Content edited for clarity. Pretentious parents are everywhere lurking around the corners ready to pounce on any tiny inconvenience or non-existent offense against them. Some people have had the unfortunate luck of meeting parents like this and have had to deal with them. Maybe there's a way to shoo them away for good? We can only hope.
"I’m 20. I am a dog groomer. Been one for almost five years. The big thing in dog grooming is reputation, quality, and time management. Yesterday we were expecting a girl to come in at 10:00 am to try out as a dog groomer. She was promising and 23 or 25 years old. She had worked as a dog groomer at other places. However, she didn’t show until 4:30 pm. No call. No nothing. She apparently had a hair appointment and friends from out of town came in so they got their nails done. She asked if she could groom now. I said, 'No. I don’t think so.'
When she pressed I said and I might be awful for saying this, 'We don’t want or need you. There’s no need to reschedule your try-out.'
I went back to get my last two dogs done. Apparently, she cried and I was starting to feel bad. Now here comes the entitled parent. Her mom came in the next morning demanding we give her a second chance. I told her, 'Your daughter was six and a half hours late. That’s not something that works in dog grooming.'
The crazy mother replied, 'She was with friends. I’d think someone your age would understand that.'
I retorted, 'Not when there’s a job interview. She didn’t call or anything.'
At this point, I was ticked and over it. I had five dogs to get done. She said, 'Well there was no reason to make her cry!'
I said, 'I disagree,' and got back to work.
Apparently, she stayed up there and demanded we give her another shot. As head-dog-groomer, I said that was not going to happen. She left eventually saying her daughter was too good for us. When I was running late to my first job my mom had no sympathy and told me that I need to grow up and get out sooner. No way in heck was she going to go and defend me."
"My husband and I have two children, both boys, now aged 11 and 14. My husband's younger sister now has three children aged seven(f), five(m), and three(m). The year my youngest son (let's shorten to 'Ryan' for the story) was turning four, he asked for a birthday party. He was not yet in school and so he did not know anyone but family and there were no children other than his brother that would be able to attend. Luckily, his favorite people in the world are Grandpa and G-ma (Dad's parents). G-ma is like a big kid. She's super fun and energetic. She acts much like a kid herself and my boys adore her. I knew they were very busy so I asked them several months in advance if they could attend his birthday party. The party was to be on his birthday (this is important). Being the wonderful grandparents they are, they agreed and requested that time off from their jobs. We also invited all close-by family, including my sister-in-law - (SIL) the entitled mother of the story.
Months go by and it's now about a week and a half before my son's big day. I've bought the decorations, planned the menu, and pumped him up (I like to sing a 'Final Countdown' song as I prepare breakfast in the morning). One afternoon I receive a call from my SIL who is about to find out the gender of her baby (she's pregnant with baby number one). She wanted to plan a Gender Reveal Party, but she called her friends and family and discovered that most work and couldn't attend without several weeks notice for their jobs. The only day everyone just so happens to have off was my son's birthday. Would I be willing to move my son's birthday party to another day so she could have her party? At this point, it may bear mentioning that she already had three baby showers planned and had asked me to make the food (out-of-pocket) for one of the showers. Most people being asked to attend her gender reveal party were already attending multiple baby showers for her.
I am pretty friendly and passive, but this caught me very off-guard. I tried to gently tell her that my son was looking forward to this and we've had it planned for months, which is why everyone had it off from work. She feigned sympathy but still urged me to please move my son's birthday party to a time that everyone could later attend, and let her have this open date for her party for her 'first baby, while you've already had two. Besides, Ryan loves babies and would want to go to her party too! He could still come to my party and see everyone he loves, and then get to do it all over again when everyone can request time off!' I didn't have time to gather a response as she steamrolled over me.
So I said, 'Okay? If they want to go, I won't make them come to Ryan's party, but I can't go to your party. We have plans.'
And her response was, 'Thanks!'
