Author Topic: Asking for an item before it's served  (Read 13984 times)

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Paper Roses

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Asking for an item before it's served
« on: March 25, 2013, 08:42:17 PM »
This happened a couple of months ago, and I wondered you all would think.

I was at a pretty large family holiday gathering, a few days before Christmas.  It was pretty casual, buffet-style.  There were appetizers out in several spots throughout the house, and drinks were readily available.

Among the guests were "Reba" and "Bill," an older couple (who my family and I have met before and always found absolutely adorable).  Bill is the widowed husband of the hostess' aunt, and Reba is his companion (they refer to themselves as "buddies," but they are definitely a couple and have been for several years.

After a while, the hostess announced that dinner was ready - so everyone started the meal.  Again, buffet-style - it had been set up in the dining room, and everyone filled their plates and gathered in different areas to eat, so it definitely wasn't a formal, sit-down dinner.

Shortly after dinner was announced, Reba approached the hostess and asked if Bill could have a piece of a certain dessert item.  The hostess was a bit put off by this, and said that she wasn't serving dessert yet.  Reba responded with, "Oh, well, I'm not feeling well so we're going to be leaving soon."  The hostess grudgingly complied, but was pretty bothered by it. 

Honestly, I don't really see it as a big deal, and if I were the hostess, I would have accommodated Bill without a second thought and most likely forgotten about it.

But I'm curious as to whether anyone else thinks that Reba (and Bill, possibly) were rude for asking for dessert before the hostess had planned to serve it.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 09:18:34 PM »
yes, actually, I do.

I'm the hostess, not your waitress. This is my home and my meal, my gift to you and everyone else there, which I control as it is given, not a restaurant, and certainly not a restaurant at which you are the only customer.

I would have to interrupt my own enjoyment of the social event to go get food for you.

At a buffet, I may not have a place right now to set that dessert.

And you've suddenly changed the pace of the day--when the dessert comes out, the mood changes. Other people will see that dessert and may go along w/ that mood switch.

And anyway, if what you want is to ask a FAVOR of me, you should give me the reason you want the favor first.

I think I'd have been tempted to say, "Oh, well, if you're leaving, I'll put some in a container so you can take it with you. Do you need to leave now? I'm so sorry you're not feeling well."

I think it was rude of Reba.

Paper Roses

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 09:30:58 PM »
Toots, just to clarify, it wasn't me.  I had no part of it, just heard about it after it happened.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 09:41:02 PM by Paper Roses »
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Bob Ducca

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 09:55:36 PM »
It wouldn't have fazed me at all. I don't find that request off putting or unusual.

audrey1962

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 09:59:51 PM »
It wouldn't bother me either.

chibichan

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 10:07:33 PM »
I would have let it go .

Then again , my dinner parties were never very formal and if a guest decided he's like to start his meal with dessert and work backwards , it would be no problem for me .

I don't see it as rude . Reba asked politely and the Hostess was well within her rights to say "I'd prefer to wait until dinner is finished before I bring out the desserts , but if you need to leave after the main meal , I can wrap a piece up for you to take home ."

I understand that the Hostess would be annoyed at the thought of bringing out a cake that already had a slice taken out of it . If she has pride in how she presents her food , I can understand that . A plate of cookies , not so much .

Toots does have very valid points though - hosting means different things to different folks and dinner parties usually follow a standard pattern . It's a case of knowing your Host in terms of whether or not any deviation from that pattern will bother them . I have seen the "Dessert Stampede " - it's not pretty  ;D.

It was a request , not a demand . The hostess could have refused it , but "grudgingly complied" . That was her decision . She had plenty of opportunity to politely decline . 

The key to avoiding trouble is to learn to recognize it from a distance.

miranova

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2013, 10:12:05 PM »
I think it's odd to expect dessert to be served early so someone can leave early.  If you need to leave early, just politely make your excuses and leave.  As a guest, I would never ask for dessert before dessert time, as I agree with Toots that serving dessert is a signal to guests that the evening is nearing an end.  I am not going to take it upon myself to hasten that for everyone simply because I need to leave early.  I would just go without dessert!

