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Author Topic: Potluck vs. Contributing Money  (Read 9655 times)

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nekoro

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2010, 12:48:55 PM »
I guess my opinion from the other thread is pretty clear.  ;) I still think it's rude. The host/organizer wants to have all the control and benefits of hosting, to decide the guest list, the formality, the time, the place, and the menu, but doesn't want to actually host or be responsible for the bill. With a potluck, there's a lot more freedom on the part of the guests and the host has to relinquish some of the control, and has fewer responsibilities. Guests can choose to bring something pricey or something less expensive, something store bought or something homemade, depending on time and budget constraints. If you all meet up at a restaurant, people get a say on which restaurant it will be, if they want a whole entree or just an appetizer, they get to choose their own food and have some control over what they want to spend. All that goes out the window for a "$10 for the dinner I feel like serving you" kind of event. I guess my point is that hosting has both rights and responsibilities, and it's not fair or polite to demand all the rights and none of the responsibilities.

I think where the real disagreement is coming in is here.  As far as I can tell, what you see this as is "Hey, I'm throwing a big formal shindig!  There's gonna be steak, and lobster, and caviar, and maybe some bubbly too!  Wanna come?  Great!  $20 a head, please."  And we see "Hey, I had this fun idea.  What if we got a bunch of people together, all of us chipped in $15-$20, and we got a bunch of lobster and steak and stuff.  I'll cook, we'll all hang out, and lobster!  STEAK! :D"

It looks like you see this as a "party" with an entry fee, and we see it as a big collaboration that happens to be in some person's home.

Also, while I was typing rashea said about the same thing.

Aeris

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2010, 12:59:38 PM »
High Dudgeon - it's not that you are irritating me... I just find this subject fairly frustrating, as the distinction seem quite arbitrary.


What I mean is this:

Mary says "hey, what do you y'all think about ordering pizza together in the park?" - apparently this is fine.

Mary says "hey, what do you y'all think about ordering pizza together? we could do it at my place if you want, it's kind of cold outside." - apparently not fine.

I'm completely lost on the distinction here that makes the second scenario rude.


Perhaps, though, it's because we disagree about something even more fundamental (but possibly less contentious):
Quote
The host/organizer wants to have all the control and benefits of hosting, to decide the guest list, the formality, the time, the place, and the menu, but doesn't want to actually host or be responsible for the bill.

When I imagine these things, I actually don't think the organizers retain all the benefits/control of being hosts. These things are usually much more organic.

Joey: You know what would be fun? A lobster party!
Mary: Oh, now that would be a hoot.
Jane: But lobsters kind of expensive!
Carl: Well, not if you buy it in a bulk pack of XX. Enough lobster to feed all ten of us would cost about YY. That's only, like Z dollars a person.
Joey: Wow, that's really not bad, much better than a restuarant.
Betty: DH cooks the most amazing lobster I've ever tasted, if I can brag on him for a minute.
Gary: Guys, let's do it - let's get the lobster in bulk at Costco, split the cost, and have a lobster party!
Mary: But where would be do it?
Betty: Well, we could also use my place. We've got that neat [cooking instrument], and I'm sure DH would love to show off his lobster expertise, if you're game.
Joey: Awesome idea!

So somehow, at the end of all this, Betty has ended up with her home in use. But she's not 'retaining control of the guest list, the formality, the time, the place or the menu' - she offered her place, and her friends took her up on it. They decided the menu as a group. They will presumable decide the rest as a group as well.

At some point, one person needs to spearhead the thing, because otherwise nothing will get done - someone has to be the final decision maker. That's true for a public park potluck too. But that's a far cry, imo, than 'retaining all the control and benefit of hosting'.


Any guest not comfortable with the lobster party can decline just as easily as they can decline Mary's invite for everyone to go roller skating on Thursday for $15 per person at the local roller rink.

The organizer isn't 'charging', the group is choosing, as a group, to split the costs.



Out of curiousity, what would you suggest to a group of, say, 10 people, all of whom really would like to see one another Friday night and hang out. No one of them can afford to feed the whole group, even on the simplest of meals. They certainly can't get together at a restaurant, because that would be even more out of budget for many of them. Not to mention there's a wicked Battlestar Gallactica marathon starting at 7pm that they all want to watch. What would you tell them to do? Should they each sit at home, alone, watching BSG on their own TV while they eat their inexpensive-for-one dinner? I'm sorry if that sounds snarky, but I don't understand the point. It seems it would achieve all their desires to get together at whoever's apartment will allow it, order pizza together and have a good time.

