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Guy Stirs Drama By Refusing To Give Family Friend An Eighty Percent Discount On His Tutoring Services

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The “family discount” is a strange concept.

It automatically mixes business and friendships, a dynamic we’re so often advised to avoid. And yet, so many people expect the family discount that we feel obligated to do it.

That exact internal tension played out recently for one Redditor, who posted his experience to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.

The Original Poster (OP), known as Aclumsybaobab on the site, used the post’s title to lay out the particular context of his recent ordeal. 

“AITA for refusing to tutor a family friend’s son because they won’t pay me enough?”

He kicked off with some backstory.

“I [20-year-old male] am currently at my second year of university; I study physics and I absolutely love it!”

“Anyways, a couple of months ago, Mother asked me if I was willing to tutor her friend’s dumb son, who’s in high school and struggling with physics.”

“My schedule was full, but eventually I begrudgingly relented.”

Then came the first lesson.

“I went there, we do our lesson, one hour of pure hell, and then comes the moment to get paid.”

“The mum looks angrily at me and says ‘Here’s the amount me and your mother agreed upon’ and hands me 10€.”

That figure took OP by surprise. 

“I am confused, I clearly remember telling Mother my hourly fee is 25, but take the money nonetheless and walk out.

“When I get home, I call Mother to ask about it. She says “She’s a dear family friend, you should make an exception for her.”

“I roll my eyes, but agree, she’s a family friend, maybe I should give her a discount. So, for the next month I tutor the offspring and I get less than half my normal pay.”

But another development would come along. 

“Two weeks ago, we had to switch to online tutoring because of hardening pandemic regulations.”

“I did what I had to do and before I closed the call the hag said ‘BTW I will be paying you 5 from now on. Online tutoring isn’t like normal tutoring! And he’s not getting any better so why should I pay you?'”

“I was taken aback. I told her that this wasn’t acceptable, and if she wanted to continue our lessons, she would need to pay me my normal (reduced) fee.”

“She complained ‘But 10 is too much!'”

OP fired back. 

“I couldn’t hold it in: weeks and weeks of underpaid, mind-numbingly frustrating work bubbled up and I exploded.”

“‘Listen, 10 is already nowhere near what I normally charge, you already got a discounted price just because my mother went over my head and decided that this was acceptable!’ “

” ‘As for your offspring not getting any better, I am a student with an average grade of 30 with distinction (in my country 30 is the max grade at uni), I am a tutor with dozens of clients who can vouch for my professionality and I have several professors who can vouch for my competence.”

” ‘I am not the problem; your son simply isn’t interested in getting better! So, from now on, either you pay me my full price, or I just drop you. Be grateful I’m not making you pay me back what you owe me!’ ”

“I hung up and stormed out.”

But world traveled quickly. 

“Mother called me soon after, yelling that I was rude and I shouldn’t have made such a scene given that tutoring isn’t my job and how bad I made her look in front of her friends.”

“I countered saying that it doesn’t matter it isn’t my job, it’s about the principle: I do something time-consuming for you, you pay me, end of story.”

“She didn’t listen and kept on berating me and wailing about her ruined social image. I hung up.”

OP, however, wasn’t off the hook that easily. 

“Over the course of the last week, I’ve received texts and calls telling me I went too far, I should have just taken the money and not been such an a-hole.”

“The only people that have my side are my dad and my girlfriend, who tell me I’ve done nothing wrong, but I no longer know if that’s true.”

“So, I come to you, people of Reddit: AITA?”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

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

Many Redditors took OP’s side. In fact, they were shocked by the audacity of both his mother and the customer.  

“Wow. Your mom secretly negotiated a 60% discount without your knowledge or consent.”

“Then this lady summarily decided to cut an additional 50%, you’re now being offered 20% of what you consider your fair rate.”

“And she blamed you for her child’s continued failure.”

“That’s downright offensive. NTA.” — [deleted]

“You handled it like a champ”

” ‘Why should I pay you more?’ “

“Because you are worth it. If you aren’t worth it in their eyes then they would be smart to hold onto their money instead. But they just want to rip you off NTA.” — anabolic_beard

Others particularly focused on OP’s mom. 

“NTA Your mom was using you for social cred. Entitled parent was using you for basically free tutoring. Who gives a flying F what these people think?” — Effulgency

“If your mom wants her friend’s son to get tutored for £10 she should go ahead and tutor him herself. NTA, she’s just using you to save face without caring how you feel about it.” — somethingblvck

“NTA-Tell your mom that your time is valuable and it needs to be the 25 from her friend because you could easily find someone to pay that for your services.”

“Tell her the one compromise you will make is that her friend can pay the 5 or 10 but your mom needs to make up the rest. If she is such a dear friend I am sure your mom wouldn’t not mind helping out.” — YeahIprobablydidit

Plenty of Redditors, however, invoked the ESH acronym. They saw problems on both sides. 

“ESH. I agree with you in the scenario, but why do you feel the need to insult the teenager struggling with school? Doesn’t sound like he did anything wrong here.” — Subjudy

“Does anyone else feel icky about how OP is referring to this poor kid that just doesn’t understand? Clearly the kid needs a different tutor, it doesn’t seem like it’s working on either end.” — SquartMcCorn

“ESH your mother and her friend are pathetic for what they did but you are the a**hole for the way in which you perceive yourself compared to others, and for blowing up at your mother’s friend the way you did” — imretarded6969

“ESH your mom and the clients mom for obvious reasons but oh my good lord you sound so insufferable 😩” — lilmonstersyd

“ESH, not because you’re in the wrong, but because you sound really pompous, condescending, and full of yourself.” — meowmixmeowmix123

OP clearly took those criticisms to heart.

He added a follow up to his original post. 

“Thank you so much for all the constructive criticism (polite and rude both)! I just want to address something really quick…”

“…most of the criticism was for 3 things: I tutored the kid even though I shouldn’t have, given the conditions, my perceived sense of entitlement and my use of the words ‘dumb’ and ‘hag.’ “

“1- you are absolutely right.”

“2- right again, but I can only say that I was raised in an obscenely entitled environment (nobility, yay), it is only natural that I exhibit entitled behaviour. I recognise that and I’m trying to get better, but shedding my entire education takes time.”

“3- I never called any of them dumb or hag, I just referred to them in such way in this post. And, BTW, hag means ‘unpleasant old woman’ (Oxford dictionary), which is accurate…”

“…and dumb is a person who acts in a stupid or foolish manner, which he did when he flat out ignored me when I was trying to help him, it DOES NOT mean the r word or is in any way an insult to his intelligence.”

“Again, thanks for the input and great advice!”

Hopefully, OP’s experience—and the feedback—will lead to smoother tutoring for all involved in the future.

Written by Eric Spring

Eric Spring lives in New York City. He has poor vision and cooks a good egg. Most of his money is spent on live music and produce. He usually wears plain, solid color sweatshirts without hoods because he assumes loud patterns make people expect something big. Typically, he'll bypass a handshake and go straight for the hug.