General Etiquette > Life...in general

can a host restrict certain guests from food/drinks?

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AllTheThings:
I had a situation that ended up not being a huge problem, but I was wondering whether or not it is wrong according to etiquette for a host to deny certain guests access to specific food, drinks, or other parts of the hospitality that the other guests are getting.

I went to a get together with my mom's extended family. Someone had brought beer, so my sister and I went to get some. Our great-aunt saw us getting the beer and requested that neither of us drink, as we were part of the youngest generation in the family. According to her, our second cousins in their early teens would see some of "the kids" drinking, and decide that they were entitled to have some too. Since it wasn't her beer and we weren't in her house, we felt that we could ignore her attempt to foist responsibility for her grandchildren onto us, and we went about our business. She seemed irritated at us, but there really wasn't anything she could do, so she didn't bring it up again.

My question is, had she been the hostess, would she have had the right to do this, according to etiquette. It does seem morally wrong to deny someone something that everyone else is getting just because you personally believe they should not have it, rather than due to any actual problem (like cutting off someone who is drunk and out of control). On the other hand, as the hostess, it is her house. What do you think? Would a host be rude for restricting what certain guests are allowed to do due to them simply not wanting the guest to have it?

Peregrine:
If you were under the age for drinking legally, she would have been entitled to say something.  Otherwise, no-go.

I feel the same way about smoking and any other activity for which there is a legal minimum age.  A host may choose to restrict those items to those of legal age.  Beyond that, etiquettely speaking, I don't think they can restrict certain things to certain guests.

I also believe that a parent of a minor child may also supersede the host or hostess and not allow their children to partake of offerings (i.e. soda or dessert).

lellah:
I feel like the title of this post doesn't quite capture what went on or what would go on if the aunt were the host.  I feel like she asked you for a kind of family favor instead of saying "don't do that! my hospitality doesn't extend to you!"  Maybe it was a weird favor.  But it's still a favor that you have the option of complying with as you chose.

AllTheThings:

--- Quote from: lellah on July 19, 2013, 01:01:14 AM ---I feel like the title of this post doesn't quite capture what went on or what would go on if the aunt were the host.  I feel like she asked you for a kind of family favor instead of saying "don't do that! my hospitality doesn't extend to you!"  Maybe it was a weird favor.  But it's still a favor that you have the option of complying with as you chose.

--- End quote ---

The reason why I thought there might have been a problem if my aunt were the host is because her tone, word choice, and body language said to me that she had expected us to go along with it and wanted to argue about it. Had she acknowledged that it was a weird request and an imposition, but explained that there was a real problem and could I please help her out, I probably would have felt differently about the whole thing. She couldn't do anything in this case, but had she been the host, I feel like she would have pressed the issue, putting us in an awkward situation. This particular situation wasn't that bad since she backed off, but I wanted to know what all of you thought in case I'm in a situation like that in the future.

Since she backed off, I wasn't that offended, but I did think it was pretty sad that she apparently thought herself incapable of looking after her own grandchildren.

snowdragon:
She could have - but it would not be polite. You can not have A and B list guests and hosting and be thought polite. Unless the guest not being offered something had something to do with being under aged.

So if she lets others guests of legal age drink beer, she has nothing to say about it if you want if you are of age

But if another cousin is under aged she can restrict them.


But she can't restrict you just to make things "fair" for her grandkids.

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