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Would this rub you the wrong way? (House Guests selectively picking up the tab) and questions on house guest expectations

I recently had a couple stay with us from out of town. They were not invited guests, per se. They were friends who chose to visit (e.g.: we are coming to town for a visit) and by default, our place was the only option (other than a hotel).

So far, all good - no issues. We spent a few days prior prepping for their arrival - all the usual things - washing linens, cleaning bathrooms, clearing out space, etc.

I had another thread on the Home Cooking board, where I asked for food suggestions for them during their visit - as it was my desire to make them feel welcome and comfortable.

They came in late Friday, and I had snacks waiting for them. It was late (after 9pm) and they arrived straight for the airport. We noshed on crackers/several kinds of cheeses/salami and hummus/veggies, mixed nuts, and another friend brought over mini cheesecakes.

The next morning we headed to breakfast. There were 5 of us in total (the couple, us, and the friend from the night before (a lady)). When it came time to pay for the check, the male house guest announced he'd like to cover the tab for the lady... and long story short, we ended up splitting the tab evenly between the house guest couple and ourselves (it was my suggestion to split it evenly vs 3 and 2- which I was happy to do).

We parted ways for the afternoon, with the intent to reconvene in the evening around dinnertime. So, my husband and I decided to host a bbq - the same lady from breakfast would be in attendance as well as another couple who are mutual friends of everyone. We spent the afternoon shopping for the supplies and prepping and had a wonderful evening surrounded by great food, good wine, and pleasant company. So far, all good!

Fast forward to the next day - and the situation that rubbed me the wrong way. We met for a late brunch - this time it was us, the house guests, the same lady and another female friend of one of the house guests that was new to the rest of the group. When the bill came, the male house guest picked up the tab for both of the ladies and left my husband and I to take care of our portion.

Had he not picked up the tab for the others, I wouldn't have been AS bothered by this - but, after spending quite a bit of money on their visit, I was taken aback by his lack of reciprocity towards the only people at the table that had been shelling out for his visit.

I will say that as I think about this - I know I'm being especially sensitive as money is tight for us and deciding to go out twice and host the group on Saturday, as well as the snacks on Friday - used a big chunk of our 'food' budget. Which, again, I willingly and knowingly did.

To me, picking up the tab for everyone EXCEPT us communicated an air of ungratefulness on the part of our house guests and the effort we went through in having them stay with us for the weekend. Again, that's not to say that's my expectation of all house guests (to pick up our tab if we go out to eat)... I know everyone's monetary situation is different.

I was starting to think if this was a male/female thing - meaning, the male wanting to pick up the the tab for the females and not picking up our tab because my husband was present?? I know it's not a money thing for the house guests (I know everyone says you really 'can't know someone's financial situation' - but in this case, I do). I also wondered if there was an expectation that their tab be picked up (since they are the visiting guest). I know I don't feel that way when I visit someone (I try to pick up their tab, since I know it takes work to host someone!), but perhaps that's not how everyone feels. Ages range from late 30's to mid 40's.

As I was doing the clean up from their visit - I found myself increasingly annoyed and insulted - and also feeling silly/petty over such a small thing. I switched gears and focused on their visit and the fact they cared to make the trip and spend time together - but the miffed feelings still crop up.

So, 'hounds - I ask you - what's your standard when you host or are house guests? What do you expect of your guests and what do you do in return? And, if you were in a similar situation as mine, would the house guests behavior of excluding you when picking up the tab for everyone else phase you at all?

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  1. So if I read this right, they didn't treat you to anything other than the privilege of their company....That is just weird. I've never witnessed a partial treat. Usually if someone treats, it's for the table. They should've treated you on both the breakfast and the dinner. Or they shouldn't have treated anyone at all.Very odd behavior in my opinion.

    I always treat the host when I visit someone, and I'm always treated if I'm the host. Unless someone is out of work or short on funds, then it will be a dining in only option and the guest will often have brought wine or a gift.

    5 Replies
    1. re: uman

      +1. I think this is just rude and strange behavior.

      Sorry this happened to you after being such gracious hosts!

      1. re: thingmaker

        Thank you! I was starting to feel petty for feeling this way - but after putting thought/time/energy into having them over for the weekend, it really felt like a slap in the face to be passed over like that!

