The Presumptuous Vendor

by admin on November 20, 2013

I have a story about our wedding that I’d like to share, followed up by a question regarding something I did in reaction…

My now-husband proposed last year with a ring designed by his aunt’s friend – someone whom he had never met but came highly recommended by aunt and, therefore, his mother. While the ring designer’s boyfriend was having health issues, my husband approached her and asked for help creating a ring and was hoping to have it turned around in a couple of weeks. She did create a beautiful ring, and she overnighted it to him in time for the proposal, and he paid her. Multiple times during the creation process, she mentioned that she wouldn’t mark it up for him and would sell it at face value – stressing that she wasn’t making any money. She insisted that he call her “Aunt.”

Months later, when we worked on the guest list, my mother-in-law asked me to add Ring Lady to the guest list, as well as her boyfriend and daughter. I asked my then-fiancé to talk to his mom about it to see if we could take the daughter off the list, but mother-in-law did not budge. Ring Lady would also be invited to the rehearsal dinner, as she was flying from out of state to attend.

My husband and I spent more time with Ring Lady than any other guest at the rehearsal dinner – neither of us had met her, and she was eager to talk to us. She talked about the celebrity clients she had served, re-told the story of the great favor she did for my husband, and reiterated that she made absolutely no money off the sale. We spent about 30 minutes talking only to her, during which my husband, hoping to appease her enough to calm her down with her attention-seeking, was a little over-the-top showing his gratitude. She ate it right up.

The next day, Ring Lady skipped the ceremony, which was at the same venue as the reception and only 15 minutes long. When she and her boyfriend did arrive, it was during our group photos outside of the building. She stepped into the photos to greet us, and we politely dismissed her, saying we’d meet her inside shortly. Photos wrap up, and we walk into the lobby – Ring Lady corners me and tells me she made something just for my wedding day. She pulls an elastic bracelet out of her pocket, takes my wrist, and puts it on me – a bracelet with tiny rhinestone beads, many of which have fallen out. I take it off and stow it in my pocket (yes, my dress had pockets) once I was in another room. I was wearing another bracelet on my other wrist already.

Throughout the course of the night, my husband and I are bombarded by requests from his aunt about where the Ring Lady’s escort card was (I regret that it had gone missing on its way to the escort card table, apparently), why I wasn’t wearing the bracelet and, most importantly, that we go spend more time with her immediately. Just like at the rehearsal dinner, we spent more time with her than with any other guest, speaking to her once every half hour or so when she’d approach us. My husband eventually snapped at his aunt, saying that we had spent plenty of time with her, she was fine. The only other time we saw her that night was on the dance floor, when a slow song was place and Ring Lady approached us, pushed us apart, and draped her arms over us to join our slow dancing. I was fed up and walked away without a word.

We have photographic evidence of her antics, unfortunately (or fortunately, in some ways!). During cocktail hour, my immediate family posed for a group photo, and, without our knowing, Ring Lady stepped into it to pose with us. And when we received our professional photos weeks later, there were dozens of photos of just her, posing in various areas of the venue. She had been following our photographers around, asking them to take her photo. Besides the bride, groom, and the wedding party, she was the only guest featured in “glamour shots”.

This whole story now being told, I have a question for readers. My sister-in-law recently got engaged, and I knew before then that her boyfriend was starting to ring shop. With what we went through and knowing that my sister-in-law would not take kindly to this kind of behavior, I sent her boyfriend a message asking if he’d started to ring shop and when he said he was about to start, I recommended he not use Ring Lady and gave a brief synopsis of why – knowing that, if he used her, she WOULD end up on the guest list. I did ask him not to share my recommendation with anyone else. My husband thinks I was wrong to send this message, but my husband was also a lot more patient with Ring Lady and is patient with rude people in general. Was I wrong? 1105-13

Ring Lady is a vendor, a business woman who received remuneration for her products.  That she was not paid full retail price for the ring was a choice she made to offer your husband.  Her error was in presuming the cost of her profit was her admission fee to the family.   She was extremely presumptuous and I see nothing wrong in informing a potential client of the wedding day baggage he could expect if he hired her to design a ring.

