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Thrifty Woman Upsets Friend Group After Using Coupons To Buy Friend Expensive Birthday Gift

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For those of us who exchange gifts with our friends, we like to give gifts that our friends can use, that they will love, and that will make them happy.

But sometimes we end up prioritizing how we will look by giving the gift instead, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor SalimaOfTheCatskills recently had an altercation with her circle of friends over a gift she purchased for their friend’s birthday.

After seeing their reactions, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong for her purchase.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for being a smart shopper with someone’s birthday gift?”

The OP’s circle of friends had some rules about gift-giving.

“For a friend’s (26 [Male]) birthday, I (28 [Female]) and our circle of friends and family had an agreement in place where we should NOT spend more than $50 (each).”

“Now, my friend is a hobbyist baker who loves ice cream, and he was using an old ice cream maker that often broke down in the middle of a churn, forcing him to find another way to finish it.”

The OP found a way to work around this. 

“I found the perfect ice cream maker to replace it with and its price was more than twice the set limit.”

“However, there were three things that helped me:” 

“1. There was an upcoming weekend sale at the store that would reduce its price.”

“2. I had a 20% off coupon for that store.”

“3. I had an additional 10% off any item over $50.”

“The coupons were stackable and could be applied to sale items, so overall I was able to get the ice cream maker for JUST less than $50 sans (not including) tax.”

“I had no other reason whatsoever to shop at that store and the coupons wouldn’t last long.”

“Also these coupons came via mail circular, so just about everyone got them.”

“I kept the receipt in case others quizzed me on the price.”

At the party, reactions were mixed.

“The birthday came and of course, he was ecstatic when he opened up the ice cream maker.”

“The other gifts paled in comparison in terms of value, needless to say.”

“As expected, I got questioned by nearly everyone (the gift-getter was not one of them).”

“I explained what I did and texted pics of the receipt, but EVERYONE badgered me and accused me of making their gifts look bad.”

“They said the goal was to get a gift whose ORIGINAL COST was $50 or less.”

“Now, this was not true, as we had the group chat correspondence that explicitly said we weren’t supposed to SPEND more than $50.”

“To make their case worse, one of the gifts was a nice shirt that had the tag left on it that said, ‘Was 89.99, Now $40.’ As far as I know there were zero complaints about that.”

The OP’s actions haven’t been forgotten. 

“Some of my friends have cooled off since the weekend, but others are still p**sed at me and have made it known.”

“I think they’re being petty, but beseech you, a**hole enthusiasts: AITA here?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some thought the friends were way more worried about appearances than they should be.

“Why do so many of your friends seem to have such fragile egos? This isn’t about them, its about the person y’all were celebrating… sheesh… NTA.”Herefiraita

“‘Wahhhhhhh OP, hOw cOuLd yOu get such a thoughtful gift and we can’t parade around over how we got (friend) the best gift instead?'”

“They’re probably just mad that none of them were nearly as thoughtful as OP when choosing a gift.”

“Because yes, there’s a $50 limit per person, but if the rest of them were thoughtful and didn’t know how to play the coupon game, two of them could’ve pooled their money for an ice cream maker as a joint gift. (And then the rest of the friend group sans OP would probably be pitching a fit about how that’s cHeATiNg too).”ertrinken

“I mean, yes, the spirit is to celebrate your friend and not go too crazy. But the others really need to get over themselves.”

“What if one friend stood in line to have a $40 cookbook signed by the birthday dude’s favorite celebrity baker. And, upon hearing that it’s for someone’s birthday, gives the friend two of his other cookbooks free of charge, also signed. Should that friend refuse them because that gift would outshine all the others?”

“What if another friend happens to find a rare piece of vintage bakeware at a garage sale that’s actually worth $150 but gets it for $3. Should he not buy it?”

“I’m thinking people should just grow up and be happy for their friend getting awesome and thoughtful gifts on his birthday.”NeemaMlozi

“NTA: your friend should know better.”

“If I remember correctly… last time I checked… buying a gift for someone is about making that person happy, isn’t it? Since when is it a competition? And the recipient was very happy, isn’t that the goal?”

“Your friends suck for making the birthday about themselves.”MaybeAWalrus

Others thought the OP could be more mindful of the nature of the group’s gift-giving.

“I was going to say a light YTA. I think it’s such a thoughtful gift (so amazing job there!!) but the purpose of the $50 limit is to level the playing field and allow all gifts to shine equally.”

“While you fulfilled the letter of the law (technically spent the right amount), you missed the spirit of it (not outshining the other gifts – and by extension, the gifters). HOWEVER, then I saw the reference to the shirt price and you are NTA.”KrolArtemiza

“If you can get a big-ticket item down to an agreed limit, it’s still a big-ticket item and will outshine other gifts.”

“I think it’s awesome you were able to do that for your friend, but even though you followed the letter of the law, the gift still wasn’t in the spirit of the law. This is a tough one because I don’t know if you’re really an a**hole here, but I can see why your friends feel like you outshone them.”

“Going forward, you guys should probably amend the $50 rule to make it more clear that the item should be $50 or below at full price. Again, I wouldn’t go as far as to say you were an a**hole here, because that wasn’t explicitly stated (and clearly someone else broke it too), but I can also understand how some others in the group thought it was implied based on the situation you’re trying to avoid. So maybe NAH, clear up the ‘rules’ going forward.”iSharxx

“This whole dynamic sounds weird, frankly. Especially since OP admits she basically expected this reaction – she actually took screenshots of the receipt before the party ‘in case others quizzed me on the price’ and says, ‘As expected, I got questioned by near everyone.'”

“Makes me wonder if the whole friend group isn’t a little obsessive about gift prices or if there’s a history of some kind. Because everyone being this obsessed about how much one adult friend paid for another adult friend’s gift is really not healthy.”

“OP is NTA for being a bargain hunter and smart couponer, but I can’t help feeling like she knew she was going to stir some s**t with this gift and did it anyway.”rabid_houseplant_

Though the OP couldn’t quite see eye-to-eye with her friends, the subReddit was torn on the subject. Some sided firmly with the OP, stating that making the friend happy for his birthday was more important than everyone else’s confidence in their gifts.

Some, however, thought that the OP could be a little more mindful of the group’s dynamics, while still providing a thoughtful gift.

But in the end, let’s not forget what some of the sub was preoccupied with: the potential for ice cream.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.