful by furthering stereotypes.

          • Tracy W July 30, 2014, 4:05 am

            I disagree. If someone has mental health problems that affects how they behave towards others, that does indeed make it the business of everyone who knows them, or may know them.

            My father’s family has included several people with serious mental health problems, and it’s very valuable to know, for example, that whatever one of my aunts said about someone else was totally unreliable. And my mother reports being absolutely stunned and unable to reply the first time said aunt started up on her.

            Other people’s pregnancies or possibly weight-related health problems generally don’t have such a big impact on how they treat everyone around them.

          • LiLi July 30, 2014, 11:01 am

            I qualified this as an armchair diagnosis as I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional, but I do have quite a bit of real life experience with people on the autism spectrum. I didn’t just say this because I watch The Big Bang Theory from time to time. The line “So if I get to know you as a person and become your friend, then you’ll tutor me?” set off a klaxon, as I know an individual who has this method of thinking. Doing X with the expectation of a Y reaction is their way of coping in a neurotypical world. She is very blunt about it, and is often misunderstood by strangers. @Jaxsue It may not be your experience with autistic individuals because of course everyone is different, but it is mine experience. @Raymee Maybe I am projecting a bit, and of course its still anecdotal on my part, but it sat poorly with me that we might be ridiculing someone who genuinely doesn’t understand why her behavior is in appropriate, particularly since Britney’s behavior reminded me so much of the young lady I know.

            I never said or implied the behavior should be excused, even if Brittney is on autism spectrum (and of course she might not be and just be completely clueless). In fact I think the OP’s response was highly appropriate in any situation, since she was not Britney’s friend and had no obligation to try to be.

            Though ultimately, while I did feel the need to explain why I went the direction of my comment, I clearly caused offense and for that I apologize.

          • Daphne July 30, 2014, 2:24 pm


        • Mya July 30, 2014, 3:18 am

          I agree up to a point. I think it is worth discussing ‘reasons’ for things if for no other reason than to raise awareness, but other posters are right in that some people are just that selfish and that autism/aspergers isn’t a catch-all diagnosis for rudeness. Our nephew is on the Autistic Spectrum and he is perfectly capable of learning what is and isn’t good manners. Sure he has his moments where he’ll stare off into space and just completely live in his own mind for a while which can come across as rude (especially when he just abruptly gets up from the dinner table and goes and turns the TV on mid-dinner) but his parents are usually pretty good at getting him to function politely ‘Can I say something please?’ is his way of ‘butting into’ a conversation which could be worse.

          When I was at University I was ‘friends’ with a girl I’ll call ‘Mary’. Mary was from an Eastern European country where the culture and values were very different. She would think nothing of smoking a cigarette and blowing the smoke across my food when we were eating (this was before the non-smoking laws). She was always skipping out of lectures expecting me to pick up notes for her and précis the lecture. She was a very selfish individual (there were plenty of things she did that I won’t list here) but as someone who struggles to make friends I just ‘hung in there’ until the day I put myself out for her because it was her birthday and she was homesick only for her not to bother to turn up (despite the modest amount of money I’d spent on arranging a meal for her). When I called her she was in a pub apparently ‘with her brother’ who’d apparently ‘surprised her’ but there was no evidence whatsoever of her brother having come over from this Eastern European Country for allegedly a single day (he supposedly crashed on her sofa but her flatmates knew nothing about it). After that I just didn’t speak to her again. There was no drama or confrontations – I simply moved to a different seat in the lecture theatre and she would regularly skip lectures so ‘avoiding her’ was pretty easy. Looking back on it I realised it was always me doing the running – I was always the one arranging things, it was always me making suggestions such ‘did you want to get some coffee/lunch/a drink?’ but sometimes when you struggle to make friends, you cling to the moochers because you don’t know any better. It’s sad but I went through my formative years doing this and it was only relatively recently that I’ve ‘grown a pair’ and realised that I am better off with no friends than ones that use me. ‘Mary’ was one example but I have several others over the years ‘Sarah’, ‘Laura’, ‘Alison’ (this one DID have drama but only because I chose to stand up to her when she humiliated me in front of a class full of people), ‘Rob’ (he was a real piece of work).

          Sometimes people really are that callous and other times they just don’t realise (or care) how the other side of the relationship feels. ‘Laura’ in particular isn’t a particularly odious moocher but with her it’s a case of ‘unless you make all the effort I can’t be bothered to be friends with you’ so in this case I realised that she clearly didn’t care about my friendship so I simply stopped making contact. It’s been over 4 years and to this day she has not bothered to contact me once. The event that triggered it was when I bought us tickets to see a film we were both dying to see and she claimed to be super-excited and 10 minutes (literally 10 minutes) before I was due to leave to collect her (she doesn’t drive so I was always ferrying her around) she sent me a text saying that a grandparent was ill and she wouldn’t be able to make it. Now this isn’t the first time a ‘grandparent’ has been conveniently sick when she’s cancelled plans so whilst I accepted her excuse graciously, I was privately very suspicious. As I had purchased these tickets in advance and the film was starting in less than an hour, I was potentially out of pocket (luckily my Mum wanted to see the film too so we went together instead thus saving LeBoyfriend and my Dad from having to see the film lol). The next day, top of my Facebook feed was ‘Laura’ thanking another mutual friend ‘Kate’ for ‘a lovely evening with you and the kids’. Sick Grandparent my rear. After that I simply stopped contacting her.

          Sometimes people really are that clueless and selfish. It sounds like the OP picked up on that quickly – good for her. For others who, like me, are in one-sided friendships you have to decide whether the APPEARANCE of having friends is more important than whether or not that relationship is fulfilling. For me, it’s not.

        • Steve July 30, 2014, 5:00 pm

          Bigotry. It’s that simple.

          Could you imagine a post about being cheap, and a poster wondering if the miscreant could be Jewish? Or how about a story about a thief, followed by someone asking whether the perp was Puerto Rican or black?

          No one would ever dare post such a thing here. But people think nothing of attributing every kind of rude and boorish behavior to autism, because we normal people would never act that way. It must be one of those people. Not our kind, dear.

          Other kinds of mental or emotional challenges fare no better, either.

        • Goldie July 31, 2014, 10:25 am

          As a mother of a 21yo with Aspergers, I wonder the same thing. I cannot imagine my son ever turning into a “Brittany”. First of all, he doesn’t like talking to people, that’s what Aspergers is all about! Second of all, he doesn’t believe in hitting random people up for food, free tutoring, or money.

      • RC July 29, 2014, 11:06 pm

        Before we all starting wringing our hands (and trust me, I dislike the use of armchair diagnoses as well… A story mentions people had had a few drinks, and suddenly, the boor is an alcoholic!)…

        Lili has simply put if forward as a suggestion, and given a reason for their thinking. Lili is not trying to excuse the behavior, they have made an observation. Lili is not saying “Excuse Brittany, she could be autistic!”; Lili is saying, “I find it interesting that Brittany’s approach was so straightforward, which could be symptomatic of autism.”

        I think LiLi carefully worded their observation, and did it well.

        • Daphne July 30, 2014, 6:38 pm

          @ RC I understood her comment. You don’t need to explain it to me. What I don’t understand is that on an etiquette site, why are so many people making assumptions about others’ personal health issues? It is rude to assume someone who is socially inept has autism or any other problem. It’s a personal matter and until you know FOR SURE that someone is afflicted with something you should assume they are perfectly healthy, and treat them that way.
          Thus, whether Brittany has aspergers or not, it is perfectly fine for OP to let her know she won’t be helping her with homework or anything else.