        1. re: The Oracle

          like you I let things creep up on me over time. somehow the seeming rudeness becomes heightened and more intense.

          most have probably witnessed this same behavior either being a house guest or having house guest(s).
          when we were young kids staying over at a friends house, I'm not sure our etiquette was completely proper but then having same people to our home as quests went the same direction so I probably thought it evened out.

          there's something about older and wiser that begins to sink in. our very good friends we met in 1986 camping in Yellowstone. great time. last summer they asked us to join them at their time share. we did. they insisted we stay in their bedroom as the only other place to sleep was the living room on a pull out. breakfast was made by the wife, picnics were always provided by them, they're great picnickers. dinners out were on us.

      2. re: uman

        The dinner was actually hosted and suggested by us in our home - so I didn't expect them to contribute at all... but the meals out were just strange - especially the 2nd one.

        1. re: uman

          " Usually if someone treats, it's for the table."
          agreed and their behavior all together sounds quite off to me.

        2. I would've thought I've heard every variation on who pays for what by now, but this one is just . . . bizarre. Every time I'm a houseguest I pick up the tab for my host[s] at least once, and the same goes when friends or family stay with me. The only possibilities I can think of are (1) some sort of weird gender issue as you mentioned, i.e. that your husband's manhood would somehow be insulted by the guests paying for him and you; or (2) your houseguests thought of the other attendees as "their guests" and therefore felt obligated to pay for them. But it's just weird.

          1 Reply
          1. I find your guest's behavior odd as well; when I visit friends for a weekend I either treat a meal or cook one. If I'm there for a week, I do both.

            From reading similar stories on these boards, this kind of behavior is not all that uncommon in self-invited "guests".

            1. That's weird. Personally, for a weekend stay I like to treat my hosts to at least one meal (either cooking or dining out) and I either arrive with or send a small gift and thank you note afterward. I do agree that you can't know everyone's financial situation. Maybe they weren't able to treat and that's ok. But to treat just one person (not even a host!) to meals just draws attention to the fact that you're *not* treating your hosts.

              In a word- rude.

              1. I would be incredibly put off, yes!

                1. When I host, I pay for everything while at my house. Meaning if people come over for dinner, I buy the food. If friends bring wine, that's great, but it's not expected, as I'll have that as well. And I'll ask if they want the wine they brought served during dinner.

                  When I visit someone at their invitation, I try and take them out for a dinner on my dime. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't, depending on the insistence of my host and hostess.

                  This situation is strange in several ways - they self-invited themselves into your home. You don't say if they flat-out asked to stay with you or just expected it. But expectation would be that they would stay at a hotel and get together with you for a dinner or whatnot vs. inviting themselves to stay at your house.

                  The partial treat of the other person(s) in your party while completely ignoring paying for you and your husband (their HOSTS) is the other bizarro situation. And a good bit rude of them.

                  Let me ask a question - is this couple from a different country? If so, might it be their custom not to treat the host to a meal? (Although I can't imagine that being the case, I thought I'd throw it out there.)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    <The partial treat of the other person(s) in your party while completely ignoring paying for you and your husband (their HOSTS) is the other bizarro situation. And a good bit rude of them.>

                    My first reaction was is the guy trying to sleep with the women.

                    1. re: viperlush

                      haha - no, he definitely was not trying to get busy with either of them. The one that was around for the weekend is more like a sister and the other was a good friend of his female companion.

                    2. re: LindaWhit

                      No - the couple was not from another country. And, what makes, is he's not the type of guy that's typically clueless on social norms. I keep thinking "did I do something that offended him/her this weekend" - but I can't possibly think what. It was the first time I met her (part of why he came down for the weekend) and I thought all went smoothly.

                    3. I think it was lovely of you to host the out-of-town guests.

                      I agree with many of the posters; when I am a house-guest I treat my hosts to at least one meal out---if not more.

                      The male house-guest's behavior was indeed odd. My only guess was that he was acting out of some sort of misguided chivalry? I was kind of baffled when I got to the ages part though. Most of my male friends who would not ~dream~ of letting a lady pull our her pocketbook at a restaurant are in the 65+ crowd.

                      I wonder how things would have played out if the single ladies had had male escorts in tow. Or if they had not been included at all.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pedalfaster

                        That's precisely why I added the ages... and he is on the lower range of the scale!

                        I do think "chivalry" WAS the intent here. One of the females was married, but her husband was not present. My best guess is if my husband wasn't present at that last meal - he would have picked up my tab as well.

