Author Topic: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.  (Read 6035 times)

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EllenS

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #30 on: January 08, 2014, 01:16:52 PM »
He is absolutely not entitled to have any expectations that you will be willing to host him, but I think if you invite him to stay over - and invite means "agree to host him", then you are obligated to treat him like any other guest.

The place to draw the boundary is on the doorstep, not once you have invited him in. If you say, "well, yeah you can stay over but...." and put a lot of conditions on it, like unusual expectations for meals, or whatever, then you are just making a weird situation any wierder.

He's a guest, or he's not. You and DH just have to be on the same page on that and decide.

I think I disagree. I think that doing a favor for someone by allowing them to stay over when they ask is different from a guest I invite.

I'll go out of my way for a guest to assure they are comfortable. Some one crashing on my coach gets a pillow and blanket and needs to get out when I say.

I think I'm w/ Hmmmm on this. I do think that offering supper was required, given the time of day. But there are degrees of "people in my house," and Cousin Couch Surfer isn't really quite a full guest.

I can see that, and I'm not saying OP should iron the bedsheets and put out the fancy towels, but I do think there are certain minimum obligations of hosting - and if you agree to have someone in your home, you are their host.  The guy did not break in.

One obligation - you do not eat or drink in front of a guest without offering them something.  OP met that, and I think that obligation continues if she hosts him in future.  Another would be that you do not intentionally make your guest take the leavings, or a second-class meal.  A drop-in and there's not enough to go around, is one thing.  But if OP were to get up and make bacon and eggs for breakfast, it would be rude to make just enough for her and DH, and tell Cousin "here, you can have a cold bagel."

If they were to open a bottle of wine with dinner, it would be rude to only offer Cousin water.  If they are sitting at the table, you don't tell Cousin he has to sit elsewhere.  That kind of thing was what I was envisioning.

I don't think she needs to do more than the minimum, but there is a minimum.  And if that is too much for you to do, then you should say "no, you can't stay over".

I think it's your phrase "treat him like any other guest" that I disagree most to.

A guest I invite to stay will be offered a full breakfast the next morning.
Someone asking to crash on my couch (especially if it's a repeatable request because of their own poor judgement) will most likely be told they need to leave by a certain time and be given a cup of coffee as I usher them out the door. Maybe it sounds hard hearted but I dealt with a couple of "friends" in my early 20's who seemed to repeatedly need a place to crash either because they got into a fight with their on again/off again relationship, they drank too much and couldn't drive, or they just assumed they could show up in town and I'd be happy to host them. I wasn't going to through them out on the street but I wasn't going to treat them like any other guest.

Yeah, sure - but you wouldn't cook breakfast for yourself and eat it in front of them? You'd make it after they leave, right?

I understand there are levels of hospitality, but I just think it would be two-faced to tell someone they are welcome in your home and then pointedly demonstrate that they are unwelcome.  If someone is not welcome - say no.  Nobody is holding a gun to your (general) head.

FWIW, this guy would not be welcome in my home.

m2kbug

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #31 on: January 08, 2014, 02:02:50 PM »
He is absolutely not entitled to have any expectations that you will be willing to host him, but I think if you invite him to stay over - and invite means "agree to host him", then you are obligated to treat him like any other guest.

The place to draw the boundary is on the doorstep, not once you have invited him in. If you say, "well, yeah you can stay over but...." and put a lot of conditions on it, like unusual expectations for meals, or whatever, then you are just making a weird situation any wierder.

He's a guest, or he's not. You and DH just have to be on the same page on that and decide.

I think I disagree. I think that doing a favor for someone by allowing them to stay over when they ask is different from a guest I invite.

I'll go out of my way for a guest to assure they are comfortable. Some one crashing on my coach gets a pillow and blanket and needs to get out when I say.

I think I'm w/ Hmmmm on this. I do think that offering supper was required, given the time of day. But there are degrees of "people in my house," and Cousin Couch Surfer isn't really quite a full guest.

I can see that, and I'm not saying OP should iron the bedsheets and put out the fancy towels, but I do think there are certain minimum obligations of hosting - and if you agree to have someone in your home, you are their host.  The guy did not break in.

One obligation - you do not eat or drink in front of a guest without offering them something.  OP met that, and I think that obligation continues if she hosts him in future.  Another would be that you do not intentionally make your guest take the leavings, or a second-class meal.  A drop-in and there's not enough to go around, is one thing.  But if OP were to get up and make bacon and eggs for breakfast, it would be rude to make just enough for her and DH, and tell Cousin "here, you can have a cold bagel."

If they were to open a bottle of wine with dinner, it would be rude to only offer Cousin water.  If they are sitting at the table, you don't tell Cousin he has to sit elsewhere.  That kind of thing was what I was envisioning.

