Wine Soaked Guest

by admin on January 6, 2014

My husband has a very good friend, J, whom he met in college. After graduating with their bachelors, J moved back to his home state (on the east coast, we are on the west coast in same state as the college). J’s cross country move was approximately 5 to 6 years ago. Since then, both J and my husband married and have homes.

Obviously it is rare to have a visit from J, so my husband is so excited anytime they get to see each other. This holiday, J and his wife and little girl came to our state for a visit (they stayed with relatives, coming to see us for dinner, etc as we are an hour from where they were staying).  The first visit at my home was wonderful, I put out a nice display of snacks, drinks, and made lasagna. My husband was so delighted I hosted his good friend so generously.

One evening J and his wife had come over for an informal movie in our living room, once again I laid out snacks, as it was after dinner time. I forgot to take the soda out, so my husband, says, “We have water, this soda, that soda, iced tea, or juice.”  J takes a soda. Wife hems and haws, then walks over to my husband at the fridge and spies my wine (this was a gift from my friend to me) and says, “Oooo, wine! I’ll take that!” Husband looks at me, but I was so shocked at a guest asking for something that I felt like I had to okay it, or I would be seen as a bad hostess. So my husband fetches the wine opener, she takes it from him and opens. Then pours herself a glass. .. that would be considered two glasses at a restaurant. Ok… That was rude. Nothing to be done though, I did allow a glass.

Movie is on, then she says, “Mmmm, this is good,” while walking towards the bathroom (and that is also the direction of the kitchen), “I’m totally having more of this!” Swoops past bathroom, opens fridge again and pours another gigantic glass. At this point I pinched my husband hard, as he looked at J’s wife in shock at her blatant rudeness. Hubby says, “Wow, you should stick to water now or you might not remember the movie. ”

Well, he tried. I was at a loss because J is hubby’s very good friend and I’m afraid of offending him. ..shouldn’t he have noticed his wife mooching?
Movie is 2/3 way through, and J’s wife gets up, which I think is to pet my cat who is sitting in the kitchen. She does pet the cat for a while, but then opens the fridge, pours THE REMAINING WINE into her glass. I say, “Is that all gone? Are you serious?? That’s.. just.. crazy…” I don’t get to finish because she hugs me and exclaims, “I love you! You are so pretty, and nice. And you work so hard.”   Ugh, now this girl is giddy drunk off my wine. I knew I was ready to rip her a new belly button so I said I have a very early client, thank you for coming, I’m going to bed, hubby will be here.

The next day, my husband felt very bad. He said he was in shock at her behavior and didn’t know why J didn’t handle her, like he has in the past (so apparently this is not an isolated incident of taking advantage). He said he didn’t want to ruin their trip, that he never sees J, and that the wife won’t be visiting again this trip. I know it is only a bottle of wine, but how rude is that! I would never impose such a thing onto a host, and then to help oneself to an entire bottle of wine! Once again, it’s just… crazy! Did I make a mistake even allowing her a glass? I never would have dreamed she would help herself after that, or I never would have approved in the first place. My husband’s only idea as to why she thought this was okay was that in college, J and he would help themselves to each other’s fridges. Yeah, in a bachelor pad over 5 years ago. Is that a valid excuse? I personally don’t think so. What could I have said that would have been a polite way to have handled the situation? I.e. What does a polite spined person do here? 0104-14

Js wife was inexcusably rude and presumptuous to first decline the offered choices in beverages, to ask for wine and then to be a pig about drinking all of it.   Had I been in your shoes, I would have told her the truth, “This bottle was a gift from a friend and it is being saved for a special occasion.  Would you like a Pepsi instead?”

It is not the host’s obligation to cater to every whim and desire of guests.  Your hospitality was flawless and generous but unfortunately you came head to head with a greedy, inconsiderate, selfish guest who could not take the hints being given by her hosts that her behavior was a tad over the top.   Now you know to hide the good stuff whenever they come again.

{ 178 comments… read them below or add one }

Huh January 7, 2014 at 11:35 am

A couple of people said something above about expecting to be served beer/wine at a movie night at friends’ house and it’s odd the OP didn’t. Not everyone drinks the same things you drink, and even if they do, might not have it on hand that day. I am a tea drinker (it’s honestly about the only thing I drink) and I think only one of my friends does as well. If I want tea when I visit most of them, I’m out of luck. If I want it, then I have to bring it – and sometimes I do, otherwise I drink what is offered, even if the only thing I like for the choices is water. Maybe some of them do have tea stashed away in their cupboards, but I don’t go searching for it or demanding it.

A couple of other people also said well, what if it wasn’t wine, was a soft drink or something else, would people still make a big deal about J’s wife taking the whole thing. I enjoy cheesecake. So let’s say I had a cheesecake that I sat out at a movie night with friends and said, “Guys, help yourself to some cheesecake.” If one person ate the entire cheesecake, yes, I would think they were rude. I would think it was rude if they heard “help yourself” and took that to mean, “consume the entire thing when there are three other people here.”

