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Taking Advantage of Generosity

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Generosity is considered a good thing. Milking generosity is not. Yet some characters do it anyway.

Say Bob offers Alice a little gift or agrees to do Alice a favor, but Alice asks for more gifts or favors from Bob, or someone else, knowing she is likely to get it.

The reasons for this usually fall under varying degrees of gluttony, Greed and It's All About Me. Quite often those receiving these extra demands will feel obligated to fulfill them anyway, especially if these characters are Extreme Doormats, even when they feel like they are being taken for granted.

Usually, this is portrayed as being a very Jerkass thing to do.

Compare Moving the Goalposts, The Prima Donna, Choosy Beggar, and All Take and No Give (a variation of this with relationships). The Farmer and the Viper is a more extreme and outright villainous variant.

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Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fruits Basket: Kureno was unable to bring himself to abandon Akito when his curse first broke, so he agreed to remain by her side to stop her from feeling lonely. Akito took full advantage of his kindness, making him stay in near-isolation at the Sohma estate and refusing to let him interact with anyone else or even leave the house without her permission. It's just one of many things Akito is disgusted with herself over come her Heel Realization.
  • Mafia Princess Trish Una basically walks all over our heroes from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind when they are instructed to protect her. Granted, she was their boss' daughter.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Kaneki's mother was a regular victim of this thanks to his Jerkass aunt, who kept turning to her for financial help. Sadly, Kaneki's mom was every bit an Extreme Doormat and literally worked herself to death to provide for both of them. It ultimately transpires that said aunt never actually needed the money and lived an incredibly comfortable life: she just wanted more, and knew she could use her sister to get it.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: This is why Donald's Uncle Scrooge is such a skinflint. The one time he tried to be more charitable to improve his image, this trope took full effect.
  • A Goofy comic has a tourist family's car break down in front of Goofy's house. He lets them in to use the phone and offers to let them live with him until the car is fixed. They start draining away at his money by their constant eating, making long-distance calls, doctor bills, helping pay for the repairs... After they finally leave, another car breaks down in front of Goofy's house... and is greeted with gunfire.
  • JSA Classified: A woman whose life was saved gets pissed when Jakeem recovers a teddy bear for one of her child neighbors from their destroyed apartment building, ranting about how the heroes aren't really helping since they're leaving behind a destroyed building. This upsets Jakeem so he sets up a wishing booth to use his Thunderbolt's powers to help people. He's quickly inundated with a massive crowd of people requesting he do everything for them even if it's something they could easily do themselves to the point that the Thunderbolt revolts and refuses to assist him.

    Fan Works 
  • Happens in the The Flash Sentry Chronicles with Spike. Because he had a crush on Rarity, whenever she would flirt and tease him in order to get him to do some favors for her, he was unaware that she didn’t recuperate his feelings leading him to think he had a chance with her. This came to a head in "Spike’s Heartbreak" where he found out the hard way, that Rarity was in a relationship with Lightning Blitz. When everyone calls Rarity out on it, she realizes how horrible she had treated Spike and tried to make amends with him.
  • The Karma of Lies:
    • Marinette's classmates take her helping them out completely for granted, expecting her to make cookies, crafts, and clothes for them without any compensation on their end. The story opens with them donating all the outfits she's made for them to one of Lila's fake charities, with Adrien blithely stating that "They're just clothes" and that she can always make more.
    • Lila naturally exploits this, being a Con Artist who specializes in presenting herself as a sweet, compassionate girl who's more than happy to help everyone out. Despite Adrien knowing her true nature and thusly presuming he can't be tricked by her, she uses that very same assumption on his part to lure him into helping her out, then promptly stabs him in the back.
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    Films — Animation 
  • In Zootopia, when Judy and Nick first meet, Nick uses Judy's generosity combined with his partner's irresistible cuteness to get her to buy them a giant popsicle, which they use to sell a bunch of smaller popsicles to lemmings. When she confronts him, he tries to justify it simply as the way the world works. However, it's heavily implied later that he rightfully took offense to her offering him help while wearing fox repellant on her belt.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Haunting (1999), Elinor took care of her invalid mother by herself for 11 years, only for her mom will their apartment for her younger daughter Jane, who never lift a finger to help. Jane immediately decides to sell the apartment and when Elinor protests she'll become a homeless, Jane cynically asks her to babysit her spoiled son in return for a place to live.
  • The Mask: Stanley Ipkiss is treated as a doormat by everyone, from his coworkers to his mechanics. Near the openings, he buys the tickets of a show to invite a work colleague. The young woman lies that her best friend is in town, knowing that Stanley would generously give her the tickets and she would enjoy the show with someone she actually liked.
  • Near the opening of Me, Myself & Irene, a woman asks Charlie whether she can scoot ahead of him in line at the grocery store. She only has a few things, apparently, so he says yes. She calls her kids and their three full shopping carts over and Charlie has a psychotic breakdown. This was the straw that broke the camel's back. Pretty much everyone in the town had been doing this to him for years.

    Jokes 
  • Averted by Sinbad's standup bit about a college student writing a heartfelt letter to his father detailing his experiences at college so far, concluding it by mentioning off-handedly that he was low on funds and could use some, if his father would be so kind. After a while, this is the exchange.
    Sinbad: "No mon', no fun, yo' son." So the father writes back "Too bad, so sad, yo' dad."

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Blackadder Christmas special, everyone takes advantage of Ebenezer Blackadder, the only nice member of the wretched Blackadder family tree.
  • Occurs in several episodes of Here's Lucy, usually involving either Lucy and Harry agreeing to help the other, who subsequently takes excessive advantage of the others offer. One notable example is the episode "Harrison Carter, Male Nurse" where Lucy has broken her leg and has Harry become her nurse-maid. She constantly summons him with a bell to come upstairs, just as he has just gotten downstairs, making increasingly petty demands each time.
  • One of the Catchphrases of El Chapulín Colorado ("Se aprovechan de mi nobleza") translates as this (or more literally, "They (whoever is the guy who asked for his help this week) take advantage of my nobility"). Pretty often, he says this when they ask him to do something pretty dangerous and/or they make it clear that they won't lift a finger to help.
  • Doug Forcett from The Good Place is an Extreme Doormat who will do anything to make others happy to the detriment of his own well-being, and quite a number of people have taken advantage of this. The reason why Doug lets people (even children) push him around is that he's a Heaven Seeker who's determined to do whatever it takes to reach the eponymous heavenly afterlife no matter how painful and miserable it is for him.
  • The John Larroquette Show: John wins an electric car. He charges it at home, where he gets free electricity included in his rent. His landlord complains and cuts him off, so John starts charging it at the bus station where he works.
  • In one episode of What I Like About You, Holly winds up stranded and unable to get in touch with her friends. A kind stranger offers her a drink, and she asks for more. When he mentions he's late to meet a friend at Chili's (as a means of excusing himself), Holly mentions how much she likes their fries and convinces him to take her along.

    Video Games 
  • In Fallen London, Mr Wines will occasionally approach the player and offer to "hire" them to provide for one of its revels. This means providing, out of your own pocket, 23.50 Echoes of wine, honey, and blackmail (for the entertainers), and getting "paid" with detritus left by the partygoers worth a paltry 3.74 Echoes. And that's if you succeed at the fairly high-level Persuasive check at the end, otherwise, you get paid nothing.
  • Harvest Moon: A New Beginning has Michelle, whose heart events consist of her requesting increasingly valuable items and has you overhearing her calling you a sucker and asks for a pink diamond, which is required for her final heart event. She even has the gall to rub it in your face when you confront her!
  • In Planescape: Torment, there's a rare chance for the player to indulge in this. Fhjull Forked-Tongue is a cornugon devil that's under a geas to perform charity. He hates this, but he can't turn down anyone who requests aid from him. This means that when you meet him, you can ask him to give you anything you'd like from his stash of spell scrolls and magic items. Each time you do so drives your alignment a little more evil, but it's still funny listening to him grumble. It's also the only way to get a few spells in the game.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Daughter for Dessert, Smoking Dog and the Church of the Aquarian Revelation did this to the wealthy but naive Lainie. They sought to punish her severely after her father cut her off.

