Author Topic: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?  (Read 13729 times)

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Jones

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #45 on: April 10, 2013, 08:25:28 AM »
I'm surprised that people are being so cynical here. I can easily picture all the food running out. All it takes is several hungry teenagers or people in their 20s to serve themselves first, and there is very little left for everyone else!

Or, as others have suggested, people were taking their food and not moving back from the table. In which case, this couple is darned if they do, darned if they don't. If they hang back, they're shy and passive-aggressive. If they try to push through the crowd, they'd probably be deemed "rude" (I can actually picture etiquette advice saying 'If no one is letting you through to the food, the polite thing to do is leave early and eat elsewhere, rather than physically jostle people out of the way').

At any rate, I believe this couple should tell the hostess the truth, rather than make up some excuse.
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Calistoga

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #46 on: April 10, 2013, 09:20:29 AM »
The reason for my cynicism is that this happened not once, but twice.  Twice they went to pot lucks (with beautiful home made offerings and custome gifts for the hostess). Twice the table was too small. Twice they didn't assert themselves at all to get food. And twice they went to restaurants and got scolded for leaving early. If you told me this happened one time, yeah, I'd believe it. But I raise an eyebrow at the concept of the same odd situation repeating itself twice and the LW's just sitting back and letting it happen.

Venus193

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #47 on: April 10, 2013, 10:11:04 AM »
That is odd, but if this group is mostly family there is very likely someone whose etiquette faux pas are allowed to pass; in this case it's the person(s) who fails to bring anything.
 
Since the letter came from someone outside this forum we will never know whether the complaining couple is being P/A or not.   For people to crowd around the table is still rude either way.

TeamBhakta

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #48 on: April 10, 2013, 11:33:07 AM »
I also wonder if the couple is from one culture and the other guests are from a different culture. As in the couple might've thought "Oh man, everyone is standing around the table chatting and eating instead of moving. I want to say something, but many of Holly Hostess' family speak another language."
*ETA: Also, the custom gift makes me think the situation might be along the lines of "Our niece / distant cousin's kid married someone from Other Culture. It was a baby shower / engagement party / birthday. The hostess was from their side of the family. We don't know anything about Other Culture and we don't know if the table crowding is their norm."
« Last Edit: April 10, 2013, 01:51:18 PM by TeamBhakta »

Bottlecaps

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #49 on: April 10, 2013, 02:26:18 PM »
My only reaction is to say, "Speak up! It's not really that difficult to say 'Excuse me!'"

On one hand, I want to believe that the LW is exaggerating some, or as Sharnita said, it's not that no food was left, just that none of the food they like was left. But running out of food does happen at potlucks sometimes (albeit poorly-planned ones). I think they need to learn to say "Excuse me," and then if there's still no food, then obviously there's a problem. Also, when they leave, they do need to politely say something to the host/hostess so they are aware of the problem and can take measures to make sure there's enough to go around the next time. A problem can't be fixed if no one is aware of it.
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sparksals

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #50 on: April 10, 2013, 02:57:30 PM »
I also assume the LWs are not at a potluck with strangers. It makes no sense to me why they wouldn't ask people to move if they were truly blocked from the food (I find this really unlikely), and it makes no sense to me why everyone else got food just fine but they got nothing. No matter what, this could have been prevented if they had acted how I think most people would - since everyone else was able to handle the situation, I think the fault is with the LWs.

I have seen it happen frequently at parties when people get food and crowd the table eating and chatting.  They are oblivious others cannot get in.  Unlike the LW, when it happens to me, I speak up and ask if they can make room for others to get food.

lowspark

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #51 on: April 10, 2013, 02:58:30 PM »
I'm one who when hosting a pot luck always goes through the line last. So I can't imagine the food running out without my realizing it. But honestly, I'm also in the group that says I've never seen a pot luck run out of food. Always the opposite. Now, one or two dishes, if extremely popular or if not enough was brought, might run out. But completely running out? I've never seen it.