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WMK January 7, 2014 at 11:43 am

Asking for something that was not offered to you is quite rude.

I’m more concerned about the fact that J’s wife got sloppy drunk at the home of OP and her husband and J did nothing about it.

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acr January 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm

@ Abby – I don’t think that Mrs J was rude for finishing the bottle over the course of a few hours. It would have been rude for her to have consumed the whole bottle with in a few minutes while not giving others opportunity to have some. I think a lot of people would assume, “Oh, nobody else is in the mood for wine, I’ll have another glass,” not “Nobody else is drinking OMG I am committing a huge social faux pas here!”

One poster mentioned cake. Yes, it’s rude to grab 3 slices of cake or to cut yourself a huge slice when the cake is first being served. But if you have a piece of cake when it is offered, then maybe have a second piece an hour later, then you have a third piece an hour after that, I don’t think it’s rude. You have given everybody ample time to have cake and to have seconds of cake before you take your third helping. I also don’t think it’s rude in that situation to take the last piece. I assume that if the hosts wanted to save some cake for later, they would put it away. Is it rude to eat the last cracker on the tray? The last Coke from the cooler? When hosts put something out to be consumed, I think guests should take it at face value that it’s meant to be consumed. You take a single portion at first, to make sure there is enough to go around. Sure, I’ve had guests finish off the last soda or the last of the pie or the last of the pot roast and thought, “Gee, I wish I had some leftovers of that” but that doesn’t at all make my guests rude.

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Tanya January 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm

@Abby– with regard to your conjecture that: “OP’s husband was standing in front of the open fridge saying, we’ve got tea, we’ve got Sprite, we’ve got Diet Coke, and J’s wife came up behind him, saw the contents within the fridge (that was open) and spied the wine. In her very minimal defense, it is possible J’s wife thought he was going to list every beverage in the fridge and just hadn’t gotten to the wine yet.”

I don’t really read the OP’s post like that. She said “I forgot to take the soda out, so my husband, says, ‘We have water, this soda, that soda, iced tea, or juice.’ J takes a soda. Wife hems and haws, then walks over to my husband at the fridge and spies my wine (this was a gift from my friend to me) and says, ‘Oooo, wine! I’ll take that!’”

I interpret that as the husband standing at the fridge, saying “we have X, Y, and Z.” He finishes his sentence and waits with the fridge door open for J and Wife to make a choice. J clearly knew which items were on offer, and chose a soda. The wife also knew, because she “hems and haws,” apparently not liking any of the things that were offered. THEN she walked over to the fridge and saw the wine. That’s what I think makes her rude. If she really had been standing there and there had been some question about what was being offered, then I agree she would’ve been clueless, but not necessarily rude.

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Whodunit January 7, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Some of the his is perspective on how to act in someone else’s home — I know hosts for instance that don’t openly offer a thing and then when you finally say ” can I get a drink” they are all up in your face saying ” man , you don’t have to ask for anything — you go get whatever you want! My food is your food, you just go in there and find yourself something”. :) these are the same people that will help themselves to YOUR refrigerator too, cause they think that’s appropriate.

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Deb January 7, 2014 at 12:33 pm

“or offered her the Yellow Tail instead.” You mean you had other (inexpensive/not special) wine available and did not simply divert her to it? There’s a concept called mitigating your damages…

Also, any comparison between this and someone raiding your 20-year-old bourbon or your grandfather’s favorite cognac is disingenuous. The latter is a crime on a whole ‘nuther level.

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Kristi January 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm

While the hostess clearly perceived her guest’s request for the (non-offered) wine as rude, I really don’t. Nor do I think she has a drinking problem, her only problem may have been to have assumed that she was a closer friend than OP views her. Maybe it’s the area of the country where I live (grew up in MN, now live in Milwaukee, WI) but our social structure is very alcohol oriented, and I cannot think of a time I was a guest at someone’s home, whether for a Packer party or a dinner party or a movie watching night, where alcohol wasn’t offered. I realize that to some people, having one or two alcoholic beverages a year is normal, but please don’t leap on the ‘oh she’s an alcoholic’ bandwagon with such scant evidence and when it’s clear that your view is personal bias. Maybe this all could have and should have been handled differently (OP making it clear the wine was off limits because it had been a gift, guest not asking for something not offered) but as others have said, these people made an effort to visit your home multiple times and apparently there is a long friendship between at least your husband and the couple, why would you be so petty as to hold a bottle of wine against her? Plus, the part where OP thought she was visiting the bathroom or petting the cat but she actually visited the kitchen to refill her glass sounds overly dramatic and a bit mean spirited – as though she were deliberately trying to trick you so she could grab that bottle of wine before you could wrestle it away from her. I’m thinking this woman, for whatever reason, is not someone you especially like, even before ‘winegate’.