          • RC July 30, 2014, 10:07 pm

            Ah, I think I see where we are differing in our view here. My reading of it that Lili was not making an assumption, and was wondering about a hypothetical answer to Brittany’s poor behavior. I read the comment as suggestive, “Because she exhibits A, perhaps B is a reason?”, rather than the assumptive, which would be “Brittany has/must have B!”

            I can see where others may interpret differently, and can see where you are coming from. I agree with you Daphne, it is incorrect and rude to make assumptions, and all people should be treated equally until there is a known, not assumed, reason to modify your approach to someone.

          • remi July 31, 2014, 2:01 am

            I agree with you regarding the rudeness of casually diagnosing strangers, but I hesitate at the prhasing “assume they are perfectly healthy.” Most autistic people I know find it pretty offensive when people tell them that they are unhealthy or need to be cured because of who they are. Autism is not a disease to them, it’s just the way they experience the world and the way their brain works. An autistic person is just as healthy as anyone else, they just think a little differently.

          • Tracy W July 31, 2014, 3:16 am

            I think that assuming that someone is perfectly healthy until you know FOR SURE that someone is afflicted with something is a very bad assumption, both for those who have mental health problems or are neuro-atypical, and, in the case of the more anti-social mental problems, those around them. Mental health professionals don’t diagnose people without actually meeting the people in question, for very good reasons, and even then often diagnoses are tentative, in most suspected cases there’s no definitive physical test. Furthermore, some mental illnesses are associated with denial of a problem, my Dad’s mother fell into that category. So someone might be diagnosed, and yet not tell anyone.

            But, we should be charitable towards our fellow human beings, and, if someone does something odd, try to consider possibilities beyond “They deliberately intended it”. And, in the case of mental illnesses that lead to paranoia, or narcissism, or other ways of maltreating fellow people, it’s very valuable for the victim to be able to think that “Well, I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but healthy people don’t treat each other like that. What you just said to me is about you, not about me.” Or, for others to think that “Okay, you said that about your son, but I’m just going to ignore it because of all the other cases you’ve said something that turned out to be totally unfounded.”

            I remember in my first year of high school one of the girls in our group of friends did a number of weird things, including trying to provoke me into a physical fight, and telling us that another of our group of friends was “trying to take over her place in the group”. (She picked the most mildest, self-effacing friend possible, we all burst into laughter). (To our relief, she transferred schools at the end of the year). Should we really have assumed she was perfectly healthy, and considered the possibility that A was trying to take over her place in the group, because we didn’t know FOR SURE she had a mental problem?

          • Mya July 31, 2014, 4:27 am

            I agree. Aspergers or not, if a certain set of behaviours is undesirable and you as an autonomous individual do not wish to be subjected to said behaviours, then the underlying reasons for the behaviours existing are largely irrelevant. The onus is on the OP to be courteous and graceful in navigating their way out of an unwanted request. It is no different to being approached in a bar by someone you have no interest in dating – you find a way to politely extricate yourself from the situation without resorting to demeaning or humiliating them and without allowing yourself to be used as a doormat. It sounds like the OP did very well to extricate herself from the situation, although I think she was a little too kind in agreeing to help in the first place.

            I always find that it is best when asked for help by others in an area you are not expert in that you explain your deficiencies and offer constructive suggestions – websites you find helpful, the title and author of a particularly good and informative book, the name of a Physics postgrad who is offering Physics tuition in exchange for money/food/beer/whatever. This gives you a perfect get-out for these types of situations because you have said you can’t help them but instead of leaving them high and dry you’ve offered them constructive suggestions. If they don’t want to take them then that is on them. When they ask again you can say ‘Oh, was website/book not helpful? Did you contact Joe Bloggs? If Joe Bloggs couldn’t help you then I am certainly nowhere near as good as him. I won’t be any help to you at all I’m afraid.’ Job done.

          • Daphne August 3, 2014, 11:32 pm

            @remi The question at hand is referring to the implication others have made on this forum stating that essentially, a person with autism is unable to behave politely in public. And while I KNOW that people with autism are “perfectly healthy”, it seems that those who present autism to be the answer to every etiquette gaffe do not.

          • Daphne August 3, 2014, 11:38 pm

            @ Tracy W We are talking about a girl at college pestering another student for free food and tutoring. This is about a moocher–not about a diagnosis a psychiatrist might surmise. And yes, the POLITE thing to do is to assume someone is perfectly healthy in every way until you know otherwise.

        • Tracy W August 4, 2014, 9:43 am

          The discussion has moved on from the specific case, to the more general principle about whether we should consider possibilities of mental health problems or unusual mental states.

          As for politeness, I think you are wrong in what it requires, for the reasons stated above. Repeating your assertion with the word “polite” in capitals doesn’t make your case any stronger.

          Also, just on language, can I suggest being careful in your use of the word “healthy”? I note there’s a big difference between a mental health problem like paranoid schizrophrenia, which obviously causes suffering to the victim, and a mental condition like Aspergers, where reasonal adjustments on both sides may well be all that’s needed: it’s like the difference between a skin problem like eczema and having a skin colour that people discriminate against.

      • iwadasn August 15, 2014, 8:36 pm

        It seems to be like she’s just spoiled. She probably had parents who did everything for her and gave her whatever she wanted in high school, and now that she’s in college she doesn’t know how to manage her money or do things for herself.

  • Maggie July 29, 2014, 6:06 am

    Considering (according to the first paragraph) you’re not even good at physics, why didn’t you just say so? If you felt like being nice, you could point her towards a tutoring center (if there is one), but you had a good reason to not do that favor in the first place. You could’ve nipped this right away.

    • Steve July 29, 2014, 10:45 am

      A moocher’s greatest weapon is the element of surprise. Their attacks leave normal people dazed and confused, too shell-shocked to recognize what has happened. Good for the OP for making a strong recovery.

    • OP August 11, 2014, 9:35 pm

      I’m not bad at physics–just not as brilliant at it as our mutual acquaintance apparently described me, and I did tell her that.

  • Phoenix July 29, 2014, 6:23 am

    You said you have no expertise on physics, so why did you agree to tutor her? You should have corrected her and guided her to the college’s tutoring services. Colleges have free tutoring services that are provided with a student’s tuition (or at least the colleges I go to).

    I think she really needed some help, but didn’t have the tact. You don’t’t have to befriend your tutoror, but you need to properly communicate with your tutor. Mooching your tutorer’s brownie and banging on their door in the morning is not proper conduct.

    • OP August 11, 2014, 9:38 pm

      I wasn’t as clear in the story as I could have been. I didn’t mean that I had no expertise in physics. I had taken the course and was pretty good at it, so I believed I knew the subject well enough to tutor her. She seemed to be under the impression that I was incredibly brilliant at it, and I did tell her that I’m not, but that didn’t dissuade her.

  • Lizajane July 29, 2014, 6:25 am

    No good deed goes unpunished.

