WIBU to call the dog groomer?

(26 Posts)
FelicitySmoak Tue 07-Apr-15 11:45:56

Mum is 79, she's been on her own since Dad died. Firstly it's important to say she's fit, well and has no problems with dementia etc.

Mum has a small dog who requires regular grooming (she makes appointments every five weeks), the cost of this is £25. I used to take her to these appointments but one day she announced she'd arranged with the owner to collect him. The owners assistant passes the end of the street in the morning apparently.
I thought no more of this until yesterday when DD came back from her Nans concerned because she's discovered she is giving the groomer £40 a time!

Over the last few months she's decided to throw money at everything. She's been massively ripped off by an electrician to the tune of £300 for work she didn't need but went ahead and had done anyway without telling me, she's paid the man across the road £20 to put £10 credit on her mobile phone and she was about to pay some other man down the road £400 for a garage door she doesn't need. None of this is mentioned to me, she just does it and mentions it after the fact.

DH and I sat her down yesterday and explained that she couldn't keep doing this, that people were going to take advantage. She huffed and puffed a bit and finally agreed to pay this groomer £30 and to not get any work done without asking us to help first (DH is in the building trade and I could have put credit on her phone!).

Well, she's called me this morning, VERY arsey indeed. It's HER dog and she'll pay what she wants. I told her I understood that but could she not see that £40 for a £25 groom was madness and that most honest folk would say 'I'm sorry I can't take that much from you'. I told her she needed to stop. She said she wouldn't. In the end I said 'Look, I'm going to have a word with the owner'. She told me to 'Do what I want!' so I called the owner....

Owner it seems gets her assistant to collect the dog and knew NOTHING of this £40 a time. She thinks Mum pays the assistant £30 so as I suspected it's all very dishonest. Owner has agreed that no more than £30 will now be taken from Mum.
I've tried to call Mum back to tell her but she's now playing petulant child and has taken the phone off the hook (not unusual behaviour for her, her sulks are legendary).

On the one hand I think I should have let her get on with it but on the other I'm annoyed that a near 80 year old woman is being taken advantage of.
So WIBU to call the groomer??

CatsCantTwerk Tue 07-Apr-15 11:49:21

YWNBU at all!

It seems like people are taking advantage and your dm is very lucky to have You.

QueenBean Tue 07-Apr-15 11:52:55

Just to get this right, the dog groomer and owners assistant are the same person?

And they are pocketing the extra £10 that your mum is giving them without declaring it? Is she giving it as a tip?

FelicitySmoak Tue 07-Apr-15 11:54:23

The problem I have (and god knows I don't want to drip but I could write a bloody essay) is she gets an idea in her head and won't let go.

The electrics thing for example, there was nothing wrong with them but a passing comment from a cooker installer started her on the track that she needed a cooker point. DH and I both explained she didn't and the plug she had would suffice. A week later she calls me in hysterics because she was cooking some mince on the stove and everything tripped and her lifeline was going off. This would be interesting but for the fact that A)It's a gas cooker so it wasn't going to trip the electrics and B)The lifeline has a 24 hour battery back up. She lies for effect and to get what she wants. Before we'd gotten chance to look she'd paid this electrician to fix conduit all around the kitchen with wiring in for a cooker point. It's such an eyesore.

She does have a long history over lying about things like this so I knew she'd probably say she was only giving the groomer £30 and I felt if I didn't speak to them myself it would be on my mind.

Oh well, I'll have a few days quiet if nothing else.

flanjabelle Tue 07-Apr-15 11:56:37

I would be fuming in your shoes! You are right that they shouldn't be accepting anymore than the price from her. Not on at all. Dodgy in fact!

FelicitySmoak Tue 07-Apr-15 11:56:39

Sorry Queen.
Groomers assistant supposedly passes the end of the street. Mum is giving assistant £40. Groomer herself thinks Mum is giving her assistant £30 and was very surprised when I told her she'd been giving her £40 for the last year.

Mums reasoning is its a tip for collecting him.
1. She's passing the street.
2. The groomers is just over half a mile away.

I suggested £30 as a compromise (£5 tip) but Mum insisted on £40 (£15 tip)

AlpacaMyBags Tue 07-Apr-15 12:03:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

trulybadlydeeply Tue 07-Apr-15 12:09:38

This seems to be going way beyond the dog grooming issues.

Your Mum sounds quite vulnerable and there appear to be people taking advantage of this. Has she always been like this or is a recent change in behaviour? You mention a long history of lying (which seems to be about creating a scene/ seeking attention) but is the handing over of money also historic? ( I know you say recent issues have been over the past few months, but I wonder if she has always had tendencies to behave like this?)