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admin January 7, 2014 at 1:56 pm

A guest’s perception of the closeness of relationship is irrelevant. Regardless of the relationship status, kind, thoughtful people do not assume that an entire bottle wine is theirs to consume. A can or small bottle of soda, yes…..because it is a serving size container. But a full bottle of wine contains at least 4 servings and no one should have an expectation that the bottle of wine is solely theirs to enjoy. It’s called not being a pig.

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Yet Another Laura January 7, 2014 at 1:32 pm

I enjoy a good glass of wine and I have on occasion with friends at movie night consumed the equivalent of a bottle of wine over several hours.

J’s wife sounds like a practitioner of “If it’s not nailed down, it’s mine. If I can pry it up, it’s not nailed down.” It’s not polite to go rooting through someone else’s fridge if the beverage selection is not complete enough. It’s fine to ask, “Got any…” and accept a no, it’s not fine to go searching.

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mrsvandy January 7, 2014 at 1:40 pm

I think J’s wife was very rude. I was always taught that you take whatever the host is willing to offer. Also the OP added some clarification, which to me compounds J’s wife’s rudeness.
From post #51: No one was drinking that night, it actually was agreed upon because so much money was spent between J , his wife, and my husband on food, restaurants, golf, a Lakers game, mostly by my husband because they were our guests. But J also wanted a low key night, and his wife’s New Year resolution was to quit all toxins, including cigarettes and alcohol. She succeeded in not smoking, I do give her kudos for that. It was New Years day, and all talked about having terrible hangovers.

So they had all agreed not to drink that night. No one else wanted to due to hangovers. It was J’s wife New years resolution to drink less. Yet she pretty much helps herself to a whole bottle? Very rude in my opinion.
I don’t think people should have to hide the good stuff. Guest should wait until something is offered and not presume to be entitled to anything the host may have. My husband is a scotch lover, his bottles range from $50-80 a bottle. He savors them and makes them last awhile, but his bottles are in plain sight. He would be devastated if someone just helped themselves and took a lot on top of that. He’ll share but on his terms. I really don’t think that one has to give the guests the good stuff just because they see it.

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So Many Sarahs January 7, 2014 at 1:44 pm

To add something I haven’t seen yet — IMHO the best way to resolve this situation is that J really ought to replace the wine. Hopefully the same brand and year, but if that’s too difficult to find, something equivalent. Failing that, OP’s husband should do the same, since it was his friends.

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Rap January 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm

“If you want to get warm buzzes (I take it to mean drunk) at home, it’s fine with me. But not in my home and on my wine.”

Then when a guest asks you to open the wine, you say no. But the OP DID open the wine, and the guest, per the OP, was not sneakily refilling her glass, she was announcing “I’m having more of this” and NO ONE said no.

I personally think the guest was wrong to ask for the wine when it wasn’t initially offered, but once the OP is allowing her to fill a glass, is it any more rude than a guest getting two refills on an eight ounce glass of soda pop? (about the equivalent amount of liquid)

If you don’t want a drunk guest, then obviously don’t serve alcohol. But was the guest rude to go back for seconds without expressly asking permission? I don’t require that of my guests.

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MichelleP January 7, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Completely agree with admin and OP. Jane was rude. It doesn’t matter if “it’s in sight”. Would the same rule apply to anything else in the house? It’s ok for a guest to help themselves to my jewelry if I leave it by the sink? I was taught to never ask for anything, or help myself to anything that I wasn’t offered in someone else’s home. I won’t even open or help myself to anything in my immediate family’s home without asking.

As far as Jane being an alcoholic, that’s irrelevant to the post and not really the OP’s or anyone else’s business.

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op January 7, 2014 at 2:43 pm

I own that I made mistakes. I did just take it for a loss, I just enjoy ehell and thought you all would like to hear the story :)

I think some did not read the update, but some commented before it was made. It might clear details up.

It wasn’t a full meal.. We had dinner at pizza place before. So much assuming I had tell you the boring pizza detail. I see this in other posts too, but that makes ehell all the more fun!

I do appreciate everyone’s effort to post a comment. You made me think of sides I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. I must resist my urge to debate. I strive to develop a polite spine.

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acr January 7, 2014 at 2:54 pm

@ Admin – In this case I don’t agree, b/c others had plenty of opportunity (2+ hours) to consume and they chose not to. If an item is made available for consumption, and I am enjoying that item, am I required to limit myself to one serving, even if after an hour no one else has had some and I would like a second serving? Though I do think it would have been more considerate to say, “Would anybody like a glass of wine?” before she finished the bottle.

IMO, her asking for the wine (pushy and rude) and her consuming the bottle over the course of the evening are two seperate issues.

