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Author Topic: Fancy a Beer?  (Read 6089 times)

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Mayadoz

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Fancy a Beer?
« on: August 04, 2016, 06:13:00 AM »
So our latest student arrived a few days ago - a 36-year-old cartographer from the other side of Turkey, around a 15-hour drive away
(We act as a host family for students attending courses at a nearby English language academy.)
He is a really nice guy and we have no real complaints so far; his English is on a par with our Turkish, so we're muddling through language-wise.

There's just one issue I'm not sure how to address when the time comes.

He does like a beer - or rather two or three - in the evening. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that; DH also likes a beer in the evening, especially when it's hot and he's been watering the garden.

We buy it in cases from a cash & carry as alcohol is expensive here and this way makes it a bit cheaper in the long run, although it does mean we are paying out more up front. Still, we can generally budget ok and allow for a little more if, for example, we have friends coming to stay.

Our student is with us for at least two weeks and possibly four, so of course I have told him to help himself to food, make himself at home etc. This means that by getting himself a couple of beers every evening he is simply taking me at my word, which is fair enough.

However, it also means that the beer we bought around a week ago with the expectation it would last a month will, at the current rate of consumption, be gone shortly after the weekend.

So, eHellions, what do I do? My thought is simply that we don't do another beer run as we have not budgeted for one. DH can buy a couple of bottles at a time from the local store and if our student wants more, he can buy them himself. Or would that be rude? Have I already set the precedent by having the beers available and telling the guy to make himself at home/help himself?

We are obliged to provide bed, breakfast and an evening meal, as well as a home environment, but I don't think that includes supplying unlimited alcohol or other luxuries....and if we did, then we would probably end up being out of pocket at the end of his stay as the academy pays a sum to cover the necessary meals and a contribution to utilities.

I don't think trying to have a conversation with him about it is the answer as we have language barriers on both sides, and I would be worried about leaving him with the impression that he wasn't welcome, or that we weren't being hospitable, or that I was telling him bluntly to stop drinking the beer! But I also think he must know how much it costs and that drinking several bottles every evening soon mounts up....
Life is short. Buy the shoes. Drink the wine. Order the dessert.

saki

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Re: Fancy a Beer?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2016, 06:41:14 AM »
This is a tricky one!

I think I would go for just not buying more.  If he asks about it, I'd suggest just saying in a really matter of fact way "Oh, we've run out of beer at the moment but you can pick up more at X store if you'd like to" - not making a big deal of it, just behaving as you would if you'd run out of any other item of food/drink.  I think if you say it in a calm, easy going kind of way, he shouldn't take offence.

MariaE

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Re: Fancy a Beer?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2016, 07:58:59 AM »
Just don't buy more.

The precedence is that if there is beer available, he's welcome to take some - not that there will always be beer available... if you get the distinction, I'm trying to make?

If he asks (and he probably won't), I'd go with saki's response.
 
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learningtofly

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Re: Fancy a Beer?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2016, 08:14:19 AM »
I agree with Maria.  Treat the beer as you would any other item.  He's welcome to it if its in the house.  I buy apples five at a time to put in lunches for the week.  If I had a guest who started eating one every night and I was still putting them in lunches, we would run out by mid-week.  I wouldn't have time to shop mid-week, so the guest would no longer have apples.  They would be welcome to buy their own or wait until I picked them up again.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Fancy a Beer?
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2016, 08:18:19 AM »
No, I wouldn't restock the beer until he's left...or maybe the week before. If he asks if there's beer available I'd just say that you guys buy monthly by the case and won't be restocking for a while.

I don't think you're obligated to always have every creature comfort available to the exchange student.

camlan

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Re: Fancy a Beer?
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2016, 08:31:17 AM »
I'd tell him that the beer is bought once a month, and that when it is gone, instead of getting more right away, he will be expected to buy his own. That way, he can decide to drink it all at once or stretch it out.

Waiting until it is all gone just doesn't seem right--he doesn't know that you only purchase it once a month. He may think it is no big deal to just go and get some more. He may not know how much it costs, and he has no idea how much money you have or how much beer you usually drink.

If you don't say anything until all the beer is gone, you aren't giving him the information he needs to make an informed choice. And you may end up having an even more difficult conversation as you try to explain why there is no more beer.

If you are concerned about the conversation, perhaps someone at the school could help translate?
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Mayadoz

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Re: Fancy a Beer?
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2016, 08:40:41 AM »
Thank you - as always, the objective view is just what's needed and the solution seems so simple when I see the replies.

Rather than highlighting it as an issue, I think we'll make sure he's there when we restock the fridge from the crates and mention it then:

"This is pretty much the last of the beer. Student, we're not due to do our monthly beer run for a while so if you'd like some more we're happy to show you where the nearest store is."

 :)
Life is short. Buy the shoes. Drink the wine. Order the dessert.

Cali.in.UK

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Re: Fancy a Beer?
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2016, 12:55:30 PM »
This is a tricky one!

I think I would go for just not buying more.  If he asks about it, I'd suggest just saying in a really matter of fact way "Oh, we've run out of beer at the moment but you can pick up more at X store if you'd like to" - not making a big deal of it, just behaving as you would if you'd run out of any other item of food/drink.  I think if you say it in a calm, easy going kind of way, he shouldn't take offence.

I agree with this. I think that if you did talk to him, he might feel embarrassed and a bit confused if he understood he could take as much as he wanted. The bolded is a good response too.

I stayed with distant cousins when I was about 15 and I remember asking if I could use their shower, and they said yes without any further instruction. At the time I would generally take 10-15 minute showers. After I had been in the shower for two minutes and still had shampoo in my hair, my cousin's SIL started pounding on the bathroom door saying she needed to use the bathroom (there were at least two other bathrooms in the house, so that was very weird) then my cousin and his SIL stood outside of the door and had a loud conversation about how rude I was and that in their house showers were expected to be two minutes or less. He had never said that to me prior, and since I was 15 and they were both adults I was mortified.

So when offering hospitality, be very clear about expectations because "take whatever you want" might mean a very different thing to your border than it does to you.

Sophia

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Re: Fancy a Beer?
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2016, 04:08:18 PM »
They must have had incredibly short hair. 

Onyx_TKD

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Re: Fancy a Beer?
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2016, 06:21:48 PM »
I think your plan of letting him know the beer is almost out and won't be replenished soon, and directing him to the store if he wants some for himself sounds perfectly reasonable. Indeed, it sounds generous. It would also be perfectly reasonable to keep the remainder of the beer for yourself and your husband by either not restocking the refrigerator (if you have another place to cool your beer to the desired temperature) and/or putting it in the fridge inside an opaque* bag marked as not-for-sharing.

*Opaque so as not to make it obvious that it is the beer, which would likely either make him think he'd offended you by drinking it before or invite questions as to why you are no longer sharing it.

However, I would question the assumption in your initial post:

So our latest student arrived a few days ago - a 36-year-old cartographer from the other side of Turkey, around a 15-hour drive away
[...]
I don't think trying to have a conversation with him about it is the answer as we have language barriers on both sides, and I would be worried about leaving him with the impression that he wasn't welcome, or that we weren't being hospitable, or that I was telling him bluntly to stop drinking the beer! But I also think he must know how much it costs and that drinking several bottles every evening soon mounts up....

Do you know the cost of beer on the other side of Turkey, where he's from? If not, then why assume he knows the cost of your beer if he hasn't bought any yet? If beer in general or the brand he buys in particular is significantly cheaper in his home region, then he may think he knows how much it costs and be severely underestimating (and once he visits the store, he may be horrified that he's been taking advantage of your generosity to that degree). Or perhaps he has a decent estimate of the cost, but it's not a prohibitive cost for him and your generous offer to help himself has led him to believe it's not for you, either. He might even intend to pick up the next supply of beer or contribute to the cost knowing it's an "extra" you're sharing out of your own generosity, but since he's only been here a few days and you have had (apparently) ample beer, it wouldn't have come up yet.

In any case, you've got a good plan, so I'd just encourage you to try not to make assumptions and just see what happens. If he's the "nice guy" he appears to be so far, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Mayadoz

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Re: Fancy a Beer?
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2016, 02:43:44 AM »
Just an update....

Went ahead with our plan of letting Student know the beer was almost finished. The day after it ran out, he came back and looked in the fridge and asked: "Is there no beer?" I explained again that we bought in bulk once a month and wouldn't be going again for a while, but that I could tell him where the store was. He said it didn't matter.

Since then, we have followed a predictable pattern. He asks every evening if there is any beer, I tell him we're not buying more yet, he goes out to one of the village bars after dinner to have a couple there instead.

DH has bought a secret stash so he can have one if he fancies it while Student is out. As Student is clearly not going to buy any himself, we're not prepared to supply them.

I am also going to have to polish my shiny spine. I am fed up of asking him to do things such as put dirty crocks by the dishwasher, to not leave his shoes lying in the middle of the floor or to rinse out the ashtray when he brings it in from outside. (He smokes, we don't.)

In some ways it is easier to have a mature student staying, but with a younger student I would feel easier about laying down the rules more forcefully. It just feels wrong with someone who is more of a contemporary....but he seems to think he's staying in a hotel. He does nothing for himself. Doesn't make his bed or even rinse out his water glass - just leaves it right on the edge of the sink where it is easily knocked off. (Broken glass count so far - four.)

He is a nice guy but I am increasingly irritated by his habits. This is the first student who will have stayed for more than a couple of weeks and I think I will be asking the academy not to give us any of the longer placements in future.
Life is short. Buy the shoes. Drink the wine. Order the dessert.

Tierrainney

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Re: Fancy a Beer?
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2016, 01:18:44 PM »


I agree with this. I think that if you did talk to him, he might feel embarrassed and a bit confused if he understood he could take as much as he wanted. The bolded is a good response too.

I stayed with distant cousins when I was about 15 and I remember asking if I could use their shower, and they said yes without any further instruction. At the time I would generally take 10-15 minute showers. After I had been in the shower for two minutes and still had shampoo in my hair, my cousin's SIL started pounding on the bathroom door saying she needed to use the bathroom (there were at least two other bathrooms in the house, so that was very weird) then my cousin and his SIL stood outside of the door and had a loud conversation about how rude I was and that in their house showers were expected to be two minutes or less. He had never said that to me prior, and since I was 15 and they were both adults I was mortified.

So when offering hospitality, be very clear about expectations because "take whatever you want" might mean a very different thing to your border than it does to you.

Ok I snipped the Quote tree, because I can't get my brain around this. They literally showered in less than 2 minutes?  I don't see how you can get your entire body wet, soaped, and rinsed in that time. Not including hair washing? How is this possible?

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shortstuff

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Re: Fancy a Beer?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2016, 02:14:12 PM »
Even before the update, I had been thinking that "a beer or 2 or 3" every night is a little bit above and beyond the hospitality I personally would offer.  I'm in the US, and we buy beer usually in 6-packs, so since to me that's drinking half the container, it feels like a lot (to me). 

And I know OP didn't ask for advice, and cultural norms may vary, but if someone was in my house for weeks at a time and was so careless with my things that 4 (four!) glasses broke, I'd ask for reimbursement.  Near me, 4 glasses is an entire set, and it about half of my entire supply.  OP, any chance you  can buy disposable plastic cups and designate those as the guest cups?  Again, not sure if culturally it would be ok to do that, but it might save your remaining glasses!

Margo

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Re: Fancy a Beer?
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2016, 02:16:02 PM »


I agree with this. I think that if you did talk to him, he might feel embarrassed and a bit confused if he understood he could take as much as he wanted. The bolded is a good response too.

I stayed with distant cousins when I was about 15 and I remember asking if I could use their shower, and they said yes without any further instruction. At the time I would generally take 10-15 minute showers. After I had been in the shower for two minutes and still had shampoo in my hair, my cousin's SIL started pounding on the bathroom door saying she needed to use the bathroom (there were at least two other bathrooms in the house, so that was very weird) then my cousin and his SIL stood outside of the door and had a loud conversation about how rude I was and that in their house showers were expected to be two minutes or less. He had never said that to me prior, and since I was 15 and they were both adults I was mortified.

So when offering hospitality, be very clear about expectations because "take whatever you want" might mean a very different thing to your border than it does to you.

Ok I snipped the Quote tree, because I can't get my brain around this. They literally showered in less than 2 minutes?  I don't see how you can get your entire body wet, soaped, and rinsed in that time. Not including hair washing? How is this possible?

Practice. (and probably undressing and drying/dressing in a bedroom, and going into the bathroom in your bathrobe)

I can do it that fast if I have to, and I have phenomenally thick hair. Get wet,add shampoo, rinse hair, then scrub down body (while finishing off rinsing through your hair.
There's not a lot of time for exfoliating etc but it is perfectly do-able with practice. (I grew up in a household with 6 people and only one nice shower, then As a student,  lived for 2 years in a house with 6 people and only one bathroom. You learn to shower fast!)



Zizi-K

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Re: Fancy a Beer?
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2016, 03:12:43 PM »
Just an update....

Went ahead with our plan of letting Student know the beer was almost finished. The day after it ran out, he came back and looked in the fridge and asked: "Is there no beer?" I explained again that we bought in bulk once a month and wouldn't be going again for a while, but that I could tell him where the store was. He said it didn't matter.

Since then, we have followed a predictable pattern. He asks every evening if there is any beer, I tell him we're not buying more yet, he goes out to one of the village bars after dinner to have a couple there instead.

DH has bought a secret stash so he can have one if he fancies it while Student is out. As Student is clearly not going to buy any himself, we're not prepared to supply them.

I am also going to have to polish my shiny spine. I am fed up of asking him to do things such as put dirty crocks by the dishwasher, to not leave his shoes lying in the middle of the floor or to rinse out the ashtray when he brings it in from outside. (He smokes, we don't.)

In some ways it is easier to have a mature student staying, but with a younger student I would feel easier about laying down the rules more forcefully. It just feels wrong with someone who is more of a contemporary....but he seems to think he's staying in a hotel. He does nothing for himself. Doesn't make his bed or even rinse out his water glass - just leaves it right on the edge of the sink where it is easily knocked off. (Broken glass count so far - four.)

He is a nice guy but I am increasingly irritated by his habits. This is the first student who will have stayed for more than a couple of weeks and I think I will be asking the academy not to give us any of the longer placements in future.

Do you have anything typed up that would outline the "house rules" for your guests? It sounds like you host often enough that a document such as this could be very handy. You could outline your expectations about guests cleaning up after themselves, and you could explain what food and drink is and is not included in the boarding rate. If you sent it in advance of their arrival, I think it would be really helpful, and there's nothing inhospitable about it.