Author Topic: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.  (Read 6400 times)

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Calistoga

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Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« on: January 07, 2014, 12:02:17 PM »
At around 7 last night, we got a phone call from my husband's cousin. He needed his car jumped off because the battery had died in the cold. He also asked if he could crash on our couch. We didn't care to let him sleep in the living room so we agreed.

My husband went and jumped him off and they came back together.

Etiquette question- it was dinner time. I try not to make big meals because we aren't good with leftovers, so I only make enough to feed me and my husband if I can manage. No advanced knowledge meant I couldn't make an extra portion. So DH and I ended up eating the dinner I'd made while couch surfer sat in an armchair and fiddled around on our computer.

In situations like this, what's the appropriate thing to do? I had really mixed thoughts. On the one hand, it was weird to eat dinner without feeding couch surfer. On the other hand he kind of has a bad habit of dropping by specifically because I'll feed him under normal circumstances, and I don't want to give him the impression that I'll bend over backwards to make sure he's fed.

EllenS

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2014, 12:09:33 PM »
If you don't want him dropping by on other occasions, just tell him it is a bad time and don't let him in.  However, I think emergency dead car battery in the cold, is a situation where you'd want to be a gracious as possible. 

If you'd agreed to have this guy in your house, and agreed to let him stay overnight, why would you not offer him food?  Did he even get any dinner?  Even if there wasn't enough of the cooked dinner to go around, you couldn't give him a peanut butter sandwich or something? 

Personally, I would divide the dinner 3 ways and microwave some extra veggies, or serve bread and butter, or something to stretch 3 normal sized meals.  I feel really sorry for the cousin.  If you didn't want him there your DH should have driven him home so he could at least eat.
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siamesecat2965

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2014, 12:22:21 PM »
I'm a little confused; when you say "He also asked if he could crash on our couch. We didn't care to let him sleep in the living room so we agreed"  Did you mean agreed to let him hang out for a while, or stay overnight?

If he was staying overnight, then quite honestly, I think you were rude to not offer him anything to eat, or maybe say "hey, I only have enough for the two of us, but can offer you eggs, pb&j, or you can order something in if you like" Even if he was just staying for a while, I still thnk you should have offered him something, even if he does "mooch" as you say, sometimes. 

esposita

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2014, 12:23:44 PM »
If you don't want him dropping by on other occasions, just tell him it is a bad time and don't let him in.  However, I think emergency dead car battery in the cold, is a situation where you'd want to be a gracious as possible. 

If you'd agreed to have this guy in your house, and agreed to let him stay overnight, why would you not offer him food?  Did he even get any dinner?  Even if there wasn't enough of the cooked dinner to go around, you couldn't give him a peanut butter sandwich or something? 

Personally, I would divide the dinner 3 ways and microwave some extra veggies, or serve bread and butter, or something to stretch 3 normal sized meals.  I feel really sorry for the cousin.  If you didn't want him there your DH should have driven him home so he could at least eat.

I completely agree with EllenS. I probably would have ordered a pizza or take-out, or had my husband stop at a drive-thru.
I don't understand why you'd feed him under normal circumstances even though you don't want to, but when he really does seem to need it you don't feed him. That confuses me a bit...

Calistoga

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2014, 12:25:47 PM »
As of right now, he doesn't have a home to be driven to, because he stole prescription medication and cash from the last people he was staying with on a regular basis.

I did tell him we had stuff for sandwiches and he said he didn't feel like a sandwich, so that was the last I said to him about food, because there was nothing else that could be knocked up quickly except for cereal.

There was no money to order pizza with. There was no money to go through the drive through.

The Wild One, Forever

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2014, 12:36:51 PM »
As of right now, he doesn't have a home to be driven to, because he stole prescription medication and cash from the last people he was staying with on a regular basis.

I did tell him we had stuff for sandwiches and he said he didn't feel like a sandwich, so that was the last I said to him about food, because there was nothing else that could be knocked up quickly except for cereal.

There was no money to order pizza with. There was no money to go through the drive through.

If you offered a sandwich, you're good.  Also, it sounds like he, um, wore out his welcome in quite a dramatic fashion at his previous residence.  Nobody could blame you for not wanting him staying at your home.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2014, 12:38:06 PM »
As of right now, he doesn't have a home to be driven to, because he stole prescription medication and cash from the last people he was staying with on a regular basis.