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admin January 7, 2014 at 5:12 pm

It is an established “rule” of being a guest that one does not take the last portion of any food item. Just because it is there to be consumed does not mean that a single person can monopolize it. Remember the story a few months ago where the hosts prepared crockpot mushrooms only to have 2 guests eat the entire dish?

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Abby January 7, 2014 at 3:15 pm

@ Tanya

Could have happened that way. My post was more to address the commenters that were saying that J’s wife had stood up, opened the fridge herself, and rummaged through it in the hopes of finding something better than what was offered.

I’ll not argue that she wasn’t impolite. She was. I don’t think she was impolite to the point of driving someone to want to “rip her a new belly button”, however.

@Deb-

““or offered her the Yellow Tail instead.” You mean you had other (inexpensive/not special) wine available and did not simply divert her to it? There’s a concept called mitigating your damages…”

I know right?? It seems to me more like J’s wife was looking to get a buzz rather than the fact that she had designs on that specific bottle of wine.

OP, you’ve gotten some pretty good advice here. It sounds like you are not still hung up on this incident so that is good. I’d chalk J’s wife up to being socially clueless, not malicious.

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AmyBeth January 7, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Even if OP was willing to let J have SOME of her wine that doesn’t give J the automatic right to have ALL of her wine. I once had a group of close friends over for a casual night of games and one of the things I offered was an economy club package of candy bars. There were about 20 in the package, along with many other snacks, and only 5 of us. The package was gone at the end of the night, which didn’t bother me, but I felt bad that my sons had asked for some and I told them that it was too close to bedtime and they could have them in the morning. Then my husband told me that all our guests but one had only eaten one or two. He had seen the last guest eat the rest. He had tried to set them aside when there were still a few left, and the guest went back for them, commenting “you put them out for the party.” I was floored by the rudenness. I didn’t think that one person would eat 15 candy bars (full size) when I offered them. I can imagine how floored OP was at having her whole, unoffered, bottle of wine gone at the end of the evening. She likely didn’t think there was harm in sharing her wine with J and afterwards was struck with the realization that there was none left.

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Tracy January 7, 2014 at 3:17 pm

acr said: “One poster mentioned cake. Yes, it’s rude to grab 3 slices of cake or to cut yourself a huge slice when the cake is first being served. But if you have a piece of cake when it is offered, then maybe have a second piece an hour later, then you have a third piece an hour after that, I don’t think it’s rude. You have given everybody ample time to have cake and to have seconds of cake before you take your third helping. I also don’t think it’s rude in that situation to take the last piece. I assume that if the hosts wanted to save some cake for later, they would put it away.”

Really? You really think it’s appropriate to take one serving of an intact cake, and if no one steps in to take another piece, or literally HIDE IT FROM YOU, continue to eat it all evening until you have finished the entire thing?

I’ve seen a lot of really interesting concepts here today. It’s rude or odd to invite people over to watch a movie and not offer alcohol? Things you don’t want your guests to consume should be hidden? Only an alcoholic could possibly drink four glasses of wine in one evening? Apparently I’m doing it all wrong. :-)

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Margo January 7, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I don’t see that Mrs J did necessarily have an expectation that the bottle was hers alone. She had three separate helpings over the course of an evening. The whole time the up to when the last glass was poured, the bottle was there and any one of the others could have drunk some of it. She may not even have noticed whether anyone else was drinking any .

I do think she was rude – the wine wasn’t offered to her, and the party had already agreed not to drink, so she shouldn’t have asked for it. I can however see that she might have thought that because the wine was in the fridge, it was something you would be happy to offer, and would have done so if it weren’t for the hangovers – ie that it wasn’t offered out of consideration for the hangover, not because it was special or not for sharing. I think particularly given the update about the amount of time the couples had spent together, the fact that drinking was a normal part of the social interaction, that it may have been more of an assumption a more casual approach was acceptable.

I’m also in the camp that drinking a whole bottle over the course of an evening, with food and snacks, is not an indication that someone is an alcoholic, or that they are drunk – I wouldn’t drink a whole bottle by myself in one night – but I can think of time when, over the course of a long evening with friends, I’ve consumed a similar amount (e.g. 2 bottles between 2of us, or 3 bottles between 3) and yes ‘warm buzz’ is a good description. Drunk is not.
(this doesn’t, of course, mean that Mrs J wasn’t drunk – just that the amount she drank does not automatically = drunk)

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AS January 7, 2014 at 3:19 pm

I think what we often say about wedding receptions holds true in this case too – it is not the host’s duty to serve you with alcoholic beverages. It is their responsibility to serve some kind of beverage, , and hopefully have an option; but it doesn’t have to be wine.

Secondly, you don’t consume the entire dish/beverage (unless it is a serving size) just by yourself in someone else’s house, regardless of whether the item was offered or forced.

If Mrs.J wants an alcoholic beverage, she should have asked the hosts if there is an alcoholic beverage option (that too, only if they are close enough; which apparently at least J and host were), and not just walked over to the fridge and asked to take the bottle of wine.