I was angry. She had pulled this kind of thing with other people before, but she had always really loved my boys and never tried this with me (or not to this extreme anyway). I didn't know how to react other than vent to my husband (her brother) who wasn't surprised at all and said not to worry and that their Dad would set her straight. Funny enough, I was talking to my husband when I saw him (his dad) calling my phone. I answered and he said that my SIL had told him I had no problem with her hijacking my son's birthday and that I had insisted she have the party and everyone go to that one instead of Ryan's. He said if this was true that he would attend her party, but he would way rather go to the party for Ryan. He'd already gotten presents and they were excited about celebrating a kid that's already here on his big day.
I very happily told him that I was never going to cancel his birthday or make him sit through someone else's party on his big day. I mean, he's four and I've been counting down for him every morning. What kind of monster would I be?! I said that I had told SIL that people could go to that if they preferred but that we wouldn't be attending. He said that sounded about right and told her he was going to Ryan's party since he requested time off for that, and if she wanted another party another day to give him notice. She canceled (or never organized?) the party and then talked about me behind my back to anyone that would listen for years to follow."
"I'm a 35-year-old father of two boys. I have PTSD due to my time overseas and have the physical scars to match the mental scars. I have an incredible wife that knows me and knows what situations I should avoid. My children are amazing but this story revolves around my youngest son and my service dog. J my youngest son has autism and we share a special bond because some things that set him off also put my teeth on edge. Spike my English Bulldog, he's my service dog, he's well trained, lazy, judgmental, and overall uninterested in anything he can't eat. He's also very intuned to J's and my own emotions and will provide a distraction when we get overwhelmed. Basically, he's like, 'Oh you're stressed? Here scratch my butt, you'll feel better and I'll get attention, it's a win-win.'
My family recently moved to Texas and because we now live very close to an amusement park we got memberships. Shout out to the park for being amazing when it comes to special needs. This particular park in Arlington Texas has a special program for autistic people. They have rooms set aside to chill at if you're overstimulated so you can relax, go back out, get overstimulated again, and round and round you go. With J we also don't have to wait in lines. This is a huge thing and the cause of this story. The park has a pass that lets you skip most of the lines and they charge an arm and a leg for this. However, with that pass, you still end up in a line of the hundreds of people that also have that pass. J gets no lines at all, we get a special pass and we go in through the exit. The worker signs the pass and we go on the ride.
J has a favorite ride, the log ride. There have been days that we would ride the log ride over and over, then eat, then go back to the log ride. On this day T, my oldest, and J wanted to go on the log ride. So we made our way to the exit and left wife and spike in the shade because someone has to stay with him and bulldogs plus rides don't mix. As we were going in the exit, a woman started screaming at us. I have absolutely no hearing on my right side (thanks to a high-pressure wave) so I didn't consider it worth turning my head to listen.
Now because we ride this ride almost exclusively the workers on this ride know us by name and site. J even talks to them which is rare. We go in, show the pass, sit and ride. This time though, Tabitha (I'll call her Tabitha because Karen is overused), the woman that was screaming at us as we were walking in through the out, made her way to where the speedy pass ends at the ride where a redshirt checked her pass and let her go on her way.
She didn't even want to ride, she just wanted to yell about us going in through the exit and how we are abusing the system. Now anyone that looks at J can see he's in a world all his own and wouldn't be surprised if he's literally reading the future or talking to aliens. He's awesome. The redshirt tried to calm her down, T was getting upset because he's a normal nine year old and adults yelling is uncool. J started making his excited sounds while waiting for the log to stop so he can get in.
We got in and as we float away we still heard Tabitha screaming. The ride ended and we exit. We figured we would never see Tabitha again but obviously, this didn't go that way. Tabitha appeared like a dark brother after making the sacrifice (elder scrolls reference) hooting and screaming. She was screaming that just because J was an 'R-word' doesn't mean we get extra rights. The screaming caused J to let out his super screech. Now anyone that knows autism knows that autistic kids have superpowers. In J's case, it's a supersonic ear-shattering high-pitched screech that makes your eyes swim and makes it feel like things in your head are moving that shouldn't.