I did tell him we had stuff for sandwiches and he said he didn't feel like a sandwich, so that was the last I said to him about food, because there was nothing else that could be knocked up quickly except for cereal.

There was no money to order pizza with. There was no money to go through the drive through.

You offered an unexpected guest food, he turned it down. In my opinion there is nothing else that is required.

And good luck getting him off your coach.

rose red

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2014, 12:40:36 PM »
*snip*

I'll feed him under normal circumstances, and I don't want to give him the impression that I'll bend over backwards to make sure he's fed.

This made it sound like you didn't offer him so much as a cracker, but since you offered sandwiches, you were fine.  You don't have to cook him dinner as long as you offered him something.

m2kbug

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2014, 12:40:46 PM »
If he has a tendency to be a drop-by dinner moocher, it's probably good that you didn't go to any major efforts to make a third dinner.  With a super tight budget, I really wouldn't have a lot to offer either.

My question was, why didn't you at least make up a sandwich or something, but in reading your update, he didn't want one, so at least you offered.  I think at the very least, you could offer something, which you did. 

I wouldn't make any special trips for fast food, the grocery store, or order pizza either, but of course they are welcome to do so if they wish. 

esposita

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2014, 12:41:52 PM »
I think responses would be very different if you edit your OP to include that you did offer sandwich fixings.

*snip*

I'll feed him under normal circumstances, and I don't want to give him the impression that I'll bend over backwards to make sure he's fed.

This made it sound like you didn't offer him so much as a cracker, but since you offered sandwiches, you were fine.  You don't have to cook him dinner as long as you offered him something.

That's what I thought too. Yes, you did the right thing.  :)

Calistoga

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2014, 12:47:33 PM »
LOL. Re-reading it I totally see that. Sorry guys!

I'm not heartless, I won't make him sit in his chair and starve, but I'm very wary about extending any extra courtesy to him because he has such a terrible habit of biting the hand that feeds him. Pun intended.

Under normal circumstances- as in, when we can afford it and when I know he's planning on wandering by, I'll extend the meal or plan ahead to makes something that feeds a lot of people, like tacos or mac and cheese or soup. But I feel like if I scramble around to do it at the last minute I'm creating the belief that there will always be food to be had and he'll just keep showing up looking for pork chops.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2014, 01:17:25 PM »
LOL. Re-reading it I totally see that. Sorry guys!

I'm not heartless, I won't make him sit in his chair and starve, but I'm very wary about extending any extra courtesy to him because he has such a terrible habit of biting the hand that feeds him. Pun intended.

Under normal circumstances- as in, when we can afford it and when I know he's planning on wandering by, I'll extend the meal or plan ahead to makes something that feeds a lot of people, like tacos or mac and cheese or soup. But I feel like if I scramble around to do it at the last minute I'm creating the belief that there will always be food to be had and he'll just keep showing up looking for pork chops.

This update makes things a lot clearer for me.  Since you did offer him something, and he chose not to accept, you were fine.

EllenS

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2014, 02:04:58 PM »
LOL. Re-reading it I totally see that. Sorry guys!

I'm not heartless, I won't make him sit in his chair and starve, but I'm very wary about extending any extra courtesy to him because he has such a terrible habit of biting the hand that feeds him. Pun intended.

Under normal circumstances- as in, when we can afford it and when I know he's planning on wandering by, I'll extend the meal or plan ahead to makes something that feeds a lot of people, like tacos or mac and cheese or soup. But I feel like if I scramble around to do it at the last minute I'm creating the belief that there will always be food to be had and he'll just keep showing up looking for pork chops.

This update makes things a lot clearer for me.  Since you did offer him something, and he chose not to accept, you were fine.

POD.
I would also be unavailable more often.

One other thing I was unclear on - was his car running properly after DH went to get him? It sounds like it might have been, in which case he was not truly "stranded" at your house?  That makes the sandwiches offer even more reasonable, if he had the option to leave.
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lowspark

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2014, 02:43:15 PM »
So wait. He doesn't have a home and he stole from the last people he stayed with to the point that they kicked him out and now he's sleeping on your couch?  :o Is he expecting to be sleeping on your couch again tonight? I think you might have a bigger problem than figuring out what to do for one dinner.

Bees

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2014, 03:00:20 PM »
You might look into finding an open homeless shelter if you are afraid of him squatting on your property. It was 8 degrees outside here last night and still below 20 at noontime. If he is living in his car it is dangerous outside for now.
  How did it end up ? Did he go?