  • Cat July 29, 2014, 6:29 am

    You did the right thing. Once these people latch onto you, it is very difficult to remove them from your life.
    I knew a woman who made very poor life decisions. Our friendship ended when she wrote hundreds of dollars in bad checks. She said she was “trying to help her son” and asked me for a “loan” of eight-hundred dollars so the bank would not have her arrested.
    She had no assets and could never have paid off the eight-hundred dollars. I am not a wealthy person and, at that stage in my life, could not afford to lose eight-hundred dollars. I never heard from her again.

  • Green123 July 29, 2014, 6:35 am

    Very well done, OP. This story is an excellent example of the Polite Spine.

  • Agania July 29, 2014, 7:03 am

    Celebrate the spine. You go girl!

  • Abby July 29, 2014, 7:11 am

    Well at least Brittany was clueless enough to verbalize her plan to pretend to be your friend in order to extract favors from you. Good for you for standing up for yourself and getting rid of this leech.

    Her last line reminded me of my ill mannered little cousin. Now, granted, she was about 7, not a college sophomore, but her manners were terrible. I bought a present for her mother one time, and my cousin pouted because I hadn’t bought one for her. When I commented that I wasn’t really planning on buying her any more “just because” presents (so, not including birthdays and Christmas) due to the fact that she never played with/used anything I picked up for her, my cousin stated out loud, so if I go play with those toys right now, then you’ll buy me stuff I actually like? Okay then.

    • BH July 29, 2014, 8:16 am

      I had a cousin who I bought a Barbie for, for her birthday when she turned 7. She had decided she doesn’t like Barbies anymore and wanted clothes. I lived with this cousin at the time and we were close, so I was shocked. My Aunt made her apologize to me.

    • kit July 29, 2014, 10:18 am

      From the mouths of babes… 😀
      So, did you start buying her things she actually liked? (for Christmases and birthdays)

    • EchoGirl July 29, 2014, 2:11 pm

      For a child, that line of reasoning makes sense. “She doesn’t want to buy me things because I don’t play with the things she buys, so if I play with them, her reason not to buy me things goes away” is, in my experience, pretty standard logic for a seven-year-old. The shocking part is a college-age adult using the same level of reasoning.

    • The Elf July 29, 2014, 3:02 pm

      Well, 7 is in the “no-filter” age where kids can be disturbingly honest.

    • gb July 29, 2014, 3:39 pm

      My 14 year old cousin still will only silently look at you of your gift isn’t electronics or an accessory to one of her electronics. Her mother says she is shy, but at 14, you should know how to graciously accept a gift.

      OP dodged a bullet!

  • JO July 29, 2014, 7:30 am

    Just…wow. Hopefully she eventually learned some people skills.

    • hakayama July 29, 2014, 10:20 am

      @JO: Why would you wish that? As it was, the “victim” was dealing with a, so far, non-violent sociopath. Once Brittany learned “people skills”, she’d become truly adept at manipulating and exploiting people.
      Abby’s little cousin of 7 years (response just above yours), operated in a manner sort of fitting her age. Brittany, a college student, appeared to be grossly arrested in emotional/social development. Perhaps as long as her manners and mannerisms remained at the level of an ill-bred child, some grief could be spared to those she encountered in her trajectory through life.

      • Miss Raven July 29, 2014, 1:10 pm

        WOW. This isn’t just an armchair diagnosis, it’s also an extremely reckless one with no evidence to back it up. Antisocial Personality Disorder isn’t something to be taken lightly, and can’t be diagnosed just because someone is willing to use another person. People without social skills, people on the Autism spectrum, clueless people, selfish people, and manipulative moochers can all be (unwittingly or not) people-users, but that doesn’t make them Sociopaths, who lack both empathy and fear.

        Sociopaths are also experts at blending in and hiding their lack of emotion. Brittany laid all her cards on the table pretty much at all times.

        I think the idea is that once Brittany learned some people skills, she would stop being such a mooch. Not that she would continue being a slicker, albeit more pleasant mooch. How terribly cynical.

      • Dee July 29, 2014, 1:34 pm

        Whoa! Sociopath?!? Yes, Brittany is socially clueless and selfish, to boot. But that could just be the result of a lack of discipline when younger along with difficulty feeling empathy for others, which is a common trait amongst some. Empathy can be exercised and many people who were complete boors when younger turn out wonderful after a few very hard lessons. I won’t write off a young person as quickly as you have; I’ve met more than a few of those kinds of people and am glad to know them, as more mature adults, after all.

      • JO July 29, 2014, 3:57 pm

        I wish that, because to me, “people skills” means knowing about the give and take of friendships and relationships, not learning how to exploit. This girl was not a sociopath. Sociopaths are sly manipulators, who deliberately take advantage because they have no sense of empathy. Brittany is just really, really clueless about what a friendship is. It actually strikes me as rather sad. Having worked with many people who have attachment disorders, I believe she may have one. These disorders are often the result of long term emotional abuse and neglect. That doesn’t make her behavior OK, and the OP is right for not letting herself be taken advantage of. But why wouldn’t I wish that Brittany get some help, and learn how to behave better towards people in the future?

        • hakayama July 29, 2014, 11:27 pm

          Well, Ladies all I take it, maybe I should have said “budding sociopath” since Brittany’s age was not exactly clear and according to those “in charge”, diagnosis can/should not be made before 18. So I guess her blithe spirit still had time to develop and refine the full spectrum of qualities needed to become what/who I have freely accused her of being. I can see Brittany all “grown up” hiding under a veneer of good manners, bulldozing her way through life nary a thought for anyone or anything beyond her own self and the here and now.
          So, if it walks like a duck…
          After seeing the indignation at my words, I hesitated. Hard. Maybe Abnormal Psych of over 50 years ago WAS different than it is now? So I went back to reading the original posting, AND I checked a few lists of “qualities” of sociopaths. It was not a 100% overlap, but enough to make a duck. 😉
          Furthermore, a lengthy exposure to humanity in all its variables, and that includes individuals I’ve known along enough decades, makes me lean towards the theory that a whole lot of desirable and undesirable spiritual traits are present at birth (if not before). The “nurture” aspect just allows them to bloom or wither.
          What is missing in this marsupial court are voices to the effect that we know just ONE side of the story. Brittany, where are you?

          • Brit August 1, 2014, 1:35 pm

            “So, if it walks like a duck…”

            You’ve been called out on doing this before (by Kirst).

            Do you realize that this is exactly what every kind of ignorant bigot says when making snap judgments? And that laughing it off with happy faces just makes this look even more bigoted?

            As you say, we don’t have Brittany’s story. So how do you know that she ‘walks like a duck’?

  • Goldie July 29, 2014, 8:16 am

    Wow, same exact thing happened to me during my own senior year! There was a sophomore girl living on my floor, who was, I suppose, popular. I didn’t know her, she didn’t know me, although she and my then boyfriend had some friends in common. One day she just walked up to me in the hallway and said she needed help with her programming project, because the assignment said it had to be done in an obsolete language that I knew and she didn’t. What I found odd was that, even though it was our first time talking to each other, she talked to me like I was her best buddy. A bit too chummy, in fact! I wish I could tell you I’d said no, “sorry I cannot accommodate your request”, or something equally polite-spiney. But I had a very weak spine at the time, and felt like I had to give her an excuse. So I said, sorry, I’d only used this old language during my first year, and now, four years later, I don’t remember any of it anymore. Judging from OP’s letter, looks like I dodged a big one! I had a run-in with the same girl later. She tried to sign up my roommate, a genuinely shy girl with little social skills, for some volunteer work that had to be done around the dorm, even as my roommate and I were both getting ready to graduate in a few weeks. My poor roommate was upset, didn’t want to do the volunteer work, was busy finishing up her thesis, and felt like she couldn’t get out of the volunteer work commitment. So I talked to the girl on my roommate’s behalf. I very politely explained that my roommate and I were both super busy with our thesis papers, that she could sign us up for anything she wanted, but that we wouldn’t show, and seeing as we’ve pretty much graduated from the school already, there was nothing she could do about it. She was not happy.