This whole time Spike was laying on the ground in the froggy position as bulldogs do, just looking at Tabitha like she's a rabid dog but not worth getting up for. As we are being screamed at I see two officers approaching from behind Tabitha. I smile, my smile must have broken Tabitha because the hauled off and kicked spike. This flipped my switch because now my family is literally under attack and I started to react." Story continued below.
"Before I could make contact, Tabitha was already in the air being carried (half-dragged) away while being cuffed. Now in front of me is a well-dressed and ticked-off-looking officer. He told us he heard the screech and started heading to it because they thought a ride broke or something bad happened. I took the time to unflip that switch and examined Spike. He was limping and crying. I felt his hips and felt that his hip was dislocated. I jokingly asked the officer to walk away and let me get some. He of course had no humor to this but also could tell I had a career. He asked what happened and we all explained what happened from a to z.
He asked if Spike was a service dog. I said yes. He smiled, I was not in a smiling mood but it caught me off guard. He explained that in Texas to intentionally injure a service dog was a felony. By this time park security arrived and issued a trespass order to Tabitha. The officers asked if I want to press charges. I looked at spike and looked back. I said yes.
Tabitha and her tiny mouse-like husband started to freak out as Tabitha was loaded onto a golf cart. We hopped on a cart too and left to go to the vet.
The vet fixed Spike and all was well. We went back the next day with Spike in a stroller. No one batted an eye and everyone loved the bulldog in a stroller. I let people pet him, he was a hoot and the park was an amazing place.
I've been contacted by the investigating officer and have given depositions. I may have to testify but I look forward to sitting on the bench with Spike on my lap."
"Ok, buckle up, this is a doozy! I work for a pet/house sitting company and had a new client on my schedule for three visits a day for two weeks to take care of a dog. When I got to the house and go in I saw a kid and thought they must be running late leaving and didn't let us know, so I said hi to the kid and said it's ok don't be scared, then called out for the parents.
The kid said they're gone. I asked, 'What do you mean?'
The kid then said I needed to hurry up and make her breakfast and take her to school. I asked again, 'What do you mean, where are your parents?'
She said, they've gone on their trip and again told me to hurry up because she was hungry. I asked how old she was, she said seven.
I asked, 'They left you here alone?'
She said yeah, that her mom told her we'd be by in the morning to make her breakfast and take her to school, in the afternoon to pick her up from school and make her a snack, and at night to make her supper. I asked where was Macy (made up name) the dog? She said they don't have a dog. I said when the owner came for the client meeting and to get the house keys she met a dog. The kid said her mom borrowed the neighbor's dog.
I called the company owner and told her what was going on, of course, she was flabbergasted and came over immediately. She tried to get ahold of the kid's parents but they weren't answering their phones so she called child services and explained everything when they got there. Child services took the kid, the parent's info, and left.
The next day the kid's mom called the owner and left a rambling message, screaming about how could we turn her kid in to child services and we broke the contract so they were going to sue her for that and also for the cost of their ruined vacation. The owner called them back and told them our agreement was to take care of a dog, not a kid, and that was illegal anyway, and also borrowing a dog for her to meet for the client meeting was deliberate misrepresentation, so good luck with a lawsuit.
She hasn't heard from them since. I guess our pet sitting service was cheaper than hiring someone to watch the child properly. We still can't understand how this woman thought this would actually work."
"Back in March I (25F) and my partner (27M) bought a house. This was a big deal for us, and we were so glad we managed to pull this off especially right before the quarantine restrictions got bad. It’s a livable fixer-upper, the lady that lived here bought it in ‘67 and was the only owner before us, and she made no updates in that time. It has kept us busy and that’s worked out really well with being home so often.
Now to the event with the entitled mother. In May my big project was pulling out some nasty bushes that had taken over a huge chunk of the front-side yard. It was hot. I was sweaty. I was digging out roots and throwing branches. As I was right up front and making a pretty drastic change to the yard, people notice. Most neighbors would stop by, say a quick hello from the car, and drive away. But not this woman.
She pulled up in a shiny black suburban from the opposite side of the road, parked (the wrong way), and rolled down her window. I’d say she was in her 50-60s with gray/white bob-cut hair. I stood up and paused my music. The following conversation isn’t exact, but pretty close as this conversation was just so entitled.