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

ferretrick November 20, 2013 at 10:20 am

No, you weren’t wrong. This is no different than leaving a review on a website like Angie’s List or telling your cousin about that contractor who stiffed you. Smart businesspeople understand the power of word of mouth advertising and would never behave like this. Ring Lady brought it on herself. She frankly sounds either self absorbed beyond comprehension or desperately needy to a mentally unhealthy degree. My big question is-what kind of hold does this woman have over your aunt and mother-in-law that they aid and abet her antics?

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Allie November 20, 2013 at 10:21 am

You did the right thing. Personally, I would have told aunt to stuff it (in the nicest possible way, of course) and not invited her in the first place, which would have avoided the problem. Then again, my husband and I don’t even have wedding rings, so what do I know. We were poor as church mice when we got married, so we just went to a justice of the peace and both worked later in the day before going out to dinner with our two witnesses. We’re about to celebrate #24.

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Mae November 20, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I agree. I would have said no to the invite and aunt would just have to deal or be mad.

My husband and I have/had rings when we married but we don’t wear them now. He is not allowed to wear jewelry, even a wedding ring, where he works now and honestly, mine just do not fit. We got married at the courthouse, had lunch in town and worked that night. We have been married 15 years.

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another Laura November 21, 2013 at 2:59 am

My husband and I bought our wedding rings and my engagement ring at a pawn shop. We got all three for under $100. We didn’t have alot of money, our friend was manager at the shop and we thought it was the way to go. I still love my ring 7 years later.

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Lakey November 21, 2013 at 9:53 pm

My brother worked in a jewelry store. He told me that the best way to get the best price on fine jewelry is to buy “estate” jewelry. “estate ” jewelry is what jewelers call used jewelry. I’ll tell you right now that family members of jewelry store employees always check out the estate jewelry case. Pawn shops are selling the same thing.

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Kate November 23, 2013 at 3:32 am

My husband and I did the same thing!

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MonkeysMommy November 29, 2013 at 10:34 pm

I did the same! After gawking over the price of a new ring, I selected a 2 karat diamond ring from the “estate” case for 1300.00- I couldn’t buy a 1/4 karat new for that price.

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NostalgicGal November 22, 2013 at 12:41 am

My solitare and band went down the toilet during our second year of marriage (I had left it on the toilet to shower and deal with 3′ of hair; he knocked it off as he used toilet and flushed- shoop and down it went.) He said pick out whatever you want as a replacement. I got close a few times to something I wanted instead, but it’s over 3 decades and I still don’t have a ring… and. I made jewelry and had casting equipment set up for some years. If I couldn’t get ‘the perfect ring’ by now… I guess I’m still just as married. And where his went over the years we have no idea. He always had jobs and hobbies where he would’ve ripped his hand up if he wore one.

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Kirsten November 24, 2013 at 3:44 pm

But the OP didn’t. A lot of effort went into choosing her ring and she was badly treated by Ring Lady in exchange. That’s not ok; I don’t understand what posters are trying to tell her here with the “well, WE didn’t spend lots of time/money on rings and WE’RE happy!” things. I mean…she did. I mean, it’s coming off as almost chiding the OP for having her priorities wrong in going to so much trouble. Or some kind of rivalry about her wedding preferences. Otherwise, why are we bragging about how little we spend/value wedding rings to a lady who clearly feels so differently?

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another Laura November 25, 2013 at 8:24 am

That is not how I meant for it to sound Kirsten. I can see how you could take it that way though. I am sure that none of us approve of Ring Lady’s behavior. The thread in this group of comments just got slightly off topic and some of us grew reminiscent about our own ring (or lack of) saga. Not every comment in the comments section applies directly to the OP you know.

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Mae November 25, 2013 at 8:42 am

I don’t think anyone is chiding OP, trying to start a “rivalry” about wedding preference or think OP’s priorities are wrong. I think we were all relaying stories regarding our rings, or lack thereof, as well as that some of use were able to really nice rings without having a Ring Lady (plus 2) run amok at the wedding, trying to make it all about her.

Sometimes comments veer a little off-topic and are totally benign.

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LawGeek November 29, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Those replies were to Allie, not the OP. Therefore, they were agreeing with Allie that rings don’t make a marriage. It’s quite a stretch to port that over to OP and read judgment in it.