Do you believe she has the capacity to have control over her money? I know you have stated that she doesn't have dementia, but that can manifest in many ways and be very subtle initially.

If she is in absolute control over her decision making, and choosing to spend money in this way, then there is little you can do, except attempt to reason with her. it's her choice, and although she is making what you (and most people would consider) unwise decisions, they are hers to make.

If, however, this is new behaviour, and that it is vulnerability rather than choice, I think you need to try and get her help / assessment / support.

FelicitySmoak Tue 07-Apr-15 12:40:58

Truly, my Dad died 6 years ago and her behaviour after he died was appalling. it hit her hard but she lied, created no end of drama, especially if I had any plans. I recall the night before we flew out to Egypt she became terribly ill. I had a word with the GP before I took her to see him and she was given a few counselling sessions and prescribed anti depressants which seemed to help.

She did improve but still has the ability to lie and create drama if she wants something done such as the electrics. I did ask her about this the other week and pointed out that if her lifeline was 'shouting at her' as she says then we need to get them out as the backup battery is faulty. At this point she picked up the phone and pretended to call her neighbour, then had a one sided conversation with her relaying to me that it actually happened. It was weird, but to be fair it's not unusual behaviour for her. As a teen she trashed my bedroom then told my Dad to look at the mess I'd made hmm

Money has always been a thing with her. When there were rumblings over the banks a few years ago she drew out several thousand in savings and hid it all over the house. Thankfully she listened that time and put it back in the bank. She's always tried to push money on me for taking her shopping or on DS for doing the same, none of us take it but it seems she is pushing it on everyone else.
She did concede in the conversation we had before that she would stop with this, but not with the dog groomer.

I think ultimately she is in control of her decision making but thinks buying people is the way forward. There is little I can do I think other than watch carefully and try and catch these things before they happen (like the garage door scenario). I just can't get her to understand that most decent folk wouldn't take £20 from an old lady for doing virtually nothing and that it's taking advantage.

MagicMojito Tue 07-Apr-15 12:52:28

I know you say that this is your mums typical behavior but is it possible that your mum has all along had an undiagnosed condition that has just triggered off in a big way due to your fathers passing? Just a thought.
Either way, yanbu and she's lucky she has you to look out for her!

FelicitySmoak Tue 07-Apr-15 13:06:14

Magic, it's hard to explain really. I'm an only child and was born when she was older (very unexpected as my parents believed they couldn't have children). Her menopause and my teens coincided with fireworks. Even then she was incredibly manipulative, she'd lie to my Dad about me and do the strangest things such as sit in the shed moments before Dad came home and claim she was hiding there after we'd argued. Unsurprisingly I left home pretty rapidly.

She's aways expected that I call her at least once a day, if I don't visit for a few days or I forget to call the standard line of 'I COULD HAVE BEEN DEAD!' gets trotted out. She is VERY needy. Even before Dad died 6 years ago she was like this.

As I say I could write an essay. I try very hard to be the dutiful daughter, after all there is nobody else. I take her shopping, appointments etc but she's very difficult to be around in general. She's rude, racist and often downright nasty about people. Taking her out is a nightmare. Again though, this is long standing behaviour and nothing I could pin point to my Dad. I think to some extent Dad was a bit of a filter for her and now he's gone she has gotten worse, but it's certainly nothing that wasn't there before.

I've just spoken to DH who seems to think that it's best if I just ignore now. She's still got the phone off the hook. He says she'll call in a day or two and hopefully now the groomer will stop taking the money so thats one less thing to worry over.

I need to start keeping a closer eye on people coming to the house for now and see whats happening. Grit my teeth, smile though and make no apologies for trying my best to look out for her. Sigh.

FelicitySmoak Mon 09-May-16 14:29:19

I realise this is a Zombie, but its all come to a head again.

On Friday her electrics tripped. We'd had a new box put in a few years ago so all she needed to do was flip the switch back. Rather than call me and ask she called out an electrician. He found the microwave was at fault, unplugged it, reset the box and apparently charged her £15 (if this is true I'd be amazed!) I asked why she didn't just call me, she said she didn't want to bother me. Once again the lifeline was apparently going off (it can't) and all manner of drama.

During the course of the conversation it came out that she is still, 12 months later, paying this bloody groomer £40! After last time I let the dust settle and called the groomer and asked that they please not take all this money off an 80 year old woman, I was assured they wouldn't...so much for that.

I've spoken to her, DD, DS and DH have spoken to her. We've explained that giving her £30 is more than generous. DD has explained that the extra £10 is more than 2 hours pay to her and that she could never accept a tip that generous from anyone in good conscience. Rather than actually talk with us about it she screeches, cries and generally tries to deflect by saying things like we are trying to make out she's mad.