    I don’t know if that’s the case with Brittany too, but with this girl, I remember I was getting the vibe that, in her eyes, she was so pretty and popular that people would consider it an honor to go out of their way to do things for her. I have no patience for that attitude.

    • NostalgicGal July 29, 2014, 2:46 pm

      Yes… that is one thing myself and DH sorted very early on. One cannot volunteer the other, for anything. If you make the plans it’s assumed it’s YOU unless it’s been asked beforehand. I had many encounters of this and had learned. If I said I’d help you move, it was ME that showed up with the trailer, not me and DH. If HE wanted to help friend build a fence, it was HIM.

      The ultimate was a ‘friend’ that had a way of taking over your time and your life, and if you acquiesced to her carefully disgused demands/orders/edicts; she piled more and more and more on you. And flounced around managing things on HER schedule… my DH went disabled and I realized what was going on but he couldn’t see it, and I managed to firmly get her ‘hooks’ out of him. And our time, and our resources, and and and.

      Glad OP got a shiny spine and cut it off early; I would have cut it off at not even agreeing to the tutoring, and no I wouldn’t have shared my brownie.

  • Stacey Frith-Smith July 29, 2014, 8:17 am

    This is a story that makes readers feel good about all the times that the word “no” managed to come out before someone succeeded in their quest to wheedle money, time and uncompensated expertise out of us. Many of us were raised to be helpful, nice or to go the extra mile. So we know from experience how easy it is to be a few miles down the proverbial road before getting hit with a clue-by-four.

  • Teapot July 29, 2014, 8:19 am

    I love how OP said her *acquaintance* sending Brittany her way in the first place. ‘Cause that sure was no friend! I’m guessing the acquaintance had been Brittany’s tutor/ATM/brownie provider for a while and realized that pointing her in someone else’s direction was the only way to escape from her.

    • Goldie July 29, 2014, 1:29 pm

      Hah you’re probably right!

  • Livvy17 July 29, 2014, 8:24 am

    Good for you, for cutting that off quickly, and yet politely! I probably would have out-and-out killed her if she’d woken me up on a Saturday when I was in college….back when anything before noon was “early”. lol.

  • Jay July 29, 2014, 8:50 am

    Glad that spine stiffened up before it went much further.. yikes.

  • Wendy B. July 29, 2014, 8:56 am

    The problem I have run into (especially when younger) is that you want to be nice to people, especially if you sense they are “new” or “socially awkward” or whatever. So you find yourself putting yourself out for them in order to be nice. So you give them a bite of brownie, or put aside your plans to cater to their demands until you either get fed up or find ways to hide…OR develop that spine. 🙂 I think OP did just fine…she’s still learning herself.

  • Yet Another Laura July 29, 2014, 9:01 am

    Apparently, my acquaintance had told her that I was really good at physics. (I’m not.) She was struggling in her physics class.

    I hate when acquaintances point moochers at me. Friends know better than to do that. I wonder if the acquaintance was getting sick of Brittany the Barnacle and was using you to scrape her off.

    • NostalgicGal July 29, 2014, 2:47 pm

      I’m betting that is exactly what happened.

      • plainbelliedsneetch July 30, 2014, 10:53 am

        It’s definitely possible, but remember moochers get very good at hearing a tiny bit of information and figuring out how it can benefit them. Someone casually mentions working an 11pm to 7am shift and the moocher hears, “I’m home all day and can run errands for you.”

        The acquaintance could have simply said, “Oh, you’ve got Dr. Smith for physics? OP had her freshman year.” Brittany heard, “OP might have some old papers/tests that could be used as ‘study guides.’ If I flatter her and don’t give her a chance to say no, I might not need to do any more work.”

    • RC July 29, 2014, 11:12 pm

      Teeheehee, Brittany the Barnacle. Love it.

    • manybellsdown July 30, 2014, 11:06 am

      I was thinking that someone probably offhandedly mentioned that OP had taken that physics class at some point. I don’t even think it was an attempt to direct Brittany elsewhere, just Brittany hearing what she wanted to hear.

      • OP August 11, 2014, 9:49 pm

        That’s actually possible. I’m not sure what the acquaintance said to her, but he didn’t really have any reason to think I was a physics genius, so it’s possible that he did only say the truth (that I’d taken the class). Then again, he didn’t correct her when she said he’d described me that way, and he was also kind of a strange person.

  • DGS July 29, 2014, 9:12 am

    Hard to believe that people like that exist, but yet, I know they do. What a shameless mooch.

  • Anonymous July 29, 2014, 9:45 am

    1. Brittany was rude, no question about that. The OP meant well in trying to help her, but yeah, no good deed goes unpunished.

    2. I agree with Maggie and Phoenix about pointing Brittany to the university’s tutoring services. Most universities have them in one form or another, whether it’s through the counselling office or the writing centre, or (in the case of smaller universities), sometimes professors pair struggling students with more proficient students and have them tutor one another. For example, I struggled with musical theory in university, so my professor found an older girl who was good at musical theory, and she tutored me. I think he might have given her extra credit for that; I’m not sure. Anyway, we became friends as a result, but it began as an “academic” relationship, with inherent boundaries. I think that that would work better for Brittany, if she had tutoring on a schedule, and couldn’t just demand tutoring/other favours whenever she felt like it.

    3. It’s rather disturbing to know that so many people make it to university without mastering basic social skills, or common sense. I’ve seen people arrive at university not knowing how to do laundry, or why they shouldn’t eat chicken that’s still pink in the middle (apartment-style rez; we did our own cooking). I’ve seen people skip classes all the time, and spend their days in a marijuana-addled stupor. I’ve seen people binge-drinking, and having promiscuous Scrabble with people they KNEW they were going to see around campus again (small university), regret it in the morning, and repeat their actions the following night. And, yes, I’ve seen people who had no idea how to maintain a friendship (let alone a romantic relationship), and then they complained that they had no friends. I mean, there’s a happy medium; I distanced myself from many a “party animal” because I was at school to learn, but it’s not cool to be a user, or a downer, or to constantly make plans and blow them off, or to repeatedly loudly and obviously invite everyone in the room on some outing, minus one person, and expect to stay friends with that “minus one” for much longer. My point is, most people are 17 or 18 or 19 years old when they begin university, so…….what happened during all that time? Do parents not have time to teach these things anymore? Do kids have less chance to learn these things naturally, because they have much less time for unstructured “free play,” and the lessons in socialization that go along with it? I know it’s not fair to ask the public school system to teach these things, because they’re already so overburdened trying to get through all the academic requirements, but someone has to do it, because otherwise, you end up with legitimately smart young men and women failing at life.

    • The Elf July 29, 2014, 3:08 pm

      Well, in my case it was a combination of a geeky/introverted family with a father who falls pretty hard on the clueless spectrum himself, plus a childhood of few friends and lots of bullies. I learned, but it took some time of associating with other young adults.

