Author Topic: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?  (Read 18976 times)

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postalslave

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #30 on: February 19, 2013, 07:58:26 AM »
For 100$ a plate I hope that quiche was made of ostrich eggs with some sort of rare mushrooms picked by  specially trained sniffer cows lead by Monks :o

Seriously, 100$ for quiche is just offensive...

Jones

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #31 on: February 19, 2013, 08:04:01 AM »


Also, I can't imagine paying money for a meal without knowing what the food is going to be.
slightly off topic but really? Is it common to announce in advance what the meal will be at an annual dinner of this type? I'm assuming that the 100$ is not *just* to cover the meal but the dinner is some kind of fundraiser (at least, that's the type of dinner I'm used to) and social interaction
In my area, yes, it's common for the basic menu to be announced for a fundraiser. There are a lot of food allergies in my area though, I'll wager that an alternate drop will never take off here in part because of that. If my husband had ended up with a quiche, and eaten it, everyone nearby would have regretted it before dinner was over. On the other hand, most BBQ sauces have gluten in them, and I would have regretted eating in a few hours, so this dinner might have worked *for us* because we could have swapped with each other...but, I would have been peaved to shell out $100 for a quiche.

redberry

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #32 on: February 19, 2013, 08:10:26 AM »
For 100$ a plate I hope that quiche was made of ostrich eggs with some sort of rare mushrooms picked by  specially trained sniffer cows lead by Monks :o

Seriously, 100$ for quiche is just offensive...

I don't see how people can say that the $100 is just for quiche. According to the OP it was an annual formal dinner...that means that it was probably held at a nice venue and likel ywas at least three courses with drinks included - including wine and beer and so on as well. There may even have been entertainment.

Having organised these types of events in Western Australia in recent years for just these types of clubs I can say that the food cost is generally only about 50% of the ticket price and the rest is for the other items. So let's not create a false understanding that people pay $100 for a piece of quiche in WA and spend time getting all bent out of shape over a wrong understanding.

Roe

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #33 on: February 19, 2013, 08:17:49 AM »
First time I hear of the alternate drop.  It sounds like B-listing to me.

The men were not rude, the event organizer was rude, for sure!

Giggity

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #34 on: February 19, 2013, 08:18:14 AM »
I don't get why it's okay to swap with the guy across the table, but it's RUDE RUDE RUDE to swap with the guy sitting at the table next to you. Why is that?
Words mean things.

Miss Unleaded

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #35 on: February 19, 2013, 08:19:43 AM »
In my area, yes, it's common for the basic menu to be announced for a fundraiser. There are a lot of food allergies in my area though, I'll wager that an alternate drop will never take off here in part because of that. If my husband had ended up with a quiche, and eaten it, everyone nearby would have regretted it before dinner was over. On the other hand, most BBQ sauces have gluten in them, and I would have regretted eating in a few hours, so this dinner might have worked *for us* because we could have swapped with each other...but, I would have been peaved to shell out $100 for a quiche.

Another Australian here.  Just wanted to post that generally, if you have food allergies or other dietary requirements you can ask to be specially catered to.  The alternate drop is meant to give people a choice in what meal they get while managing expenses.  It works best when the two (or more) dishes are of equal value or desirability, so that swapping is kept to a minimum and is normally due to taste preferences.

Eg, a quick search online turned up the following:

Quote
Main Meal - choose two for alternate drop
Tender Beef Fillet w creamy mash, roasted baby truss tomatoes, baby spinach, sweet potato crisps & a red wine port jus
Basil & Pinenut Atlantic Salmon w a mix of roasted tomatoes, potatoes, spanish onion & a side of broccolini
Roasted Chicken Breast stuffed with prosciutto & camembert on a mixed herb risotto w asparagus & lemon cream sauce
Five Spice Pork Cutlet on a bed of rice noodles, seasonal vegetables w asian sauce
Lamb Shanks slow cooked, served on creamy potato mash w rosemary

or this:

Quote
(Please choose two options for alternate drop)
 
Herb rubbed chicken supreme set on mushroom polenta, baby leeks w/ thyme jus   
Slow Roasted Pork Scotch on pumpkin puree topped with braised red cabbage and jus
Baked South Island Salmon on a saffron and pea risotto finished with a red pepper oil
Seared Angus Fillet set on potato puree with Confit tomatoes with mushroom jus
**Vegetarian option can be arranged if required**

It doesn't normally turn out as badly as the few times the subject has come up on E-hell.  Those were exceptions to the rule, because the caterers did something odd (one dish for men, another for women) or because the value or appeal of the two dishes was widely different.

I don't actually like the alternate drop myself, mostly because it has the potential to go really wrong as we can see in this case, but please keep in mind that only the worst examples are being posted here!

As for the OP, I think the rudeness is mostly on whoever picked the menu.  Most Aussie men i know might (maybe!) have eaten the quiche for a starter but not as a main!  They are lucky there wasn't a riot!

bonyk

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #36 on: February 19, 2013, 08:33:56 AM »
I believe the Aussies who say that alternate drop is completely normal and even expected at catering halls.  However, it sounds like this demographic, for whatever reason, was unfamiliar with the practice.  Therefore, I can't really fault them.  If I were at an event I had payed to attend, and a waiter handed me a chicken dinner when I preferred beef, I would probably ask to switch too.

