Post # 1
At the start of lockdown I started doing food shopping for some elderly-ish neighbours who were shielding. They live in the same village as me but not nearby (a good 10 min walk). A relative of theirs put an appeal on Facebook to ask for help and I offered.
Things went perfectly well to begin with, I would go out twice a week for them picking up various bits. Often it would grate on me a little bit as they were sending me out for things that were clearly not emergency/essentials (like wine/whiskey/cigarettes) that could wait for the next trip, but I did it anyway. This is all voluntary, obviously, I wouldn’t dream of taking anything from them for it.
So anyway this has been going on for five months now. Things in the UK are getting better and most people are not shielding now. It’s not chaos in the shops anymore, everyone wears masks, and frankly I don’t know how long they expect this can go on for. There are 0 cases in our area.
At the start of lockdown everyone’s lives were on hold and I had lots of time to help them – but I work full time and unfortunately life goes on, people are starting to make plans again/do things that don’t involve staying indoors 100% of the time. This couple are still living the life of 100% lockdown that was imposed in March. It’s undoubtedly harder to fit my life around these trips now.
I was planning on continuing anyway until today I noticed they had inadvertently left a very rude voicemail clearly by accident. They had emailed me their shopping list and I had emailed back enquiring what he meant by “toilet soap” (I don’t want to buy the wrong thing). He’d then tried to call me and I missed it.
Well the voicemail starts with “Oh for f*cking christ sake *expletive expletive expletive* I’ve never heard of anything so ridiculous in my life…. Bla bla bla” it goes on. He never insulted me directly but his tone of voice was absolute venom. Like he’d never had to deal with anyone so stupid before in his life and he couldn’t believe me.
Well, to be honest I don’t know why I have to put up with being treated like some sort of skivvy. I didn’t even know these people before March and whilst I certainly don’t want to leave any vulnerable people at risk (hence doing it in the first place) I feel like they are going to expect this to continue for years, and now I know what their true attitude is I don’t know why I should bother.
“Toilet soap” meant a bar of hand soap by the way. F*ck me right?!
Post # 2
I would never help them, or have anything to do with them again. I am so sorry that happened.
I would send something like the following or simply ghost them…
Hi NAME, I was absolutely disgusted by the rude voicemail you left me today. I have gone out of my way to assist you for months, and at the very least deserved to be treated with respect. I no longer feel comfortable assisting you with your shopping. Please do not contact me again.
Post # 3
I think it’s incredible kind that you have been helping them all this time! I don’t think you would be an asshole at all for stopping now that things have improved where you are. Maybe just give them a week or two notice so that they can make other arrangements?
Post # 4
I saved the voicemail, tempted to email them a copy with “do your own damn shopping then” 😂 I know I’m too nice though.
Part of me thinks maybe he was just having a bad day and I need to let it go. Doesn’t resolve the fact this can’t go on indefinitely either way though.
Post # 5
No. This wasn’t a bad day. This was them inadvertently showing you who they really are; they’d tried to hide it so they could continue to use you. You should stop immediately and tell him he can choke on his “toilet soap” for all you care, you are not his personal servant and his treatment of you was disgusting. ✌🏻
Post # 6
It sounds like this couple was starting to take advantage of you. I would end this arrangement immediately. I don’t take kindly to be yelled at for something I am doing on my own time for free (and no, I don’t care if you were having a bad day, that’s not an excuse). In this day and age there is curbside pickup and grocery delivery–they can start using these resources.
Post # 7
those who were told to shield, have been told they can leave the house now and go for non-essential shopping. All supermarkets have increased their online delivery capabilities. FFS, people shielding can even go to Spain now.
They’re capable of getting their own shopping. Even if they aren’t, it isn’t the responsibility of the community to help these people. They can contact the local council or AgeUK or any other charity that has mechanisms in place to help them. This can’t continue indefinitely. For their own health, they also need to start going out (safely) before they become too anxious to.
Post # 8
- Wedding: September 2017 - California
Wow! It sounds like you know what to do here. You absolutely should stop helping them. Even if they were pleasant and you had never received that voicemail, at this point it sounds like it would be perfectly fair for you to pull back and stop this now. You did a generous and kind thing during a crazy time and it’s totally fine to stop now. You are most definitely NOT the asshole!
Post # 9
Oh hell no! Aside from being unbelievably rude, they are clearly using you. I would never shop for them again! Some options to end it:
1. Send the email you stated in your second post and cc their relative. I am “too nice” as well, but this would piss me off so badly I’d get over my niceness!
2. email them that your circumstances have changed and you’re no longer able to do their shopping. There is NO need to give additional details. If they question you, suggest they contact the places a PP noted.
3. Tell them you’ve been exposed 😛
I would NOT give them any notice. They are using you and the man is an asshole. As you stated, there is zero reason they can’t shop for themselves. I have two risk factors that mean I might not survive Covid. I live in a state that’s a “red zone”. You know what I do? I wear a mask and shop about 45 minutes before the grocery closes when there are only a few others shopping. I wash my hands before leaving the store, then again when I get home.
THIS MAKES ME SO MAD!!!! END IT NOW!!!!
Post # 10
Wow. Just wow. Yes to emailing them what they did and make it clear that is why you will not be helping them anymore because clearly they are toxic and taking advantage of you. They should be kissing the ground you walk on for what you’ve been doing for them for 5 *expletive* months!
And also send a copy to the family member who inquired about them needing help in the first place, because they should know the real reason their “help” quit on them. I’m sure they will twist the story to make themselves look like the victim. Good *expletive* riddance! Moochers be gone!
Post # 11
I personally would just drop them a note telling them now lockdown is over other committments mean you won’t be able to do their shopping any more.
I don’t think there is much to be gained for you personally from telling an elderly couple you think they are toxic, even if they might be. I certainly wouldn’t advise that as the best course of action. You seem very nice, rise above and all that…..
Post # 12
Well…NTA Lol. Sounds like they’re TA…
Tbh…it sounds like they’ve gotten used to your generosity…maybe to their detriment, and they’re taking you for granted. And quite frankly the voicemail only tells you now how entitled they feel to your help. They’re not!
I would just let them know, on your next run, that life is going back to normal for you and regular life demands are coming back into existence, so you will no longer be able to do their grocery runs. But that it’s okay since things seem to be getting better and they should be okay if they use masks. You will do 2 more runs (or end it right there if you’re sufficiently annoyed, which I would be) for them to give them time to prepare, and then wish them the best.
Post # 13
Don’t mention the voice mail. Call them and explain you’re going back into work and won’t be able to carry on their shopping.
Give them a week’s notice or something so they can get an Asda delivery sorted.
You can’t carry on doing it indefinitely
Post # 14
Interesting replies bees, thank you. I feel more justified for being annoyed now and less guilty about leaving an elderly couple in the lurch (which I know isn’t really the case anyway, they have lots of options).
This was the email I sent that warranted the horrible voicemail by the way 🤦🏼♀️
Post # 15
Your email was perfectly reasonable – no idea why he responded like such an ass, but it doesn’t matter. They are using you and just so unbelievably nasty! There is zero reason you should still be shopping for them. However you end it, do not fall for any guilting on their part. I’m sure they will try. And that is why you don’t go into any detail when ending it. Your circumstances have changed, and you’ll no longer be able to shop for them starting today. If you give any more information, (execpt that he is an ungrateful asshole), they will come up with 30 reasons why you still should shop for them.