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Tripping Over The Trip Costs

, , , , , | Friendly | March 3, 2022

When I was about twelve years old, I was invited for a trip with a friend and her mom, who also brought a friend. They had won the trip in a competition and didn’t have much money; neither did my family, but since it was for free, they gave me some pocket money and let me go.

It was really exciting and fun to begin with to see the sights and play in a waterpark and such. However, I soon experienced that they had very different ways of doing things than I was used to. In my family, if we invited someone else’s kid, we paid for their food and other stuff they might need while taking care of them. However, this mom did not intend to do that. Luckily, I had been given extra money in case something went wrong and I’d need it. My parents trusted my judgment.

At one point, we went to a Viking village and you could try some smithy work, which I thought seemed exciting, and it was very cheap. We asked the mom for permission and she said no, since it was too expensive. I said I’d pay for it myself, but the answer was still no, since it would be unfair to my friend, so I offered to pay for both of us. She couldn’t really argue at that point as my friend were now too excited to turn down, but she really didn’t like it.

Later, I bought bread made over a fire for all of us to share, since it was too expensive. The mother’s friend then came up and paid half. I don’t know what she expected us to do there other than just look since the activities cost money.

The time I really found out they would not pay for my food was a couple of days later when the mom came with the receipt for the food she had bought and slammed it on the breakfast table.

Mom: “All right, this is how much we bought, so we should all pay our part.”

I was a bit confused since a fourth of that would be more than half my pocket money and I really hadn’t expected to pay for food; I was just a kid, after all.

Mom: “[My Name] should pay for the milk, though.”

Me: “What? Why?”

Daughter: “Because you drank it all.”

Me: “You drank milk, too.”

Mom: “You drank a lot more than half of it.”

I wasn’t sure this was correct — it didn’t feel right — but I hadn’t really measured how much I drank so I didn’t know.

Mom: “So, you pay for the milk, and then we split the rest three ways.”

Me: “Three ways? But there are four of us.”

Mom: “We gave you this trip.”

Daughter: “Yeah, [My Name], be grateful.”

I looked at the receipt.

Me: “But I don’t think I should pay for the milk, and there are a lot of other things there I don’t eat.”

Mom: “Well, that is not our fault. You drank an absurd amount of milk, though, so you’ll need to pay for it.”

I sat there staring at them, not understanding how that was fair at all, when suddenly the mother’s friend slammed some money on the table.

Friend: “I’ll pay for her.”

She was giving the mom the stinky eye, who gave me the stinky eye, together with her daughter, who was supposed to be my friend.

Later, the day we were supposed to depart, I wanted to go to a store to buy something I had seen, but the mom said no. Her friend offered to go with me but the mom still said no, even though we had hours to kill. I got annoyed and fed up with it all, so I ended up going on my own, saying I’d hurry, and then I ran away.

It was a bit difficult to find them afterward as they went around looking for me, and I got a scolding for running away, but at least I got my souvenir.

As we were waiting by the harbour, I went to buy ice cream, despite the mom’s no. I did not even offer to pay for my friend this time because I had lost all my respect for her mom as an adult, and she ended up sighing and buying an ice cream for her daughter.

After coming home and telling the story, my father told me they had been nagging him about paying hundreds of crowns in travelling expenses after we got home.

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