But for the sake of the discussion, I will imagine finding myself in the place of the couple. I get to the table and see a bunch of empty dishes -- no food left. I'd absolutely say something to the host. I was invited over for dinner, I brought my potluck dish, yet no food for me. I'd probably just say something like "oops, Ms. Hostess, looks like there's nothing left for me to make a plate from." At the very minimum I imagine she could offer me something from the kitchen.

I think it's pretty PA to just act like nothing is wrong at all and leave early without saying why. As hostess, if someone is uncomfortable or inconvenienced or [horrors] unfed! at a party at my house, I sure want to know about it so I can at least try to remedy the situation. But as I said, in this case, I'd be in the same boat with the hungry guests who would have been in front of me in line for the food.

And thinking about this some more, I can't imagine, as hostess, not realizing that there wasn't going to be enough to go around before the first person even got in line. You know how many guests you have, you know what food has been brought. If the food appeared to be lacking, I'd probably break out some extra stuff, cheese & crackers even, to round out the selection.

I agree with posters who find the fact that the exact thing happened twice to the same couple a little hard to swallow. But you know, you have to take those letters with a grain of salt. In order to make them more interesting and yet concise, I imagine there's a certain amount of editing that goes on before the letter actually gets printed.

Twik

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #52 on: April 10, 2013, 03:04:10 PM »
They may have one (or both) of two problems. First, some people may not be bringing enough food. Second, there may be someone there who views all food not currently on someone's plate as "leftovers," and starts packing it away before everyone has even had firsts.

As far as the story being fake, it's pretty poor potatoes as one. If I were going to write a heartwrenching story to an advice columnist regarding my cruel treatment by the world, it would involve more than a potluck running out of food.
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lowspark

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #53 on: April 10, 2013, 03:32:33 PM »
I also assume the LWs are not at a potluck with strangers. It makes no sense to me why they wouldn't ask people to move if they were truly blocked from the food (I find this really unlikely), and it makes no sense to me why everyone else got food just fine but they got nothing. No matter what, this could have been prevented if they had acted how I think most people would - since everyone else was able to handle the situation, I think the fault is with the LWs.

I have seen it happen frequently at parties when people get food and crowd the table eating and chatting.  They are oblivious others cannot get in.  Unlike the LW, when it happens to me, I speak up and ask if they can make room for others to get food.

Yeah, this is the part of the story that is especially silly. Sure, people stand around the table, oblivious to the fact that they are blocking access. Heck, I've even been one to do that. And how do I know that I was being oblivious? Someone politely asked me to move. Seriously, if you can't even bring yourself to utter a polite "excuse me, can I get through?" you really have no one to blame but yourself.

Redneck Gravy

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #54 on: April 10, 2013, 04:03:36 PM »
I have been to several potlucks where there is not enough food to feed everyone there...more than once.   There are just some people that don't bring enough, eat more than the equivalent of what they brought or just flat don't bring anything!  :o

This is why when I host a potluck I make sure there is plenty of food before the other dishes arrive.  You would be STUNNED at the number of couples that show up for a potluck dinner with two or three children in tow and a single pizza or a small bowl of dip with or without chips to go with it.  My sister came in one time with a small pot of beans and her husband, their three kids and two friends of the kids (that's 7 people and she is providing a single bowl of beans!).

Our church bulletin always says "please bring enough of your dish to feed your family plus one"  and sometimes we still don't have leftovers.  I would not want anyone to miss the the fellowship at church because they could not afford to bring a dish, but Geez EVERYBLOOMINGTIME gets a bit old.

As for leaving early I would make it kindly, yet clear why. 

 

 

sparksals

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #55 on: April 10, 2013, 04:41:54 PM »
I also assume the LWs are not at a potluck with strangers. It makes no sense to me why they wouldn't ask people to move if they were truly blocked from the food (I find this really unlikely), and it makes no sense to me why everyone else got food just fine but they got nothing. No matter what, this could have been prevented if they had acted how I think most people would - since everyone else was able to handle the situation, I think the fault is with the LWs.

I have seen it happen frequently at parties when people get food and crowd the table eating and chatting.  They are oblivious others cannot get in.  Unlike the LW, when it happens to me, I speak up and ask if they can make room for others to get food.

