Author Topic: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks  (Read 7507 times)

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cheyne

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"Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« on: February 27, 2012, 06:51:16 PM »
I have tried to google this and have not been able to find it addressed.  When one is invited to a hosted event, is it rude to "upscale" your normal food/drink choices?  I am trying to get opinions on this, to see if there is any regional differences or generational differences, or possibly there will be a consensus.

First example: I am invited to Mr. and Mrs. Smith's anniversary party.  The Smiths are hosting it at a restaurant and allowing guests full menu choices. 

1)  If I would normally eat the chicken or fish dish for $20. is it rude of me to order the Lobster Amandine for $45.? 

2)  I normally don't drink wine with dinner (or much at all), but decide to order a glass with this meal.  Is this rude?

Second example:  I am invited to the wedding of Bill and Kathy.  There is a full open bar at the reception. 

3)  I normally drink rail Whiskey and seven-up at $3.50 a glass when I pay for my own drinks. Is it rude of me to order Top Shelf whiskey and seven-up at $7.50 per glass?

4)  When paying for myself out on the town I normally quit at 3 drinks.  Since it's a hosted bar is it OK for me to drink 5 drinks?

Does your answer change if the event is hosted by a company or corporation?  Or if the hosts know your personal tastes in food and how much/what you normally drink?

whatsanenigma

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2012, 07:00:08 PM »
Personally, I think that were I hosting such an event, I wouldn't make the choices so open if I didn't have enough money to comfortabley pay for anything my guests might do.  And if I had enough money to do that, I would think that I would actually be happy if my guests really enjoyed themselves by getting a treat that they ordinarily wouldn't get for themselves.

The exception to this would be, I think, if a guest who has never actually had, for example, lobster,and ordinarily would get chicken, decides to try the lobster because it is on my dime and then makes a big deal over how gross it is and throws it out and demands I pay a second time for something else. Or if a guest made a big deal out of the thing, loudly saying to everybody "I usually get the chicken but I'm getting the lobster because enigma is paying, ha ha ha!" in a way that shows they are clearly taking advantage.

I guess the one other thing I would object to is if someone got really badly drunk on my dime if ordinarily they would not get obnoxiously drunk if they were the ones paying.  Other than those things, if a guest is otherwise polite and really is enjoying what they get on my dime, I think I would find no problems, and in fact, be pleased, especially if on the way out they said how much they enjoyed the food, drinks, whatever.  IMHO as usual.

Venus193

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2012, 07:02:43 PM »
If your host allows full menu choices, feel free to order whatever you want.  By allowing full menu choice the host -- whether it's Mr & Mrs Smith or Widget, Inc., is taking the risk that everyone will order Lobster Amandine and Dom Perignon.  And behave graciously.

I am a New Yorker.  And very proud of it.

Fleur-de-Lis

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2012, 07:05:21 PM »
My answers are as follows:

1) no, as long as you know you like lobster and enjoy the treat. Ordering it just to try it on somebody else's dime would be rude.
2) no
3) moderately
4) no (which is to say, yes, upping the drink count would, in my estimation, be rude - the phrasing of the question changed!).

Part of proper etiquette is *receiving* generosity with grace.  This includes walking a fine line between accepting your host's generosity and abusing your host's generosity. 
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Instantkarma

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2012, 07:10:01 PM »
If your host allows full menu choices, feel free to order whatever you want.  By allowing full menu choice the host -- whether it's Mr & Mrs Smith or Widget, Inc., is taking the risk that everyone will order Lobster Amandine and Dom Perignon.  And behave graciously.

I am a New Yorker.  And very proud of it.


I dont know whwat that has to do with anything??

I think it is rude to order more than you normally would because someoen else is paying for it.  To me that is taking advantage of their hospitality.

Fleur-de-Lis

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2012, 07:15:46 PM »
If your host allows full menu choices, feel free to order whatever you want.  By allowing full menu choice the host -- whether it's Mr & Mrs Smith or Widget, Inc., is taking the risk that everyone will order Lobster Amandine and Dom Perignon.  And behave graciously.

I am a New Yorker.  And very proud of it.


I dont know whwat that has to do with anything??