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OP January 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Bloo… I was joking. I included a bean dip that made fun of my own post. Maybe I’m not as clever as I thought. To clear this up, I am so lucky to have a wonderfully close relationship with my husband who is also my neat friend. We do know reach others limits. I realize not everyone has or wants this dynamic in their own lives. But by no means was I abusing him, nor wild he ever dream of advising me. I consider myself a very lucky woman to have this.
However, when one writes a story, it should be at least a little compelling for the reader. I suppose I could have written, “then I got my husband’s attention with a pinch that was of sensible pressure, ” would be boring, at least in my opinion. I wad merely trying to show you, with humor, that it wasn’t what you assumed. Quit a lot of assuming happens on ehell, but it is hard to interpret text without the story tellers tone of voice. I assure you that the detail you picked out was not a problem, but it was off topic. I’m still developing my polite spine you see, and I was trying to steer you off a topic that was incorrectly assumed and would take the advice bring offered into a domestic violence discussion. It was also my way of diffusing my feelings, which were offended that it was assumed that I abused my husband. BUT that’s also off topic and your right to post. With that said, I apologize for offending you.

I’d never think I could get so many responses!! Wow! :)

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OP January 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm

** not neat friend, but meant to write **best friend. Neat could be interpreted in so many ways, ahh!!

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OP January 7, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Lots of typos, forgive me. Abuse, not advise. Each, not reach. Damn smart phone :)

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JS January 7, 2014 at 4:20 pm

But I don’t see where Jane assumed the entire bottle of wine was solely hers to enjoy. Over the course of the movie (that is, over at least 90 mins), she had 4 drinks, which is the amount of wine in a bottle. She gave ample opportunity for someone else to have some wine. And, from Jane’s perspective, OP had now included the wine in the list of beverages available (yes, she was arguably rude for asking for the wine when it had not been offered). She wasn’t preventing anyone else from having the wine. It’s like the analogy to cake in post 104. As there is no reason for Jane to know that the OP wishes to revoke the offer, how is Jane’s behavior rude?

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Erin January 7, 2014 at 5:17 pm

I think now is a good time to remember that no one ever wins arguments over the internet.

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Miss-E January 7, 2014 at 5:26 pm

This is one of the most ridiculous threads I’ve ever seen on this site. How does a simple question of etiquette become accusations of alcoholism and spousal abuse?

Stick to the etiquette issue. It was rude of the woman to ask for the wine.

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Kristi January 7, 2014 at 5:42 pm

I think the OP has asked and gotten a plethora of advice, and has taken it all, especially the criticisms, with aplomb. Good for you OP in being open minded and trying to tell an interesting story! I would offer one more thing that struck me, and perhaps only me, but still I will say – if I were a guest and had somehow gained a glass of wine (can’t really say ‘offered’ as that was not the case here), when it was gone I would have probably expected my host/hostess to offer another ‘Oh you’ve finished your wine, would you like another glass or can I offer you something else?’ or at least as the hostess that’s what I would have done. Remember – this guest has no idea that she is drinking wine that was being saved as it was special, a gift from a friend.

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Rap January 7, 2014 at 5:52 pm

I think the difference, admin, is that while in the crockpot mushroom situation, the guests who gobbled down the entire crockpot ate an entire dish without giving anyone a chance to have some, while in this situation, op and other guests had ample opportunity to pour themselves a glass of wine. I agree the guest in question probably was out of line in finishing down the bottle (it sounds like she passed the warm buzz phase) but isn’t one of the rules of hosting to not be stingy?

Take the cake example. Everyone’s had a piece… does the host wrap up the rest and put it away? Or allow guests who want seconds to have at it? If not everyone wants a second piece, is it wrong of a guest to go for it? Everyone in this situation had the option of getting some wine. I personally wouldn’t go that deep into my cups in someone else’s home… But I also wouldn’t open the wine if I didn’t want my guest to have it.

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Alie January 7, 2014 at 6:00 pm

I can’t believe people are saying A) They’d be upset if not offered alcohol or B) that it’d be rude to say “On, not that, I’m saving that for a special occasion.

First, every social occasion or dinner does not require alcohol. I say this as a person who regularly does wine a cheese nights. Alcohol is expensive. Not to parody our high school classes – but you SHOULD be able to have a fun night without alcohol. If someone feels alcohol is necessary for every social occasion – that’s the sign of a problem.

Second, you can’t just help yourself to everything in the fridge. For instance, if you had an ice cream cake in your freezer that you were saving for your kid’s birthday, and you offered someone a Klondike bar and they swooped in on the cake, you would not have to give it to them. First, don’t ask for something that isn’t offered. Second, you can’t claim everything in someone’s fridge because you’re a guest. That makes no sense whatsoever.