She said, 'Hey! Did you buy this house?'
I replied, 'Yep! Just moved in last month.'
She asked, 'Did you know the family?'
I responded, 'Um, that sold it? Not really, we just got lucky they chose us I guess haha,' (I was trying to be nice, but kind of off-put that she’d asked none of the typical neighbor questions. We made a great offer).
She said matter of factly, 'Yeah. My son really wanted this house. He grew up in this neighborhood you know.'
I replied, 'Oh, darn. Yeah, houses move fast right now.'
She kept going, 'He spent his whole life in this area. He really deserved to stay in the neighborhood, you know.'
I was confused and just said, 'Yeah, That’s too bad.' I thought to myself, what is going on?
Then this entitled woman said, 'How much did you offer?'
I was not about to tell her details and just said simply, 'Over asking price, we were proactive,' and laughed nervously.
She continued, 'Well, my son really wanted that house.'
I was feeling quite awkward with this whole situation, and just looking to shoo this lady along, so I said, 'Yeah, well, I’m sure more houses will go up for sale around here.'
She was not happy with this, 'Well, that doesn’t help him now, does it? He had his heart set on that house.'
I just exaggeratedly shrugged and decided to resume my root cutting to try and give her the message.
She was not done though, 'You’re probably flipping it. He would’ve loved it.'
I was surprised, 'Uh, no we’re not. We are staying long-term.”
She was unfazed, 'Yeah right.'
She didn’t leave. I was wondering if I should go inside or something. She just kept looking at me expecting me to say something. I kept cutting at a root.
She added, 'Is it just you or did your family help you get it?'
I replied, getting pretty short in tone, 'My partner and I bought it together.'
She just stated, 'My grandkids would’ve loved the yard. A loved yard makes a house a home, you know.'
I said, not looking up, 'Well. My dogs will love it, especially once I’m done.'
She seemed offended at this, 'Seriously?'
I just scoffed, pulled my root out, and threw it on the pile. I felt her eyes watching me.
I was really ready to be done, 'Well, have a good day!'
Then, with a last glare and a 'URGH', she sped off. I was left quite annoyed and bewildered to mull over what the heck just happened. Did this freaking lady just try to guilt-trip me because we bought a house her son wanted? Indeed, apparently. Definitely the most un-welcoming interaction I have had since we’ve moved in. (And I have not seen her since.)"
"I used to live on the bottom floor of a two-story house in a very popular beach town in North Carolina. I was in my mid-20s. The upstairs was rented out to four college-aged guys. So five people, five cars driveway built for four, so one of us would either be on the grass or in a paid spot, if you had bills with your name and address the city would give you a pass to park in certain paid spaces. So not a big deal but finding a spot in the middle of summer was hard. The house is maybe 100 yards to the beach, a pretty short walk, five minutes tops with beach gear, and little ones. I would leave to work at 6:30 am and return around 5:00 or 6:00 pm. By the time I got home most of the crowds would be gone so a paid spot was easy for me to get. So I'd typically leave the driveway for the upstairs guys. One day I was running late and didn't get out of my house till nearly 8:00 am, the other guys had left and the driveway was empty. I was walking out to my car and of course, the lots were already 90% full or more. As I was crossing the street I saw a minivan coming up and pull into my driveway. I didn't recognize it so I waited to see if I knew them or they knew the upstairs guys.
Out stepped a polo shirt-visor-bowling short-dad and overly-peppy-mom with three screaming kids, obviously, no one I know. I backtracked and asked, 'Excuse me do you know the tenants upstairs or have permission to park here?'
The entitled mother replied, 'It doesn't matter no one is parked here and Billy, Bobby, and Barbie have to get to the beach.'
I said back, 'There are five people living there, myself included and we need to be able to park.'
She was not impressed and asked, 'Oh, so where's your car if you live there?'
I replied, 'In that spot there because I have a pass'
The equally entitled father interjected, 'Don't lie to us, you're here just the same as us and upset we know how to park for free.'
I stated, 'I'm not lying, dude, it's 8:00 am, I'm wearing my work uniform."