I don't think she needs to do more than the minimum, but there is a minimum.  And if that is too much for you to do, then you should say "no, you can't stay over".

I think it's your phrase "treat him like any other guest" that I disagree most to.

A guest I invite to stay will be offered a full breakfast the next morning.
Someone asking to crash on my couch (especially if it's a repeatable request because of their own poor judgement) will most likely be told they need to leave by a certain time and be given a cup of coffee as I usher them out the door. Maybe it sounds hard hearted but I dealt with a couple of "friends" in my early 20's who seemed to repeatedly need a place to crash either because they got into a fight with their on again/off again relationship, they drank too much and couldn't drive, or they just assumed they could show up in town and I'd be happy to host them. I wasn't going to through them out on the street but I wasn't going to treat them like any other guest.

Yeah, sure - but you wouldn't cook breakfast for yourself and eat it in front of them? You'd make it after they leave, right?

I understand there are levels of hospitality, but I just think it would be two-faced to tell someone they are welcome in your home and then pointedly demonstrate that they are unwelcome.  If someone is not welcome - say no.  Nobody is holding a gun to your (general) head.

FWIW, this guy would not be welcome in my home.

The OP stated that if there were some advance notice, she could have, and probably would have, prepared an extra meal.  At the same time, this Cousin is likely to take advantage and providing one meal is essentially an invitation for this person to take advantage and expect to be fed every day of the week and empty the kitchen.  Judging by her post, in the morning, if she decided to make bacon and eggs, she would make enough for Couch Surfer as well.  If breakfast is something people deal with on their own in her household, I imagine Couch Surfer had free reign of the bowls and cereal, bread, eggs, and cooking utensils; help yourself and be on your way.  There is no indication the OP is restricting any nourishment, but given the circumstances, she won't be bending over backwards either. 

Virg

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2014, 04:27:17 PM »
wolfie wrote:

"My car needed to be jumped over the weekend too and they recommend you leave the car running for a while after to help recharge the battery so he was stranded somewhere for a while."

The drive to their place would satisfy that time unless he was very nearby to start with, so that's not much of an issue.  Moreover, once the car's running, he's not "stranded" insofar as he could have driven home, if he hadn't managed to make himself unwelcome there, and after he arrived at their place, he could have simply asked for another jump-start if the drive wasn't enough charge time and he wanted (or was asked) to leave.

Calistoga, given that you offered him something to eat and given his history, I think you were quite polite enough for the situation.  I'm not on board with treating him as any other guest because of his propensity for taking advantage, coupled with the fact that he invited himself over rather than accepted your offer of hospitality.  If he'd shown himself to be a gracious guest or you weren't familiar with him, then I'd say that you owe him proper treatment just by inviting him in.  But given that he's already spent his way through your goodwill in the past, you did as much as anyone could ask of you.

Virg

wolfie

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #33 on: January 08, 2014, 06:36:45 PM »
wolfie wrote:

"My car needed to be jumped over the weekend too and they recommend you leave the car running for a while after to help recharge the battery so he was stranded somewhere for a while."

The drive to their place would satisfy that time unless he was very nearby to start with, so that's not much of an issue.  Moreover, once the car's running, he's not "stranded" insofar as he could have driven home, if he hadn't managed to make himself unwelcome there, and after he arrived at their place, he could have simply asked for another jump-start if the drive wasn't enough charge time and he wanted (or was asked) to leave.

Calistoga, given that you offered him something to eat and given his history, I think you were quite polite enough for the situation.  I'm not on board with treating him as any other guest because of his propensity for taking advantage, coupled with the fact that he invited himself over rather than accepted your offer of hospitality.  If he'd shown himself to be a gracious guest or you weren't familiar with him, then I'd say that you owe him proper treatment just by inviting him in.  But given that he's already spent his way through your goodwill in the past, you did as much as anyone could ask of you.

Virg

THe guy who jumped my battery recommended not driving it but leaving it running for at least 30 min with everything turned off. So yeah he could have sat in his car for that long without heat but since the cold is probably what drained the battery that would be harsh. But that is still not stranded for the night. just for an hour or so.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #34 on: January 08, 2014, 06:53:37 PM »
wolfie wrote:

"My car needed to be jumped over the weekend too and they recommend you leave the car running for a while after to help recharge the battery so he was stranded somewhere for a while."

The drive to their place would satisfy that time unless he was very nearby to start with, so that's not much of an issue.  Moreover, once the car's running, he's not "stranded" insofar as he could have driven home, if he hadn't managed to make himself unwelcome there, and after he arrived at their place, he could have simply asked for another jump-start if the drive wasn't enough charge time and he wanted (or was asked) to leave.