I think it is rude to order more than you normally would because someoen else is paying for it.  To me that is taking advantage of their hospitality.

The OP was trying to get a sense for whether the answers reflected variance by region, etc.  I believe the poster was providing information for that breakout.

For mine, I'm in California.
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Venus193

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2012, 07:16:42 PM »
The regional issue came up.

I do love lobster and eat it whenever I have the chance.  Provided it's de-shelled so as not to be messy, of course.

FoxPaws

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2012, 07:29:50 PM »
I was taught that it's rude to order the most expensive thing on the menu when someone else is treating and as far as I'm concerned, that rule applies no matter how many guests are invited. The exception would be if the hosts themselves were urging everyone to try the lobster or the top shelf liquor.

I am from Texas, but my stance on this is not necessarily the norm. Open bars at weddings are on the decline here because too many people seem to think that someone else picking up the tab is a free pass to get plastered. For that matter, I can't remember the last time I saw a full menu offered at an event; having seen the way some people act around free food, I can understand why.
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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2012, 07:43:51 PM »
I was taught that it's rude to order the most expensive thing on the menu when someone else is treating and as far as I'm concerned, that rule applies no matter how many guests are invited. The exception would be if the hosts themselves were urging everyone to try the lobster or the top shelf liquor.

POD.  I think that one should stick with their normal ordering pattern unless urged to splurge by the host.  It's essentially the dining version of gift-grabby. 

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2012, 07:53:16 PM »
I have tried to google this and have not been able to find it addressed.  When one is invited to a hosted event, is it rude to "upscale" your normal food/drink choices?  I am trying to get opinions on this, to see if there is any regional differences or generational differences, or possibly there will be a consensus.

First example: I am invited to Mr. and Mrs. Smith's anniversary party.  The Smiths are hosting it at a restaurant and allowing guests full menu choices. 

1)  If I would normally eat the chicken or fish dish for $20. is it rude of me to order the Lobster Amandine for $45.? 

2)  I normally don't drink wine with dinner (or much at all), but decide to order a glass with this meal.  Is this rude?

Second example:  I am invited to the wedding of Bill and Kathy.  There is a full open bar at the reception. 

3)  I normally drink rail Whiskey and seven-up at $3.50 a glass when I pay for my own drinks. Is it rude of me to order Top Shelf whiskey and seven-up at $7.50 per glass?

4)  When paying for myself out on the town I normally quit at 3 drinks.  Since it's a hosted bar is it OK for me to drink 5 drinks?

Does your answer change if the event is hosted by a company or corporation?  Or if the hosts know your personal tastes in food and how much/what you normally drink?

I live in Minnesota, was raised in Wisconsin.

1. Yes, I think so. I think you should take your cue from what the hosts order, if possible, and go from there.
2. No, I don't think so, unless it was a $100 glass of wine.
3. No, but I also wouldn't go overboard on it, either.
4. Yes, but if 5 drinks is going to cause you to be smashed, then I would refrain.

Fleur-de-Lis

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2012, 08:01:03 PM »
I was taught that it's rude to order the most expensive thing on the menu when someone else is treating and as far as I'm concerned, that rule applies no matter how many guests are invited. The exception would be if the hosts themselves were urging everyone to try the lobster or the top shelf liquor.

I am from Texas, but my stance on this is not necessarily the norm. Open bars at weddings are on the decline here because too many people seem to think that someone else picking up the tab is a free pass to get plastered. For that matter, I can't remember the last time I saw a full menu offered at an event; having seen the way some people act around free food, I can understand why.

My boss made it easy on us for the holiday lunch - we went to a *very* nice restaurant, and the staff received "Occasion menus" which listed the three (each) appetizer/entree/dessert options -- but no prices. While we ordered from a somewhat limited menu, the restriction may have been the restaurant's doing (i.e., a "party" menu) rather than a limitation my boss placed on the staff.
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WillyNilly

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2012, 08:11:35 PM »
I'm from New York and that made me smile  :D New Yorkers have lots of reputations all over the map - literally and figuratively. But one reputation that's true, and that we're proud of, is hosting big.

I say when hosted,it your obligation as a guest to njoy yourself to the fullest while presenting your best self. So you may indulge in decadent food and quality beverages, but you do so with warth, cheer ad good intentions, not with greed or negativity.

