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There are a million sayings and proverbs in the English language that all point to the same lesson: Beggars can’t be choosers. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Half a loaf is better than no bread. 

These phrases are meant to instill appreciation in us from an early age. At the very least, this means politely saying thank you to the person who gifted it to you (adding a smile never hurts either), even if you’re about to turn around and throw it right in the trash, or recycle and re-gift.

Here are some people who decidedly chose not to follow that very sage advice.

The free swimming instructor.

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The scene: Kind person offers free swimming classes.

The red flags: Mother brings her kid into the reason why she can’t pay, consecutive texts every 8 to 19 minutes without waiting for a reply.

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Our generous swim coach finally responds, at about a 5/5 level of chill. They even apologize for not responding sooner, saying they were working. Probably for income. Probably this income is what allows them to give away swim classes. For free.

Unclear whether the working part is what bugs this frustrated mom, but she is relentless. First, by calling the delay in response “rude” (she’s texting for free things, Swimming Instructor doesn’t owe her anything), then by trying to get SI to accommodate her schedule, and next (this really gets under my skin), by asking if Swimming Instructor can “reply faster.”

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Which leaves Swimming Instructor in an unusual bind that they’re probably trying to wrap their heads around. How could a generous, honestly altruistic, offer of free classes spiral into me getting yelled at? 

Particularly striking cringe moments in the exchange above: 1. “that’s not fair,” 2. “he is gonna cry,” 3. “those brats got free classes for a month. you *NEED* to make up for that with my son.”

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Sure, we’ve all seen “extra” parents who take things their kids don’t even care about wayyyy too far. But this exchange is where it gets particularly scandalous for me. 

Swimming Instructor has made it clear they don’t offer private classes. Jeez! They’re already willing to babysit your kid (FOR FREE!!) and teach them a life skill. Also, you get to do your own thing at this time. You’re basically getting three things for the price of FREE.

This causes the mom to bring up her kid’s “anxiety,” but quickly backtrack “I don’t mean it like that,” when SI reiterates the fact that they’re not a professional and definitely don’t have experience with special needs kids.

Mom explains her kid doesn’t have mental health problems, he’s just a brat. COOL. Then back to the demanding of a private class. Cherry on top is “also, he doesn’t have goggle [sic]. bring a extra pair tomorrow or let him use yours until i buy one [sic].”

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Guys, you cannot make this up. Swimming Instructor finally puts their foot down. Yay, SI! It can be hard to draw boundaries when you’re taken so aback by the request.

This sends mom into a pity SPIRAL. See “don’t you have any heart,”http://www.distractify.com/”i will throw him in the pool…if something happens to him you are responsible,” and “whatever. you are probably a lousy teacher.”

To wrap it all up, mom continues to go off, taking personal jabs at Swimming Instructor’s schedule and privilege. I’m proud of SI for standing their ground and not condescending to respond to such a bonafide jerk.

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The guy who’s giving away a free table.

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The Secret Santa gone crucially wrong.

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To most human beings who have matured to the point of being able to read articles on their phones or computers, this all comes as no surprise. But because it’s the holiday season, I feel like I have to remind you. 

If you don’t like one of your presents this year, just pretend you do. It’ll save you and the gifter a lot of heartache, and will ensure you don’t wake up to learn you’ve gone viral because people around the world are dragging you online.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.


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