Author Topic: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?  (Read 16973 times)

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*inviteseller

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #60 on: April 11, 2013, 08:23:10 AM »
I can believe the story...she may be putting on airs for Miss Manners sake as far as the hostess gift stuff, but if you are last to get food at a potluck, you may be out of luck.  They also may have thought it was like a buffet and everyone lined up, got their food, then sat down to eat.  And as far as it being teenagers and younger people eating all the food...my step sister and her husband came to my house for Christmas, where I do a buffet and several family members bring side dished, and there is enough food for an army, except these 3 almost 40 year olds ate 3 LARGE plates of food each(they piled things on top of each other until it was triple layer) and drank a gallon and 1/2 of milk  and were not happy when somethings ran out (never had that happen!) because they wanted more to take home!  Some people just absolutely lose their minds when it comes to free food.

lowspark

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #61 on: April 11, 2013, 08:39:35 AM »
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.

These people showing up with inadequate food, are they coming to a private party at your home or is this some kind of group event like a church dinner? If someone did that at a private party at my home which I was hosting, you can pretty well bet they'd never be invited back. If it were someone I was related to (like sister you mentioned) I'd take them aside and just let them know that what they brought was not enough and to either send hubby out to pick up some additional food or to make sure to bring enough next time. I don't think it's impolite to let people know what is required.

As far as group events like a church dinner, if this is happening repeatedly, maybe the organization which is hosting this dinner needs to look into doing something different. Maybe catering the dinner and charging an entry fee. Or having a set group of members provide all the food and get reimbursed.

I agree that as host, it's probably a pretty good idea to have extra stuff on hand or even on the table, just in case, especially if you don't know your guests well enough to be able to predict if they'll bring enough. But if the same people are coming and not contributing their fair share repeatedly, the host needs to either quit inviting them, prepare for their lack of contribution by having extra dishes to cover their portion, or do an alternate type of event.

lowspark

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #62 on: April 11, 2013, 08:51:16 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?

In that situation, I'd speak to the host. It is the host's duty to try to ensure that all the guests are having a good time, that they have adequate food & drink, etc. So I don't see where it would be impolite for a guest to let the host know that they need food. As long as they approach the host politely, it's fine to just say, "we can't get to the table, can you please help?" or "there doesn't appear to be any food left, are there extras in the kitchen?" or whatever.

Twik

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #63 on: April 11, 2013, 10:08:19 AM »
Some people just absolutely lose their minds when it comes to free food.

I've seen that be a theme on this board. There are some people who appear to be otherwise normal, decent people who will turn into entitled hyenas at the thought of getting food they do not actually have to pay for. That involves coming to potlucks without any significant contributions of their own, and then making off with "leftovers" before everyone has eaten their fill. (Let's not even go into people who steal their coworkers' food from communal fridges.)

It may be that the particular group of people who attend parties by these hosts are like this. It may be that they are not moving away from the table in a calculated move to protect "their" food from being taken. Then, they can say, "Oh, no one finished off the pasta salad? It's MINE now!"

We don't want to think of people being so ungenerous, but when I read threads like the office food thief thread, I realize that food can sometimes bring out very base instincts in susceptible people.
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Venus193

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #64 on: April 11, 2013, 10:32:27 AM »
This is why some offices now have a potluck rule, which is that you can't come if you don't contribute.  Brunhilde's sister's office has this rule.

My last company had this rule with the addition that anyone who wasn't preparing food would be responsible for paper plates, napkins, cutlery, soda, or decorations.  The company bought the wine and beer.

o_gal

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #65 on: April 11, 2013, 12:16:15 PM »
As far as group events like a church dinner, if this is happening repeatedly, maybe the organization which is hosting this dinner needs to look into doing something different. Maybe catering the dinner and charging an entry fee. Or having a set group of members provide all the food and get reimbursed.

