Gransnet forums


When is a favour not a favour.

(115 Posts)
Grannygrumps1 Sat 29-Oct-22 10:49:01

I do a lot of voluntary work around food redistribution working for a FoodStop and Olio. I’m paid in food.
This gives me something to do and keeps me busy but it also means I get the majority of my food free. I also get plenty to share around. I’ve been doing this for over a year.
Now for my dilemma. I give probably around £30 -£40 worth of food if not more to a male neighbour every week.
He also jokes that he hasn’t bought a loaf of bread for over a year.
If I get a local trades person to do a small job for me. He always says he would have done it for less. This creates a bad feeling with me. To me…. A favour should be a favour and free. I don’t want to negotiate a price with him where he might mess it up.(which he did when we together replaced a fence.)
Considering I’m giving him hundreds of pounds of groceries every month and have never asked him for anything in return. I feel he should not be asking me for money for anything.
He’s currently annoyed with me as I paid a local tradesman to hoover out my gutters. (I live in a bungalow). He said he would have done it for less. But I feel that if he had of done it. Then it should have been for free. There is one gutter left that’s easy to do. He’s offered to do it but at what cost.

Ziplok Sat 29-Oct-22 10:54:51

Maybe it’s time to stop giving your neighbour free food?

Shelflife Sat 29-Oct-22 10:57:28

He most certainly should not charge you for doing a job for you. Taking you for granted !?

FindingNemo15 Sat 29-Oct-22 10:58:00

Your neighbour sounds like a greedy freeloader to me.

I also do a lot of voluntary work and favours for people, but when I need something nothing is ever done to help me.

I have stepped back a bit now, but am finding it hard as I like to help people and keep myself busy.

toscalily Sat 29-Oct-22 11:08:48

I agree, doing favours work both ways. I think you should stop or a least give less to this rather ungrateful neighbour and perhaps not tell him when and how much when you have jobs done.

tickingbird Sat 29-Oct-22 11:08:59

Good of you to be giving this man so much free food and saving him a lot of money. He shouldn’t be expecting any payment from you for small jobs. If he can’t clean your guttering for you without expecting payment he’s money grubbing. I, personally, would stop the food donations and/or next time he comes out with “I’d have done that for less” I’d reply “you should do it for nothing”.

Grannygrumps1 Sat 29-Oct-22 11:18:06

Tickingbird… that’s exactly what I think. But I’m never quick enough to think that and say it.
I agree with all your comments. But just getting it to move forward easily without losing a friend is my issue.

Sago Sat 29-Oct-22 11:20:13

I would give the food to a food bank.

NotSpaghetti Sat 29-Oct-22 11:21:15

I would ask "does he need this or can he buy his own bread"?
Surely there are more needy people out there now?

Has he signed up on Olio?

You are not giving him something of yours it seems to me.

My daughter volunteered for Olio before she moved area. She was never paid in food. She did have food from the project but it was not payment.
I think you maybe are seeing it as payment but really you are volunteering and if your neighbour wants to benefit he should sign up himself.

I don't know FoodStop but maybe that is similar?

Ziplok Sat 29-Oct-22 11:22:22

Out of interest, what is Olio and Foodstop? I’m assuming Foodstop is equivalent to a food bank? Never heard of Olio.
Are you in the UK?
It rather surprises me that volunteers are given so much free food that is presumably given in the first instance to support those in need?

Oldwoman70 Sat 29-Oct-22 11:27:37

If you don't want to talk to him direct about this then next time you have someone do work for you don't give your neighbour any of the food. If he asks why tell him you gave it to the person who did the work as he didn't charge you, perhaps he will then get the hint.

Elegran Sat 29-Oct-22 11:38:03

If you are getting "paid" in food, then you are not really a volunteer, you are an employee I suspect that the auditors would be interested to hear that the organisations work like this, as would the taxman.

Plus, how is it that when food banks and food distribution centres are supposed to be helping the people most in need, the organisations are getting so much more in donations that they can regularly give to a "volunteer" so much stuff that the volunteer can give away hundreds of pounds worth every month to a neighbour, as well as benefitting herself?