      Hey, but at least I knew how to do my own laundry!

      • NostalgicGal July 30, 2014, 2:34 am

        First time I came home on break, I did all my laundry BEFORE I left. I came home with clean clothes. My mom had cleared the washer and had it ready; it sort of blew her mind. (yes I came home with clean clothes on purpose)

    • BellyJean July 30, 2014, 8:55 am

      +1 for promiscuous Scrabble. Love it.

      • NostalgicGal July 30, 2014, 8:45 pm

        I *did* play Strip Trivial Pursuit once with hubby and a very good friend couple. I was whupping rear, was down to holding the last piece of clothing in play and looked at those three huddled and said what gives, you guys were the ones that WANTED to play. Oh. They were seeing if I would embarrass. Um… nope. They did though.

    • manybellsdown July 30, 2014, 11:09 am

      My best friend, who is relentlessly competent in all aspects of her life, arrived at college not knowing how to do laundry. She’d just never had to. In fact, her mother kept doing it on weekends for that whole first year, until I said “It’s just laundry, it’s not rocket science.” I only had to show her once. She’d just never been shown before.

      • Dana July 31, 2014, 10:35 am

        I met a girl in first year of university who stored her dirty dishes in a crate under her bed. They would sit there all week until she drove home on the weekend to load up her parents’ dishwasher.

        No one needs to show you how to wash a plate in a sink. Some young adults just don’t WANT to do things for themselves. Luckily, most young adults actually like independene so not relying on anyone else to do their laundry for them is seen as a good thing, even if it is a boring chore.

    • Steve July 30, 2014, 5:24 pm

      Even back during the Pleistocene when I went to college, I remember thinking that we really were all too young to have no meaningful adult supervision anymore. Sure, it was time for the parents to step away and stop micromanaging us like children. But by the same token, there was literally no adult influence on our lives anymore outside of pure academics. Some people were fine. Others didn’t know how to sort laundry and ended up with grayish whites. But many people developed really horrific habits that set them back for years. Not bathing, virtually ever. Not knowing that you can’t keep your roommates awake until 5 a.m. every night for an entire semester and not face consequences. Becoming over-the-top promiscuous. Never studying. Becoming alcoholics. They weren’t prepared for college going in, and there was no one to teach them once they arrived.

      Today, it’s the opposite. Parents stay too involved in kids’ lives forever. But they aren’t concerned with their children’s effects on other people or teaching them to be responsible adults. No, the parents are there to defend their precious snowflakes from any intrusion of reality on their precious, precious specialness.

  • UKHelen July 29, 2014, 9:59 am

    I had an acquaintance who was a bit like this, in that she seemed to regard everyone as a kind of extra mother who would just give her things for no reason, while she didn’t have to give anything to anyone else. It seemed to be quite unconscious on her part – and she was normal and likeable in every other way.

    The only example I can remember:
    Once I was supposed to take some expensive equipment and associated consumable supplies to a meeting of a small group we were both in. Nobody else had this equipment and I was going to demonstrate it for everybody. I messed up completely that day, and arrived without my stuff. This woman told me how annoyed she was (fair enough, it was entirely my fault), and proceeded to pull out a large stack of raw materials and say, “… because I wanted to use your equipment and supplies for this project I’m making – I was going to spend all day doing that, and now I can’t!” That wasn’t the deal at all! I didn’t say anything, because she hadn’t been able to do it, so what did it matter? It would’ve been far harder for me to refuse once she’d grabbed the stuff and started using it.

    Good for you, OP, for not getting drawn in. I don’t blame you for trying to help out a little (= nice person). But you didn’t lose your hold on reality and get pulled into giving her everything she wanted, which is great; and you knew when to get out. You were polite and explained your point of view to her. That all seems fine in etiquette terms.

    • NostalgicGal July 29, 2014, 3:05 pm

      Yes, resembled that one too. I had studio set up for awhile and was a practicing artist (aka I actually produced and sold my art for a living, did shows, and custom work) and friends and acquaintances would decide to drop by to use my stuff or have me whip this out. Um. No. I have rates. These are my tools and supplies. I don’t buy anyone else art supplies. (one that owed me money tried to figure out an angle where I would foot their little desire to be an artist plus pay them to boot. Didn’t work. Final one was they decided that I would buy the glassware, the precut stencils and crème-etch and pay them to sit there and etch glassware-via about the most expensive way to do it possible. I would draw on the glassware with markers then use a hand held diamond point dremel to frost the glass. I pointed that out. Unique art. They wailed ‘but I can’t draw!’ I said calmly ‘but I can.’)

  • JD July 29, 2014, 10:06 am

    Three cheers for the OP! She gave Brittany the benefit of a doubt, then stood firm when the truth became clear.

    • Daphne July 29, 2014, 4:10 pm

      I agree JD. OP did exactly the right thing!

  • Shalamar July 29, 2014, 10:14 am

    For some reason I got a reputation for lending people money at work. Why, I’ve no idea, since I NEVER lend people money. One day a coworker phoned me and said “I understand you give short term loans …” I interrupted with. “I don’t know who told you that, but it’s not true.” “Oh. Even if I pay you 25% interest?” (YIKES. ). “Sorry, no.” “Oookayy.”

    • Goldie July 29, 2014, 1:33 pm

      So your coworker is flat broke and desperate for a loan now, but will be well-off enough to pay you back with 25% interest a short time later… nope, not fishy at all. Good thing you said no!

    • NostalgicGal July 29, 2014, 3:07 pm

      Betting you gave someone a dime for the vendomat and it snowballed. No good deed goes unpunished. Maybe more like someone was scraping the moneybarnacle off by telling the caller that you were the soft touch.

  • Wild Irish Rose July 29, 2014, 10:18 am

    Good job putting your foot down! People like this rarely learn anything except how to be more subtle. Oh, and how to find the spineless people.

  • Nannerdoman July 29, 2014, 10:28 am

    And so we see how the Polite Spine develops. Good on you, OP, for letting Brittany know exactly where she stood.

  • The Elf July 29, 2014, 10:48 am

    Can I hope she just wasn’t raised right and can learn a thing or two about personal responsibility and polite behavior eventually? I wince at some of the faux-pas I’ve made in my early adulthood years just simply from being clueless. Never about asking for money, but I totally would have done the brownie thing on someone I knew (not someone I just met). Heart was in the right place, but it’s taken a long time to read social cues better.

    You did absolutely the right thing by shutting it down, and I hope she took a lesson away from it.

  • Harley Granny July 29, 2014, 11:04 am

    I just hate moocher like Brittany! I’m glad you had your spine in place!

    Like you I always want to think the good in people and try to help them out when I can and to this day I still feel bad when I get taken advantage of.

  • LJ Briar July 29, 2014, 11:06 am

    Unbelievable, but you are awesome and should be commended for standing up to her so quickly. Good on you!

  • lakey July 29, 2014, 11:31 am

    For someone as young as a college student it didn’t take you that long to see what she was and put an end to it. I don’t think I was that assertive at that young an age.

    • OP August 11, 2014, 9:54 pm

      Haha, thanks. Though I have to admit, I wasn’t anywhere close to assertive at the time and I still struggle with my tendency to be a doormat. It’s more that she was just so shamelessly obvious about it that even I couldn’t fail to catch on.

