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'AITA if I let my mooch cousin go hungry on our family vacation?' UPDATED 5X

'AITA if I let my mooch cousin go hungry on our family vacation?' UPDATED 5X


There's no reasoning with someone living insdie their own world of entitlement. But sometimes, you need outside opinions to confirm that.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, the OP asked if they were wrong for putting their foot down about family vacation expenses. They wrote:

"AITA if my cousin goes hungry?"

Let’s introduce the cast of characters and hopefully make things clearer. There’s me and and my SO. There is my cousin (1) their SO and their 2 children ranging in age from 7-9 My aunt. My other cousin (2). My other cousin (3) and his son who is 18. Cousin 2 and 3 are siblings. We are all 40 and over. All have jobs except for the kids, the 18 year old and the aunt (who is retired).

We’ve decided to plan a family reunion for 4 nights 5 days. Cousin 2 paid $1500 for the cabin and left the planning and buying of food to me and cousin 1. Cousin 1 has not helped financially at all. That has left me and my SO to buy the food. Because I knew it would fall on us for several months now we’ve been buying food little by little when we buy our groceries.

We estimate we will spend close to $1000 when it’s all said and done. We aren’t planning elaborate meals, but buying food for 10 people for 11 meals adds up. Cousin 2 is well aware cousin 1 isn’t helping with the food and that it’s just me and my SO paying. Cousin 2 continually reminds me that we have an 18 year old man coming and ‘he eats a lot’ and that we need to make sure we have enough for him.

I explained I bought a package of 40 hamburger patties. Even if all 10 people eat 2 hamburgers a piece there will 20 hamburger patties left. I also said we’re planning on 5 pounds of ground beef for spaghetti and another 5 pounds for chili. There will also be sides like rice or salad or cornbread or garlic bread. I’ve planned like that for every meal. Plus there will be bread and peanut butter and jelly and cereal.

I can’t imagine there won’t be left overs that he can eat if he gets hungry. He’s still insisting that’s not enough food and we should buy a couple of rotisserie chickens and cousin 3 suggested we buy ramen for his 18 year old son. Cousin 3 and his son haven’t not financially contributed even a penny towards this nor do they have plans to pay for anything.

I’m flatly refusing to buy extra food and after the 10th text message I finally told cousin 2 that since cousin 3 and his son were getting a free vacation if the food provided isn’t enough then he can starve. I might have also called them moochers to have the gall to suggest foods that I could buy for them. So am I the AH for being stubborn and refusing to buy something as cheap as ramen?

The internet rushed to share their opinions.

Karenrani wrote:

INFO: Why aren’t the others contributing?? NTA from what I can see. If you’ve planned well, and they want extras, they should bring them.

OP responded:

These people have always ‘mooched.’

Karenrani responded:

That’s unfortunate. Maybe this is a good time for an honest conversation. I maintain that you’re NTA but consider that you guys are teaching them it’s okay to treat you this way.

OP responded:

Aunt is in her 70s, she’s not going to change. She raised some of the kids going. Talking isn’t going to change a thing.

wind-river-7 wrote:

NTA. I'm surprised that the mooches are invited and allowed to attend. They should be pitching in or stay home. You will need to keep the food under lock and key because the entitled moochers will take what they want and eat everything they can grab.

Good-Manufacturer396 wrote:

NTA, at this point I’d just let them all know you have provided everything for meals everyone else is to bring their own snacks and extras or they only get the designated meals. I’d go as far as keep the PB&J for only little ones. I don’t play with grown adults who demand things but refuse to buy anything themselves.

I’d also be letting my sister know that since we now have an “18yr old man” he can contribute and buy his own food and make sure he gets his share of chores and responsibilities.

Doesntliketurtles wrote:

NTA. The sponges are being ridiculous in their demands. They could’ve been storing up snacks for this vacation just as you have been buying extra provisions when you shop. Stand your ground, OP. And let me guess - the sponges don’t make up for not paying a dime by doing dishes and other chores, do they?

