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I Reserved a $2,000 Lodge for a Group Excursion, yet No One Reimbursed Me for Their Portion of the Expense – They Didn’t Escape Consequence-Free

Thrill over a planned weekend retreat morphed into annoyance as Sarah’s companions evaded their financial obligations for a $2,000 lodge reservation. Unbeknownst to them, she concocted a scheme to ensure their escapade wasn’t without repercussions.

Annually, our circle organizes a ladies’ retreat. Each year, someone different takes the helm, and this time, it was my turn! Thrilled, I discovered an ideal locale: a quaint lodge by a gleaming lake.

Our excitement was palpable when I shared the images.

The venue seemed like a page torn from a decor journal, featuring a snug lodge with a hearth, breathtaking lake vistas, and even a whirlpool.


The total expense was $2,000 for the three-day sojourn, amounting to a mere $250 per person for our eight-member troupe.

“I’ve taken the liberty of securing our lodge,” I informed my friends. “I’m glad to front the cost, but for simplicity, could everyone reimburse me prior to our departure? Is that agreeable?”

“Absolutely, Sarah!” Mary was the first to respond. “Appreciate your initiative.”

“Sure thing, no issue at all,” Ella concurred.

“That’s fine by me!” Brittany added.

Sequentially, each person at the table concurred.

“Sure, that sounds fine,” “No problem, I’ll manage,” they confirmed one after another. It appeared all were content to pay their part and committed to settling before our trip.

Seems straightforward, right?

Not quite.

As the trip neared, what was simple became exceedingly vexing.

First, it was Mary. “Hi Sarah,” she said cheerily, “I need to replace my car’s brakes, so my payment might be delayed. I’ll have it next week.”

Then, it was Brittany’s turn a week later. “Oh, my student loans are a burden this month. Could I delay payment till next paycheck?”

“I just need to wait for my next salary,” Melissa explained.

Weeks passed as I reminded them to settle their dues, but they produced myriad excuses.

Each excuse was unique and they appeared unified in their approach.

Then, total silence ensued. Nothing. No messages, no calls, from Ella, Dana, or even dependable Lisa.

By the week preceding our trip, I was down $2,000 and felt utterly exploited.

The very individuals I deemed “friends” had indirectly declined to reimburse me. Those I trusted the most seemed to have conspired against me.

What prompted this?

Had I erred? Or was this a test of my response to such a challenging scenario? I wasn’t sure, but it incensed me.

I realized a bold move was necessary, one that would clarify I was not to be trampled upon.

The evening before our trip, I took a deep breath and initiated my strategy.

I sent a group message, overflowing with counterfeit enthusiasm. “Can’t wait to see everyone at the lodge tomorrow! It’s going to be the ultimate retreat!”

Little did they know, I was brewing a cunning plan.

The next day, I arose early and dressed swiftly, rushing out to transform the lodge into a delightful sanctuary.

At the supermarket, I gleefully filled my cart with fresh produce, cheeses, and ample snacks.

I also selected the finest wines and beverages, ensuring my friends would be well-provisioned.

After shopping, I drove to the lodge, which looked even more stunning in daylight, the lake shimmering like countless gems.

I stocked the fridge and prepared a bonfire for the evening, complete with snug blankets and marshmallows.

The setting was idyllic. I was certain my friends would have an unforgettable experience.

However, here’s the twist: I took the keys and garage opener when I left for a “chore.”

Before securing the lodge, I informed all my friends via text that I had an urgent errand and would arrive by the time they did. They trusted me, just as I had when requesting reimbursement.

Yet, they had broken my trust, and I reciprocated.

If they desired a splendid time at the lodge, they needed to adhere to my conditions. They had to earn their leisurely weekend.

I refused to allow them a pleasant experience while they ignored my messages and calls.

By noon, my phone was inundated with urgent texts and calls from my friends.

“Hey, Sarah, we’ve arrived at the lodge, but the doors are locked!” reported Ella.

“Did you overlook something?” inquired Mary.

I maintained my composure, replying, “Oh no! So sorry, everyone. Seems I left the keys at home. But the good news is, I’m on my way back now!”

Was I actually returning? No!

I was comfortably seated at a nearby cafe, enjoying an iced latte, amused by their progressively desperate messages as they arrived one by one.

After my last message, their messages waned. They felt relief at my supposed imminent return, but the reality was vastly different.

As their fleeting relief dissipated, they began contacting me again, now more desperate. Some of my friends expressed anger, while others struggled to maintain composure.

“How could you forget, Sarah?” Lisa questioned.

“I can’t believe you’re making us wait like this!” Dana protested. “I thought this was meant to be a fun trip.”

Finally, I decided to unveil the truth.

I sent a serene message: “Look, I’m willing to return and let you all in, but only after everyone has transferred their share of the lodging cost.”

Silence ensued.

Then, a burst of activity.

Suddenly, the allure of a luxurious weekend outweighed car issues, student loans, and all other prior excuses.

My phone vibrated with notifications from Venmo, PayPal, and Zelle as payments began to arrive.

Within an hour, every cent was accounted for.

“You all could have managed this earlier!” I muttered to myself before retrieving the keys and heading back to the lodge.

Their faces brightened upon spotting my car in the parking lot. Some approached my vehicle, while others headed to the door.

“I hope I arrived in time!” I chirped as I emerged from my car with the key.

A few uttered apologies as I unlocked the door, while others offered sheepish smiles.

Admittedly, the initial awkwardness was palpable.

The remainder of the weekend wasn’t the carefree escape I had envisioned. Initial tension persisted, and our usual playful chatter felt somewhat forced.

Yet, here’s the essence: they ultimately grasped there were consequences for failing to honor their commitments.

We still managed some enjoyment, roasting marshmallows under the stars, kayaking on the lake, and indulging in inevitable gossip sessions.

However, it was a different type of trip, distinguished by a newfound respect.

By the trip’s conclusion, some tension had dissipated.

Mary, ever the spontaneous one, enveloped me in a tight embrace. “Seriously, Sarah, I deeply regret the car issue. You were completely justified in your frustration.”

Brittany added, “Yeah, me too. Those loans can wait, but friendships can’t.”

Several others offered sincere apologies, which I valued. Reflecting on the ordeal, it was undoubtedly stressful but also clarified our friendships.

I learned that occasionally, standing your ground, even if it means being somewhat stern, is necessary. And they learned that respect is reciprocal.

We might not be planning any opulent lodge retreats soon, but at least future endeavors will be approached with a renewed sense of responsibility and understanding.

This whole episode certainly made for a memorable tale, even if it wasn’t the relaxing weekend I had hoped for.

But hey, sometimes the most valuable lessons are wrapped in a bit of frustration and a great deal of resolve.

What do you think?

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