  • PM July 29, 2014, 11:33 am

    It sounds like she was slowly nudging at your boundaries to see how far she could push you and how much she could get from you. Good for you for shutting her down on that fairly early. Though, I probably would have stopped her when she asked for my brownie. I DO NOT SHARE CHOCOLATE

  • Lissa July 29, 2014, 11:49 am

    Be glad you let her loose early. I had a coworker like her (Amber). She never had money for anything. I made the mistake of buying her a charger for her phone. Any time I tried to collect the fifteen dollars, she never had it. After she bragged about spending her entire paycheck on a television, I counted the money as lost.

    She had started mooching right after I started working with her. I could not talk about recipes with another coworker around her, I “needed” to bring it in the next shift. I told Amber that the next time I cooked the dish, I could bring some in.

    She also wanted to hang out outside of work, but she insisted on my place. That sent off warning bells. If she wanted to go walking around the park, I have no issues. Anytime she insisted that we hang out at MY place, I bean dipped her. Shortly after she started, my tolietries and writing utensils disappeared at alarming rate. I couldn’t point the finger at her, another person started the same time. A third coworker admitted to hanging out with Amber, and found out she was missing items including money after Amber left.

    I found out later why Amber had little money. She spent money on drugs and expected her coworkers to support her.

  • kingsrings July 29, 2014, 12:59 pm

    Well, at least this mooch pretty much owned up to what she was doing and didn’t pull any punches or make any excuses for her bad behavior, even if she still was going to do that. I’ve dealt with a few mooch friends in my life and sadly, they didn’t see anything wrong with her behavior. One friend from my church refused to get a job for many personal reasons. She refused both mine and other’s attempts to help her get a job and instead just wanted people to give her money for her bills and her two children’s expenses. If people didn’t or stopped giving her $$, she claimed that they weren’t being very loving or helpful to her or being good Christians. She finally moved back to her hometown and moved into her family home, where she didn’t have to pay any rent. Another current friend also doesn’t work a regular job because it would take her away from her dream job, which is very sporadic and doesn’t provide enough work or income to sustain her bills. So she handles this by trying to string along her financial institutions that now want to foreclose on her home. She also posts Facebook statuses that are basically asking for money. She tries to hide this by phrasing it saying she is asking for blessings, prayers, or karma for her needs to be provided for by someone. Sometimes what she asks for isn’t even a need, it’s a want. For instance, tickets to an event she wants to go to. This makes me so upset. Don’t come to me or anyone else for a need just because you aren’t willing to provide it for yourself. And certainly don’t come to me or anyone else for a want!

  • Cathy July 29, 2014, 1:22 pm

    My son is in the military, and my DIL has a “friend” like Brittney. Always asking for money, for rides, for this, for that. I told DIL she needs to tell the friend to ask the on-base family services officer for help with all her issues, because mooching money off your friends isn’t cool. Turns out she spends all her money on booze and cigarettes. 🙁 Apparently the friend’s husband – deployed – arranged for the bills to be paid in his absence, but the wife doesn’t have much spending money and doesn’t know how to budget, so she’s blowing it all on going out and partying and then has no money for actual needs like food. I told DIL to stop enabling her NOW or the problem will get out of control. They don’t have a lot of money themselves and shouldn’t be supporting someone who is this irresponsible. Time to polish up that spine…

  • mark July 29, 2014, 3:46 pm

    Moochers like this are easy to spot and shutdown. She was pretty obvious. It’s the more subtle moochers that are hard to detects.

  • Lady Anne July 29, 2014, 8:10 pm

    We used to have a gal at our church who had had some sort of brain injury – possibly the result of an accident, as she had some other physical problems. She was a world-class moocher, and would get quite annoyed when things didn’t go her way. This nonsense didn’t only involve my husband and me, but a host of other folks in the congregation.

    She was on disability, and had lost her car because she couldn’t keep up the payments, and would frequently ask for rides to and from church. OK, but the ride home always involved several “side trips” – waiting in the car while she “grabbed a few things at the store” (a week’s shopping), her running into her apartment to get her wash and then taking her to the Laundromat so she could put it in the machines, I could go on and on. Later, she began asking us to cash checks for her, which she would pay back on the first of the month. (I have to give her credit – she did pay them back.)

    She got angry with one lady who simply stopped helping her, and would call other folks and tell them Karen needed to speak to them but couldn’t get though. She called the pizza shop and had deliveries made to the homes of people who angered her. Far more than a moocher – a real nut case.

    She finally decided to move to Arizona – we live near Baltimore – and asked me to hold some of her belongings until she was settled. At first, she would have complete boxes packed and ready to go, but then she would call me in a tizzy to come get something, and it would be two loose coffee carafes in an open cardboard carton.

    I was never so glad to put somebody on a Greyhound bus in my life.

  • erin July 29, 2014, 8:10 pm

    The world is full of moochers. I have a *lovely* moocher story of a neighbor who us teaching her 3 year old her bad habits, but I’ll explain that tale another time.

  • Barbarian July 29, 2014, 9:17 pm

    OP handled the situation well for being so young. She may not have helped Brittany a lot with physics, but gave her a valuable life lesson.

    Some people present the front “I’m cute and adorable so everybody should bend over to help me get whatever I want” and get away with it for many years. We have a notorious family member of advanced age who has used this tactic for many years to get treated in restaurants and help paying bills from friends in a church group. We are embarrassed but realize there is nothing we can do.

    It’s the mooches in the business world that peeve me the most-they want introductions to your contacts, social network recommendations to promote them and have no plan at all to do anything for you.

    • NostalgicGal July 30, 2014, 9:08 pm

      Had two nearing retirement ladies hunt me down at a jewelry sales fair; because. I made prayer beads for all denominations and types; they were of a particular faith and had heard recently about the ‘approved’ beads; and wanted to make a killing making same. They also wanted where I got my beads. They had stopped by when I was away from booth a few times, my booth babe had taken the message. They finally do show up, I step outside the booth to talk to them and they hem me in and DEMAND to know where I get my beads.

      I had about 3,000 necklaces, 1000 bracelets and anklets, 300 rings, and 1800 pair of earrings, plus about 400 sets of prayer beads for every faith; all made or strung by me. Except theirs. I had sold the 3 sets I had had at the event already. They had already found this out. No mind, WHERE DO I GET MY BEADS FROM. I keep poker face but wonder if they’re going to beat me up to get this info. I look at the floor to ceiling wireframe W wall with about 3/4 of the necklaces and most of the prayer beads hanging, all lit up and glittering and tell them “I deal with an importer directly. Minimum first order is $10,000.00 and reorders, $5000.00” and look at them cool as can be. They looked towards my wallObeads, decide that that’s legit, and got a deer in headlights look and fled. I regularly bought in four digits but not quite that bad; dealt with three importers and about eight wholesalers and another fifteen shops that sold to me as b2b. Standing set to hit me with a frying pan and with a third degree manner intending to find out who ate the church supper pie that got ate; I’m not giving you my secrets-so I added a zero. Mooch your info off someone else. The extreme case of hand over your contacts, sources, and network.

      • hakayama July 30, 2014, 11:14 pm

        O-o-o-o-oh! I just love this! What a wonderful way to deal with those brass-balled creatures.
        It seems that they, just like the “drop-ins” and would-be-glass etchers of your previous posting, do not understand the concept of occupational/professional discretion.
        Thank you for this most amusing lesson.