Idk what’s happened to common courtesy and civility. If I were ever to be treated to a free vacay, I would do my best to make the hosts lives as easy as possible.

A week later, OP shared an update.

You can see my post history for a recap of what’s going on and what I’m complaining about. Short recap: We’re going to a cabin in the woods for vacation. It’s a family trip with extended family. Several cousins, a couple of kids, an aunt and a SO. One cousin paid for the cabin and left the planning and buying meals to me and another cousin.

The other cousin has not helped buy anything. Literally nothing. We’re talking probably close to 1k of food bought and he hasn’t paid not one penny. Won’t Venmo me money, won’t buy stuff on his own. Constant excuses. Last night he messaged me and the cousin that paid for the cabin and said he wanted to invite more people.

The cousin that paid for the cabin said no, was actually polite about it (I’ve seen the texts) and the one who hasn’t contributed a dime is now flipping out because he was told no.

I’m just dumbfounded at this point. I don’t have a lot of family left, that’s why I was biting my tongue about the ones not paying towards this trip but I’m just shocked that someone who hasn’t contributed a dime to a trip thinks they can invite 4 other people and gets upset when told no!

The opinions kept rolling in.

No_Proposal7628 wrote:

I have a feeling the uninvited family of four is going to show up to the cabin with nothing to contribute except four mouths. Your mooch cousin will not accept that he can't invite anyone else.

OP responded:

Thankfully that can’t really happen. There is a guard and a gate and they won’t be allowed past it.

IAmTheLizardQueen666 wrote:

I strongly recommend that you text or email the mooch to say “Cousin #1 paid $x,xxx. to rent the cabin. I (op) spent $1k+ for food. There may be additional costs and you will be expected to pay or not participate. This is not a free vacation for you.

Do not invite anyone! Send me $xxx via Venmo within the next (insert time frame) or you will not be included and will not get through the gate. This is your final notice to pay your fair share.”

OP responded:

He’s well aware how much we’ve spent, this is par for the course for him unfortunately.

Fromhelley wrote:

Uninviting the cuz would be great! But you said you are trying mot to offend. Maybe tell the cuz that nobody can afford his friends and remind him he hasn't paid a cent! You have to at least call him our on it, or it will happen again!

CantBelieveThisIsTru wrote:

You might explain: THERE ISN’T ENOUGH FOOD! You haven’t contributed, so, what do YOU PLAN TO EAT? And NOW YOU WANT to invite others? Tell them they better grab several loaves of bread and peanut butter and jelly, or spam or something, SO THEY WILL HAVE SOMETHING TO EAT…because YOU ARE NOT going to pay for food for everyone, and there will be SOME STARVING GOING ON.

Put it in STARK & DESPERATE terms. Then ask WERE YOU PLANNING TO FEED THE EXTRA GUESTS? Because WE ARE NOT planning on FEEDING YOU FOR FREE! I heard before: “No money, No eaty!”

A week later, OP shared another update.

I was asked to give an update and I’ve gotten a decent following so here’s your update (would love to know where my followers came from). Our weekend is almost over, the last of the family leaves tomorrow so I figured now would be a great time to give you guys the update. Quick recap for those that don’t want to click on my post history to read the backstory.

Cousins had a great idea to do a family reunion over thanksgiving in a cabin in the woods. Not everyone was pulling their weight financially and then one wanted to invite extra people. Said person got a bit butt hurt when he was told no. Well, the cousin that wanted to bring extra people did not bring them. And he actually bought groceries.

There was a group list going and he stopped before he got to the cabin and bought everything that was on the list that hadn’t been bought yet. Then 2 days later we had to make a grocery run for more food (several people had the munchies) and that was a decent bill and he paid that. He also helped with the cooking and cleaning. So in my eyes he pulled his own weight.

The cousin that brought his brother and nephew. They spent the entire time high and drunk. But they weren’t annoying. So while I personally don’t see the point of what they did I’m not gonna complain. Plus we’d wake up in the morning and he always made something like cookies or prepped food for the day. And he was great at emptying and refilling the dishwasher.