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Kirsten January 7, 2014 at 6:06 pm

I’ve just noticed how quickly she is drinking. Even if she started drinking ages before the film began, she has her second big glass during the film and finishes the bottle when the film is 2/3 through. 2/3 a bottle of wine in 2/3 of a film? What are they watching, Spartacus? One bottle of wine isn’t an alcoholic to me, but she seems to be going much faster than I’d expect.

It honestly sounds to me as if she just wanted to get pissed the moment she got there. I don’t understand why she’d want to do that when they’d all agreed not to drink and when nobody else drank. But I do suspect she deliberately set out to get drunk.

I also agree with Tanya. Whether anyone else eats the cake or not…three pieces of cake? When nobody else is eating any? I wouldn’t say it was rude or wrong, but to me it just sounds a bit greedy and uncontrolled. So does necking a whole bottle of wine on your own in a room full of folk not drinking, way too quickly to appreciate it.

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Kirsten January 7, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Oops, I mean Tracy!

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Lisa January 7, 2014 at 6:30 pm

It’s also an established rule of hosting that you don’t shame a guest for consumption of… whatever.

In this case it was the wine. In the case of the cake would it be ok to exclaim, “You’d better stop eating that now or you’ll get fat!” Or have a stomach ache, or whatever. Or to exclaim, “OMG you ate the whole cake! That’s crazy!”

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Angel January 7, 2014 at 6:46 pm

In my opinion, if it’s out in the open and guests can see it, it’s fair game. I personally couldn’t imagine not offering my guests some kind of alcoholic beverage if I have it on hand.

If you didn’t want to serve the wine, you should not have had it out in the open, where your guest could see it.

That being said, your guest was rude for finishing the entire bottle by herself–but in a way you’re even more rude for reacting in that way to the empty bottle. You could have been a little more gracious–these are friends that you do not see all that often. I don’t know I guess I don’t feel that much sympathy for the OP or her husband. When you have people over your house as guests, you should make them feel welcome.

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JS January 7, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Ok – so the problem was Jane taking the last glass of wine, and asking for wine that wasn’t offered, but not drinking the other 3 glasses?

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SororSalsa January 7, 2014 at 7:20 pm

This post has made me realize that some guests have a lot of expectations about what constitutes “good hospitality” (not offering alcohol is unacceptable to some…as a person who drinks only occasionally and never at home, I’m definitely guilty of this). I always thought that offering some type of food and beverages was sufficient. I was also taught never to take anything that wasn’t offered to me, and NEVER to go into someone’s fridge unless given explicit instructions that I should help myself. Jane was rude. If everyone had been drinking, finishing a bottle of wine by herself might not have been such a faux pas. But when drinking something that she wasn’t offered in the first place, and then finishing the whole bottle when she wasn’t offered seconds is just flat out greedy.

Yes, the OP should have had more of a polite spine, but I’ve found that I am mostly struck mute in a situation like that, as I’m never expecting the presumptuous rudeness that some feel is perfectly acceptable in that type of situation.

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The TARDIS January 7, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Frankly, I would have said “I’m sorry, I’m saving that wine for something else. Would you like a Dr. Pepper instead?”

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Ergala January 7, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Goodness…..I remember growing up and my mother reminding my sister and I each time we were at someone’s home “You do not ask for ANYTHING. You say please and thank you when and if you are offered something.”. To this day I do not expect my host/hostess to offer me even a drink of water. I on the other hand always offer a drink and a snack, it’s how I was raised and is part of my family’s culture, but part of that was also that in someone else’s home as a guest you are just that….a guest. You don’t ask for anything and you help out your host/hostess or at least offer to help. Oh and you don’t arrive empty handed if you have been invited for dinner and you help clear the table. I knew our family was different because when my friends would come over they would demand soda, chips, would eat in the living room (something never allowed in our house and I had never heard of before….we ate in the dining room or kitchen) and never cleaned up after themselves. They didn’t know how to behave as a guest. They saw me eating my snack at the table but still sat on the couch spreading crumbs.

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Library Diva January 8, 2014 at 12:16 am

@Tracy and Deb — Of course, you shouldn’t HAVE to hide wine or other goodies you don’t want to share from guests. Some guests are like the nifflers from the Harry Potter books, though: they have a knack for unearthing and claiming your treasures. If you know someone with this tendency and you can’t or don’t want to end the association, hiding your stuff well out of sight when you entertain them at your home may just be the easiest thing to do. Hanging out with them only at a public place where they can purchase their own stinking refreshments, finding ways to bar access to your kitchen, or simply developing a stock list of phrases to prevent them from making off with your treats are also good options among many.

If you live in a rural area with the only restaurants within 50 miles being a McDonald’s and a $75-per-plate type place; if you have an open floor plan with the bathroom off the kitchen and the primary entertaining space being part of the same room as the kitchen; and if your friend is the type of smooth operator who will have it all wolfed down before you can even get a word in edgewise, hiding your stuff may be your only option. I agree, an unpleasant and far-from-ideal thing to have to do, but it should be effective, if for no other reason than your niffler friend is unlikely to search your sock drawer for wine and chocolates.

