Author Topic: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?  (Read 17348 times)

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TurtleDove

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2013, 02:46:38 PM »
I'm with Shoo.  I don't believe the letter writers.

Eeep!

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2013, 03:00:31 PM »
I am really trying to figure out how this particular situation would happen in reality.  I mean, were the people standing around the serving table eating with their arms linked glowering at people who dared to approach them?  Did this couple have no other friends at the party who would notice that they weren't  eating anything?  It just seems so odd.  It's like I have to picture this small timid couple cowering in the corner with their empty plates looking with trepidation at the hoard of people gobbling their food and feeding their children between them and the serving table.  Which seems a bit much. ;)
And to have that happen to them twice? Guess the didn't learn to be a bit more proactive after the first time, huh?

And I also agree that I have never been to a potluck where there was no food left. Never. Possibly all the "good stuff" gets eaten, but everything? Not that I have encountered.

All that said, if indeed there was so little food that - after letting everyone and their children get served  and then forcing your way to the table - one found that there was no food left, I don't think there would be anything wrong with politely telling the host the reason you are leaving if you are asked.  They need to be more aware of the fact that their potluck isn't quite working the way it should.
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Sharnita

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2013, 03:01:24 PM »
I question whether all the food is gone or just the food they like. If that is the case it might explain why they don't say anything to host - host might say "Well a,b,c are gone but there  is still a lot of l, m, n, o,p.

Yvaine

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2013, 03:05:22 PM »
Reading the letter, I'm not even sure the food was gone--by "dishes" they might even mean the host ran out of plates, in which case I think they could certainly have politely asked if there were more!

I'm kind of picturing them passive-aggressively waiting to be told to eat.

LazyDaisy

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2013, 03:22:44 PM »
I keep going back to the original article because this is so odd. She begins the post by setting herself up as the ever gracious guest -- ..."bringing a homemade offering, drink and a custom gift for the hostess." Not just any side dish...but an offering and not a hostess gift but a custom made one ...See how wonderful a guest she is? Beyond reproach. How could the hostess not be fawning over her? What is this called in fan fic -- a Mary Sue??  ::)

Then immediately criticizes the host by saying it was poorly planned because there were several hours before the food was served. That doesn't sound so unusual to me at a family get together. Maybe the dinner time should have been better communicated but why is it poor planning to socialize first and then serve dinner? Unless there are multiple guests left without food, this really seems to be the fault of the letter writer for not getting up to the table to eat in a timely manner. I can't imagine that the other guests created an impenetrable blockage. It sounds like the letter writer was expecting to be catered to and then made a point to the hostess by flouncing out.
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DottyG

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2013, 03:22:59 PM »
Quote
I'm with Shoo.  I don't believe the letter writers.

Count me as in with the Shoo and Turtledove crowd.  I don't think this is a true story.

And, if it is true, frankly I blame the letterwriter.  If she's that timid that she can't get her own food and is waiting for "permission" to eat at a potluck, it's her own fault.  The host does not need to babysit her and her family to make sure they get their food.  The majority of us (and, it appears, the majority of the other guests at those functions) are able to manage a potluck without problem.  Like someone else said, I doubt the other guests were playing a game of "Red Rover" with their arms linked together.  The letterwriter could have very easily said, "Excuse me" and gotten some food.

I don't hold the hosts at fault here at all.

VorFemme

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2013, 04:17:03 PM »
I liked the suggested wording about telling the hostess that they were leaving because "they weren't feeling well" because Miss Manners just knew that their stomach was bothering them.......

But whether the serving dishes were empty, the hosts ran out of plates (china, stoneware, plastic, or paper - doesn't matter), or what else happened......

I get the vibe that this was an older couple who had some expectation of being the "matriarch & patriarch" of the family get together and then didn't get deferred to enough.  Or possibly it was the boss and his wife......but for some reason, LW and spouse saw themselves as "special" and didn't get treated that way. 

Unless they were afraid of being knocked down by the rowdy crowd around the food - they should have been able to stand up and walk over there to get something to eat at some point before the food ran out.

Unless the rest of the diners were cheapskates who brought food for two and ate food for six.....which I have seen happen, a few times.  But not at the church or family pot-lucks that I've attended!

Once or twice at work pot-lucks that I've heard about, though....and once I burned two cookie sheets of cookies and got left with a lot fewer cookies to take with me than I'd planned.  It was my "going away party" so I rather hoped that telling everyone about the oven overheating explained why I brought two dozen cookies instead of five dozen......I just wasn't going to be at the next pot-luck!
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 04:23:24 PM by VorFemme »
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mmswm

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2013, 04:29:21 PM »
I also read the letter has having run out of actual dishes, not food.