                      2. I'm with just about everyone else here -- the behavior is rude and inexplicable.

                        One question, though: At first it seemed like they just wanted a free place to flop while they went about their weekend plans(which seemed to be okay with you), but then you all spent a great deal of time together. Did you just enjoy one another more than anticipated or something else? It's not really relevant, and I'm not being a pill, I'm just curious.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: monfrancisco

                          The visit was always about spending time together (he used to live in the area years ago and came down to connect with the few of us that remain). So the time spent together was anticipated - as was the time apart (she had a friend close-by, so the trip was always to both spend time with us and also with her friend).

                          1. re: The Oracle

                            Got it, thanks. Sometimes I read these threads like Victorian serialized novels, and have tons of questions. If Charles Dickens were on novelhound, I'd be the biggest but-but-but-er. At least here, I get some answers!

                        2. I don't get how they became guests if they were not invited. But the money thing is just weird.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: wadejay26

                            I've had it happen a few times...I live close to a ski destination town. Friends have asked to crash here to save on hotel expenses. We pull out all the stops and are usually treated to dinner at least once.

                            For reference my husband and I are in our mid 30s...an age where "crashing" is still kosher in my book. I'm sure at some point in my life it'll seem odd.

                            1. re: UTgal

                              Meh, I'm probably only slightly younger than you and don't find "crashing" to be kosher by any stretch of the imagination. If you can't afford a hotel, then you probably can't afford to be going on vacation at all, period.

                              ****

                              So I guess to answer the original post, this wouldn't happen to me in the first place because I don't allow people to be rude and invite themselves to stay in my home, with one exception for one night only. It was for family friends who flew in for a family emergency and their flight got in at 11pm and they couldn't find a hotel room for that night. They relocated to a hotel the next day. The only other time people have been presumptuous enough to ask, I have responded by telling them that I'm willing to help them figure out the best hotel option in their budget and then suggest we get together for dinner one of the nights.

                              For the case of invited house guests, the generally accepted etiquette in my parts would be to bring a small gift upon arrival, treat for one meal out, bring/pay for your own groceries or contribute some to the cost at least (if it's just a day or two then I don't mind you drinking my coffee, using the cream and sugar, eating the foods I normally have on hand, but if you're staying longer or you only drink OJ in the mornings or eat turkey bacon, then you better bring it with you - I'll make sure to have options, but nothing more special than what I would have on hand anyway), and leave a parting gift. How many of those get done may depend on the length of stay. An overnight visit I would take them out to dinner or if my host insisted on making dinner I would bring dessert and maybe bring a bottle of wine or some flowers. I don't expect guests staying 1-2 days to contribute to groceries, but again I also don't go above and beyond what I would ordinarily shop for nor do I expect it done for me if I'm the guest. If I was staying for 3-7+ days, I would do all of them though.

                              So in your case, I think the expectation is they would have treated you to one of the meals. I could understand in one instance maybe something like "Oh, we missed *friends* birthday and want to pick up her tab" how it could happen that they pick up her tab but not yours, but that would only be provided they have at some point treated you.

                                    1. re: BubblyOne

                                      Which thread was that? I need to see that one!

                                    2. My bet is he doesn't know better. In other words, it just hasn't occurred to him how it looks. That and wanting to be chivalrous toward the two unescorted females. Will you ever be guests in his home? If so, that would be the perfect opportunity to set an example and treat him as he should have treated you. When it's time to pay the check, be sure to say something along the lines of "We want to show our appreciation for your generous hospitality." Hopefully, he'll catch on.

                                      2 Replies
                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                          Agree. The world is full of free-loaders. Sorry for my cynicism but some people just weren't raised better.

                                      1. I'm with you on this one, but being The Oracle and all, you should have seen it coming.

                                        hehe

                                        You should know where you will be spending your next vacation!

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: mushroomaffairs

                                          …not with them!

                                          just be sure you know where "else" you'll be out of town when they call again to invite themselves.

                                          1. re: alkapal

                                            as someone who has lived in a couple of high-level tourist areas, repeat this conversation:

                                            Acquaintance Calling from Out of The Blue: Hey! We were going to be in your town for (whatever) and thought we'd try to get together with you!

                                            (note: this means that they want your guest room)

                                            You: Oh, great! Where are you staying? We'll have to get together for dinner...