Niamh84

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #37 on: February 19, 2013, 08:54:02 AM »
I don't see how the men could be called rude - if this was their first experience of the Alternate Drop then they would have absolutely no way of knowing these rules.  I've certainly never heard of such a thing before here (Ireland) and would not hesitate to ask for the other dish if I thought both were on offer.

Moreover I think the invitation saying "BBQ meat dish or Quiche" was misleading as to me that would imply an option of either.  I would be looking for some money back also.  At the very least I would complain in order to discourage future events being organised this way.

There is a certain amount of "take what you're given" at hosted events - but an event you have paid for is different I think.

strawbabies

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #38 on: February 19, 2013, 08:58:21 AM »
I'm from the US and had never heard of an alternate drop, but the whole practice sounds rude to me!  What if I hate the dish I'm given and can't find anyone at the table who wants to trade?

postalslave

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #39 on: February 19, 2013, 09:06:23 AM »

I don't see how people can say that the $100 is just for quiche. According to the OP it was an annual formal dinner...that means that it was probably held at a nice venue and likely was at least three courses with drinks included - including wine and beer and so on as well. There may even have been entertainment.

I completely understand that the cover charge would most likely include drinks, dessert etc. What is offensive is what PP's brought up - the inequality of the dishes.

I don't care for quiche or BBQ however I know that a BBQ plate would cost *significantly* more than quiche. Let's say the options were fillet and salmon, or lamb and beef; those are in my opinion comparable dishes. I would not be offended.

Eggs vs meat? Sorry, that's not equitable at 100$/ person.

Venus193

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #40 on: February 19, 2013, 09:10:07 AM »
These two dishes were clearly a bad match for this practice.  However, I think if enough people protest this after the fact the caterers might consider a buffet, but a classy one.

I've been on the Forbes yacht for business parties several times.   Their buffet is served at the station, with chefs or sous-chefs carving the meat, ladling sides, etc.  A typical combination was roast beef, chicken, and salmon.  You could have all three or go back for seconds, but the portions were not gargantuan.

Emmy

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #41 on: February 19, 2013, 09:21:27 AM »
I have a hard time understanding the alternate drop.  It just makes more sense to me to have guests choose between two items and be pleased with what they get instead of randomly assigning a dish to each guest and having many of them being unhappy.  If one dish is usually lesser in value than the others, it does seem rude setting up an 'A' and 'B' list for guests.  I honestly don't see the advantage of the alternate drop over having guest choose between 2 menus ahead of time.  With all the food allergies and preferences out there, having an alternate drop seems to be asking for unhappy guests.

I do put most of the blame of the organizers.  It sounds as if the alternate drop was not included in the event description and that vegetarian quiche is a poor fit for meat loving Aussie men, especially if they paid $100 a ticket and have to see their companions eating the meat.  I really wonder what the organizers were thinking and why they thought half the group getting an inexpensive vegetarian meal would go over well.  It's hard to say if the complainers were rude.  I don't blame them for being disappointed and they were trying to resolve the problem in the quickest way possible so they could get their meat.    However, I do think it was selfish and shortsighted if they knew the last tables would wind up with all the quiche.  I do think the organizers should give those who got the quiche at least a partial refund.  If they organize an event with an alternate drop in the future, they should make sure both dishes are desirable to the group.

Zilla

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #42 on: February 19, 2013, 09:22:39 AM »
If the alternate drop was advertised and acknowledged before the tickets were purchased, then yes those men that asked for the other dish were rude.  And yes the ones that didn't get to experience the "alternate drop" at the later served tables get their money back.


If it was a complete surprise, then no the men weren't rude for swapping and anyone that got served quiche and wants their money back? Yes.


I can tell you that if anything I paid for had this custom, I would decline.  If it was a wedding/party that I did not pay for, then I wouldn't mind.  Especially since I don't eat red meat so I would prefer the chicken or quiche.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 09:25:35 AM by Zilla »

rose red

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #43 on: February 19, 2013, 09:29:00 AM »
I think it's horrible and unfair.  Why can't they serve smaller portions of both so everybody gets equal food?  Or budget (or charge accordingly) for the same food?

It's insulting to pay the same amount of money and not get the same food, or at least get to choose.

eta: even if you don't care about the cost (I prefer Quiche to BBQ), I don't like not knowing what I'm going to end up with. 
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 09:34:05 AM by rose red »

Queen of Clubs

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Re: The Alternate Drop - aka Can I Demand the "Other" Meal?
« Reply #44 on: February 19, 2013, 09:30:52 AM »
I don't see how the men could be called rude - if this was their first experience of the Alternate Drop then they would have absolutely no way of knowing these rules.  I've certainly never heard of such a thing before here (Ireland) and would not hesitate to ask for the other dish if I thought both were on offer.

Moreover I think the invitation saying "BBQ meat dish or Quiche" was misleading as to me that would imply an option of either.  I would be looking for some money back also.  At the very least I would complain in order to discourage future events being organised this way.

There is a certain amount of "take what you're given" at hosted events - but an event you have paid for is different I think.

I agree with this.  From the OP's later post:

Apparently the meal was simply advertised as "Menu A or Menu B". My dad (and everyone else, it seemed) assumed that they'd get to choose which one they wanted. That is, they thought the waitstaff would take orders at the start of the evening.

I don't see how the guests were rude.  So far as they knew, it was okay to ask for the other dish.  They broke rules they didn't even know existed.

I put all the blame on the organisers.  Not only did they provide unequal meals, they expected the attendees to psychically divine that there were rules about the dishes that had never been explained to them and weren't used in that part of the country.  Major fail on their part.