The problem is, Mum knows what she is doing even if her intentions are somewhat misplaced. Also, if I kick off with the groomer again she may refuse to continue to cut the dog, which will cause Mum more upset.
I feel like I have no choice but to step back and let her get on with it, but I'm so angry that they are taking complete advantage.
I'd considered calling my Uncle, Mums younger brother, who is quite sensible and rational and might be able to get it through to her.

Any ideas or do I have to back off at this point?

TheTempest Mon 09-May-16 14:36:27

I think of she's not
Listening to you and worse seems to see it as a challenge, then AFAICS you have 3 choices. 1) accept that she's going to pay over the odds, it's her money and she's in sound mind so is making her own choices. 2) take her to GP for an assessment if you think there's something there causing it, and try to get POA (useful to have for future anyway. 3) involve your uncle and hope that having someone of her generation can get through to her. I feel for you though, I can see this being my future!

FelicitySmoak Mon 09-May-16 14:45:25

I think you're right Tempest, I think it is a challenge with her sometimes.

I don't think there is any need for assessment, she just thinks she can solve everything by throwing money at it. I've even tried to explain that Dad would have wanted her to look after herself and not keep paying someone money for nothing, but again I'm being incredibly unreasonable by mentioning Dad apparently.

I might have a quiet word with Uncle and just sound him out but I think ultimately I am just going to have to accept it and seethe quietly.

whois Mon 09-May-16 14:58:02

We had this with my gran. Mum didn't live that near her so couldn't pop round to get the paper or anything like that. Anyway found out she as giving the newspaper delivery boy tips of £20 a week, next door neighbor £40 to go and get something for her, tips of £20 to the mobile hair dresser every time. Wouldn't be too bad except my mum had been giving her money for years to top her up because her lat was quite expensive and she only had the basic pension! So basically my mums money was being given away to these people - who quite frankly shouldn't have been taking that much off a 85 year old woman.

Anyway I don't have any helpful advice. Nothing we said helped. It was the beginning of the end dementia wise and this was one of the early symptoms. Mum stopped giving her any money, made sure her rent was paid out of her pension, and did internet food shops for her, bought clothes for her, but never gave her cash again.

TheUnsullied Mon 09-May-16 14:58:36

If she's got form for lying to create drama, are you absolutely sure she isn't lying to you about how much she's paying the groomer? The owner not knowing about it and it continuing to happen after you informed her would suggest it's a possibility.

RE the rest of it, as you believe she's still mentally quite sharp, I'd honestly just leave her to it. I'd only step in if it looked like someone was seriously taking advantage.

MyNewBearTotoro Mon 09-May-16 15:12:17

Unfortunately I think you have to just accept that's the amount she wishes to pay and let her get on with it. It might be that the assistant has tried to refuse but your DM is insisting - it's not necessarily that they are intentionally taking advantage but if your DM is handing over two £20 notes for example it's not really possible for the assistant to refuse but still take the £25 grooming payment. If it makes your mother happy to pay this money and if she can genuinely afford it I would keep an eye on it as best you can from a distance to make sure it doesn't get completely out of hand but otherwise accept that it's her money and her choice what to do with it.

FelicitySmoak Mon 09-May-16 15:41:27

I agree, I think I have got to leave her to it, as annoying as that is.
Hopefully something has registered with her this time and when he's cut again she'll just hand over £30. She's not rolling in money, Dad left her reasonably comfortable but it's not a never ending income source and I'd much rather she spent it on herself than keep handing it over to strangers.

Whois you've exactly described my Mother, a few quid here and there to random people, it's like she tries to buy their help/friendship. I'm 99% certain there is no dementia though.

I tried explaining it in terms of our local shopkeeper whom she dislikes (I've touched on her racism upthread) and said if he said £1 for a loaf would you give him £3. She tells me thats different, I tell her he's providing a service with a set price, just like the groomer.

Either way, I shan't mention it again though it will continue to irk me.

whois Mon 09-May-16 15:51:17

I'm 99% certain there is no dementia though.

Maybe no dementia, but she doesn't sound like a stable person with good MH. Sounds like she has always been highly unstable - trashing your room, hiding in the shed, lying to get her way, having one sided phone conversations that you obviously KNOW are fake. All very odd and 100% not in the range of normal behavior.

Arfarfanarf Mon 09-May-16 15:55:19

I think really that's all you can do now. You've given your opinion, she knows what you think but at the end of the day it's your mum's money and her choice. Unless she does not have capacity and you get an assessment and legally take over her affairs then, galling as it is to feel that she's giving money to people who you think should refuse - she can give it to them and they can accept it. She can drop it all in a charity box, she can give people presents, she can choose the most expensive quote, she can pay people to do things she could do herself or you could do for her, she can spend her money how she likes, even if it is, iyo, a stupid waste.