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              Brilliant...absolutely perfect. I will be rehearsing this.

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  obviously there are still invites to stay with us....but this conversation sidesteps a lot of really awkward situations.

                                            2. Wow. Those people would be crossed off my list.

                                              1. That is definitely weird! He should have treated everyone, but especially you! No it isn't an age thing - we are older and just hosted a friend. He, of course, took us out to dinner - actually twice.

                                                1. I definitely think it is a male female thing. My husband will do this sometimes but not usually if it isn't a threesome. With another couple it seems odd.

                                                  My father does this with my grandmother. He will always include her in the totals so our family pays for five people instead of four if eating with another couple.

                                                  Did you receive any hostess gift or thank you gift/card?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: melpy

                                                    Nope - no hostess gift or thank you card. We did get a verbal thank you, as we were parting ways - which was appreciated.

                                                    1. re: The Oracle

                                                      well, at least you know they weren't *entirely* raised by wolves

                                                  2. Would it annoy me...? Perhaps for a little bit as you said making the bed, cleaning up, dwelling on it. In all honesty though, not enough to post about it on here and looking for people to "validate" my annoyance. (not criticizing you at all)

                                                    When I do something.....or anything I do it for the pleasure of doing it, not for what I think I should receive in return for my actions. Would it have been respectful and courteous for them to have picked up the entire tab? Yes! Was it poor manners or etiquette, yes again. But if I were you I would take comfort in the fact you had a nice weekend, you entertained many people and created a nice night out, memories and a mini vacation for your guests.

                                                    Do things because you want to......do them because you want to.....but don't ever expect anything in return.

                                                    Give willingly, accept graciously, live happily.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                      I posted because I sought unbiased opinions and to learn what the norm is for visitors - not necessarily for validation (although, after receiving it, it was much appreciated to know I wasn't alone!); when I first clicked on the thread to read the responses, I was bracing for a slaughtering along the lines of (how dare you ever expect anything in return for hospitality). I felt I was in the wrong for feeling slighted, after the way the last meal went down and wondered if my expectation was off the mark.

                                                      I never expected anything from their visit other than to enjoy their company. Had they not gone out of their way to take care of the other parties at the table and overlook us, I wouldn't have thought anything of it.

                                                      I do agree with your sentiments about the root of why you should do something, however, and know it's wise to err on the side of grace. Thank you for the reminders.

                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                        I couldn't have said it better.

                                                        Over the years I've heard stories like this from acquaintances or family members where, at the end of the stay, there's a laundry list of complaints…
                                                        Not keeping their room clean, not helping out at meals, not paying for groceries, not paying for meals…the list is always long and detailed.
                                                        These people (the ones I'm talking about) actually set it up so they end up the victim and the guest the villain. They create the drama and then expect me to support their drama. It's exhausting.

                                                      2. Rude. Did they at least bring you flowers or a hostess gift? Bottle of something? Did they gift you with nothing for being kind enough to welcome them into your home after they foisted themselves upon you without an invitation? The husband is not alone in this, his spouse is pretty rude too for not doing her part. I too would be annoyed if I were you. Better to have an excuse ready if they try to pull this on you and your family again.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Kat

                                                          No - nothing was given. Although, one's thing is for sure - this experience has given me a refresher on the type of house guest I'd like to be. Which, really, is a priceless gift in itself!

                                                        2. I think it's weird and rude. The end.

                                                          1. First of all their behavior is simply rude. End of story.

                                                            I am curious to know how well you know this other couple?And have they behaved oddly in the past?

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                              yes, OP, please tell us more about how long you've known them, and how! well.

                                                            2. They had the opportunity to treat you to a meal as a thank you gesture....and they didn't. That lacks tact and good taste and manners. You sound like a very nice host!

                                                              1. Living in a beautiful wooded lakes area, I've hosted a number of weekend guests. In my mind, the LEAST they can do is take everyone out for a meal on their dime. Surprisingly, that isn't obvious to our guests and I haven't found a subtle way to suggest it. Therefore, I no longer invite weekend guests or accept their self-invitations. I live to serve others but I am NOT a doormat!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. Don't feel insulted but do feel trampled upon. When I'm a guest, I regularly pick up the tab for everyone. I make sure I pay more than the hosts for the duration of my stay, in part because I didn't have to pay for lodging.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                      and good heavens -- even if I stay with friends while I'm traveling on business, I pick up the tab and put it on my expense report as "dinner in lieu of lodging" -- I have yet to have it even questioned, let alone refused.

