Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

No, please, don't bring anything

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A coworker just told me this:

She had a dinner party over the weekend and invited her parents, her ILs, her and her DH's siblings, and a few close friends - I think it was maybe about 15 people, total.  She spent the weekend preparing an exquisite meal and planning everything so it was just right - the decorations, the food, the beverages, centerpiece, etc.  No detail was overlooked.

When she invited her guests via phone, a few of them asked "would you like us to bring anything?"  No, no, she responded - everything was covered, and she just wanted them to bring themselves and their appetites.  My coworker is also known for making her table 'groan' under the weight of so much food, and even the pickiest eater can find quite a few things to eat.

Her SIL showed up with a plate of Jell-O that she demanded to be placed on the table and served with the meal, even though it really didn't go with the meal that was served.  It wasn't a casual "hotdogs and hamburgers" sort of meal, for sure. 

My coworker tried to say "oh, thanks, we'll enjoy this tomorrow" and put it in the fridge.  SIL went to the kitchen and put it on the table, and yes, it looked out of place. I guess the atmosphere had gotten uncomfortable, so coworker decided to just let it go. 

I find the SiL's actions to be appalling.  FWIW, when my coworker goes to dinners that her husband's family serves, they usually have cook-outs and whatnot.  Nothing wrong with that, but my coworker wonders if her SIL is trying to 'say something' by showing up with food and demanding that it is served.  And even if my coworker was having a more laid-back sort of dinner, I still think it's rude to show up with a prepared dish and foist it on the host/ess.  Who knows, the host/ess might have planned a meal specifically around a guest's allergies?  It also comes across as "you don't have enough food/you can't host properly," but I thought I'd ask you all your take on it.  Have you ever been in a situation like this?  What did you do?  Do you think SIL was in the wrong?

Bob Ducca:
Yes, SIL was in the wrong.  One should never assume that a hosted dinner requires one's service.  A hostess gift is appropriate; a dish to be added to those prepared by the hosts is not (although I don't think there is anything wrong with calling and asking if something is needed).  She may have been from a different background- when I was growing up, there were no hosted dinners in our family or in my parents' social set- everyone got together and brought something.  SIL may have been offended at the thought that her offering wasn't welcome, assuming that other people were asked to bring things.  But, I don't understand her insistence that it be placed on the table.  Is it a control thing?  I don't know.  But inappropriate, nonetheless.

Your co-worker's SIL was rude.

It's up to the hosts to decide what gets served, and they don't have to serve their guests' offerings.  Once your co-worker took the plate of Jello off the table, that should have been the end of it.  But I think she handled it well after that.

Yup, the SIL was definitely in the wrong. Regardless of how she was brought up, the "no thanks" was spoken in clear and plain words in the native language.

SIL is in the wrong here. She obviously ignored your coworker's requests, and decided for herself what should be served. Classy.


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