Guest Scrooge. What could I have said to the scrooge??
An old friend recently asked if she could come and stay for 2 weeks with her son. My husband and I are mere pensioners and my friend knows that. Every hearty meal I would cook, she would offer to add her own rice or pasta from her car. Although, I coudn't decline this offering, I was surprised when she left 2 weeks later without offering to pay for additional expenses.
On the last day she asked me if there was anything I needed from the shops? I told her $9 of milk, she waited while I fumbled, found no money in my purse and handed her my credit card for payment! Once she got home she got stuck into the milk, asking first, mind you, but I can't just say "no"! I know she wasn't penniless as she was using my computer to buy books on ebay!
I will never have her back again, but was there something I could have said earlier to avoid feeling so used?
I am stunned by her behavior.
I guess I would say, in the future (not to her because she is never coming back!) "We're on a pretty tight budget. We're happy to have you visit, but if it's an extended trip, we'd need help with the extra food expenses.
Most folks offer before they arrive - Can they cook dinner a few nights? Buy the groceries? Take you out?
Goodness. And supplementing with rice or pasta? That stuff's almost free. If she'd supplemented with steaks or wine, I might be a bit more amenable...!
Traditionally guests aren't expected to provide for their own meals when visiting, even though many guests are polite enough to at least take their hosts out for a meal as a thank you while they visit. So if you wanted them to kick in, you may have needed to say something when they first asked. How exactly I'd approach that would depend a bit on how they approached the issue of inviting themselves to stay at your home (which is already problematic behaviour on their part). Were they basically using you as a hotel because you live in a place they wanted to visit or did they come to visit you?
Here's a sort of generic approach: "Hubby and I would be delighted to have you and Son come and stay, but I'm afraid our fixed income doesn't really stretch to providing meals for others for that long. Would you be able to split the cost of groceries while you are here?"
It's the sort of thing that's hard to actually say -- nobody wants to admit they can't afford something -- but when you have rather clueless guests like these, your choices are limited. You can say 'no' to the visit, you can let yourself be taken advantage or, or you can ask them to chip in.
Personally, I'd probably go for 'no' next time they ask, now that you know what kind of guests they are.
I'm not sure what you mean by "traditionally"- but 2 weeks and grabbing cheap staples from the trunk of a car?
I've lived in a tourist destination all of my life and wouldn't put up with that from anyone- even family, unless they were in some kind of desperate situation.
To the OP- has old friend always behaved like this?
Two weeks is a long visit for a friend (with son!). Isn't there an old saying: what starts to stink after 3 days? Old fish and friends who overstay their welcome. I might have considered saying something like "Oh no, I am low on cash until my check next month and need to buy food for us all for the next few days. I am so sorry, could you possibly contribute? I would be very grateful." I just can't imagine asking to stay with a friend for two weeks and bring my kid unless I was in dire straits myself, ie homeless.