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Gee November 20, 2013 at 11:19 am

OP you did the right thing. Ring lady was extremely unprofessional, and other potential clients deserve to know that.

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InNM November 20, 2013 at 11:48 am

A polite spine at the point of making the guest list would have been the best course of action. When your future MIL insisted that you invite the Ring Lady, you should have said, “I’m sorry but we cannot accommodate your request” as many times as it took for her to get it. Although, I too wonder what the Ring Lady has over your MIL that she fought so hard to get the Ring Lady into the wedding.
In my own wedding, we decided to have vendor contracts with everyone who helped us, so that everyone was clear about what the vendors were to do and how much compensation they were to receive. It helps avoid these kind of emotional entanglements, like when MIL tries to get Aunty Ring Lady on the guest list because she gave you a discount. You can then calmly state that according to the agreement you made in writing, she chose to be compensated in this way by this amount for preparing a ring of these specifications or better. She was paid in full, and nothing more is owed.

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Cat November 20, 2013 at 11:56 am

The behavior of Ms. Ring makes me think she is a few sandwiches short of having a picnic. Who jumps in to slow dance with the bride and the groom?
Perhaps it would have been cheaper, when you were informed that Ms. Ring wanted to attend your wedding on the basis of having designed/made your ring, to send her what she would have made in profit with a sweet note explaining that you could not allow her to give up her earned profit for a pair of total strangers. Then you could have told auntie and Mom, “We paid her in full for designing the ring. Our wedding is for family and friends only.” (I know; now I tell you.)
You were right to warn her upcoming victim of the trap he was about to step into. Being polite does not mean being a doormat.

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Gena November 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm

This is one of the reasons I try to avoid doing business with “someone” that someone knows, who’ll give me a “deal”. It’s a no-win situation. I may get a deal, but I may also get sub-standard service. And I’m asking of a favor of someone I don’t have a personal relationship with. And how many stories have we read of relatives who don’t live up to their end of the bargain.

Unfortunately, when your DH accepted the ring at a lower than normal price, it created a non-business relationship. He should have insisted on paying market value.

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Coralreef November 20, 2013 at 1:48 pm

OP, you did the right thing in telling SIL’s boyfriend about Ring Lady. Your DH may not have spent as much money on the ring, but with the way she inserted herself into the guest list, the behaviour and the photo bombing, that ring was too expensive IMHO.

The fact that your DH is a patient man does not mean that others can use him as a doormat (I’m looking at you Mother and Aunt!). Ring Lady (and by extention Mother-in-law and Aunt-in-law) was rude to you, your DH and your other guests by sucking up a hefty chunk of your time and attention.

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Shoebox November 20, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Something tells me your sister-in-law and her fiance will be taking a lot of heat from her mom and aunt re: Ring Lady regardless — in her newly self-appointed position as “indulgently beloved family auntie”, she’s probably been hinting madly about doing SIL’s ring since at least your wedding.

Admin is correct: for whatever reason (related to the upheaval in her own personal life, maybe?) this woman hasn’t so much crossed as obliterated the line in her dust, so it’s up to you to redraw it. To that end, you did exactly the right thing. Sounds like your husband’s family generally is much more tolerant of this sort of thing than most, so you may also want to work on some coping strategies before RLady shows up in, say, the delivery room…

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Wild Irish Rose November 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Few things annoy me more than someone who does something “nice,” like not charge for labor, and then goes around telling everyone what a great deal they gave someone. Ring Lady would have gotten some choice words from me, I’m afraid. “We get it–you gave us a break on the price. Thank you–again. Now can we please talk about something else?” That’s the NICE choice of words. I don’t like to compound rudeness with rudeness, but someone who commandeers someone else’s WEDDING needs to be cut off at the knees. She would not have been invited to my wedding regardless of who demanded it.

You did nothing wrong in warning your SIL’s fiance what a problem this woman was. And the comment regarding putting this information on Angie’s List? Not a bad idea.

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NostalgicGal November 20, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I agree, a discount is not an excuse to barge in and take over.

Warning others… yes. She may do exquisite designs, but. Stick to dealing with this woman over the internet! (that would be my warning).

@ Ferretrick, some people just go sideways over ‘I know a talented person’. I’ve actually been drug about because I’ve had my shingle out as an artist. Okay if you want me around that bad, PAY.