Yeah, this is the part of the story that is especially silly. Sure, people stand around the table, oblivious to the fact that they are blocking access. Heck, I've even been one to do that. And how do I know that I was being oblivious? Someone politely asked me to move. Seriously, if you can't even bring yourself to utter a polite "excuse me, can I get through?" you really have no one to blame but yourself.

Yes, it is easy to do.  People get caught up.  Since it has happened to me so frequently, I make sure I don't block the table.  I watch around me to see if people need in or just move back a bit. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #56 on: April 10, 2013, 05:00:08 PM »

Our church bulletin always says "please bring enough of your dish to feed your family plus one"  and sometimes we still don't have leftovers.  I would not want anyone to miss the the fellowship at church because they could not afford to bring a dish, but Geez EVERYBLOOMINGTIME gets a bit old.


If all they're supposed to bring is one dish that would feed their family plus one, I find it hard to think they couldn't afford to bring a dish. They have to feed their family anyway.

The whole idea is that you simply MOVE the expense from your home dining table to a different table.

Cami

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #57 on: April 10, 2013, 05:07:41 PM »
They may have one (or both) of two problems. First, some people may not be bringing enough food. Second, there may be someone there who views all food not currently on someone's plate as "leftovers," and starts packing it away before everyone has even had firsts.

As far as the story being fake, it's pretty poor potatoes as one. If I were going to write a heartwrenching story to an advice columnist regarding my cruel treatment by the world, it would involve more than a potluck running out of food.
  I've known plenty of moochers in my life who show up to potlucks with nothing -- they know what they are doing and they count on the fact that everyone is too "polite" (i.e. is afraid of confrontation) to let them get away with it. I had a roommate in college who did it all the time -- until I called her on it. She was utterly flabbergasted that I'd called her on it and created quite a scene calling me "rude". She was also one of those people who would say she wasn't hungry when you asked her if she wanted to chip in on a pizza then would suddenly get ravenous when the pizza actually arrived and ask for "just one piece. I only want one piece." Then she'd hang around waiting to see if there were any pieces seemingly left over and reach in, "Well, if no one is going to eat this, I might as well." Another friend called her on that little scam. (She was also quite wealthy. I have a feeling I know why her parents had so much money.)

My MIL was also famous for quickly packing up food so she could take it home with her. Woe to the person who showed up five minutes late -- no food for you!

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #58 on: April 11, 2013, 07:10:05 AM »
I also assume the LWs are not at a potluck with strangers. It makes no sense to me why they wouldn't ask people to move if they were truly blocked from the food (I find this really unlikely), and it makes no sense to me why everyone else got food just fine but they got nothing. No matter what, this could have been prevented if they had acted how I think most people would - since everyone else was able to handle the situation, I think the fault is with the LWs.

I have seen it happen frequently at parties when people get food and crowd the table eating and chatting.  They are oblivious others cannot get in.  Unlike the LW, when it happens to me, I speak up and ask if they can make room for others to get food.

Yeah, this is the part of the story that is especially silly. Sure, people stand around the table, oblivious to the fact that they are blocking access. Heck, I've even been one to do that. And how do I know that I was being oblivious? Someone politely asked me to move. Seriously, if you can't even bring yourself to utter a polite "excuse me, can I get through?" you really have no one to blame but yourself.

We are all assuming that this couple hung back in the corner and didn't speak up. But we don't know that for sure. It's also possible that they DID say "excuse me" only to be ignored, or glared at, by the people crowding the table. In that situation, what should they have done? Tried to shove past to get to the food? Or just made a quiet, early exit to find a restaurant?

TurtleDove

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #59 on: April 11, 2013, 07:14:03 AM »
We are all assuming that this couple hung back in the corner and didn't speak up. But we don't know that for sure. It's also possible that they DID say "excuse me" only to be ignored, or glared at, by the people crowding the table. In that situation, what should they have done? Tried to shove past to get to the food? Or just made a quiet, early exit to find a restaurant?

I wouldn't be at a potluck where people would ignore me, glare at me, or purposefully keep me from the food. Since it seems the LWs were the only people treated so awfully at these two potlucks (FWIW, I do not believe their story) they either did not speak up or they are not wanted at the potluck.