Only one kid came, we had a blast with said kid. My SO had fun as well. For me, I was pleasantly surprised. I had a great time and it was really neat to see my daddy in my cousins. From mannerisms, to facial features, to the one cousin who is covered in fur from head to toe. It’s been hard on me since my dad died and for reason that would fill a book I didn’t grow up with this side of the family.

So I had a great time reconnecting with them. We had a family meeting where we came up with a budget and how much each person needed to contribute to keep this thing going. The plan is to do the same next year, I’m supposed to call tomorrow to see about reserving the cabin for next year.

The internet was invested in the update.

miyuki_m wrote:

This is a great update! From your other posts, it looked like it was going to be a real shitshow. Glad it went well!

OP responded:

I absolutely counted on a s**t show so I was pleasantly surprised!

Fancy_Introduction60 wrote:

Wow OP, that's a great outcome! I thought it would end up being a total s**t show.

OP responded:

You and me both! I was anticipating major issues and I kept reminding myself that my SO and I could just up and leave since we live so close, but thankfully it never came anywhere close to that.

Fancy_Introduction60 responded:

Great that you had an exit plan. We do a special bbq every summer in memory of my mom. It's in a public park, right accross the street from the house we grew up in. The deal is, you bring food to share and, so far, everybody has contributed.

We call in the Momorial Bbq. It's been pretty big some years. I do have some crazy family, but all and all, it's been great. It's often the only time I see some of my cousins. Hope you can continue the tradition.

OP responded:

I hope we can too.

Mysterysheep12 wrote:

is left holding a torch, looking around

So…. No angry mob? No cries of Justice this time? It was a happy ending?

Aw man….

extinguishes torch, drops it into a trash bin and goes home disappointed

A week and a half later, OP shared another update.

I seem to have a decent following and responses from my last 2 posts so I figured I’d give you guys another update. We are trying to make this a yearly tradition. We’ve gotten together the last 2 years and no one has killed someone so we’re trying for a 3rd time. On a cruise ship this time ominous music plays

The place we stayed at the last 2 times doesn’t have any openings for the next 2 years so after trying airbnbs that charge a heck of a lot for a place big enough for us I finally say screw it we’re looking at cruises.

And wouldn’t you know there’s a fairly cheap one that aligns with the dates we can go. Somehow it all fell on me to organize it. And it’s like herding cats. I need specific info from each person going. And we’re up to 10 people. And group emails and texts go unanswered so I have to individually harass each person to get very basic info like birthdates, full names, and email addresses.

Finally gave an ultimatum that worked. Give me your info today or you’re not going. And finally, miraculously I got everyone’s info. I’m so impressed with myself I’m going to reward myself with a nice margarita tonight, or maybe something stronger. We’ve divided the cabins up basically by households. If you live with or came out of the body of a specific someone that’s who you’re gonna be in a cabin with.

And this is the part you guys are waiting for. The entitled person aspect to this, and why I decided to give this update.

I chose the cheapest cabins for all but one cabin. The more expensive cabin will entirely be paid for by the people occupying it.

One of the cheap cabins may not get to go. No one else is footing the bill. Those two people occupying it are responsible for their portion. If they can’t pay, they don’t go and no one else is penalized. They know this. They have 10 months to come up with the price of their cabin. It will be a struggle. The struggle is entirely due to poor financial management.

One of the persons in the cabin who may not get to go is asking to switch roommates and cabins with the more expensive cabin! The same person that did not contribute ANYTHING to the last reunion. Not even cleaning up, cooking, organizing. Nadda. And they think they are going to weasel their way into a free cruise. Not gonna happen.

The comments quickly piled in.

MalC123 wrote:

Well, my hat’s off to you, I tried to organize a family cruise like this years ago. After getting the okay to start working on it, and doing hours of research with frequent reports back to the family members, my SIL told me that they probably couldn’t get the time off work anyway. And they had approved the dates. I gave up.

OP responded:

The one saving grace is most of the people going don’t work thanks to retirement.