Nonetheless, the LW's have some culpability in their situation, as they failed to assert themselves in their attempts to get to the serving table.
Some people lift weights.  I lift measures.  It's a far more esoteric workout. - (Quoted from a personal friend)

TeamBhakta

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2013, 04:51:09 PM »
I'm with Shoo.  I don't believe the letter writers.

I don't know, I've seen it happen before. At a church my mom and I used to attend, they once held a potluck dinner. There was  ample food and desserts for everyone before the dinner started. However, the front of the line made such pigs of themselves (on everyone's first trip through) that all the dessert tables were wiped out before my first dinner plate was filled. Nothing left but empty platters of crumbs and one platter of Oreos  :(
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 04:53:57 PM by TeamBhakta »

gellchom

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2013, 05:02:07 PM »
I'm with the majority here, too.  I don't believe that all the food was gone.  Twice.  But no one else seemed to have a problem.  Even if it were the plates that had run out, how hard would it be to mention it to the hosts and ask for a plate?  (If this were a close friend or relative's home, I'd probably just wash and dry a few used and abandoned plates and put them back on the buffet without comment, the same as I'd replace the toilet paper in the powder room if I noticed the spindle was empty.)

I think that these people were just being passive aggressive and childish and that the hosts did nothing wrong.

LazyDaisy, I agree with you about the Mary Sue-ishness, too --  a tip-off that the letter writers were the sort that would prefer to go hungry if it meant they could feed their Blameless Victim complex.

NyaChan

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #25 on: April 09, 2013, 05:09:24 PM »
I get the feeling this couple isn't happy with the idea of potluck to begin with or the informality of the party.  For the scenario that they described to be happening, I get the feeling that they are waiting to be invited to take a plate and get food rather than just going up and joining the group standing around the food.  How hard is it to say, "Excuse me, can you hand me a plate so I can serve myself?" or "Excuse me, can you make some room for me?"

Surianne

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #26 on: April 09, 2013, 05:29:47 PM »
I usually wait until everyone has gone through a potluck line before I go myself.  I'm just not that into asserting myself and crowds freak me out (I have some food anxiety that others see as pickiness so if I go in the main line with people, I get a lot of questions about why I'm not taking X or Y), so it's easiest, even if most of the "best" dishes are gone.  So I can believe the couple.  If there wasn't enough food, I'd rather leave to get food than push my way in or take the others to task. 

Calistoga

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2013, 05:36:16 PM »
Me personally? I'm sure it happened...in some sense of the word.

But lets assume for a minute that this happened as she said.

If it was the same host twice, then yes, speak up! The host needs to know that some guests aren't being fed and find out why. If people are taking outrageous portions, that's something that  can be controlled by just providing smaller plates or reminding people that there's enough food to feed 40 here, so make sure to leave enough for everyone. If people aren't bringing enough to begin with, ask people to prepare bigger sizes, or bring 2 dishes. If not everyone is bringing something but still shows up and pigs out, make a sign up sheet... all of these issues can be avoided.

If you're just too scared to get to the table and feed yourself though...well...that's no ones fault but yours.

Unless this was the same host twice, I just can't see it being factually true.

If it was about plates... ask the host if she has any more before running away. And I don't know how it could realistically be the "overly aggressive" guests fault that the plates ran out unless they were juggling them or using them as frisbees all willy nilly.

Honestly I doubt that the situation was accurately described here though. Why, on two different occasions, would you bring gifts for a hostess? Maybe that's an etiquette rule I'm unaware of, but it seems odd to me that you'd do that if it wasn't for a birthday or anniversary or something. How would only this couple be left without food...twice? If it's plates, why wouldn't you ask for more before running off?

It sounds more like they didn't really want to be at a pot luck, so they made an excuse to leave and didn't want to tell the host the real reason.

nyoprinces

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #28 on: April 09, 2013, 06:46:04 PM »
Her description of her custom hostess gifts and "handmade offerings" make me think that she's waiting to be waited upon, or at least waiting to be fussed over and encouraged to get food and "oh, why don't you have your plate yet? Come, everyone, stand aside to make way for the Special One please!" It sounds a bit like she doesn't approve of informal potluck setups, or is trying to "lead by silent example" in reformatting someone else's gathering to a different type of meal, where people line up in an orderly fashion to take perfectly equal portions of carefully  handmade dishes.

Bluenomi

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #29 on: April 09, 2013, 07:38:07 PM »
The way I read it was when they got to the table there for no more plates so instead of asking for one, they took the PA option and left in a huff. No wonder the host was confused.