                                                                      The company usually comes out ahead, costwise...

                                                                    2. I concur that your guests were rude in not treating you to brunch. They also should have chipped in for the groceries and drinks for Saturday's dinner, or better yet, paid for all the supplies and offered to help with dinner prep. You and your husband sound like wonderful, gracious hosts and your guests should have been much more appreciative! I can't believe they didn't even send a thank you card.

                                                                      1. I agree with the majority on here. It was unthoughtful and rude not to do something. But it would also give me pause to have them as house guests again. Still get together with them next time, just don't have them stay with you - i.e. let them get that hotel room, or stay with "other" friends.

                                                                        1. My expectations depend on the guests but the odd selective tab picking up I find absolutely bizarre. It should be all or nothing.

                                                                          I would expect to pick up a tab at least once if staying with people and was raised to never show up at someone's house empty handed - Arriving with at the very least a bottle of wine or a specialty cake or something at bare minimum

                                                                          I would not expect the host to pick up my tab eating out

                                                                          IMO this is all very very poor behavior

                                                                          I do not host guests often because I have limited space and obnoxious pets LOL, and my neighborhood is gritty :)

                                                                          My father lives in a large apartment in a very close in rather upscale NYC suburb, he gets a lot of guests due to the convenient access and cushy surroundings it seems he is choice #1 for friends and family visiting NYC - his wife is foreign and has a huge family and he used to work abroad so there are many international friends - it seems that there is always someone there - I know he is always a gracious host - going out of his way to accommodate everyone - then he ends up aggravated that guests did not do simple thoughtful things - even good friends are often thoughtless - other relatives are merely grifters it is endless yet he can never bring himself to tell people to get a hotel or to not be super accommodating when they visit. Despite the posh residence he is not particularly wealthy and does indeed appreciate guests who bring gifts of treat once and awhile.

                                                                          The next two weeks (at minimum) I will have some very high maintenance house guests - I will expect to take care of them almost entirely but in this case there is not equity - my friend needs someone to give a shit about him right now and I am that person - my house is the closest thing he has to a "home" and I will do everything I can to make him, his girlfriend, and dog feel welcome despite the significant strain on me and my terrible fear of brining another dog into the house. I will do this because this individual relationship calls for it - but typically I would expect as you did people to be considerate, normal an thoughtful

                                                                          1. Sounds rude to me! Why didn't they pick up the tab for the whole table if they wanted to be so generous? You went to considerable effort to host them and make them feel comfortable and they snubbed you in return... I wouldn't be inviting them back any time soon.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. Ok I've been thinking about this since you posted having had the same reaction as everyone else (even without all the details, it would be just plain weird on the face of it, and only more so with details...). And the only thing I can come up with, and only in the interest of trying to explain the inexplicable, NOT explain/rationalize the rudeness, is that maybe your male guest had some previous long-ago run in about bills with your DH, or maybe some other alpha male??? Which left him with the impression that he should NOT pick up the tab for other men's dates/wives?
                                                                              It's still really weird, and even more so that it happened twice, since it means even his own spouse did not correct him in private after the first time or even just suggest that they treat you as your guests.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                                                There's never been an incident with my husband... however, I have seen him pick up the tab for other people in the past (including both members of a couple) - so I can't believe the presence of the male spouse/partner it's a defining line for him. Perhaps something changed since then. And, he's never struck me as a stingy person (until this experience!) - which made it situation all the more bizarre.

                                                                                1. re: The Oracle

                                                                                  I would chalk it up to situation-specific cluelessness then. It happens to all of us sometimes. It is annoying and ok to bitch about, I totally would :) But I generally realize eventually that it wasn't about pissing me off - it just was what it was.

                                                                              2. The house guests should have picked up your tab for one of the meals out, for sure.

                                                                                I seriously would not host them again, and just tell them that staying at your place "just isn't possible at this time".

                                                                                You, otoh, sounds very nice!

                                                                                1. your guests were chumps, plain and simple.

                                                                                  if i stay with someone, i spend as much $ entertaining them as i probably would spend on a hotel (ok, maybe a slight exaggeration). i bring them house gifts (like nice candles, bar tools, french soaps, or the like ) and then while there, buy booze, meals at home, snacks, etc. trips to the pub, restaurants, whatever. i don't want to be a mooch.