I think you should tell the organisation to give you hundreds of pounds' worth less each month, and then tell your neighbour to sign up as a volunteer himself if he wants the food gifts that go with volunteering - or he could even be honest and join the queue of clients who use the service, as that is in effect what he is doing (as you are).

Namsnanny Sat 29-Oct-22 11:43:14

Have you thought what might happen to your friendship, if you stop volunteering for some reason?
In a way you are making him reliant on you for a very important part of his budget.
Situations like this rarely end well.
Just thinking out loud.

Redhead56 Sat 29-Oct-22 11:46:28

I had a friend in between jobs I used to feed him. When I needed a small job doing he quoted me a price. I was flabbergasted but paid him I needed the job doing. I didn't encourage him around again our friendship ended.

Georgesgran Sat 29-Oct-22 11:56:18

I think if you are happy ‘volunteering’ then that’s what it should be - no payment of any sort, other than the odd cup of tea and a biscuit, if you’re lucky. Perhaps you could request reimbursement of fuel or bus fares (if appropriate) instead?
I’m also not certain about being paid in food and if you don’t need it, then leave it for others who do, or drop it off at a local food bank. As for your neighbour, I’d tell him that things have changed within your organizations and the free food (gravy train) had ceased. As a single person (?) he must be over-supplied with £hundreds worth of food a month, judging by what I and other GNs spend.

Oopsadaisy1 Sat 29-Oct-22 12:06:21

Something wrong about these organisations if they allow this to happen.

If you get payment of any kind you are an Employee and should be notifying the Tax Man.
A Volunteer gets no payment at all and gives their time freely. As to giving away £40 of food to a neighbour! From a food bank!
Makes me wonder how much the food value is each week that they give to you.

Theexwife Sat 29-Oct-22 12:50:34

The food is not costing you anything and if you are given enough to share around I assume there is a lot of surplus that would otherwise go to waste. Your neighbour could go and get it himself for free, it is not you that is giving free food it is those that donate to Olio.
If anyone should benefit from the free food it is Olio, not you.

NotSpaghetti Sat 29-Oct-22 12:56:59

Olio is a way of stopping good food (and other stuff) going into the bin.

Here's a page about volunteering with them.

I know it's UK. Don't know if they operate anywhere else.

LRavenscroft Sat 29-Oct-22 13:10:50

Perhaps just dial down how much you give to him and gradually withdraw. Or, ask him how much he would charge and offset it against the value of the food passed to him. Bit mean but some people just don't get it! You sound like a really kind lady. Good luck.

Poppyred Sat 29-Oct-22 13:24:03

Why not ask him for a swap? Food for a job that needs doing? If he declines then STOP feeding him.

Prentice Sat 29-Oct-22 13:30:49


Have you thought what might happen to your friendship, if you stop volunteering for some reason?
In a way you are making him reliant on you for a very important part of his budget.
Situations like this rarely end well.
Just thinking out loud.

An interesting thought.
I think I would give this neighbour less in future, and just say there is less coming in so food is reduced.
Continue getting tradesmen in, it is your choice.He should not know what it costs you, or even ask about it.
Yes, he should have been doing jobs for you free of charge.

grandMattie Sat 29-Oct-22 13:37:20

IMHO, your neighbour is taking advantage of you.
Ease back on what you gave him, or else, say “this bundle costs £42” or whatever. If you do that each time, he might get the message…

MawtheMerrier Sat 29-Oct-22 13:39:54

Why are you giving him food - full stop.
Does he have a pension, is he on benefits, does he have mental capacity, is he disabled in any way?

I don’t know how you got yourself into this tangle but you need to stop. Now.

Forsythia Sat 29-Oct-22 13:44:46

If it were me I’d be giving him less and less and it would grind to a halt. You could also say they’re tightening up on the food and you are getting less.
It doesn’t sound right to me that food meant for needy people is being abused in this way by a greedy person.

Charleygirl5 Sat 29-Oct-22 13:46:04

I live on my own and have never spent hundreds of pounds on food in a year, never mind a month. You are being over generous and like others would say this is what you were given, perhaps the charity has to scale back?

If he is desperate he can go to a food bank, if not he is lining his pockets.