I love reading your site, and have learned a lot about mannerly behavior from it. So when a situation arose today that ended with my actions being labeled “rude”, I wanted to send the story in, and see if I was indeed at fault, and if so, what a better response would have been.
My family attended a potluck lunch today, and I brought a Mississippi mud cake, (one of my favorites), and was pleasantly surprised as the event was wrapping up to see that there were a couple pieces of cake left in my pan. I also noticed a certain lady, (C), sitting near the dessert table. Knowing that C makes a habit of taking things she didn’t bring home with her from potlucks, I decided to go ahead and pick up my leftovers.
As I lifted the pan off the table, C leaned in and said, “I’m taking some of that home.”
I replied, “Actually, it’s mine, so I’m taking it home. Sorry.”, and began to walk away.
As I did so, I heard C say, “Well, that was rude!” , but I didn’t know how to respond , so I just kept going.
I swear I didn’t say it meanly, or anything, but I did feel that since I paid for the ingredients and made the dessert, and because the luncheon was over, that if anybody was going to enjoy the remainder at home, it should be me and my family.
What do you think? Should I have phrased it better? Just let her have the cake? Or was I okay? I’m willing to hear whatever you have to say. 0223-15
There appears to be this presumption among certain people that once a food item appears on a potluck buffet, the owner/creator/chef loses all rights to it into perpetuity. People like C believe they are entitled to doggie bags without any reference to a courteous request to have a few leftovers. Upon seeing the cake being prepared for removal, C should have asked, “May I take a few pieces home with me? It was so good.” Instead she staked her claim of ownership with a declarative statement that challenged the OP’s right to do with her dessert as she saw appropriate. C then responds manipulatively and incorrectly with an accusation that the OP was rude–a common tactic of the clueless and entitled.
OP, you did nothing wrong. Ignoring C is definitely the best option just as it would be if one were confronted with spoiled, bratty child who made tantrums to get their way.