        • NostalgicGal August 3, 2014, 1:41 am

          Glad you enjoyed. The glass etcher, that was about the fifth iteration of them trying to figure out how to get me to fund their foray into being an artist. Flat out, they owed me money and I wasn’t going to pay them to pay me back with. Just that the glass etch was the last straw.

          I had another fellow that showed up at my booth, for an artist friend I had brought a few of her painted rocks on consignment, she did the most wonderous art on palm sized rocks. A fellow looked at them, then got upset, and demanded to know where my studio was. Why? So he could show up Monday and paint rocks for me at (close to double minimum wage, he quoted the amount an hour). I told him I didn’t pay ANYONE to paint rocks… well (he has one in hand) YOU PAID THIS PERSON! NOW WHERE IS YOUR STUDIO ADDRESS! I explained the rocks were on consignment, I had no job to paint rocks or do anything else at my studio, and I didn’t live here (where the show was). I had NO sign out saying I was looking for anyone to hire. Nope. I was going to tell him where, and give him $1000 advance BONUS so he could move to my city then to get to work on Monday. He was making enough ruckus to get the event organizer there (who was a good friend, and I was one of his top tier draws) who found out quickly what was going on and had to have the man evicted. Yes, he hired himself for a job. I could feel for he had been looking for work for a month, but; painting rocks for me wasn’t going to happen.

      • UKHelen August 1, 2014, 6:08 am

        I’m loving your artist/bad etiquette stories, NostalgicGal! Here’s one of mine to match yours:

        At one point I was heavily into photography, and spent two years perfecting an unusual way to take unusual images. I began exhibiting and selling my work, and the comment I heard most often was, “I’ve never seen anything like it before!”.

        But almost immediately I started to get requests for me to tell people exactly how I did it, so that they could do it themselves and then exhibit ‘their’ work, too – yes, they were that brazen about it. In fact, I got one email saying, “Will you tell X how to do it, then he will teach his students, and they will all produce work just like yours?” Er, no. Since the big thing about my work (apart from its beauty :-)) was the fact that there was nothing like it around, and since it had taken me years to work out how to do it, why would I destroy all that?

        Sometimes I ask other artists how they do something, but I always add, “…. unless it’s a secret, and that’s OK,” so they know I won’t be offended if they refuse to tell me.

        • NostalgicGal August 3, 2014, 2:03 am

          Amen. Sister in art. 🙂
          I got the corner on this and I am actually selling it so everyone wants to know EXACTLY to let me live on air… again.

          I had so many things thrown in my face that those items got nailed down extremely well to the display boards and I had a card:
          “Why I Won’t Take Less”
          I have carefully thought about the price of everything in this booth. I am proud to live and work in the USA. I like having a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food to eat. That’s not cheap. I also have to pay taxes-employment and personal, buy my own insurance, and all those other things your employer probably provides for you, plus live. I have taken into consideration that it might not sell right now; and I’m prepared to live with that. It will sell.
          How would you like it if your boss showed up at 5 minutes to quitting time and tells you that you have to work six hours of overtime without pay today, and oh, you’re only going to get paid $3 for the whole day… not what you were expecting?
          That’s why I won’t take less.

  • Cora July 30, 2014, 10:09 am

    Late to this party, but my goodness, the judgment and jumping to conclusions here. We have no way of knowing exactly how Brittany would have turned out, once she became a real adult.

    And that’s my take on it, which is slightly more lenient. The clueless girl in question was a sophomore in college. College is where a lot of kids actually grow up, and learn to be the adults they technically are by age. It sounds to me like she didn’t have much instruction or role models as a child or teenager if she’s behaving like this at twenty. The OP did exactly right — standing up to her, clearly explaining without being rude, and showing by example. Whether Brittany was capable of learning the lesson, we don’t know. The point is that in a world full of rude people, some deliberately so, others like Brittany who are just dumb, and others who maybe have whatever disorders y’all have been squalling over, there are also people like the OP. I take some comfort in that.

  • Erin July 30, 2014, 1:01 pm


    Sorry, I’m laughing at the thought of a STRANGER asking me for some of my food. I’d tell them what I tell my dogs when they beg at the table: “I know you want some but this is mine and I’m going to eat all of it.”

    • SJ August 14, 2014, 1:56 pm

      Yes! I was at a gathering in the backyard (unfenced) of some neighbors.

      A kid from down the street, maybe nine, was riding his bike, and he came over and started talking to us. He’d previously pushed boundaries such as coming into yards, taking other kids’ toys and that kind of thing a lot already.

      He sees that I have Oreos. He says, “I love Oreos.” I ignore. He says, “I’m so hungry.” I ignore. He says, “Can I have some Oreos?”
      I say, “No.”
      He says, “Why?”
      I say, “They’re mine, and I don’t have to give a reason.”

      He wasn’t happy, but he left.

  • Peep July 30, 2014, 3:05 pm

    Ugh. At least she was upfront about being a user I guess.

    I’ve been pretty lucky I guess. I’ve never been saddled with a real mooch. However, in college I had no car, and all the main grocery stores were outside of walking distance, as were a lot of other things(craft stores, movie theaters, etc). I did have 2 friends with cars. I was forced to be the car mooch, and it stunk. However, I wasn’t a Brittany. For food runs and errands, I’d try to alternate between the two friends with cars, do a month or two’s worth of shopping per trip, and I’d always ask them to let me know when THEY were going shopping and if I could tag along. I’d also pay for dinner at a fast food place before or after whatever errand I dragged them out on. If I wanted to see a movie and they drove, I’d either cover their ticket, or cover their snacks. Oh, and I hung out with them even when I didn’t want something from them.

    Four years of living off campus and having to beg friends for rides, and I never had one say no to me. Funny how that works. It’s almost as if people like the favors they do for you to be acknowledged, and are more willing to help you out again later when you show gratitude for the first favor. And of course free food never hurts either.

    • The Elf July 31, 2014, 6:56 am

      This. Exactly. I’ve been the car mooch and the car provider, and it always goes over better with a little quid pro quo. A one-time favor is one thing, but a regular request is another entirely. You need to reciprocate in some way.

      • NostalgicGal August 3, 2014, 2:06 am

        Yep if I had to beg for wheels I paid well in food and probably other favors. Didn’t have to very often but. If you have to car/pickup mooch, be very good about it in case you ever have to ask again.

  • Rachel July 30, 2014, 7:20 pm

    Bizarre. Must have some kind of disorder if she’d really voice her “evil plan” out-loud to you since it was a self-defeating behavior (hint to all you overly-offended-I-have-a-friend-whose-son-has-autism: normal human beings do things to further their lives, not hurt them).

    • Wendy July 31, 2014, 5:28 am

      The word normal is extremely offensive and I am not in anyway related to someone with autism. As for people with out a disorder furthering their lives? Their are literally millions who screw it up everyday especially on their late teens/early twenties

      • Tracy W August 1, 2014, 5:46 am

        You may find the word “normal” extremely offensive, but it’s a very useful concept, and I suspect even if you do manage to get it stigmatised, the same concept will just be redeveloped under different language.

        And, if it helps, I dated a guy once whose group of friends regarded being called “normal” as a deep insult, I suspect it’s a case of “we always want what we can’t have”.