The mother spat back, 'We don't need to listen to you, we're going to park and you can do whatever you want. My children have to get to the beach. You're ruining our vacation so go away.'
Meanwhile, the kids were climbing on my fence and trees in and out of the street. I said, 'Ok I'll just have you towed and you can deal with it later.'
The dad got in my face practically nose to nose and screamed, 'Try it and see. This isn't your house you're just a little prick!'
Mind you, I'm 5'11", roughly 190, and in fairly good shape. I replied, 'Ok have a nice day.'
So I went to my car and waited till they were pretty much at the beach like I said, a very short walk. Then I went inside, looked up a tow service on the other side of town.
'Hello yes, I'd like to report a car illegally parked on my property, address, 123 street name,' I said.
'Sir that's an hour away,' the guy said.
'Yea, I know I'm not paying, that's their problem,' I replied.
'Ok, be there in about an hour and a half,' he said.
I called my boss and explained what happened and said I wasn't going to be able to come in. He's a pretty easy-going guy and told me to keep him informed. The tow truck arrived and then the van was gone. I left my car in the spot and waited until it was 10:30 am or so. Sometime around 2:00 or 3:00 pm there was a very angry knock at my door. I thought, this gonna be fun. Imagine the shock when I answered the door drink in hand grinning like an idiot.
I said, 'Can I help you?'
Both of the entitled parents screamed at once, 'You! Where is our van?! How did you get here?!!??'
I calmly replied, 'Oh yea, here's the card had it towed across town, gonna be fun cab ride.'
I shut the door in their face and then there was more angry yelling and knocking
I said, 'Yes?' after opening the door again.
The father went off, trying to get in my house, 'You better get us our van back, I'm gonna kick your butt, I'll have you arrested.'
I said, 'Get outta my house and call the cops, it is not gonna change anything.'
I managed to shove him out the door, get it closed, and locked. Now I waited. The next 20 minutes were full of more angry knocking and yelling. Finally, about 4:00 pm I saw some blue lights, and there was a much more polite knock at my door. I grew up on the beach, it is a small number of locals. I know 70% of the locals, police, bartenders, shop owners, residents, I know a lot of people on the island.
So I said, 'Oh hey Garrett, how's it going.'
He replied, 'Yea, it's good. These people say you stole their van and broke into this house.'
I said, 'Nope, they pulled into the driveway as I was leaving for work, pulled an attitude, walked away said I couldn't do anything. So I called Lou on the other side of town. Vans there, I even gave them his card and offered to let them use my phone.' The mother tried to interject, 'He's lying, he stole our car I demand he be arrested.'
The father joined in, storming up behind the officer, 'If you don't arrest him I'll have you fired, this is ridiculous, blah blah.'
Garrett wasn't having any of it, 'Sir back up, I'm going to figure this out.'
The father was now shoving past the officer yelling, 'This is bull!'
He tried to work his way into my house again, Garrett was able to pull him out and managed to get him pressed up against his cop car. 'Sir, you are trespassing now,' Garrett told the man and then looked over at me, 'Would you like to press charges?'
I took the merciful route and asked, 'Can you keep him in your car until they get a cab?'
I debated pressing the trespassing but, honestly didn't want to deal with them again.
Garrett agreed saying, 'Yea, I mean I've got to get statements and everything.'
So, I gave my statement, went inside, grabbed a drink, went out the backdoor, up the back steps, and around to the second-floor porch, and there I sat smiling till a cab came about 5:00/5:30 pm. My upstairs neighbors showed up but they didn't play any part in the story."
"My school has one of the best underage bands in the city, in spite of being a moderate-sized school, (1000 kids). They perform at big places and draw in huge audiences. So anyway there’s this Entitled Parent, who is a teacher and her daughter, goes to the school. Now the daughter is a bad singer, there were no two ways about it. So anyway one day the band's Pianist, K is fuming during the bus ride back. On being asked he begins to rant about how the mom forced the music teacher to put her daughter on the band etc. They had a show in the city’s biggest mall the next week and had been practicing for months.