                                                                                  then i always send a thank you note.

                                                                                  1. There's also something about the guests paying for others and not you, in front of your face, that is sort of mean.
                                                                                    YOU are the one who went through all the trouble and a bit of inconvenience, and it's like rubbing it in your face.

                                                                                    1. I've been disabled for a long time and money is very tight. That being said, I would never be a guest and not do something to hold up my end. If I am visiting people away from home, I pack a bag of goodies from my home state (NH) that are hard to find elsewhere. The cost isn't high but the time and thought can be. The cost compared to a hotel stay is minimal. If we are going out I love to treat everyone to breakfast as usually the bill isn't overly high and I can manage it better than dinner. I'd be mortified to act like a free loader knowing that my presence requires extra time, money, and trouble and also knowing that without the hospitality, my costs would be far higher. If my hosts don't go out a lot, I'll pick up a grocery bill if I can -- if it isn't supplies for their household for the next month but a trip out to pick up food for the next few days, for example. It just seems right to me.

                                                                                      1. My sister-in-law and her husband (millionaires!) have done the same thing when they've visited us. They tell us they want to visit a fancy restaurant, or ask us to take them for a day trip someplace, and they pay their way only. Not a penny for gasoline, or a meal, or anything. Best of all, on the last trip to our house, he asked me to stop at the store and pick up a bottle of Dewar's for him, because he'd finished the Johnny Walker Black in our liquor cabinet. Did not reach into his pocket to contribute a dime. We've stopped having them stay with us. When they say, what are you doing the weekend of MM/DD, we say, oh, so sorry that doesn't work for us.

                                                                                        Ridiculous. And I'd betcha $10 when they visit any member of his family, they pay for plenty.

                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                          We had a similar situation with some (now former) friends. Never offered to contribute in any way. They were invited for a weekend but came for a week.

                                                                                          The clincher came when during their say the wife, who had been interviewing for jobs, received an offer. It was for a job that my SO had pulled strings and called in favors for this woman. They wanted to get some Champagne, to celebrate her new job, and basically told us to 'go and get some'.

                                                                                          We haven't seen or heard form them in close to ten years.

                                                                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                            Good riddance to both of your offending parties!

                                                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                              they sound like users/suckers/dry sponges

                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                The best part of it is that they often stated 'low maintenance' and easy going house guests they were.

                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                  yeah…low maintenance for THEMSELVES.
                                                                                                  everyone else picks up their weight.

                                                                                            2. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                              The whiskey incident is so over the top!!!!!! I bet he felt he was doing you a favor in making sure you restocked your supply!! Ridiculous!

                                                                                              1. re: The Oracle

                                                                                                They are ignorant jerks. The crazy thing is, they are worth a ton of money and could afford to treat us. He is paying for the college education for all of 'his' nieces and nephews. We are on 'her' side of the family, and as such not given that benefit. For our kids christenings, they gave us a lovely ear thermometer. For 'his' nieces and nephews, the parents got new camcorders and college savings accounts. Hey, they don't owe my kids anything, nor do I expect it, but don't tell me what a great guy he is. And he is sure as hell not freeloading off of us.

                                                                                                1. re: The Oracle

                                                                                                  my husband had gotten a bottle of the best aged Seagrams made as a Christmas gift 25 years ago when his customers appreciated his always diligent work. during college he was the best UPS man in history. the presents he received at the holidays were nothing short of amazing.
                                                                                                  so my sister comes for Christmas, not invited, no place else to go, she arrives. her alcoholism precedes her and our bar is crazy overstocked. his prized unopened bottle is tucked in the furthest back corner where it's lived for years. whatever Seagrams is we had 10 same kind of alcohols to choose from for instance if it's Scotch we have 10 other brands of Scotch.

                                                                                                  over the course of the holiday we all noticed how many times she'd hit the bar. but other than her unwillingness to help do anything to ensure Christmas fancy dinner was made we were tolerant. I had the flu and all day up chucked in between kneading bread dough, dressing the bird, creating dessert etc. I asked her please just peel the potatoes as I was lying down. she argued that leaving the peels on made for just as good mashed potatoes. my husband went in the kitchen and peeled the &:@#~ potatoes. she'd lie down to nap and complain the Christmas music playing was too loud and would tell the kids to be quieter.

