Author Topic: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage  (Read 11320 times)

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Lynn2000

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #60 on: February 14, 2014, 01:13:30 PM »
Yeah, with the salsa thing, to me that's not so much a question of the guest taking advantage of the host, but of the restaurant's exorbitant prices. As others said he might have naturally thought the amount of salsa would be larger for the price, or not looked at the price but assumed a side of salsa wouldn't be that expensive. The OP or one of her minor children that she was paying for might have made the same mistake the first time. I probably would've just let it go and, as the OP said, made a mental note that this restaurant is not a good value for the money!

In a case like this, I think if the host doesn't want to pay for the item after seeing it, the complaint should be laid on the restaurant for ridiculous prices/small servings, and not on the guest for ordering "extra." If the problem is the cost of the item inherently, I do think the host can say "no," hopefully before the order gets placed. But if the host had been fine paying for the item, until they saw how small it was, I don't think that's the guest's fault (maybe in some unusual circumstance only). Either the menu/culture is clear about the size of the item so the host should understand what they're paying for in advance, or the menu is vague and probably everyone is disappointed in the size, which is the restaurant's fault (if anyone's).
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saki

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #61 on: February 16, 2014, 09:17:29 AM »
Is there anything you, as a host, can do when someone that you've invited is going hog-wild with ordering stuff....that is, more than you'd intended for them to order, or more expensive stuff?

I'd wondered about this.  Took my (early 20s) nephew out for a fast lunch.  He wanted salsa with his quesadilla and chips.  The kind he wanted was about $2.50 - $3.00 for a larger condiment cup size (maybe 1/4 cup total).  Seemed expensive to me, and I'd already ordered chips and queso for everyone to share (the BEST queso!).  I was taken aback b/c I wouldn't have let my own kids order that when they already had the queso, but I didn't say anything.  He ended up hardly having any and not wanting to waste it, I did get a lid and gave it to him to take home (acting like 'oh, I'll get a lid so you can have a snack at home!').  In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't a bank breaker by any means and he's a good kid so no biggie.  But that little tub of salsa cost quite a bit, relative to the cost of the main part of the meal, and it got me thinking....how does one handle it if it's a lot more than what you'd intended to pay for them?

I think, if your budget is so tight that your guest ordering something $2-3 more than you'd expected is a problem, it's probably unwise for you to host.  I don't think it would occur to most people that their host's budget was that tight.  I suspect the issue for you was more that you thought it was bad value for money rather than that you objected to paying an extra $2-3, is that right?  I think that all the time about what people order in restaurants but I'm not sure that I think it's ok to object to it, even if you are paying.  So, for instance, I think it's a poor choice to choose something that you can easily assemble at home for a lot less money - e.g. a simple salad or pasta dish - but, if I'm taking someone out to lunch and that's what they order, I'm not going to steer them away from it. 

I personally would pick a restaurant where I was happy with the price range overall, even if there were individual things on the menu that I would be unhappy paying for.  If my guest did want to order something really expensive (and, to be honest, I don't see that happening with anyone I'd be likely to take out for dinner), I'd probably just be honest and say "I'm afraid that's a bit out of my budget, do you mind ordering something else?"  I do expect anyone I treat to be relaxed though and - within reason - order what they want.  I'm vegetarian so my main course is likely to be one of the cheapest on the menu, I don't expect a meat eater I'm treating to stick to that or below, if I don't fancy alcohol that night, I have no issue with my guest order a glass of wine.  I wouldn't want them to feel self-conscious about ordering.  I do the same vice versa - order what I want, just don't take the p*ss (as we say in the UK.)

I very specifically said that it wasn't a bank-breaker.  And yes, it was because of the value, and because this was essentially a condiment.  75 cents?  Sure.  But not the amount that I paid.  Nephew just ordered a side of salsa when he was ordering (at a counter), so it wasn't like there was a big discussion.  I was very surprised and made a mental note not to order separate salsa there again!  (And the quesadillas do come with salsa or your choice of other thing, but I think he took sour cream, which made the salsa extra.)

FYI: He's in his early 20s, so the line is blurred about actual "hosting".  Technically, he's an adult and could pay for himself.  It was a "let's meet for lunch since you're in town thing."  But I realize that at that age, you're transitioning into being an adult with people who have always bought your food for you.  He was very polite (always is) and did express his thanks for me paying, even though he doesn't really attempt to pay for himself.  I did expect to pay for him, so that's not the issue.  It was the relative extravagance (for this place) of a few dollars for essentially a condiment.  That he didn't eat.

I get what you're saying and - as I said - I agree that there are things that I think are poor value in restaurants.  However, I don't think - if you're hosting - that you should intervene (and, indeed, you didn't) if you think your guest is ordering something poor value (unless it's wildly extravagant financially and it's therefore out of your budget).  I think you have to accept that your guests will not always order what you think they should.

mj

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #62 on: February 23, 2014, 07:10:42 PM »
I guess I'm going to take the other point of view here, regarding restaurant ordering by invited guests.

I think that a guest should feel free to order anything from the menu.

IMO, it's up to the host to ensure that they choose a place at which they can afford to host, even if every single person ordered a 3 course meal consisting of the most expensive items in each category and sides as well.

That's what I do anyway - I couldn't imagine saying to my guests that they are limited to order only certain things or not get any sides when I am hosting them.

In the example given, I don't think it unreasonable for him to order a bit salsa to go with the chips.  You might not allow your child to order that, but that's different because that is your child and you get to say what they order and what they eat.  This nephew was an invited guest - not your child.

I agree a good bit with this.  Obviously without including the Dom Perignon type items on a menu.  But taking into account what an average 3 course meal would cost in the particular restaurant is a good way, imo, for a host to ascertain if they are up to financially hosting and takes the pressure off of guest and host to do the dance.

My opinion comes from years of dining out with my parent in laws who 1) refuse to let you pick up the check (even if you invited them) and 2) order apps for "everyone" but only they like the apps.  And dessert is rarely ordered, but if it is, you're sharing! 

Eating out should be relaxing and enjoyable for everyone. 


Mammavan3

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #63 on: March 17, 2014, 05:56:48 PM »


 I overheard some people at a restaurant the other day telling the server that their company would pay for their food, but not their alcohol, so the alcoholic drinks they wanted needed to be on a separate bill--hopefully if there was a company policy against paying for alcohol the "host" (who is really representing the company, who's paying) would mention that upfront, if applicable.


Just an interesting FYI - Business meals are tax deductible; alcoholic beverages accompanying them aren't. So if you're submitting an expense account for your meal, you must back out the cost of alcoholic beverages. That is quite a pain ("Let's see, there's a $9 glass of Merlot, $15 for a specialty Martini, three glasses of Cab at $8.50 each, that's $49.50 plus sales tax and tip. . ."Arrrggghhh!)

I always shake my head in disbelief at tales of gluttonous guests. In our family and with our friends, no one even looks at the most expensive entrees and even if you twist their arm, will not order a second drink. We have taken to offering pre-dinner cocktails and then ordering bottles of wines or the table. We also like to use places that order pre-set menus:  the host chooses a menu in the price range s/he prefers and the guests are handed menus with no prices and are free to order whatever they want. They usually include an appetizer assortment for the table.

I don't see it as a matter of "affording" to pay for whatever your guests order or not. Many people have the money to pay for a meal even if every guest ordered the most expensive entree and every side and beverage available. The point is that it is rude to take advantage of someone's generosity.

daen

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #64 on: March 17, 2014, 06:13:18 PM »
I have sometimes wished it would be possible to have a restaurant dinner party. Instead of hosting a meal at my home where I set the menu and do all the cooking and serving, I would take my guest(s) to a restaurant and the waitstaff would serve us a meal of my choosing, which I might even have paid for earlier, but would in any event know the price in advance.

It's much like a previous poster's suggestion of a set menu, except that  my guests wouldn't get a choice of meal at all. But if I'd like to treat someone to a specific (and expensive) specialty which I can't make at home, this strikes me as being one way of being able to do so.

I would be clear that there would be no choice as to the menu, what the menu would be, and that it was my treat.

There was this fondue restaurant that I couldn't quite afford as a student, but would have been a nice anniversary supper under those conditions...

Outdoor Girl

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #65 on: March 17, 2014, 06:37:08 PM »
Friends of my Dad no longer have the space to entertain, and she was never very fond of cooking to begin with.

My small town has a lot of churches and a Legion that routinely put on various suppers - spaghetti, roast beef, turkey, pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, etc.  So they invite their friends, buy a block of tickets and reserve a couple of tables.  They get to treat their friends to a meal for a reasonable amount and make a charitable donation at the same time.
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Lynn2000

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #66 on: March 17, 2014, 07:48:29 PM »
I have sometimes wished it would be possible to have a restaurant dinner party. Instead of hosting a meal at my home where I set the menu and do all the cooking and serving, I would take my guest(s) to a restaurant and the waitstaff would serve us a meal of my choosing, which I might even have paid for earlier, but would in any event know the price in advance.

It's much like a previous poster's suggestion of a set menu, except that  my guests wouldn't get a choice of meal at all. But if I'd like to treat someone to a specific (and expensive) specialty which I can't make at home, this strikes me as being one way of being able to do so.

I would be clear that there would be no choice as to the menu, what the menu would be, and that it was my treat.

There was this fondue restaurant that I couldn't quite afford as a student, but would have been a nice anniversary supper under those conditions...

You know, this sounds like a good idea to me. When you host someone in your home they don't really get a choice of what they're served, and actually a restaurant would probably be better placed to make substitutions (like for allergies/restrictions) than an individual. It seems so ingrained that at a restaurant, we get some choice, though, that it might be hard to get people in the right mindset.

Sushi comes to mind. Though, I probably wouldn't do "this roll only" but rather a variety on everyone's plate, or let them choose from a subset of rolls.
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Phoebe

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #67 on: March 17, 2014, 07:57:08 PM »
I have sometimes wished it would be possible to have a restaurant dinner party. Instead of hosting a meal at my home where I set the menu and do all the cooking and serving, I would take my guest(s) to a restaurant and the waitstaff would serve us a meal of my choosing, which I might even have paid for earlier, but would in any event know the price in advance.

It's much like a previous poster's suggestion of a set menu, except that  my guests wouldn't get a choice of meal at all. But if I'd like to treat someone to a specific (and expensive) specialty which I can't make at home, this strikes me as being one way of being able to do so.

I would be clear that there would be no choice as to the menu, what the menu would be, and that it was my treat.

There was this fondue restaurant that I couldn't quite afford as a student, but would have been a nice anniversary supper under those conditions...

Actually, you can do this.  If the dinner party is large enough for the restaurant's private party room, you can set it up with the staff ahead of time as to which entrees, appetizers, etc you'd like your guests to choose from.  Some of the restaurants will print up a menu for you, or you can print one yourself.  I've been to a couple of these and it was really lovely and intimate, just like it would have been at the host's home.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #68 on: March 17, 2014, 08:04:35 PM »
^ I've done this a few times for a union local dinner with 25ish people.  Set menu with choice of two or three appetizers, 4 or 5 mains, 2 or 3 desserts, coffee or tea.  People were on their own for alcoholic beverages in my case but you could also ask for a limited drinks menu.
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Ontario

TootsNYC

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #69 on: March 17, 2014, 08:31:38 PM »
I have sometimes wished it would be possible to have a restaurant dinner party. Instead of hosting a meal at my home where I set the menu and do all the cooking and serving, I would take my guest(s) to a restaurant and the waitstaff would serve us a meal of my choosing, which I might even have paid for earlier, but would in any event know the price in advance.

It's much like a previous poster's suggestion of a set menu, except that  my guests wouldn't get a choice of meal at all. But if I'd like to treat someone to a specific (and expensive) specialty which I can't make at home, this strikes me as being one way of being able to do so.

I would be clear that there would be no choice as to the menu, what the menu would be, and that it was my treat.

There was this fondue restaurant that I couldn't quite afford as a student, but would have been a nice anniversary supper under those conditions...

I think this is quite possible.

My relatives do this all the time at restaurants. And I've spoken to restaurants in many other cities who will do this for rehearsal dinners, etc. Or even for just a few people.
   They'll even let you pick, oh, four or five things that you're -willing- to pay for, or would like to make available, and will print up a special menu for you.

cass2591

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #70 on: March 17, 2014, 09:34:24 PM »
Yes, I did mean that only order and appetizer in addition to your main course if the host does.
Ahh, the effects of the laxness that afflicts the word "only" and its position in the sentence:  "only order an appetizer" versus "order only an appetizer"--the meaning switch is huge, but so many people resist the proper order (speaking as someone who is always trying to make editors of publications put it in the proper place and meets resistance).


Although this is an old post, may I remind you that you are not an editor here. If you misunderstand a poster due to "laxness", just say you misunderstood without a grammar lesson. TYVM.
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lowspark

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #71 on: March 18, 2014, 11:16:52 AM »
I have sometimes wished it would be possible to have a restaurant dinner party. Instead of hosting a meal at my home where I set the menu and do all the cooking and serving, I would take my guest(s) to a restaurant and the waitstaff would serve us a meal of my choosing, which I might even have paid for earlier, but would in any event know the price in advance.

It's much like a previous poster's suggestion of a set menu, except that  my guests wouldn't get a choice of meal at all. But if I'd like to treat someone to a specific (and expensive) specialty which I can't make at home, this strikes me as being one way of being able to do so.

I would be clear that there would be no choice as to the menu, what the menu would be, and that it was my treat.

There was this fondue restaurant that I couldn't quite afford as a student, but would have been a nice anniversary supper under those conditions...

Oh yeah, definitely you can do the limited-menu type of thing by pre-arranging it with the restaurant. I've done it before. It works out great for the kitchen if you have a large party (as we did, ~60 people) as they can streamline the orders and get everything out at approximately the same time so that some tables aren't done eating before other tables even get their order.

I think it might be kind of weird to only order one dish though as opposed to having a selection of a few (we had three). I don't know why that would feel weird to me but it would.

However! At a fondue restaurant, I think it would work perfectly. Maybe because at the fondue place I've been to, you get three courses, appy, main and dessert, and the choices for each course are fairly limited. So just deciding on each course in advance and having everything sort of flow at the same time sounds like it would be a pretty fun party.

TootsNYC

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #72 on: March 18, 2014, 12:31:04 PM »
Yes, I did mean that only order and appetizer in addition to your main course if the host does.
Ahh, the effects of the laxness that afflicts the word "only" and its position in the sentence:  "only order an appetizer" versus "order only an appetizer"--the meaning switch is huge, but so many people resist the proper order (speaking as someone who is always trying to make editors of publications put it in the proper place and meets resistance).


Although this is an old post, may I remind you that you are not an editor here. If you misunderstand a poster due to "laxness", just say you misunderstood without a grammar lesson. TYVM.

I didn't mean that in any way aimed at any one person. And I don't think I was the one who misunderstood, actually.

And yes, this is a very old post--and a long time ago in this particular discussion. I'm wondering why it was brought up now. It didn't appear to have caused any hard feelings at the time.

« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 12:39:05 PM by TootsNYC »

cass2591

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #73 on: March 18, 2014, 03:34:27 PM »
It wasn't reported until yesterday, and why I don't know. Maybe nobody noticed. Either way, I took it as you "schooling" the poster and it is unacceptable to embarrass a poster and instruct them on proper grammar that frankly isn't that big a deal. I don't care if you're an editor, you're not one here and I strongly advise you to keep silent on such matters.

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Mikayla

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Re: SO on uninvited guest taking advantage
« Reply #74 on: March 20, 2014, 12:42:19 PM »
On the issue of private rooms at restaurants, I just want to pod comments that the group doesn't have to be large.  I know for a fact in DC metro there are lots of places where 8-10 gets it done.  You do need to meet a minimum food and drink, but it's not out of line compared to menu prices.  And it's not difficult to offer 2 entree options.

Some places actually enjoy doing this just from a planning perspective.