As a host though, I would comply with the request but I like the idea of boxing it up so that the message is, you can have some of this, but not here, because we are not ready to move on to dessert.

jmarvellous

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2013, 10:12:51 PM »
I think it would have been best to give your apologies to the host for not being able to stay longer, then say, "If it's not too much to ask, Bill was really looking forward to dessert. Can we take a bit home?"

Most hosts would have little problem complying with such a request in most cases, is my guess.

And most guests would have no problem taking no for an answer, particularly a no phrased like, "I'm sorry, I was hoping to cut the cake/flambe the pudding/take it out of the oven right when it was time to serve. I won't be able to put aside a single portion right now. Next time you visit, be sure to ask for seconds!"

Sharnita

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 10:13:10 PM »
Woldnt have bothered me.  Might have made me wondered if the timing/pacing of my hosting didn't work for elderly guests.  What is early for me might not be early for others. 

hyzenthlay

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2013, 10:23:41 PM »
I'm usually much better at deserts then at food, if someone wanted me to get a desert out early I'd be pleased as punch to do so. 

And I really think that at 'casual buffet style' event the asking is perfectly fine. I'm used to my inlaws where an event might stretch over 4 or 5 hours and very few people are their the entire time.

TootsNYC

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2013, 10:42:17 PM »
Toots, just to clarify, it wasn't me.  I had no part of it, just heard about it after it happened.

And I wasn't the host.

I was using "I" and "you" symbolically.

Girly

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2013, 10:44:01 PM »
We used to frequently host buffet-style dinners for our friends (usually around 20 or so at a time).
If half of a couple came and asked for dessert earlier than I had planned to 'serve' it, because they weren't feeling well and were going to leave early, I wouldn't get upset about it. I would actually feel flattered that they thought my food was 'good enough' to actually want dessert instead of just leaving early. (that probably came out wrong!)
Of course I'm not there server, as Toots stated above, I AM their host. But also, as being their host, I would be accommodating a reasonable request.

fountainsoflettuce

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2013, 10:49:55 PM »
We used to frequently host buffet-style dinners for our friends (usually around 20 or so at a time).
If half of a couple came and asked for dessert earlier than I had planned to 'serve' it, because they weren't feeling well and were going to leave early, I wouldn't get upset about it. I would actually feel flattered that they thought my food was 'good enough' to actually want dessert instead of just leaving early. (that probably came out wrong!)
Of course I'm not there server, as Toots stated above, I AM their host. But also, as being their host, I would be accommodating a reasonable request.

I generally agree with the above but still, it seems as if the guests were treating the dinner as "take out" or they're just in it for the food. If the guest is truly  not feeling well, wouldn't a reasonable person just leave and not ask for more food?  I would make a mental note and see if the same guests repeated this behavior.

Paper Roses

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2013, 10:55:56 PM »
We used to frequently host buffet-style dinners for our friends (usually around 20 or so at a time).
If half of a couple came and asked for dessert earlier than I had planned to 'serve' it, because they weren't feeling well and were going to leave early, I wouldn't get upset about it. I would actually feel flattered that they thought my food was 'good enough' to actually want dessert instead of just leaving early. (that probably came out wrong!)
Of course I'm not there server, as Toots stated above, I AM their host. But also, as being their host, I would be accommodating a reasonable request.

I generally agree with the above but still, it seems as if the guests were treating the dinner as "take out" or they're just in it for the food. If the guest is truly  not feeling well, wouldn't a reasonable person just leave and not ask for more food?  I would make a mental note and see if the same guests repeated this behavior.

Well, actually, Reba was the one who asked for it, on behalf of Bill.  Reba was the one who said she wasn't feeling well and that was the reason they were going to leave.

Also, Reba and Bill had already eaten dinner - they were among the first to do so once it was ready (just so it doesn't look like they wanted dessert and no dinner, or dessert before dinner). 

And I, for one, don't keep "take out" boxes around my house, so I'm not sure that "boxing it up to go" would have been feasible either; it probably wouldn't have been any easier than just cutting a slice and putting it on a plate.
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Paper Roses

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Re: Asking for an item before it's served
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2013, 10:59:40 PM »
Toots, just to clarify, it wasn't me.  I had no part of it, just heard about it after it happened.

And I wasn't the host.

I was using "I" and "you" symbolically.

Thank you for explaining.  I just felt like you came across rather forsefully in your post, and I wanted to be sure I wasn't being misunderstood.
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