Sounds like Ringlady is used to being the schmooze for bucks; and if she has celeb clients, that could explain some of it. The aunt though keeping shoving her the OP’s way though NEEDED to be stopped.
There are many stories in the archives here of people subverting the photog (some flake in the bridal party and her boyfriend of weeks managed to suck up over 100 pictures that the couple were charged for, and because she’d sucked the photog away, shots the B&G wanted were missed… etc).

Settle for letting others know (family and friends) if they do use this vendor, and leave it at that. Sorry OP that she messed up pictures and such… somebody good at graphics should be able to snip her out of the shots you don’t want her in.

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AIP November 20, 2013 at 3:27 pm

As we would say around here: they sound like a dose.
Ring Lady sounds bad enough but the aunt is worse; chucking what is basically her guest at the couple because she couldn’t be bothered to deal with her.

With regard to the issue at hand, you did them a service in fore-warning them and it’s what I would do for reasons mentioned by others. However I would keep in the back of my mind that no good deed goes unpunished.

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Marozia November 20, 2013 at 3:35 pm

No way were you wrong! Ring Lady behaved very badly. Why should she have all the attention and other guests not?

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Sarah Jane November 20, 2013 at 4:07 pm

I agree. She sounds cuckoo. You are right to alert your future brother-in-law.

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Stacey Frith-Smith November 20, 2013 at 4:26 pm

It seems to me that if Ring Lady made a gift of a great portion of the value of her services that it was an act of friendship and affection in deference to her friendship with Aunt- and that Aunt should be the one gushing on and on about how utterly fabulous and completely amazing Ring Lady is. (Of course, once you’ve shown your gratitude.) It sounds like you’ve experienced an abuse of your sensibilities by this person and that all of the courtesies you extended were repaid by rudeness. It seems appropriate that you should review her behavior at the wedding as part of your recommendation (or lack thereof) on every wedding and industry site you care to. She came as a guest but your relationship to her was not personal, but professional. Her failure to recognize that isn’t your problem.

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AMC November 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm

You did the right thing, OP. I’m sorry that this presumptuous woman (and your MIL and Aunt) were so rude to you during your own wedding. The behavior this woman displayed is downright bizarre. Vendors should not be guests, and guests should not be vendors.When that line is blurred, awkwardness and hurt feelings ensue.

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Sarah November 20, 2013 at 8:19 pm

You did exactly the right thing warning them away. If I am logical about the subject and break it down into what the profit might have been and weigh it against the financial and emotional costs incurred by the subsequent demands. Say the profit she would have made on the ring would be 12% of €10,000 (invented amount for an engagement ring) so €1,200. I would start with the following – actual costs; the rehearsal dinner (say €50 with wine a plate), the wedding meal (seems to run around €100 to €150 a plate), the cost of the photos she had done (say €35-40 each for a posed photo by a professional photographer) – because I assume you ended up sending them to her – after all what are you going to do with photos of a woman you barely know? Then more intangible things, time to speak to out of town guests, tranquility and peace of mind over those two days, the fact that three complete strangers were at your wedding, the fact that your guests had to be involved in rather bizarre conversations about a ring that they might not know so much about. You were not just right to warn your sister in law´s boyfriend but their guardian angel. Their wedding is already better than it might have been!

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krocki November 21, 2013 at 7:31 am

No idea if you intended it to be, but this was hilarious! Made my lunch break. Look at the bright side, now you have this funny and odd story to tell whenever anyone looks at your wedding album bursting with glamour shots of Ring Lady. “What? No, not my mom. No, not my favorite aunt either. Who, you ask? Well, let me tell you a little tale with a moral in the end…”
We had an ominous guest from Down Under, wearing a colorful party hat, in our wedding. We had never met him before (or afterwards, for that matter). He tagged along with a friend of mine and is in a lot of pictures. Sometimes we take out the old albums and it still cracks us up! You did a good thing for the happy couple, by the way.

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Shoegal November 21, 2013 at 8:46 am

Unbelievable story. Ring Lady was too much. Actually, I think the Aunt was wrong insisting more time be spent with this Ring Lady – who was essentially a stranger to the bride and groom. I think it was already overly generous and gracious to invite Ring Lady and her boyfriend and her daughter to the rehearsal dinner and wedding.