It is very very frustrating to feel so powerless and I completely understand why you are cross when you see her as vulnerable and others as taking advantage but the only thing you can do is tell yourself she can do what she wants with her money and you don't have to agree or think it's sensible. But of course, keep an eye and if it seems like she does not have the capacity to manage her own affairs, then step in.

FelicitySmoak Mon 09-May-16 15:59:55

Whois my Dad would have called her 'highly strung', I would say narcissistic personally, something I realised when reading these forums under my usual name. It does all have to be about her, in the past if I've done something she's not happy with she tells me she'll have my Father buried (she has his ashes at home), which frankly is bloody weird but she thinks this bothers me.

This shit fit coincides with a period where I've been especially busy with work and other things and haven't been able to go over every other day.
The cynical part of me wonders if she tells me this stuff because she knows I react. Perhaps in future it might be better not to and just not get involved.

Believe me this is deeper than simply doling out money hand over fist.

Mairyhinge Mon 09-May-16 16:18:31

* Felicity* you have my sympathy.
I am an only child, my mother is 80, and my dad died 2 years ago...
Just after he died she HAD to have the living room decorated (dh did it thankfully), and she HAD to buy new furniture, and a new bed for the spare room which has never been slept in....it's just spending for the sake of it.
She's recently had the drive re tarmacced, didn't need it, but her 'freindly' local tradesman said it did, and dad had toyed with the idea before he died, so it had to be done.
Then her roof needed fixing ( it didn't) dad had mentioned one of the roof tiles was a different colour, so she called out a roofer who did work that wasn't necessary ( BUT eventually would need doing, so you can't go and say " you've ripped her off" because they haven't, it needs doing, just not yet)

I dread her saying this or that has broken. He boiler packed in a month or so ago, her regular boiler man was on holiday, but thankfully she did wait for him, because she knows " if he says I need a new boiler, I believe him"
Thanks fuck she doesn't say it to him tho.

She pays over the odds for stuff, dh gets cross but won't say anything to her, yet she won't listen to me, but she WOULD listen to him, as he's a man and knows what he's on about.

She's also a nightmare to take out, racist, rude and nasty sometimes.
She also sulks of you disagree with her,, but I'm all she's got so she's a bit better now, when dad was alive she would sulk for days weeks

So it sounds like we have a very similar life!!

FelicitySmoak Mon 09-May-16 16:28:50

Oh gosh Mairy are you me?

One of the last things Dad did before he died was have the roof done so nothing really needed doing with the house. This hasn't stopped her from remodelling the bathroom, changing doors etc She got it in her head that the boiler needed replacing as well, fortunately DH was able to show her it didn't and it's only 7 years old anyway!

What bothers me is her inability to just say "I think I fancy a new 'x'". Instead it's weeks of "Oooh the 'x' is playing up" or "'x' wont work again". We had it a few weeks ago with her phone, she told us it wasn't working but testing it we found it was perfect, this then stretched to it affecting her lifeline (it can't). If she'd just say "can you take me shopping, I fancy a new phone" it would be so much easier.

But yes, she'll be sulking for a few days now, I suspect until Wednesday night as she'll want to be taken to Tesco on Thursday grin

Mairyhinge Mon 09-May-16 16:40:16

When I read your op I actually thought ' this sounds scarily familiar'!!
I cannot offer up advice, as if she's like my mum, sounds like she is, she won't listen to reason, all I can say is get a POA if you haven't already. Thankfully this was mums idea, she's also put the house and everything into a trust, which means it's all protected.

So whilst she's busy squandering my inheritance ( joke), at least her home is safe.
She has a car, and drives ( appallingly) my dd passed her test last year and she won't go in the car with grandma anymore, as she now sees how bad she is...anyway i suggested she get a smaller car, but because dad had a warranty type thing with this one she won't until that runs out, yet the car costs a fortune, she took it to the main dealer for its MOT ( another issue) and they charged £24 for 2 new windscreen wipers so it could pass 😳....it's a Honda Jazz, not a Daimler.

Honestly it's frustrating, yet I don't know the answer.

NoMudNoLotus Mon 09-May-16 16:49:06

It depends really.

If she lacks capacity through dementia, mental illness , learning disabilities then no you are not being unreasonable.

If she DOES have capacity YABU. It is her money to spend how she likes - whether you agree with it or not - if she has capacity then she has the choice to make unwise decisions - the fact that she is 80 is totally besides the point.

Law is very clear on this.

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