                                                                                                  we ate dinner (it was passable) exchanged our gifts and she left.

                                                                                                  end of week trash goes out to the curb so I gather up all trash in house, take it to can and pull it out to street.

                                                                                                  you know what I saw on top of all bags of trash in there. his prized saved bottle empty in the bin, alone on top of other stuff. guess she never figured I'd actually be able to visually spot that lone bottle.

                                                                                                  searching out the bottles of bar dwellers still present I saw she'd moved everything purposely around to find the best of the best for her drinking pleasure. shes always been part of the
                                                                                                  IAAM club. we were livid. I called and brought it up to her, "oh $hi+, bfd" was her response.

                                                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                    Family is challenging for sure. I am happy to have more than a couple decent relatives. They make up for the few difficult and awful ones. I feel sorry for people with no family members they can relate to.

                                                                                              2. there is a sense of rudeness about it. but on the other hand, we can see that the houseguests are not just plain cheap. the fact that they paid for the other person(s) twice means they are not unambiguous moochers - maybe even the opposite since they treated people who were strangers to them. we're either not getting all the information needed to understand it, or we need some more data points.

                                                                                                it does seem that they have a blind spot about how to reciprocate when someone is hosting them. good thing they are affluent so you won't have to worry about them affording a hotel the next time.

                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: ta0126

                                                                                                  Your assessment is correct in that they are not your stereotypical tight-fisted people. The two they treated were not strangers; they knew both of the ladies well (one was her very good friend and other was good friend of his (and a mutual friend of mine). Short of asking him directly, I don't think I'll ever fully understand his logic in excluding us. And, yes, money isn't an issue and they could certainly afford a hotel. I may be completely dense, but even after all is said and done, I don't feel as if their intent was too mooch. I just think they lacked gratitude for what we did to host them. I can't say they lacked awareness of what it takes to host because I know they host people!

                                                                                                  1. re: The Oracle

                                                                                                    Sorry if this has been asked, but might your guests believe you are very comfortable financially and thus, might feel insulted if he offered to pay for you?
                                                                                                    Especially in front of other people?

                                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                                      Thanks for posting this.

                                                                                                      I'd also wondered about the age/ nationality of the guest(s) (the age question has been answered).

                                                                                                      "Old School " manners dictate that the guest really IS a guest. Meaning he/she pays for ~nothing~ during the visit. The thought is that "compensation" ( if you will) takes place during a return visit.

                                                                                                      In modern times, people do not stay with relatives as often, and so our modern "manners" have evolved(e.g. guest taking hosts out to dinner).

                                                                                                      The visitor may have offered to pay for the two un- escorted females as he saw them as ~his~ guests.

                                                                                                      He may also be expecting the hosts as guests in the future.

                                                                                                      1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                        Nationality is American (many generations) - it's not a cultural thing.

                                                                                                        However, you hit on something!! The invitation to visit his home has been on the table for some time now (so the intent for reciprocal hosting could very well be a factor as to why there was no effort to contribute at any point).

                                                                                                        1. re: The Oracle

                                                                                                          Take him up on it! Be sure to act the same as they did. Choose the date and invite yourself to stay. Do not bring a hostess gift and do not treat them to any meals or buy any groceries. Give them a good hearty taste of their own medicine.

                                                                                                      2. re: monavano

                                                                                                        Interesting supposition. He is generally aware of our financial situation (e.g. not very comfortable financially) but I don't think he knew it was a financial stretch for us to host them. That said, I am certain that he wasn't protecting us from insult, had he covered the tab.

                                                                                                  2. Any house guest should show appreciation. Period. It doesn't necessarily have to come in the form of picking up a tab, but it can be flowers, a thoughtful gesture to help clean up the kitchen..or whatever.. The way I was raised was if someone is inviting you into their home you bring a gift..or if for an overnight stay offer to take them out for a meal. Personally, I would have said something like "Oh boy..you don't treat the hand that hosts you" when out that second time. Yes. I am a big mouth. I believe in shaming someone. I really don't care for PC or anything like that. Rude needs rude sometimes.
                                                                                                    You allowed these people to come into YOUR home after they self-invited. It's apparent they don't have many friends in your area. You prepared and made them feel welcome. My darling, I hope you NEVER have that couple back into your home.