    Web Comics 
  • Mentioned by name in 8-Bit Theater. When the gang befriend a dragon who's hanging out in a local volcano, he asks if there's any way to make up for the roughness of their first encounter. The Light Warriors immediate discuss how to get the most out of the offer, including plundering the dragon's hoard for every last speck of treasure, when the Dragon explains that he can hear them and that taking advantage of a dragon is a terrible idea.
  • Kuro Shouri: In chapter 4, it's revealed that Hisaki has a trust fund, and Yasha immediately admits that she wants to mooch off him.

    Web Original 
  • In one episode of The Guild, Vork visits Codex at her apartment and she tells him he can help himself to anything in the kitchen. When he tries to take her frogurt maker, she has to clarify that she meant food only, which he regards as Moving the Goalposts.
  • Kerry/Seraphim from the Whateley Universe ran into a brutal case of this. Her powers allow her to heal people, and she looks like an angel and is staying in a church. Initially she heals people because she wants to, but soon those caring for her decide that they want the flow of interest, tourism, and money she's generated to keep up and won't let her stop healing, even when it endangers her own health. It doesn't end well.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of Batman: The Animated Series had Killer Croc do this to a bunch of circus freaks who had hidden themselves away from the outside world so they could be themselves. They were willing to let him join them on their farm, but when Killer Croc heard they had $50,000, he couldn't resist. When asked why after he's captured, Killer Croc solemnly admits he had to be himself.
  • Fluffy & Uranus from Duckman allow their boss to stay with them for a while, but his abuse of this trope eventually leads them to calling him out on this, cussing him out, and kicking him out, in that order.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In one episode, Ed, on the suggestion of Double D and Eddy, moves out of his home and into Rolf's shed in order to get away from his Jerkass little sister Sarah. Rolf initially accepts them with open arms, but the Eds quickly wear out their welcome, eating all of his food, interfering with his chores, and even forcing him out of his own bed. Eventually, Rolf snaps and gives them a beating:
  • Both of Garfield's animated shows at least once utilize a similar plot where Garfield befriends a mouse in his home, explaining he doesn't chase them. The mouse immediately invites all of his friends to take over the place and rob it clean of food. This is obviously a sore spot for Garfield who decides to take action following this.
  • Wendy in Gravity Falls' episode "Boss Mabel". Mabel, as acting boss, decides to be more permissive to Wendy by letting her hang out more often with her friends. When Wendy and her friends destroy the gift shop with their dangerous games (even hitting a kid with a severed head), Mabel politely asks Wendy to return to work and clean the mess. Wendy instead guilt-trips Mabel by telling her she's starting to act like Stan and Mabel, horrified at the comparison, gives Wendy a day off with full pay, leaving Mabel to do her job as well. This is one of Wendy's most Jerkass moments ever.
  • The Legend of Korra: In season 3, Team Avatar is travelling across the Earth Kingdom searching for Airbenders created by Harmonic Convergence, eventually coming upon an orphaned boy named Kai, who claims that his parents were killed by outlaws and now he's on the run. The town sheriff sets the story straight, stating that Kai was actually adopted by a nice, wealthy family, and repaid their kindness by robbing them blind. Team Avatar still take pity on Kai when he claims he's turned a new leaf since then, partly because he would've gone to jail if they hadn't (and partly because they hadn't been able to recruit any other Airbenders to their cause), only for him to do the same thing to them later on. He gets better about it... eventually.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the episode "Secret of My Excess", Spike is offered a spontaneous present by one of the townsfolk he meets, upon that person learning it's Spike's birthday. Spike's inherent dragon greed starts to kick in, and he starts exploiting spontaneous presents from other people.