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AS January 8, 2014 at 12:29 am

@Angel – the wine wasn’t in open. It was in the fridge. A fridge that Jane wasn’t invited to look into either.
It is not as if people have several fridges at home, or a lot of hiding places in a fridge. I would not think of hiding things if I invite anyone who is more than 5 years old.

OP and her husband did make their guests feel welcome by offering them drinks. “Making guests feel welcome” does not mean that they have to be offered anything edible in the house, and the guests have the right to finish off food and drinks that were not offered. The hosts might have stuff that they’ll need… or maybe they were saving the wine for some special occasion, like say an achievement or anniversary (we often have wines saved for special occasions). They are not required to give away any or all of their food and drinks.

It is true that OP and hubby should have grown a polite spine, and said that the wine was from a friend that they wanted to enjoy with each other. Though in this case, they were probably too startled to respond.

Also, OP, maybe you should avoid adding non-obvious humor to your writing. We don’t know you, and people can misinterpret. I had learnt it the very hard way. I had been guilty of adding humor, and once, I had made a humorous comment at an informal presentation for my lab in graduate school. My adviser wasn’t around, and other labmates just pounced on me! And they even knew me well to know that I often exaggerate things for a comic effect, and the exaggeration was obvious in what I had said that time (I had asked others, and they said so too)!

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JackieJormpJomp January 8, 2014 at 5:03 am

@AmyBeth:
The guest ate 15 chocolate bars?!?!?!? Holy Dinah…. Yeah, you can’t plan for that….

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pdolly January 8, 2014 at 6:00 am

Why do people keep saying the wine was “out in the open”? It was in the fridge. Was the husband supposed to throw himself in front of the fridge screaming “You shall not pass!”? Is the OP supposed to have another fridge hidden in the back of her bedroom closet to hide things in during parties? Would it have been ok for her guest to have said “Ooo bacon, I’ll have some of that!”?

She’s not a toddler. You don’t have to hide everything from her. She was given options and decided that wasn’t enough for her. I’m going to be generous and assume she thought that if she drank everyone else would and that they’d have more fun. Unfortunately, she just became that sad, lone drinker at a party and looked rather pathetic.

It was rude of her to ask for the wine and she just went downhill from there.

I’m off to build a wine cellar and get a padlock for my fridge since that’s obviously the new protocol ????

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Alie January 8, 2014 at 8:33 am

Doing a little calculation, drinking a whole bottle of wine over 3 hours for say, a 150 pound woman would give you a BAC of at least 0.1 – which is drunk drunk (not passing out, but more than tipsy).

Who gets that drunk at a friend’s house while watching a movie? I’d argue that getting drunk like that (not even counting taking someone’s wine) is also rude.

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Rap January 8, 2014 at 8:57 am

SororSalsa – I totally don’t think its necessary to offer alcohol to guests. I usually, because I don’t invite people over a lot, will ask a guest ahead of time if they *want* there to be alcohol available, or if they have a particular beverage they like so I can have it on hand (I have some friends who are huge ice tea drinkers while I am so-so on it) but I don’t think it’s required, especially if you personally don’t drink. I have a friend who is an absolute teetotaller. I don’t expect alcohol to be offered at her home, she doesn’t drink and its not rude of her to not offer it. I think an earlier poster summed up what happened here, they had the fridge open as the guest was being offered beverages from the fridge and the guest spotted the wine and assumed it was on the list, and no one said no.

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Lo January 8, 2014 at 9:03 am

OP, if you had Yellow Tail, you definitely could have done a good diversion since no one else was drinking. Heck that’s inexpensive enough that I’d be fine with having a guest knock off a bottle by herself. Not that she should, just saying…

Even though I’m a wine person and as I mentioned before, it’s never occured to me not to offer a guest wine I’m also baffled that some people think it’s poor hosting to not offer it. If people don’t usually drink it they have no reason to have it on hand. People just coming over for a movie shouldn’t expect to have a special drink selection. It’s not as though it’s a party.

If you come to my place and you don’t want wine, beer, or a cocktail, you’re going to have to content yourself with water, (or milk if you’re game.) I’m not going to buy soda or lemonade or whatever just because some people are coming over for a casual evening. I just don’t drink much else besides water. If it’s a party, that’s different, but not for just a couple getting together for a movie. Wine and water are standard fare at my house when friends come by. If you don’t drink, you can have a mineral water or a sparkling water and if you don’t like bubbles you can have a glass of filtered water. I don’t think it makes me a bad host to not have a huge drink selection.

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bloo January 8, 2014 at 9:34 am

@Miss-E: it’s perfectly acceptable for me to make the comment that I made. the OP wrote her story sharing all of the etiquette violations of her friend. I was pointing out that I could not get past her own rudeness to her own husband to notice her friend’s boorishness.