My ring was bought from a woman who was a friend of my husband’s late mother. We did not invite her to our wedding. Neither one of us had ever met her before and didn’t know her well at all. I would have also warned your SIL’s boyfriend NOT to use her. She might save the couple a few dollars on the ring but the hassle is worth way too much.

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macey November 21, 2013 at 8:59 am

I just wondered if Ring Lady had some kind of “hold” on the family….like she knows a family secret and they keep her happy to keep the secret untold. Hmmmmmm. Otherwise, she has an undesirable sense of business.

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Roslyn November 21, 2013 at 10:44 am

Is anyone else thinking what I’m thinking?

This woman sounds like a real life Michael Scott!!??

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Jen November 22, 2013 at 10:11 am

Oh, wow. You’re completely right. o_O

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Snowy November 29, 2013 at 11:42 pm

That’s what SHE said!

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Library Diva November 21, 2013 at 11:55 am

You did the right thing by warning your family members that anything Ring Lady did for them had some serious strings attached to it. Inviting her to this wedding was a lovely gesture. She did do you a favor, and it was nice of you to allow her the opportunity to see how it all turned out. Unfortunately, she abused your goodwill and acted like a crazy person instead of a professional. Your aunt-in-law threw gas on the fire in the worst way. I feel sad for you that you had to devote so much of your wedding day to a stranger, when there were probably many people there that you would have preferred to socialize with. I just got married myself, and I know what a special day it is and how quickly it goes. Sorry you went through this, but you did the right thing in helping others avoid a similar situation.

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Lady November 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm

Wait, why would the aunt be so persistent that they spend time with this lady they barely knew? Didn’t the aunt want the couple to have a great wedding and enjoy it with family and friends that matter??? What is wrong with people???

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Lakey November 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm

I’m stunned that someone would fly to an out of state wedding, possibly stay in a hotel, for someone they barely know.

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PM November 22, 2013 at 8:41 am

You did the right thing. Ring Lady sounds like an extremely high maintenance friend and aunt was begging you to appease her with the RL’s “due” of attention so aunt wouldn’t have to put up with RL’s inevitable hissy fit. She threw you under the bus.

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Dutch1981 November 24, 2013 at 12:50 pm

I do feel you learned something important: There are no free rides in life.

Possibly it would have been better to pay fair market price for the ring. That way you don’t “owe” people anything.

Inviting somebody who did you a favour that is wedding related doesn’t strike me as a strange thing to do. Ring Lady’s behaviour does though. Had you paid the full price you wouldn’t have been in a position to be guilted into inviting her.

The warning does seem entirely merited. :)

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kingsrings November 24, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Did anyone else LOL at the part where she wedged herself into the couple’s first dance? It was just so outlandish, unbelievable, and outrageous!! She reminds me of that one aunt that was in one of the EHell archives who placed tampons at the reception, let off some kind of airhorn during the ceremony, and did other horribly obnoxious things.

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Goldie December 3, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Yes, I almost fell out of my chair when I got to that part, too! Who slow dances with the bride and the groom on their wedding day? Even if it was the most beautiful ring on earth… not worth it.

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MichelleP November 26, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Total sympathy for the OP; it’s easier said than done when you’re not in the situation. My parents have done this: happy to help others and believe you owe favors to anyone who does you one. Nothing wrong with that, but it gets extreme. Perfect example: I was leaving home to join my new husband stationed in Germany. I’m saying goodbye to my parents at barely nineteen, not knowing even when I would see them again, as they were going overseas themselves soon. At the car shipping port a guy is there alone shipping his car and also getting a flight out at the airport. The airport is barely a mile away with plenty of cabs. They offer him a ride to the airport with us. Fine. Then he hangs around checking in to the airport with us. Then they invite him out to eat with us. So we go. Then they ask him to sit and chat with us while we are waiting for my flight (and his) to be called. He thankfully had the sense not to do that. I got two minutes alone my parents before I got on the plane, and he proceeded to cling to me like a leech for the next ten hours and join me uninvited at the restaurant in the airport during a layover. I finally ditched him at the airport at our destination after he followed me and my newly reunited husband and asked for a ride! Thankfully we couldn’t do that, as another soldier was taking us.