        • Marozia August 2, 2014, 4:23 am

          What one person calls normal is not what the other person does.
          Seems to me to be a vague, ill-defined word.
          My husband has phenylketonuria, but I consider him normal……
          My mother has been married 6 times, so has my father, but they seem normal to me….

          • Tracy W August 3, 2014, 1:54 am

            Oh dear, call me romantic, but I’d be happier to hear you considered your spouse as extraordinary!

  • Anna Wood July 30, 2014, 11:21 pm

    Bev and I have a mutual friend, Candy, who is always begging rides from Bev. I live out of town so am safe from these requests. Bev works full time, Candy doesn’t work. Bev’s son and I have muttered about all the time Bev spends driving Candy around. It would be better perhaps if Candy offered gas money or eve lunch, but she seems to consider Bev her personal driver. I was visiting Bev & son one day and Candy phoned for a ‘right now’ drive to get groceries. Bev explained that she had visitors and could do it later. Candy’s reply was priceless, “If you won’t drive me now I will have to take the bus!” Oh! the Horror! lol. That was the day that Bev stopped being Candy’s personal driver.

  • Marozia July 31, 2014, 4:27 am

    OP did the right thing. Brittany was a subtle as a broken leg. What a mooch!
    At least you don’t have to put up with her anymore.

  • Anonymous July 31, 2014, 9:46 am

    @Peep–I wouldn’t call that mooching, if you offered something else to your friendship/social circle. For example, when I was in university, I didn’t have a car either (I still don’t, actually–I shared one with my brother for a few years in between, but not anymore). Anyway, I didn’t have a car, BUT I had a TV, VCR, DVD player, and every episode of Gilmore Girls on DVD, right when that show was popular, so people were always coming over to borrow my movies, or watch them with me. I was also pretty good at art, so my skills were often recruited to make posters for various events, and I was always willing to help people with schoolwork, unless it was musical theory, which I was terrible at, in which case, I’d offer to photocopy them my notes from class (and even then, I could usually help first-year students with theory, because that was fairly straightforward compared to second). In addition to that, I made a point of being reliable in general, so if I said I’d be somewhere at a certain time, or do something for someone, I’d follow through, barring a legitimate emergency.

    My point is, it’s possible to reciprocate in a friendship/social circle/whatever, even if that reciprocation isn’t identical. In fact, sometimes it’s better that the reciprocation isn’t identical, because the results could be boring (i.e., “Joe invited me to a dinner party last week, so we’re going to invite him this week, and then he’ll probably invite us to another one next week”; so you end up doing the same kind of events over and over), pointless (not a lot of opportunities come up to reciprocate giving someone a ride, if that other person also has a car), or it’d mean that people could only socialize with others who are just like them. So, the world would be divided into car owners, rich people, smart people, good cooks, people with children, people without children, and so on, nobody could socialize outside their “category.” When non-identical reciprocation is allowed, it means that you can reciprocate for a home-cooked meal with, say, a movie night with take-out, or you can exchange someone giving you a ride somewhere, by babysitting their kids the next time they go out of town. In other words, non-identical reciprocation helps people live more varied lives, and the give-and-take means that friends and family members can help each other by filling in the “gaps” that come up with things like not having a car, or being bad at technology, or when you’ve planned a night out and the regular babysitter gets sick. So, my point is, not being able to reciprocate Favour X doesn’t make you a mooch, because the provider of Favour X might really be in need of Favour Y sometime, which you can do, but they can’t.

    • NostalgicGal August 3, 2014, 2:23 am

      Exactly. Friend picked up some stuff while shopping for me one day as they were going there and it was way out of my way (I gave them $ to buy the stuff); they were not very car savvy and were going to go on a trip. I offered to help them change spark plugs, wires, distributor cap, air cleaner filter… and check and top stuff off. DH got upset because he thought I’d volunteered him. Nope. Me. Indeed, friend came over and I was slower than DH, but we did everything to that car that was needed. DH said he’d come and peeked in the garage window and seen us both working diligently to bust knuckles; we didn’t need his help and I was keeping the promises. (that he wouldn’t have to help and that I was going to help friend). Helping with what you can do and what is needed.

  • Anonymous July 31, 2014, 11:48 am

    You know what’s funny? “Brittany” is actually the name of the ditzy girl on the show “Daria.” Does anyone else remember that show? It’s an old MTV cartoon that was made as a spin-off of Beavis and Butt-Head, and I actually think it’s a lot better. Anyway, Brittany the cartoon character isn’t great at subtlety either, so when my mind put pictures to this story, I imagined Brittany in the story as looking similar to Brittany from Daria.

  • Yankeegal77 August 2, 2014, 9:55 am

    First, OP, congrats on recognizing this girl for what she was–an obnoxious mooch–and getting the”cycle” (giving her a chance getting used,addressing it, the argument, ending it) completed quickly! I picture her as the Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil–a whirlwind of mooch that comes out of nowhere and leaves everyone frazzled and wondering what the heck just happened.

    We all need help sometimes–for instance, long story, but I have never owned a car and in college, needed rides. I would ask and offer to pay for gas/lunch/etc. Most of the time, my friends said no worries, but if anyone did me a favor and refused repayment, I made for-dang-sure they knew I was grateful. To this day, I offer profuse thanks and to reciprocate in some form. Also, friends and I have borrowed money and arranged for reciprocation–it happens and in our circle, it was acceptable to say, I’m broke, do you have a few bucks so I can buy some cereal?

    Key words here: FRIENDS and RECIPROCATION. Not random strangers (Although, I have helped with a trivial amount before and it wasn’t a big deal. I felt like I was helping make the world go round.)

    My friends and family on the spectrum would never have behaved like this. I have to agree–it seems whenever there is a discussion of someone just acting the part of a straight-up clod, someone jumps in with a disorder. While this may be true in some situations, I feel it’s getting tiresome. This girl was obnoxious and *perhaps* dense (I think she just knew how to get her way) and hopefully, she was schooled a few more times and isn’t engaging in this garbage anymore and is a little more self-sufficient and less demanding.

    We all need a helping hand at times, but some people make it a way f life.

  • Angel August 2, 2014, 4:16 pm

    I’m having trouble understanding why you would agree to tutor someone in a subject that you are admittedly not that good at. I would have said no from the get go.

    Armchair diagnoses aside, Brittany sounds pretty obnoxious and immature. It’s good that you cut off the requests early, but I wouldn’t have even entertained the tutoring request. That’s a lot of responsibility if something goes wrong there.

    The older I get the easier it is to say no to those types of requests. And the easier it is to recognize when someone is using me.

    • OP August 11, 2014, 10:05 pm

      My bad for being unclear in the story. I felt competent to tutor her because I was decent in the subject and had already taken the course. She was under the impression that I was some kind of ultra-brilliant physics genius, which I told her I wasn’t. I don’t know why my acquaintance told her that, because he wasn’t in my physics class and I’d never discussed it with him at all.

  • Enna August 10, 2014, 11:23 am

    Some people are clueless, I do hope that Brittney has grown up and matured – that doesn;t always happen. At least the OP wasn’t too badly inconvienced or traumatised by it.

  • Ginger0630 August 13, 2014, 8:55 pm

    Wow. Just WOW!!! This girl has no class whatsoever! I would only ask those things to a close friend, never someone I just met! I’m so glad the OP stood up for herself and didn’t let this girl walk all over her for weeks before saying something.