Calistoga, given that you offered him something to eat and given his history, I think you were quite polite enough for the situation.  I'm not on board with treating him as any other guest because of his propensity for taking advantage, coupled with the fact that he invited himself over rather than accepted your offer of hospitality.  If he'd shown himself to be a gracious guest or you weren't familiar with him, then I'd say that you owe him proper treatment just by inviting him in.  But given that he's already spent his way through your goodwill in the past, you did as much as anyone could ask of you.

Virg

THe guy who jumped my battery recommended not driving it but leaving it running for at least 30 min with everything turned off. So yeah he could have sat in his car for that long without heat but since the cold is probably what drained the battery that would be harsh. But that is still not stranded for the night. just for an hour or so.

That is a recommendation I've never heard. I've been told to run it at least 5 to 10 minutes after a jump (idling or driving) before turning off to allow it to recharge. Do you have a specialist battery? Or was due to cold and they were wanting the engine to warm up before you drove it?

artk2002

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #35 on: January 08, 2014, 07:08:32 PM »
That is a recommendation I've never heard. I've been told to run it at least 5 to 10 minutes after a jump (idling or driving) before turning off to allow it to recharge. Do you have a specialist battery? Or was due to cold and they were wanting the engine to warm up before you drove it?

If you turn the engine off then it isn't going to recharge. The recharge comes from the alternator which is driven by a running engine. The advice Wolfie has is good, because idling (or even driving) for 30 minutes gives a better charge to the battery. If you kill the engine too soon, there may not be enough juice in the battery to start again.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Virg

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2014, 08:04:41 PM »
wolfie wrote:

"THe guy who jumped my battery recommended not driving it but leaving it running for at least 30 min with everything turned off. So yeah he could have sat in his car for that long without heat but since the cold is probably what drained the battery that would be harsh. But that is still not stranded for the night. just for an hour or so."

That's far longer than a battery that was just cold would need to be reasonably operable, and I've never encountered anyone who ever recommended idling a car for half an hour just to charge the battery.  I agree that the alternator won't charge the battery as quickly while driving the car as it will in idle, but still a drive will do the job unless the battery is damaged (in which case it probably won't hold a charge no matter how long you run the car) or in very deep discharge, in which case a half hour probably wouldn't be enough to fully charge it anyway and he'd need a booster jump to get it started the next time he wanted to drive.  In either case, once the car is running, there's no need to idle it to recharge right on the spot.  If your car can't run normally once it's started without a charged battery (and in fact, with no battery at all), then your alternator is broken and needs to be replaced but you'll find that out when the car stalls the moment the jumper cables are disconnected.

As a side note, cold doesn't drain a battery (besides a small percentage of the charge due to thermal differential).  It just makes it so that the battery doesn't discharge as efficiently, so the power it can provide drops.  I compare it to a gallon of water, where the water is the charge.  Fill the bottle, and you can pour off a gallon before you need to refill it.  Freeze it, and the bottle is "dead" because no matter how you tip it, no water comes out.  But heat it back up, and it goes back to working.  For this case, if the battery is on the edge of failing such that freezing it causes failure (rather than the failure being due to discharge like would happen if he left his headlights on for more than a day), it'll go back to working as well as a failing battery can when the engine warms it up.

Still, for the purposes of this thread, the important part is that he was only "stuck" until Calistoga's DH arrived and jump started his engine.  After that, he could have gone anywhere because he wouldn't have to sit with the car where it was, he could have driven it and then idled it when he arrived, and having gone to Calistoga's place, he could have left even if he needed another jump start to do so.  Because of that, he wasn't prevented from leaving so he can't plead "captive guest" in terms of them giving him more leeway.


artk2002 wrote:

"If you turn the engine off then it isn't going to recharge."

I think you misread her modifier.  I don't think she meant "turn it off to recharge", I think she meant run for 5-10 minutes to recharge before turning it off.  I agree with you that that could be too short, though, since I usually suggest fifteen minutes at least.

Virg

TootsNYC

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #37 on: January 08, 2014, 08:08:27 PM »
wolfie wrote:

"My car needed to be jumped over the weekend too and they recommend you leave the car running for a while after to help recharge the battery so he was stranded somewhere for a while."

The drive to their place would satisfy that time unless he was very nearby to start with, so that's not much of an issue.  Moreover, once the car's running, he's not "stranded" insofar as he could have driven home, if he hadn't managed to make himself unwelcome there, and after he arrived at their place, he could have simply asked for another jump-start if the drive wasn't enough charge time and he wanted (or was asked) to leave.


Virg

THe guy who jumped my battery recommended not driving it but leaving it running for at least 30 min with everything turned off. So yeah he could have sat in his car for that long without heat but since the cold is probably what drained the battery that would be harsh. But that is still not stranded for the night. just for an hour or so.