When I host I am careful to do so within my means, but once I've budgeted, gosh darn I want my money well spent! I want my guests to leave full and a little bit (happily) drunk. So I say as a guest I try to have what I honestly want but not just for the sake of having it. If the lamb really does sound thebest, I'm not going to stress the higher price, but if the salmon sounds better I'm not going to get the lamb just because I can.

But one should go and accept hospitality with enthusiam. Enjoying what's provided is showing your hosts success.

I will certainly say, I'm paying for top shef open bar at my wedding. The price is preset - the more my guests drink the better a value I purchased.  ;D Same with the food - whether everyone orders steak or vegetarian lasagne for dinner, I'm paying the same, so I hope my guests live it up and have a great time.

« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 08:23:47 PM by WillyNilly »

cheyne

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2012, 08:40:05 PM »
Personally, I think that were I hosting such an event, I wouldn't make the choices so open if I didn't have enough money to comfortabley pay for anything my guests might do.  And if I had enough money to do that, I would think that I would actually be happy if my guests really enjoyed themselves by getting a treat that they ordinarily wouldn't get for themselves.

The exception to this would be, I think, if a guest who has never actually had, for example, lobster,and ordinarily would get chicken, decides to try the lobster because it is on my dime and then makes a big deal over how gross it is and throws it out and demands I pay a second time for something else. Or if a guest made a big deal out of the thing, loudly saying to everybody "I usually get the chicken but I'm getting the lobster because enigma is paying, ha ha ha!" in a way that shows they are clearly taking advantage.

I guess the one other thing I would object to is if someone got really badly drunk on my dime if ordinarily they would not get obnoxiously drunk if they were the ones paying.  Other than those things, if a guest is otherwise polite and really is enjoying what they get on my dime, I think I would find no problems, and in fact, be pleased, especially if on the way out they said how much they enjoyed the food, drinks, whatever.  IMHO as usual.

The bolded statement actually happened to me!  Fifteen years ago my DH worked for a privately owned lumber/home improvement store.  The manager took the employees and their SO's to a nice restaurant for the Christmas party.  There were only 6 employees (13 of us total) and we were given the regular menu and told to order what we wanted.  Pam's (the store secretary) boyfriend Brad ordered 2 lobster tails (by far the most expensive thing on the menu).  When they came out he cut off a small piece, took one bite and said "Ugh, I wanted to try lobster.  It tastes terrible.  Good thing I ate at McD's before coming here!"

I was appalled.  I was sitting directly across the table from Brad and I clearly heard every word he said, as did everyone else at the table.  (This next part may throw me into Ehell and I will gladly go)  I looked at Brad and asked, "Are you sure you don't want to eat those?"  He replied that he thought they were terrible and he wasn't going to eat them.  I said, "Well pass the plate over here then, I don't want that lobster to go to waste!"

Brad passed the plate to me and I ate the lobster plus the shrimp I had ordered.  (I did offer some lobster to my DH and Chuck, another employee who was sitting on my left but they both declined).  So the lobster didn't go to waste, but I thought that Brad's actions were atrocious. 

The next year for Christmas, we went to a different restaurant and were told the top $ limit we could order.

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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2012, 09:04:32 PM »
I was taught that it's rude to order the most expensive thing on the menu when someone else is treating and as far as I'm concerned, that rule applies no matter how many guests are invited. The exception would be if the hosts themselves were urging everyone to try the lobster or the top shelf liquor.

POD.  I think that one should stick with their normal ordering pattern unless urged to splurge by the host.  It's essentially the dining version of gift-grabby.

Exactly this. During a normal evening out on someone's dime, I'll try to stick to the middle of the menu, but I've been at dinners and weddings like WillyNilly describes, and gleefully indulged as directed, but it was because the host said "live it up!", not because I made a blanket assumption that "Hey, Bob's paying, time to try that $76 entree!".
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Re: "Upscaling" Hosted Dinners and Drinks
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2012, 09:28:03 PM »
I cannot imagine doing this unless encouraged to do so by my host(ess) and even then would keep it modest. Nor would I ask if it's OK to 'upscale' as my host(ess) might feel put on the spot and unable to say no.