This happened at the church we went to while I was growing up. For years, the protocol was that a group of church ladies would prepare a meat dish for everyone. You came with a side dish or dessert to share, and brought your own plates and utensils. Cups would be provided for drinks. After you put your stuff at your seats, you would get in line. At the appointed time, the minister would say grace and the line would progress through the buffet. Desserts were cut up in the kitchen and served after the dinner was finished.

There was one family (it's always that one family, isn't it?) who took this to the extreme and ended up changing the protocol. They would come super early and bring these enormous plates. These were the kind that had multiple sections. And they were HUGE. The family would take their places at the head of the line and wait the hour or so it took until the appointed dinner time. Then they would load up on their trip, with mounds and mounds of food on their huge plates.

One night there was literally no non-dessert food left for the people in the back of the line. As in, no meat left and all side dishes scraped clean by earlier people who were desperate. Apologies were issued and the protocol was changed immediately. After that, all tables were numbered and they would draw numbers for which table would go next. Mostly they'd get kids to draw the numbers and you would get teased if you drew your own table's number, especially if it was early  >:D

Then there's the story of the incredibly stupid caterer who agreed to provide the banquet dinner for 3500 hungry orienteers at the World Masters championships back in 1997. Who also decided that they could do that banquet and another at the same time, because they don't really need that much food, right? I think the reports were that about 1500 people paid $35 to only have the leftover butter pats.

Sharnita

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #66 on: April 11, 2013, 12:20:50 PM »
If their repeadt sexperiences are true it reminds me of little kids going to mom and saying "Mom, it hurts when I move my arm like this" (demonstrating repeatedly) and mom's obvious answer being "Then stop moving your arm like that"

jaxsue

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #67 on: April 11, 2013, 12:33:11 PM »
Having grown up in church, I had my fair share of potluck dinners (or DOG - dinner on the ground). My dad was the pastor and our potluck dinners worked because he had rules: elderly and those with very small children went first. Families went through line together. It may sound draconian, but it worked.

Then I moved to the south and attended Southern Baptist and Methodist churches. They knew how to do DOGs! Tons of food to choose from, and always leftovers. The last church I attended, however, got it woefully wrong. It was a big Pres church, so there was really no excuse. You could look at the tables and easily tell that there wasn't enough for everyone. It was just crazy, to the point where I refused to go anymore. Kids were allowed to dart in and out of the line, getting 2nds and 3rds before some people got their first plate. It was obvious that some people didn't bring food, or brought tiny portions. Not worth it.

And, yes, I believe every church has "that family," the one that explodes in size every time food's involved! Some people you only saw during the potluck dinners. Or they'd ask to take home whatever leftovers there were, every time.  ::)

Sharnita

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #68 on: April 11, 2013, 12:38:24 PM »
See, the church I go to has families that struggle terribly but is seems that even they bring something to cover their "obligation".  And there are a whole lot of singles or couples who bring dishes that could easily feed 6, 8, or even 12.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2013, 01:17:15 PM by Sharnita »

jaxsue

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #69 on: April 11, 2013, 12:41:04 PM »
See, the church I go to has families that struggle terribly but is seems that even they bring something to cover their "obigation".  And their are a whole lot of singles or couples who bring dishes that could easily feed 6, 8, or even 12.

Exactly. My family had very little money. My dad pastored small churches and his pay was inadequate. Still, we managed to bring enough food to cover the 8 of us and others. and, IIRC, my mom took more than she had to. Casseroles are pretty inexpensive to make!

DottyG

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #70 on: April 11, 2013, 01:12:36 PM »
Quote
sexperiences

Hey, if they're having that happen at these events, I think they more to deal with than no food to eat! ;)

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #71 on: April 11, 2013, 01:21:39 PM »
My parents tiny little church had a potluck every June.  Almost everybody was good about bringing a dish but, again, that one family...   ::)

One year, they had a weird thing happen, though.  Everybody brought sides and desserts.  My Mom's maple baked beans were the only main course.  Everyone just laughed, ate the sides and desserts and the next year, some folks talked to each other before hand to make sure someone was bringing some main course.