The entitled mom wanted her daughter to sing for that show. Anyway, it’s the day of the show and I was watching from the audience. The first seven songs brought in a huge audience and everybody was enjoying the amazing music. Then it’s the entitled daughter’s turn. The guitarist played the opening notes of a very popular song, during the time. The crowd went wild.
Then she started to sing. The enthusiasm drained away fast. There was silence as this girl massacred an amazing song. Then her mother got up and started clapping loudly. Everyone was mortified. Some people started to awkwardly clap. The teacher tried to move to the next song.
The entitled mom yelled out, 'Wait! They haven’t clapped for my angel’s performance yet!”'
The audience is dumbfounded. I see K facepalm. Then the daughter yelled into the microphone, 'Clap for me!'
No one moves a muscle. She ran off stage and her mother took a microphone and yelled, 'You can’t appreciate talent!' Before chasing after her girl.
The concert continued. The daughter left the band, but the mom is still at the school."
"I can finally air my uncensored frustration about the night my engagement was single-handedly corrupted by my entitled mother-in-law. (Let’s call her 'Ellen' because she always reminded me of Ellen DeGeneres, even before all this recent news broke.)
Ok, so my girlfriend and I were really engaged to be engaged. We’d both agreed we wanted to get married, but I hadn’t done the formal proposal yet because we wanted to meet each other’s families first (neither lived nearby.) I always thought the old trope about meeting the in-laws being a big fiasco was a myth, both because I was younger and more naive then and because I’m lucky to have easy parents.
My girlfriend met them for a few hours. Once we were alone just me and them I told them my intentions and my mom asked, 'Does she have any kids already?' And my dad asked, 'Does she have a good solid job?' And they both asked, 'You really love her?' And that was that I had their full support for the marriage.
I thought meeting her parents would be the same. Some grilling was to be expected, but as long as I was honest and respectful, it would all be fine. Relevant fact; they had my girlfriend when they were teenagers, by surprise, so now had a 'do-over daughter' (their words, not mine!!) who was just six years old.
My girlfriend and I made the trip up to their city and I met them for the first time over dinner at a steak house. It was pretty upscale, and we’d scheduled the dinner for 8:00 pm, so I was surprised to see they’d brought the kid along with them. I met everyone at once and the initial awkwardness settled once we’d sat down. We were making great small talk when the six-year-old said she was thirsty. No big deal right? Well, all of a sudden Ellen started screaming, 'Water? Water! Water?!'
A waiter came rushing over to see what the commotion was and, without even making eye contact with the poor guy, Ellen went, 'We’ve been here forever and no one’s even gotten us any water. My daughter’s been asking.'
We had been sitting for about fifteen or twenty minutes without service, but they were visibly behind, and there were no circumstances that would’ve warranted that shouting. I should’ve realized from how unfazed everyone else at the table was that I should be bracing myself for a long night, but I couldn’t imagine what was to come at that point.
The waiter rushed over with water and apologized for the delay, explaining a few very large parties had arrived all at once. The guy was seemed sincere, and quite affable, so I thought the water would just be an anomaly in an otherwise pleasant night. Then Ellen kicked into full gear.
'We’ll need a kid's menu,' she informed the waiter. He said that they didn’t have a kids menu, but that the chef could simplify most dishes.
'What do you mean you don’t have a kids menu?' Ellen replied in total disbelief, as though he’d said they didn’t have a fire exit.
He explained they didn’t get too many child visitors and that there were enough plain foods on the menu that no separate menu had ever been necessary. Ellen sighed dramatically and waved him away. Literally, without saying a word, waved him off from the table. I tried to give him an apologetic glance but, understandably, he didn’t look back our way. I was so glad the poor guy left and didn’t have to be subjected to her anymore.
Meanwhile, she turned her attention on me, and I almost wished he’d come back. At least he was getting paid to be here. She was like, 'So you’re a screenwriter?'
And I explained, 'Well, yes and no. I want to be, but it’s hard to get a job in that field that you can support yourself on, so I’m working at a non-profit right now. There’s a screenwriting component to the job though, so I’m really happy there.'