TAngelinaN wrote:

We did a family cruise with over 60 family members participating. All we did was put out the word that we were taking a specific cruise on a specific date (during spring break), and provided the info for contacting the cruise line. Everybody was responsible for booking their own cabin, so they could go as high or low as their pocket allowed.

When we realized airfare was an issue during this peak time, we rented a 55 passenger bus for the round trip to/from the port, and figured up the per person charge based on how many would be taking the bus. Most of us took the bus, but some did get flights, and some actually drove, according to what they could afford.

Once we were on board we were able to have all family members linked as a group so we could get dining room seating together. Highly recommend this approach as no one had to keep up with who was going or making reservations for others. We were actually really surprised with how many of us went, and we had a great time.

Dungorthb wrote:

Why do people force themselves to be with family on Thanksgiving I still do not understand. If you don't like each other why bother, you're all adults now. This most recent thanksgiving, my wife and I booked a vacation to avoid our family entirely. Was the best decision ever.

OP responded:

In a matter of 5 years I lost my entire support system. My husband. My grandfather. My grandma (who was like my mom). My dad. And then I was diagnosed with cancer. When my grandma died she wrote me into the will ‘at a child level, not a grandchild level’ and that upset that side of the family and not one of them has spoken to me since.

It was a harsh slap in the face. These were people I still spoke to and saw very often. And literally overnight I was shunned. I lost an entire branch of my family over $900 and my name in a will. I used to call up my grandma when life sucked.

When something wonderful happened. When I just wanted to chat. When I needed to know how to do something. Or to help me remember a memory. Or a recipe for something she cooked that I liked. I lived in the same town, I saw her several times a week. And I called her every day. Then the other person I could count on, my dad, succumbed to a nasty cancer.

I realized just how important family is. And I reconnected with some family that I had lost touch with. We all live in the same state but it took my dad dying for all of us to realize just how fragile life is. So I’m going to hold onto the family that is still around, that still talks to me. Even if they annoy me. Even if I want to pull my hair out. Even if I come on Reddit to bitch. So. That’s why I put up with what I put up with.

Roughly a year later, OP shared another update.

Please see my profile for my other posts about my absolutely delightful family and our yearly vacation. Last I left you guys my SO and I were gearing up for an overseas trip, coming home and then almost immediately going on this family cruise. Well we are back from both so now it’s time for the updates!

Our trip overseas was amazing, we got to spend time at a hotel that has amazing views of Mount Fuji and we stayed at a Ryoken with our own private hot spring! Absolutely amazing and picture perfect and we will be going back.

We got home, I had about enough time to wash clothes and repack before we got on the boat. So all of us live in the same state, some closer than others. The ones that live about 10 hours away started out Tuesday and spent the night in my town so we could carpool to the cruise terminal. The ones that live about 5 hours away decided to drive down the day of.

They headed out about 4 am thanksgiving day and met us at a place open thanksgiving day. And that’s when they dropped the bomb on us. One of the persons in their party did not remember to pack their passport and they didn’t have their birth certificate. Yes. It is the same group that I mentioned before whose passport was expired.

Same group, different person. That person, miraculously, found their birth certificate so they were golden. We drive down to the cruise terminal, help everyone with their luggage and boy was there a lot of luggage! And one went to ask about the whole passport situation. He came back to let us know that the person that forgot their passport absolutely would not be allowed on the cruise.

Said person had every opportunity to upload their passport ahead of time, and had they done that they would have been allowed to sail. But nope. Said person did not do it. So we watched 2 from our group board the bus back to the parking lot to retrieve their vehicle and head home. No temper tantrums, no blaming me, at least not yet.

They are trying to get future cruise credit for their missed cruise but it’s not looking good. The rest of us got on the ship. And that’s where the fun began. All of us have been on cruises before so we knew what to expect but nothing prepared us for this trip. This was a 5 day cruise on a small older ship that wasn’t laid out very well. Especially in a post Covid world.

People had no concept of personal space anywhere. Not on the elevators, not in line for the buffet, not in line for coffee, not sitting at a table. They also had no concept of cleaning up after themselves or even flushing a friggen toilet. Plates of half eaten food in the stairwells next to the art pieces. Half drunk drinks all over the railings. Dirty tissues in the elevators.

People, adults and kids, not covering their mouths when they sneeze or cough. Had a kid that looked to be about 7 cough directly on my arm and mom didn’t apologize or even say anything to her heathen. Watched a lady smack the absolute s*t out of another lady right by the service desk and they did nothing. For a moment I thought we were at Walmart.

This was not the experience any of us has had on past cruises so it was a total surprise to us. And on to only bit of family drama that actually made it on the ship. The one cousin that planned to bring edibles did apparently bring them and decided to eat one or two gummies and also literally drink all night long and into the morning of embarkation while not sleeping the last night we were on the ship.

Made for a not pleasant embarkation trying to track his a*s down to get off the ship. And I’m already planning the next family cruise! Hopefully people will be more prepared for the next cruise.

The internet was happy to hear another update.

thehangel wrote:

I have to know…can you name the cruise line? Because I had a very similar experience on one particular cruise line a few years ago. Just wondering if it was an anomaly…or if it was just par for the course on that line.

OP responded:

Royal Carribean.

Apprehensive_Hat_193 wrote:

As long as it was a closed loop cruise embarking and disembarking in America, they should have been able to do their pre-registration and board the ship without a passport or birth certificate. We went on a cruise with Royal earlier this year and half of our group, including my bf, don't have passports and they got on the ship with no issues.

OP responded:

Part of the issue was the carnival cruise ship that docked right before ours docked somehow ended up with extra people once they docked in a foreign port. So they were cracking down on everyone.

But also the person that went to ask just asked someone with a royal name tag over by an exit. They didn’t have the person who didn’t bring their passport go through the line. And I suggested we go through the line and get an official denial because I too have heard people still get on. But my idea was ignored.

ChickenMan70806 wrote:

Why go on a cruise when I can just hangout at Walmart for a while?

Six months later, OP shared yet another update.

So I want to clear a few things up since my posts make it to update group and people there have questions. And as long as people want to know I don’t mind letting you guys see a glimpse into my life.

And yep I’m just as shocked as some of you that people are following my crazy family. Yall really should let me tell you about the other side of my family, that ones got murderers and all. It’s def a lot more interesting than this side of my family. Now onto money questions. My SO and I don’t have kids and we’re a bit older, so we have a lot of disposable income.

When I b#$ch about paying for others it’s because those people feel entitled to my (and others) money. Those people have always been like that and I don’t play into their games. They are not rich, and I always take that into consideration before booking any family vacation but they truly feel they are entitled to go and not pay.

It’s not a question of being too poor to go and everything to do with making poor financial decisions and expecting others to pay for their vacation. When we did the cabin I was perfectly okay with paying a larger share of the food if the ones that didn’t pay anything contributed in other ways. Like cooking or cleaning. They didn’t.

They either sat on their rear end complaining they needed a money tree or drank themselves drunk the entire time. When I would say “hey I need you to make this” and literally hand them everything they needed to make it they would feign ignorance and then proceeded to purposely f**k up the food I gave them in hopes of getting out of future things.

I don’t play those games. That’s why we decided a cruise for Thanksgiving. That way everyone paid their fair share, the two people who aren’t as flush with money were asked before I booked if they could afford it.

They both said yes. And they were given 9 months to come up with less than $500 a piece. Well no, that’s incorrect. They had 9 months to come up with $125 all together. One conveniently left out that they had booked a cruise for after our cabin family vacation…yes the same vacation said person said they couldn’t afford to help pay for.

They paid $1200 for the cruise and then couldn’t go so they had a credit with the cruise line that covered 2 peoples cruise minus taxes and port fees, that $125 figure. Yes. There is a discrepancy in how much was paid and what they owed. You, apparently, can’t use future cruise credit for port fees and taxes. They did struggle to come up with the $125 but again it was because of poor financial choices.