Our Agricultural Society has a potluck in October to hand out prizes and prize money.  Anyone who is a member is welcome to come, as long as they bring a dish, whether they won anything or not.  The family of the kid(s) who won the Junior Fair stuff are also invited.  A couple of years ago, one of the Junior Fair families arrived but hadn't realized it was a potluck.  They were going to run out to McDonald's for dinner and come back in time for the awards ceremony but fortunately, the organizers talked them into staying because there was plenty of food.  They were back the next year, complete with a large dish.

My Dad and I are technically one unit but we both end up bringing something.  He makes my Mom's beans and I usually do gingerbread leaves and pumpkins.  I also have some moose and a few gingerbread men decorated in hunter orange.   :D
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Lynnv

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #72 on: April 11, 2013, 02:51:25 PM »
Having grown up in church, I had my fair share of potluck dinners (or DOG - dinner on the ground). My dad was the pastor and our potluck dinners worked because he had rules: elderly and those with very small children went first. Families went through line together. It may sound draconian, but it worked.

Every potluck I have ever been to also has rules.  "You aren't allowed to leave without a plateful of something."   ;D  I am always in awe of the folks who have been to multiple potlucks with inadequate food.  I have been to potlucks where I didn't particularly like my choices.  But never one that even came close to running out of food.  Most of the ones I have attended are clearly manned by folks who, like me, tend to overcook for these things.

It sounded to me like the letter writer wasn't able to get to the table.  Which indicates to me that they either didn't ask, or weren't willing to be assertive on their own behalf. 

But if what they really meant was that there was not any food left on two different occasions, then I have to wonder why they are worried about the etiquette for the future-running out of food once, I would probably find forgivable and would probably try again.  But after the second time, I would not be going back for the third round.  This isn't baseball where you are required to allow three strikes.  Two strikes and you're out seems like a pretty fair rule to me.
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LazyDaisy

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #73 on: April 11, 2013, 03:02:31 PM »
I think the difference between the letter writer's experience and everyone else's stories of church and work potlucks is that the letter writer stated these were "family and friends" get togethers. Since there were several hours before the food was even served, it would seem to indicate that the meal part of the event was secondary to the social part. However, refusal to attend would likely have more personal consequences than skipping a church potluck. The letter writer also didn't indicate that others were left without food -- just her and her husband. To me, it's also unlikely that anyone would give her a glare for daring to approach the food table or say "excuse me". If her family and friends really are that dysfunctional, a potluck is the least of her troubles.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Miss Manners & the unfed guests: To fib or tell the truth?
« Reply #74 on: April 11, 2013, 03:31:56 PM »
I think the difference between the letter writer's experience and everyone else's stories of church and work potlucks is that the letter writer stated these were "family and friends" get togethers. Since there were several hours before the food was even served, it would seem to indicate that the meal part of the event was secondary to the social part. However, refusal to attend would likely have more personal consequences than skipping a church potluck. The letter writer also didn't indicate that others were left without food -- just her and her husband. To me, it's also unlikely that anyone would give her a glare for daring to approach the food table or say "excuse me". If her family and friends really are that dysfunctional, a potluck is the least of her troubles.

I agree, a big church potluck to me is entirely different then a gathering of "Friends and Family".  I can see if there is a long line for the buffet that food could run out at a church social. But their claim that it was so crowded they couldn't even get in the que and couldn't indicate to people standing around the table that they needd by just seems off, especially to happen twice.

The running out of food stories reminded me of a very small "homecoming" annual gathering in the community (never more than 100 residents) where my grandparents had lived. Each generation seemed to have an unofficial assigned items. The oldest generations brought main dishes, the next desserts and the youngests sides and drinks. One year there was no mains, only sides and desserts. We realized that "Oops, we are now the oldest generation" ::)  Thankfully we were able to run into town and pickup fried chicken and bbq brisket pretty quickly. But we had a ton of desserts and sides left over.