Ellen turned to her six-year-old and went, 'Hear that, hun? You want to be sure to snag a man who works for profit. Learn from this. It’s not too late for you.'
I couldn’t tell if she was trying to be funny or not. So, I just let it pass, looking over to my girlfriend to see if she was even considering speaking up on my behalf. Nope. The waiter came back, visibly nervous. That hurt, because he was so relaxed and personable at the start of the meal. He asked if we’d like to hear the specials before we ordered and Ellen said sure. Here’s how that went.
The waiter started, 'First we have a lightly seared strip stea—'
Ellen interrupted, 'Next!'
The waiter tried to continue, 'Oh, uh, ok. Then we have a broiled leg of grass-fed—'
Ellen, again, interrupted loudly, 'Next!'
The waiter began again, 'Uh, we, uh, we have a pasta primavera mixed with—'
Ellen did what she did best and shouted, 'Next!!'
And on and on until he’d gone through all seven or ten specials, even though she ultimately ordered off the menu, a plain ribeye, well done. She tried to order her daughter the same, but the kid said she just wanted plain mashed potatoes, so Ellen let her get mashed potatoes alone for dinner. Then, she sent the waiter away! The rest of us hadn’t even ordered yet! And everyone else just sat there like it was entirely normal! I waited for someone to say something, thinking it was more her older daughter's (my girlfriend’s) place or her husband’s, but when no one did I couldn’t help myself.
'I, uh, was the one steak and potatoes going to be for all of us, or?' I stated jokingly.
My girlfriend explained (in the tone you’d use for a tourist violating a sacred local taboo), 'My mom always has the waiter put the kid’s food in first, so it can get started right away. We’ll order once the kitchen has hers.'
I thought she was joking since Ellen didn’t just order her kid’s food, she also ordered her own dinner too. So I laughed. 'Something funny?' Ellen asked.
Then I realized she was serious, and I shut up. Thankfully her dad at least recognized that what was normal for them might not be as regular to me and tried to lighten the mood with a change of topic. But not even ten minutes after we’d ordered (I guess technically five minutes after we'd ordered, ten minutes after she and her daughter had ordered), Ellen started in again." Story continued below.
"Another table, that had been there long before we were, got a side order of mashed potatoes with their meal. Ellen threw a total conniption. She was sputtering so inaudibly that none of us could figure out what was wrong at first.
Finally she managed to flag down some bus boy who barely spoke English and began laying into him like he’d just side swiped her on the freeway. He kept trying to explain he wasn’t a server and he could go get one, but she wouldn’t stop to breath long enough for him to find someone who could actually help.
All the while I kept looking at my girlfriend for signs of embarrassment, or at the very least irritation, but you wouldn’t have known if she was even hearing any of this. Our waiter came over, somehow still feigning a smile despite knowing what he was walking into, and Ellen actually said, 'Why did that table get mashed potatoes and ours haven’t come yet?'
The waiter kindly but concisely explained, 'Well Ma’m, those people ordered potatoes before your party had placed their order.' Ellen looks this man dead in the eye (finally) and said, 'Well it doesn’t matter when they ordered it. My daughter is the youngest one here! Her food should come out first.'
You could tell the waiter was working hard to restrain himself at this point. He explained it was a first come, first served, policy and age didn’t help one way or the other. He offered to go check on the potatoes, Ellen agreed, or more specifically she said, 'Yah, you better!', but I was clocking him and he went right back to his server station (because we had only just ordered a few minutes ago).
Three or five more minutes passed, during which we could have no other discussion at the table except how awful this restaurant was, how hungry the poor baby was (who hadn’t said a word about being hungry this whole time and was contently playing her loud iPad game, without headphones, disturbing all the other diners around us), and how America has lost all respect for motherhood because it’s just a 'me, me, me' culture now.
I chimed in, 'I’m with you on that last part.'
And to my utter shock, instead of laughing at my joke, my girlfriend seemed annoyed with me!So after a few minutes the waiter came back and said the potatoes will be out very soon. Ellen then went and did something that, again, I thought was just a myth.
