by Sean McConeghy

Staten Island, NY – Erin McDougal’s friends were stunned this weekend when she walked into her sweet sixteen birthday party wearing the same dress she had worn at a similar event just two months earlier. Jaws dropped, heads turned away, and McDougal’s face turned bright red because nobody was quite sure how such a disgraceful and humiliating scene could happen in their hometown. One mother in attendance pulled the girl aside to ask whether she wanted her to report the incident to the local authorities, but Erin declined, stating that she had already suffered enough without having more attention drawn to the event.

Erin’s humiliation went viral through tweets and Facebook status updates from those in attendance, and mockers and sympathizers alike all had something to say. One of her classmates, who asked not to be named, said, “I can’t believe this could happen. I mean, Erin was my best friend, and she totally shows up in the same dress that she had on like six weeks ago at another best friend’s sweet sixteen?! I mean, OMG.”

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After being humiliated on Facebook and Twitter for wearing the same dress twice, Erin McDougal faced an uncertain future. Luckily, a Good Samaritan came to her aid.

Other reactions were more sympathetic.  One Twitter post said “I had no idea things were so bad for her. How could this happen in our suburb? SMH.”

When reached for comment, Erin’s father Tim said that he was ashamed to let her go in that dress, but he didn’t have much choice. “We didn’t want to tell her that she couldn’t have a party, but we had already spent over $1,000 on new dresses for other events. With her prom coming up and both my wife and I already working two jobs each, we had to make a decision. We knew it would be tough on her, but what choice did we have?”

Erin herself was quite devastated by the whole thing.  She posted a flip-card video on YouTube, saying that her parents just didn’t work hard enough, and that at one point they had even suggested she get a job if she wanted a new dress for every party. She went on to explain that she could never do such a thing because all her friends would see her working, and that would be even more embarassing than wearing the same dress.

Fortunately, this story had a happy ending. Upon seeing a Pinterest meme mocking Erin, Stephanie Milton, who lives hundreds of miles away in Dayton, Ohio, decided that it was time to take action.  Stephanie started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to ensure that Erin would never again have to endure such a plight. She has raised $8,000 so far and is hoping to hit at least $10,000. “I can’t think of any cause more important than keeping this young girl from ever having to endure something like that again,” she said.

Sean McConeghy has spent most of the last decade traveling around the world, mostly teaching to support that occupation. He’s currently in Honduras starting his own business. He is working toward his Rhett Butler moment when he can say to his former life, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” See more at: http://downsizedlivingmag.com/Meals-Become-Awkward.html#sthash.mKCt5XLT.dpuf

All Downsized Living blog posts are fictitious and satirical. Any resemblance to real persons is coincidental and unintentional.

Photo credit: iStock

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by Derrick Chapelle

For many people, today’s economic downturn means the days of taking a family vacation are long gone. Getting time off of work (if you are still lucky enough to have a job), having enough funds to travel and finding someone to take care of your dog while you’re away can be frustrating!

Tired of seeing your bosses’ pictures of all the fabulous vacations they have been on?  Are you sick of seeing high rollers roll out of town on three-day weekends with boats and ATVs in tow?  Are you sick of Facebook friends of friends posting pictures and making comments about their exciting trips to Europe?

Well, worry no more!  At Short Budget Vacation Travel (SBVT) they understand that EVERYBODY deserves a family vacation no matter what their bank balance says! SBVT has a budget vacation for everyone!  With vacation plans starting as low as $5.00 and ranging upwards of $20 per person, taking a vacation just got much more affordable.

With Short Budget Vacation Travel, you don't actually have to go to Paris to impress your friends.

With Short Budget Vacation Travel, you don’t actually have to go to Paris to impress your friends.

How does SBVT keep its rates so low? Downsized Living news correspondent Jill Brittner did some digging. Here is a short transcript of her interview with Jack Johnson, CEO of SBVT:

Jill Brittner: Isn’t it true, Mr. Johnson, that your customers don’t actually physically travel anywhere when they book a vacation through your agency?

Jack Johnson: Yes, our customers don’t physically go anywhere, but they have the time of their lives planning their trip and then sharing their Photoshopped pictures with their friends and family. It’s not hurting anybody!

Jill Brittner: You are admitting that your company is a sham?

Jack Johnson:  If you call making peoples’ vacation dreams come true for a fraction of what a real vacation costs, then call it a sham. But we have a 100 percent customer satisfaction rate; how many travel companies do you know that can produce those kinds of numbers?

Ms. Brittner was going to track down thousands of SBVT customers until she found 39-year-old J.R., who was willing to speak to her anonymously. “Yeah, I’ve booked three or four family vacations through SBVT over the last year.  All of my Facebook friends are totally jealous of my vacations! I even posted a picture of myself and my 5- year-old-son climbing Mt. Fuji last summer. They couldn’t believe it,” he said proudly.

So there you have it. SBVT is sweeping the nation! But the company does more than just Photoshop pictures of you and your family on luxurious vacations. Sales agent Mindy Tyson said, “We have a plan for every family! Our premium vacation plan includes tweets and Instagram photos at no additional charge. You can really make your dream vacation a reality.”

All Downsized Living blog posts are fictitious and satirical. Any resemblance to real persons is coincidental and unintentional.

Image credit: iStock Photo