The OP has responded that the wording she used was, essentially, misunderstood by me. Fine.

That exact same wording written by a man describing how he treated his wife would have been jumped on more quickly and by more than two posters, IMO.

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op January 8, 2014 at 10:26 am

Thanks, Miss E, that wad my point. I got some great insight from both sides that I appreciate. I also got a few that is really obvious that the thread was skimmed and not read entirely. Some comments are laced with self insecurities and lash out at someone in the story… But also normal for a public forum.

I think it wasn’t even my original post that made people go so off topic , it was each others responses!! I’ve seen this in other threads as well. If your read the whole darn long thing, you can see that some answer my question, some go off about details that weren’t really what I asked, and done clearly didn’t read. I’m sure there are plenty who did.

I got all the answers I need, thanks ehell and readers. Now I’m done with this thread, I hope your are too! :)

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scissorhands January 8, 2014 at 10:44 am

@ bloo : your off topic, on an etiquette board, and don’t acknowledge that you also owe an apology for incorrectly assuming. OP owned it, you did not. It *is* an etiquette discussion that you haven’t had the best etiquette about
. It was pointed out that it was irrelevant, accept others opinions as you expect them to respect yours. Being outraged at joke related to ehell? I think it is personal to you, and not to this story. While I hope you are not involved in any abuse, I think your response to an apology you didn’t really need (IMO) was not ideal. Just say oops mistake or nothing. You never apologized for assuming incorrectly. You rudely responded to another. You put your foot in your mouth, she allowed you to take out out, but you put it right back in. Not polite.

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livvy17 January 8, 2014 at 10:52 am

the guest was rude to ask for something that wasn’t offered.

Other than that, I disagree with the Admin’s view that the level of friendship doesn’t affect the “rules” by which we behave. Sounds like J’s wife felt they were all very good friends – which OP supports with her own subsequent posts – and that drinking amoung them was a very common situation.

If I had been hanging out happily with good friends from college (wife was buddies with J and Hubby) for the better part of a week, I’d probably slacked off about the formalities too. Had all their previous evenings, which included alcohol, been conducted more formally?

For those talking about alcoholism – get real. 0.1 may be drunk as far as driving a car is concerned, but it’s not drunk as far as behavior goes. I myself drink pretty rarely, maybe 5 or 6 drinks in a month, but it’s possible that 3 or even all of those drinks might be consumed in an evening. (Think Super bowl Sunday, or New Year’s Eve.) I’d hardly think that qualifies me to be an alcoholic. I also drink more often on vacation. Again, I don’t see a problem with that. I might also drink more if I were hanging out with old college drinking buddies. (we tend to forget that our bodies can’t handle that anymore.)

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hakayama January 8, 2014 at 11:46 am

post 148
Dear OP: [Raises hand happily. ;-) ] I read your narrative in detail. Right down to the mostly overlooked, but significant details of how Mrs. J covered up her refilling trips to the fridge, and how carefully kept the wine out of reach of the rest of the gathering. She wanted it all for herself. Even after having made New Year’s resolutions. Thank you for the entertaining story.
I do not envy J nor your DH the situation they’re in now. I know in my “heart of hearts” that in the future I’d rather not participate in any encounters with likes of the problematic and greedy Mrs. J.
Best of luck to you.

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Ellie January 8, 2014 at 11:53 am

Given the OP’s follow up information about that night’s gathering, maybe you could have easily brushed the whole thing off with a comment like ‘Hey, tonight’s our Detox Night, remember? No booze, no cigs, and look I even put out carrots so we can be healthy. Let’s start this year out right! We’re all partied out I wasn’t planning to open that wine tonight’. Or even ‘Ha ha J, you’re such a kidder, you are cracking me up, I know we all agreed that this was our no-booze night. So what kind of soda do you want?’

And I think it is totally reasonable after a holiday of over-spending, over-eating, over-drinking and all that to have a mellow movie night, especially since you all agreed to it before hand.

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LadyDesmond January 8, 2014 at 2:46 pm

OP – Your guest was rude on top of rude.

She could have stopped and bought wine on the way to your house and then offered it to the party. Or, she could have politely asked if you had any wine – or even, upon seeing the wine in your fridge have the common courtesy to ask, “Are you saving this for anything special?” (thus, giving the hosts an “out” if they didn’t want to serve that bottle).

Instead, she said “I’ll have that”, putting you on the spot. Once it was opened, you no longer had the option of saving the bottle for a special occasion.

Then, she compounded it by not asking for, but taking, the rest.

It has nothing to do (IMO) about whether or not one is obliged to her alcohol, how much is too much, or that OP “pinched” her husband.

If guest had one lick of sense she would have realized later that she’d gone overboard and sent you a gift bottle of wine as a “thank you” gift.

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