    • In "Suited for Success", Rarity offers to make dresses for all her friends, and she slaves over the project until she comes up with a gorgeous gown for each of her friends. But they weren't what her friends were expecting, and they offer all kinds of crazy suggestions for improvement. Rarity runs herself ragged trying to meet the demands of her friends, but she hates the way the dresses turn out and she ends up humiliated at a fashion show.
    • In "Rarity Takes Manehattan", it happens to Rarity again. She runs into an old acquaintance, Suri Polomare, at a fashion show and gives her some of her custom fabric to use for accents on her designs. Suri proceeds to use all the fabric to completely remake her dresses, and then takes credit for creating the fabric, forcing Rarity to remake her own dresses from scratch so it won't look like she's making knockoffs. In this case, it's less a case of unchecked greed, and more a potential rival intentionally screwing Rarity over and plagiarizing her all in one go.
  • The title character of Rocko's Modern Life is also a victim of this. In one episode, when he is walking in his kitchen during the night, he lets a passing bug walk by, giving Flecko the fly a chance to take advantage of this by unofficially inviting the rest of the bugs (who were held captive by Ed Bighead) in Rocko's house.
  • The Simpsons has several specific examples, but Bart and Homer have this trope as character traits.
    • Bart often does this whenever his parents give him a break. At one point he is denied pizza for another prank, after which Homer gives him a slice anyway so long as he promises to be good. Bart obviously lied, to the point that his behavior degrades to completely random and unsatisfying acts of destruction simply due to the knowledge that Homer will let him get away with it. Homer finally snaps and gives Bart a genuine punishment. This discipline is implied to have positive effects on Bart's life directions in the future.
    • Homer's infinite borrowing from Ned Flanders. It's been phased out, but Homer borrowed everything from a TV tray to tools to the downstairs bathtub, and actually considers it a point of pride that he's not returned any of it.
    • When Bart gets an elephant, Homer feeds it by taking it to Moe's bar, where Moe offers free peanuts to encourage people to drink.
      Moe: [dragging in a giant bag of peanuts] I think you're taking unfair advantage of my generous offer.
    • The episode "Kill Gil, Vols. I and II" has hardcore Straw Loser Gil Gunderson staying in the Simpsons' home and mooching off them to the point of rage for almost a whole year after one act of kindness to Lisa got him fired from his work on Christmas Eve and Marge offered him to stay the night with them.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants falls victim to this a lot.
    • One time Squidward quits his job over an argument with Mr. Krabs and ends up on the street. SpongeBob takes Squidward in, and though initially grateful, Squidward becomes a Spoiled Brat who refuses to even leave his bed and forces SpongeBob to wait on him hand and foot. Eventually, SpongeBob snapped and dragged him back to the Krusty Krab to get him his job back.
    • A few episodes revolve around SpongeBob trying to get past being an Extreme Doormat to the whole of Bikini Bottom, but realizing he is okay with being stepped on (sometimes literally).
    • Another episode revolves around SpongeBob gaining a large amount of wealth. What starts as him buying someone an ice cream evolves to him basically throwing money to an enormous crowd of moochers.
    • In "The Sponge Who Could Fly", after SpongeBob gains the ability to fly, he initially uses it to save people in danger, but the people eventually pester him into doing tasks they could do themselves and have nothing to do with flying (such as cleaning Mr. Krabs' garage, helping Larry pick out a tie, balance Mrs. Puff's checkbook, etc.). This is where SpongeBob ditches them and head to Jellyfish Fields, and the people angrily hunt him down while demanding he do their stuff.
    • In the episode "Krusty Towers," Mr. Krabs starts the eponymous hotel with the policy "We shall never deny a guest, even the most ridiculous request." When Squidward gets sick of waiting on Patrick hand and foot, he quits his job... and promptly returns as a guest and milks the policy for all it's worth.

 
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Cricket's Tickets

Cricket takes advantage of the neighborhood children and forces them into giving up their belongings to see which one of them will get the other ticket to The Barnacle Banquet.

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