She took three singles and a five out of her wallet and put them on the table in full view of the waiter. Then she took one single away and said, 'Every table I see getting potatoes before us is a bill gone.'
I was absolutely mortified. The waiter, to his unending credit, just took a deep breath and said, 'I don’t have control over the order in which the kitchen fires tickets, but what I can tell you is it should be out any minute.' And left without saying anything disparaging.
I had been holding my tongue all night as well, in the name of my relationship, but once the tip hit the table (the $8 tip for a $100+ bill, on top of all else) I figured if my girlfriend was half the woman I thought she was then she wouldn’t mind my speaking up at this point. If anything, she’d be supportive, right?
So I scooted my chair back a bit and said, 'Listen I know what you’re doing with the cash on the table, but that kind of thing makes me really uncomfortable, and it’s just not called for. Please put the money away or we can just continue this some other time.'
My girlfriend’s dad spat back, 'What? How cheap do you have to be to not believe in tipping service workers?'
Before I could process whether he was serious or yanking my chain, Ellen shocked me with, 'No, you know what, you’re right, this isn’t necessary.'
I should’ve known better than to be relieved. She folded the bills back into her wallet, patiently waited for the next plate of mashed potatoes to be carried out, and when it wasn’t delivered to us, (it was a very common side dish at this place, a steak house,) she went right up to a stranger’s table and picked it up off their table.
She half explained something about her daughter 'starving to death,' as she was walking away with the stranger’s food, but unsurprisingly, that wasn’t convincing enough for them. The old lady she took it from followed her right over to our table and tried to take it back.
I was already searching for my coat tag in preparation to go, but a shoving match was beginning to unfold between Ellen and an elderly woman with a tennis ball walker, and far be it from me to sit through all that had happened only to leave just as the night was getting interesting.
The elderly woman was saying, 'Give me back my potatoes!! Who are you??'
And the poor little girl was like, 'Mommy, it’s ok, don’t take someone else’s potatoes.'
But it all fell on deaf ears. Ellen yelled at the old lady, 'How could you sit there and eat these when my daughter hasn’t even been served yet? She’s sitting here hungry, just a little girl, and you’re over there stuffing your face? Come on, other potatoes will be out any minute.'
And the old lady, got to love her, said, 'Great, if they’ll be out any minute, then what’s the f - ing problem?!'
To which Ellen still found holier than thou ground, gasping, 'Language, please!'
Finally the waiter, and this time someone higher up as well, I think the manager, thank goodness, came over to separate them, as they had begun to raise their voices and cause a disturbance. Staff had already asked Ellen to turn down her daughter’s iPad multiple times without heed, and I’m guessing the waiter informed management about the 'tip on the table,' stunt she pulled, because this was their final straw. They told us we were going to have to leave the restaurant.
'But we don’t even have our food yet!' Ellen complained at the guy.
This was clearly not the manager’s first rodeo. 'You can take the food that’s already been served free of charge, everything else will be cancelled. Please leave immediately.'
The old lady didn’t miss her chance to knock the potatoes right onto the floor so we couldn’t try to take them with us. Nothing else had been served yet, so, we had to leave without any food.
When my girlfriend and I were finally alone in our car she said, 'Can you believe that?'
And I said, 'Not at all. And I really can’t believe you didn’t warn me!'
And she went, 'How could I have known about any of that?'
And, confused, I asked, 'Is she not usually like that?'
Even more confused than me, my girlfriend asked, 'Who?'
'Your Mom!' I stated.
'What’s my Mom got to do with the terrible service at that place?' She replied incredulously.
That was the beginning of the end of our relationship. The fact that she didn’t see anything wrong with her mom’s behavior, and that I’d be marrying into that situation, shook me too deep.
We both dodged a bullet in more ways than one. In hindsight, we weren’t right for each other, regardless of who her family was. Her mom saved us both a lot of time and heartache, helping me realize in one night what would’ve probably taken us years otherwise. Within a month we’d moved into separate apartments and gone on a break, that ended up lasting forever.
I’m not sorry I won’t see you again, Ellen. I am sorry any waitstaff ever will, though."