I wouldn't use the verb "stranded" at all. "Stuck," maybe; "stationary," certainly. But not "stranded."

wolfie

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #38 on: January 08, 2014, 08:41:43 PM »
wolfie wrote:

"My car needed to be jumped over the weekend too and they recommend you leave the car running for a while after to help recharge the battery so he was stranded somewhere for a while."

The drive to their place would satisfy that time unless he was very nearby to start with, so that's not much of an issue.  Moreover, once the car's running, he's not "stranded" insofar as he could have driven home, if he hadn't managed to make himself unwelcome there, and after he arrived at their place, he could have simply asked for another jump-start if the drive wasn't enough charge time and he wanted (or was asked) to leave.

Calistoga, given that you offered him something to eat and given his history, I think you were quite polite enough for the situation.  I'm not on board with treating him as any other guest because of his propensity for taking advantage, coupled with the fact that he invited himself over rather than accepted your offer of hospitality.  If he'd shown himself to be a gracious guest or you weren't familiar with him, then I'd say that you owe him proper treatment just by inviting him in.  But given that he's already spent his way through your goodwill in the past, you did as much as anyone could ask of you.

Virg

THe guy who jumped my battery recommended not driving it but leaving it running for at least 30 min with everything turned off. So yeah he could have sat in his car for that long without heat but since the cold is probably what drained the battery that would be harsh. But that is still not stranded for the night. just for an hour or so.

That is a recommendation I've never heard. I've been told to run it at least 5 to 10 minutes after a jump (idling or driving) before turning off to allow it to recharge. Do you have a specialist battery? Or was due to cold and they were wanting the engine to warm up before you drove it?

I don't know about the battery. He was very surprised it was dead since it was in the garage and it is only 2 years old and was worried about it turning off again. I have an appointment to get it checked and will probably replace it since i have been having a few problems with it lately and considering the temps it seems the best thing to do.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #39 on: January 08, 2014, 09:13:17 PM »
OP, are you (and your DH) ok with helping out Cousin once in awhile? If so, I think you did fine by offering him a sandwich.

If not, then I think the simple answer is not to let him in your house, in future.

MariaE

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #40 on: January 09, 2014, 12:56:19 AM »
wolfie wrote:

"My car needed to be jumped over the weekend too and they recommend you leave the car running for a while after to help recharge the battery so he was stranded somewhere for a while."

The drive to their place would satisfy that time unless he was very nearby to start with, so that's not much of an issue.  Moreover, once the car's running, he's not "stranded" insofar as he could have driven home, if he hadn't managed to make himself unwelcome there, and after he arrived at their place, he could have simply asked for another jump-start if the drive wasn't enough charge time and he wanted (or was asked) to leave.

Calistoga, given that you offered him something to eat and given his history, I think you were quite polite enough for the situation.  I'm not on board with treating him as any other guest because of his propensity for taking advantage, coupled with the fact that he invited himself over rather than accepted your offer of hospitality.  If he'd shown himself to be a gracious guest or you weren't familiar with him, then I'd say that you owe him proper treatment just by inviting him in.  But given that he's already spent his way through your goodwill in the past, you did as much as anyone could ask of you.

Virg

THe guy who jumped my battery recommended not driving it but leaving it running for at least 30 min with everything turned off. So yeah he could have sat in his car for that long without heat but since the cold is probably what drained the battery that would be harsh. But that is still not stranded for the night. just for an hour or so.

That is a recommendation I've never heard. I've been told to run it at least 5 to 10 minutes after a jump (idling or driving) before turning off to allow it to recharge. Do you have a specialist battery? Or was due to cold and they were wanting the engine to warm up before you drove it?
.
Neither. We had to get a jump last winter, and we were told to "leave it running or drive around" for however long it was.
 
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cb140

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2014, 08:23:35 AM »
I know it was O/T but all the car battery stuff was really useful - thanks! I'm a complete car dunce.

Calistoga

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #42 on: January 10, 2014, 02:39:42 PM »
We've always opted to drive the car around to get the battery charged enough to start again.

Unfortunately Cousin just drove it here which wasn't very far, so it was dead in the morning, too. He ended up staying for breakfast and lunch- Both of which I promise I fed him, lol.

artk2002

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Re: Unexpected couch surfers at dinner time.
« Reply #43 on: January 10, 2014, 03:06:40 PM »

"If you turn the engine off then it isn't going to recharge."

I think you misread her modifier.  I don't think she meant "turn it off to recharge", I think she meant run for 5-10 minutes to recharge before turning it off.  I agree with you that that could be too short, though, since I usually suggest fifteen minutes at least.

Virg

I see, it was a misplaced clause. It should have read something like "... let it run for 5-10 minutes to allow it to recharge, before turning off." The placement of the phrase connected recharging to turning off, not recharging to running 5-10 minutes.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain