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BF 'disgusted' by the way GF treats house staff, internet say he's the one being a snob. AITA?

BF 'disgusted' by the way GF treats house staff, internet say he's the one being a snob. AITA?


"AITA for telling my girlfriend I’m bothered by the way she and her family treat their house staff?"


I’m (25M) dating this girl (24F) for about 5 months. I knew her family was well-off based on the stories she told me about her upbringing, but I didn’t get a chance to meet her parents until this week when we all went to their beach house to spend a few days and celebrate her father’s 60th birthday.

The house wasn’t just HUGE but it also employed a staff of about 8 people. I was never used to being served like that, and I witnessed some behaviors from my girlfriend and some of her family towards the workers that made me feel uncomfortable. Some examples:

A) After our first night, I heard her mother tell one of the housekeepers to clean the bedroom my girlfriend and I were staying in; I told her mother everything was in order and that I already made our bed before leaving; her mother then told me (in the presence of the housekeeper) that I shouldn’t bother because that’s her (the housekeeper’s) job.

B) The other morning my girlfriend and I woke up after everyone else had their breakfast. I went into the kitchen to grab some coffee and saw the cooks were already starting to prep for lunch.

So, I told them I didn’t want to bother them and made the coffee myself. My girlfriend came into the kitchen moments later and saw me making coffee. Later that day she complained to her mother (without even asking me how things came about) that the cooks left me to make my own coffee. I had to explain everything.

C) On her father’s birthday, they had a fancy dinner with some other guests that came just that day, and some of the staff was made to stand in the room with their backs to the wall as we sat at the table and ate (it was like some Downton Abbey BS).

I kept my mouth shut for the entire trip, but as soon as we came back I couldn’t hold it any longer and told my girlfriend it made me really uncomfortable to see how she behaved towards the staff and also gave some examples of instances when I felt her parents were rude to them.

My girlfriend didn’t take this well. She said that I’m the AH here for judging their lifestyle. In her mind we had a perfect week together and I was withholding my judgment until I could unleash it all on her. I don’t think I’m an AH for speaking my mind.

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


Obviously people, regardless of their job, should be treated with respect. But, I just want you to consider a different perspective for a second - the staff might be 100% ok with the behaviour you saw.

If they’re paid enough/feel confident that it’s better than other job options. An outsider seeing my job would probably think some parts of it are ridiculous, but those parts are worth it to me as the person actually doing the job.

For example, when your gf’s mother said “don’t make your bed, that’s the staff’s job”, a staff member hearing that might think “she’s right, please don’t do my job for me because then she has no reason to pay me for that job.”

I’m not saying you’re in the wrong feeling uncomfortable with the behaviour that you saw, I’m just cautioning you that you might be white-knighting for people who are actually ok with the work environment that you saw.


Those were my thoughts as I was reading too. I have never in my life been to a house where there are staff standing around the table while everyone is eating. I would feel uncomfortable too.

But when I'm staying in a hotel I find it normal that waiters are serving the food and then standing around to make sure everything is in order, and that cleaning staff are cleaning my room every day.

It seems that this family is paying to have their household run as if it were a hotel. This doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, the OP might have misstepped by going to the kitchen and making their own coffee - it's possible that the staff saw this as an intrusion.


I feel you, and I get where you're coming from but in this one occasion YTA sorry. It is a paid housekeeper's job to make the bed. You put the kitchen staff in a bad spot: they were not supposed to let you make coffee.

But they couldn't contradict you as the boyfriend of one of the family. The staff, like any other waiter at a restaurants, just stands around and stands by waiting for the moment to bring the foods in or the plates away.

Imagine you were in a hotel. The cleaning crew has a job to do, that job includes the bed, the bathroom, the towels... Imagine you go to a café and want to make your own coffee as to not disturb the employees. Imagine you're in a restaurant and ask the waiter to sit down and eat with you or you just bring your own plates glass in the kitchen.

It's just not OK, not how it's done, and above all, those are working people with a job and job descriptions. You have to respect that. You're girlfriend should have told and prepared you, but perhaps she didn't know she needed to. That's her fault, maybe she's just naive, I don't know.

The fact is, that's the way things are run at her place. Can you accept it and not see it as exploitation (the staff is working and is compensated) or does this make you uncomfortable?


Soft YTA to the question asked but E H S.

A. Do you know what a housekeeper is? Cleaning and tidying up is her job… you’re acting like it’s not respectable.

Sounds sort of hypocritical with a hint of self righteous. That being said, the polite thing would’ve been to explain to you what job responsibilities the housekeeper has in a more delicate way.

B. How did your gf and her mom respond once you clarified? Again cooking, coffee, etc. for the house is the cooks’/kitchen staffs’ job… if they’re ignoring the owner’s guests’ culinary needs then they’re not doing their job. If they still were going to reprimand the cooks/kitchen staff after your explanation then that isn’t cool, unless they’re supposed to take over for guests.

C. Again… I’m not sure what’s the problem here. If the servers’ job is to serve the table then why do you expect? Did you expect them to stand in another room peeping around corners or through windows like a stalker?

So, what do you think about this one? Do you think the OP was in the wrong here? If you could give them any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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