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Guy Upsets ‘Budget-Conscious’ Parents By Insisting They Go Out To Eat To Celebrate His Graduation

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Kids and parents fighting over money is a tale as old as time, as they say.

But sometimes, parents can take their frugality just a bit too far.

A guy on Reddit found himself in this situation when his budget-conscious parents refused to celebrate his graduation.

He wasn’t sure about how he’d handled things, so he went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.

The Original Poster, who goes by Fancy_Camel_4405 on the site, asked:

“AITA: For telling my parents I want to do something special for graduating and not eat lunch in a parking lot?”

He explained:

“Hi Reddit,”

“I am graduating with my college degree in just a few weeks and my parents are coming in to town for graduation.”

“We are a solid middle class family, but my parents are extremely budget conscious, and we grew up watching every single penny, and most would consider them to be ‘cheap’ (even if we didn’t have to).”

“They did a lot of things to save money growing up, but one of the biggest is packing their own lunch and dinner whenever they would go anywhere.”

“Sporting events, concerts, vacations, anywhere you could see them with a huge cooler filled with sandwiches or a portable tailgate grill to cook up something in the parking lot.”

“They never go out to eat, and while that’s fine (and taught me good money habits), the inconvenience of it all got to be a pain.”

“From lugging giant coolers around all day, to losing space in the car for road trips, to honestly the embarrassment of the weird looks we would get from grilling in the hotel parking lot, it just registered that it wasn’t normal.”

“The older I got the less sense it made, especially when you’re on a vacation, the last thing I want to do is run to the grocery store or have to put in some work to get my meals.”

“On top of that, I always enjoy trying new restaurants and different food, so when I got into doing things on my own, I realized I wasn’t going to be this way.”

“For some reason ‘packing sandwiches’ is something that is really important to them. I don’t know what it is, but anytime there’s a suggestion to do something other than that they don’t take it well.”

“On the day of my graduation, it was suggested that they pack sandwiches for lunch and eat them in the parking lot after graduation was over.”

“I raised an objection to it, saying that I will have just accomplished something big and quite frankly the last thing I want to do is immediately set up lawn chairs and sit out in the heat in dress clothes eating a sandwich, and that we should go to one of the cool places in my college town.”

“I suggested we go somewhere lowkey (and not remotely expensive), enjoy a nice meal and just relax and enjoy the day.”

“They went on to lecture about how ‘well this what we do’ and all sorts of other stuff, so I just resorted to saying I was going to go out with some friends instead, but I’d be happy to hang out with them after that.”

“I really don’t want to be pampered or spoiled or go to some five-star steakhouse, but I was irked that my once in a lifetime accomplishment would just be shrugged off and we would treat it like any other day.”

“They didn’t take this well and got upset at me, calling me ungrateful and saying I was being difficult for no reason. They’re still going to come, but the conversation has surely been a sore spot.”

“So AITA for wanting to go do something different, or should I just have gone with what they wanted to keep them happy?”

People on Reddit were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

And they were pretty firmly on OP’s side on this one.

“Skimping on a vacation meal? Thrifty. Skimping on a celebratory graduation meal? Cheap as hell.”

“NTA”DigDugDogDun

“Yup there’s a huuuuuge difference between being frugal and miserly.”

“Frugal means saving money but also making an occasional splurge for things that matter to them, or are worth the price (ie. A $99 durable pair of shoes is better than a $10 ill fitting, stained pair of sneakers in a thrift store for a frugal person).”

“Most people would make an exception to celebrate major life events/milestones, and OP wasn’t demanding an expensive steakhouse meal…”Lilpanda20

“Yup. Tailgating at games, sandwiches on road trips, and sneaking food into the movie theater are proud, time honored lower middle class traditions.”

“Eating soggy pocket sandwiches in the sweltering heat after a major life milestone is not. OP doesn’t even want a fancy dinner, just a sit down place. If it was mere frugality, mom and dad would split a plate and drink water.”TerribleAttitude

“NTA”

“I would say skimping on some vacation meals to go all out on others is thrifty. But yeah, this is ridiculous.

“It’s your day and they should celebrate it the way you want as you are the guest of honor.”ScooterBojanglesRT

“NTA.”

“Cheap as hell and really shows you they don’t value your comfort or achievement.”

“Even your own graduation day has to be about them and their weird habits.”Here_for_tea_

“NTA. They can eat PB&J in the parking lot and you can enjoy a delicious lunch with your friends. If you use social media, be sure to post a few photos from the restaurant.”

“There is being frugal and there is being miserly. Your parents fall into the miserly camp.”wind-river7

“NTA. Your parents are cheap and aren’t considering your feelings at all. Putting out lawn chairs in the parking lot? Yeah… no.”

“You deserve to celebrate and that sounds awful. If they can’t come around to just going to a cheap restaurant they are being unreasonable.”chlorenchyma

Hopefully OP’s parents can learn to lighten up and live a little.

Written by John Sundholm

John Sundholm is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.