It’s nice to be do someone a favor, it was lovely for the Ring Lady to do the ring, but good grief.

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Cat November 27, 2013 at 10:40 am

Advice for the future if you run into another leech. Go into the lady’s restroom where he cannot follow you and remain there until he wanders off. You can ask women entering if he’s hanging out there.
If he seems normal, just tell him would prefer to be alone. Read a book at dinner.

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Kimstu December 24, 2013 at 12:06 am

@MichelleP: “At the car shipping port a guy is there alone shipping his car and also getting a flight out at the airport. The airport is barely a mile away with plenty of cabs. They offer him a ride to the airport with us. Fine. Then he hangs around checking in to the airport with us. Then they invite him out to eat with us. So we go. Then they ask him to sit and chat with us while we are waiting for my flight (and his) to be called. He thankfully had the sense not to do that. I got two minutes alone my parents before I got on the plane, and he proceeded to cling to me like a leech for the next ten hours and join me uninvited at the restaurant in the airport during a layover.”

Sounds to me like at least part of the problem here was that your parents went overboard on the friendly gestures to a stranger. Giving him a ride to the airport was very nice, but explicitly asking him to join you for a meal, and then explicitly asking him to sit with you?? It’s not quite fair to offer sustained hospitality and socializing to people who don’t know you and then expect them to have “the sense” to recognize that you want them to refuse.

Maybe the poor guy figured that your parents were hoping that he’d look after their teenage daughter during her first international solo voyage till she got safe to her destination, and that’s why he stuck so close to you on the trip. Or maybe not. In any case, it was nice of your parents to offer him a ride to the airport, but I think they should have left it at that.

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MichelleP January 5, 2014 at 4:52 pm

I see where you’re coming from, as an outsider’s point of view. However, I stand by my feeling that he went overboard, and respectfully disagree that he was “the poor guy” who meant well. Offering a ride and chatting with someone doesn’t give anyone the right to bother me for the next ten hours plus a layover. And I agree that my parents should have left it alone after the ride to the airport; that was what I was saying in my post. I was comparing the situation to the OP’s only I had (sort of) the reverse problem; my parents did someone a favor and they and the receiver went too far with it.

I forgot to put the part in about what he said when he joined me uninvited at the restaurant during the layover. I had worshipped the porcelain god all the way into the landing of the first flight, and as such was hungry. When he sat down with me at the café, he made a comment, “wow, are you hungry??” when he saw my food. It wasn’t a huge amount, btw. I buried my face in a book and ignored him for the entire layover and he still wouldn’t go away.

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Angel December 1, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I think you did the right thing. I can’t even imagine having someone who is a complete stranger to me at my wedding. Ring lady is a vendor, not a friend. No amount of savings is worth having your day hijacked by some nut.

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Caro January 4, 2014 at 4:00 am

Am I the only one who assumes that **OF COURSE** she made a profit on the ring and simply lied about not marking it up? Why else would she keep insisting that she hadn’t made any money on it?

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MichelleP January 5, 2014 at 4:58 pm

He may have “figured” that’s what my parents wanted, but I don’t know why that would make him refuse to leave me alone. BTW, I was nineteen, was married, and it wasn’t my first solo international trip. I grew up in the military and had flown dozens of times, starting when I was ten, also alone. (With supervision the first few years of course from the airlines. ) All of those circumstances were discussed with him present. I love my parents and like that they want to help people, but that wasn’t the first or last time that their desire to help strangers has put me in difficult and uncomfortable situations. I made it very clear to him during the flight, being sick, and especially during the layover that I wanted to be left alone. He just didn’t do it.

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Enna February 8, 2014 at 9:34 am

You did nothing wrong OP – however I think you needed to put your foot down about the ring lady acutally coming to the wedding. What hold did she have over your MIL?

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Cheryl July 22, 2014 at 12:34 pm

You are totally in the right to do this. There is nothing more annoying than someone trying to insert themselves when they are only the vendor. You are appreciative for her help and I would consider her gift towards the wedding her not making money off of the ring, nothing more. However, if possible either do not order the pictures where she is alone or you can get the CD/DVD and photoshop her out if possible. The two of you should have put your foot down with the ring lady and with his aunt.

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