They aren’t required to come and I do talk to them before booking anything to make sure they can afford it. I don’t just assume they can and book it. I ask, I go over the details and once I get a yes then I proceed. Also, because some people didn’t know this. Cruises can be cheap. We booked inside cabins and for 2 people for 5 days it was $500 per person.

So about $100 a day. That includes meals. There were some questions about my private vacations that don’t include my family. We book years in advance. Years. 2024 and 2025 are already booked and if my SO would ‘let me’ I’d have booked 2026 too! There was 5 days between when we landed back home and when we had to be on the cruise ship.

And in that time frame my SO and I still had to work 3 of those days. I also work 9-10 hours days and have about a 3 hour round trip commute each day. That’s what I meant when I said we only had about enough time to wash clothes and repack. We are able to get decent deals on our vacations because we book far in advance, Japan cost us about 10 grand all together for 2 weeks including airfare.

We started in Tokyo and made our way across the country. We went to Kyoto, takyama, we got to see Mount Fuji, Hiroshima and just so many awesome things. For that we hired an excellent travel agent who got us great deals on hotels, attractions and tour guides. Now onto the sorta update.

One person told me that financially they are struggling and couldn’t afford a family vacation, and I believe them. So I suggested we go up to where they live this year. That saves them from hotel rooms and gas and then they only have to come up with activities and meals. They agreed, said that was an excellent idea. I then spoke to the others and they flatly refused the idea. They want a cruise.

Cruise doesn’t work for two of the people and I told them that. Their response is that 2 poorest people shouldn’t dictate the rest. I disagree. I have no issue working around peoples finances so that we can include everyone. So we’re at an impasse. I gave everyone till January 15th to figure out what we were doing and that deadline came and went with no communication.

So I booked a second vacation for my SO and I for Christmas. We’ve now ‘used’ up all of our vacation time and I have nothing left over for the family vacation. In the last 2 weeks the one that flatly refused anything but a cruise is trying to figure out something. They’ve suggested going to Vegas, or Louisiana, or Biloxi.

I’ve said each time that they need to speak to the one who told me they couldn’t afford it and see what they say first. I’m not helping or planning anything. So that’s where we stand now. It does not look promising for a family vacation this year at all. BUT if it miraculously happens I will gladly update you guys, if you want an update.

People had lots of thoughts and advice.

Far_Satisfaction_365 wrote:

Plan your vacation with the poorest group as originally suggested. The holdouts refusing to not do anything unless it’s a cruise or some other type vacation can do their own separate holiday wherever they want.

Stop trying to get everyone to cooperate all the time. If the holdouts really want to go along to be part of the big group and realize that THEY cannot dictate what the group is planning, they will either change their minds and join in, or go off on their own (or not at all). Once you allow that person to start dictating the vacations to the detriment of others, they’ll continue to keep doing it.

OP responded:

You’re right, that’s what I need to do and I will for next year. This year I’m leaving it up to everyone else. If we get together, great. If not, also great.

TheFilthyDIL wrote:

The only way we managed to get all of our family (2 daughters, 2 sons-in-law, 4 young adult grandsons) on our 50th anniversary cruise was to pay for everybody. It took 3 years of planning, because 6 of the 8 had to ask for the time off that far ahead.

Edme_Milliards wrote:

Why do you ever go on vacation with them?

OP responded:

Because it’s the only family I have left. Everyone else has passed away or isn’t talking to me because I was written into my grandmothers will.

GardenGoddess0421 wrote:

Unless doing all the planning is enjoyable for you, stop doing it. Just because you came into money and they didn’t doesn’t mean you need to feel guilty and “atone” for it. Sounds like there was good cause to not include them in the will.

OP responded:

Different sides of my family. My mother, along with her sisters and my cousins quit talking to me because my grandmother wrote me in the will. This family is my dad’s family. My dad passed away a couple years ago and it started off as just going to a specific place dad loved to scatter his ashes. And then we decided to continue getting together once a year.

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