Dindrane

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2010, 01:21:28 PM »
Aeris's description of how this sort of thing might come about is a lot closer to what I was thinking, too.  It wouldn't just be one person making all the decisions and then "inviting" people to pay $X to partake.  Instead, it's organized in the same way as a potluck, only instead of everyone agreeing to bring X amount of food, everyone is agreeing to pay $X amount of dollars to the organizer, who will then go out and buy the food.


auntmeegs

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2010, 01:22:29 PM »
High Dudgeon - it's not that you are irritating me... I just find this subject fairly frustrating, as the distinction seem quite arbitrary.


What I mean is this:

Mary says "hey, what do you y'all think about ordering pizza together in the park?" - apparently this is fine.

Mary says "hey, what do you y'all think about ordering pizza together? we could do it at my place if you want, it's kind of cold outside." - apparently not fine.

I'm completely lost on the distinction here that makes the second scenario rude.


Perhaps, though, it's because we disagree about something even more fundamental (but possibly less contentious):
Quote
The host/organizer wants to have all the control and benefits of hosting, to decide the guest list, the formality, the time, the place, and the menu, but doesn't want to actually host or be responsible for the bill.

When I imagine these things, I actually don't think the organizers retain all the benefits/control of being hosts. These things are usually much more organic.

Joey: You know what would be fun? A lobster party!
Mary: Oh, now that would be a hoot.
Jane: But lobsters kind of expensive!
Carl: Well, not if you buy it in a bulk pack of XX. Enough lobster to feed all ten of us would cost about YY. That's only, like Z dollars a person.
Joey: Wow, that's really not bad, much better than a restuarant.
Betty: DH cooks the most amazing lobster I've ever tasted, if I can brag on him for a minute.
Gary: Guys, let's do it - let's get the lobster in bulk at Costco, split the cost, and have a lobster party!
Mary: But where would be do it?
Betty: Well, we could also use my place. We've got that neat [cooking instrument], and I'm sure DH would love to show off his lobster expertise, if you're game.
Joey: Awesome idea!

So somehow, at the end of all this, Betty has ended up with her home in use. But she's not 'retaining control of the guest list, the formality, the time, the place or the menu' - she offered her place, and her friends took her up on it. They decided the menu as a group. They will presumable decide the rest as a group as well.

At some point, one person needs to spearhead the thing, because otherwise nothing will get done - someone has to be the final decision maker. That's true for a public park potluck too. But that's a far cry, imo, than 'retaining all the control and benefit of hosting'.


Any guest not comfortable with the lobster party can decline just as easily as they can decline Mary's invite for everyone to go roller skating on Thursday for $15 per person at the local roller rink.

The organizer isn't 'charging', the group is choosing, as a group, to split the costs.



Out of curiousity, what would you suggest to a group of, say, 10 people, all of whom really would like to see one another Friday night and hang out. No one of them can afford to feed the whole group, even on the simplest of meals. They certainly can't get together at a restaurant, because that would be even more out of budget for many of them. Not to mention there's a wicked Battlestar Gallactica marathon starting at 7pm that they all want to watch. What would you tell them to do? Should they each sit at home, alone, watching BSG on their own TV while they eat their inexpensive-for-one dinner? I'm sorry if that sounds snarky, but I don't understand the point. It seems it would achieve all their desires to get together at whoever's apartment will allow it, order pizza together and have a good time.

My friends and I have done this many times and to me it is totally fine.  

Nox

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2010, 01:25:30 PM »
I don't think there's anything wrong with someone acting as organizer/venue provider announcing "potluck" or "chip in $10 for surf-n-turf night" as long as everybody is clear on it from the get-go. I don't think the organizer/venue provider can exactly claim the title of host, though. I guess that line is getting a bit fuzzy. To me, a host provides food and bev (within reason), dining equipment and venue, and perhaps some light entertainment (games, music, etc.)

From the other thread, but probably more appropriate here:

Quote
I also think the idea of the "host"** having to provide all of the hospitality is one of the reasons that we have seen a decline of in-home hosting (at least I see far less of it in my social circle than I did watching my parents growing up and I've seen it lamented by others on this and other forums before).

This may be true, but back then I suspect you could count on some reciprocity. Obviously, it's declasse to count chits, but having an expectation that you'll be invited to your friends' parties to eat on their dime (and effort) creates more incentive to have them over to dine on yours.

Also, I think the student demographic isn't the best one to look at for traditional hosting. As you say, nobody has any money, and I think the culture of it all tends to be more casual.

However, now I'm a working person with a condo and a dog and all, I've had something like three dinner parties for my immediate neighbors, where I provided (and paid for) everything, including alcohol. We've all had a good time every time, they've thanked me, but I've never received an invitation to dinner from any of them (though I did get an enormous plate of homemade Christmas cookies from one of them this year). I doubt I'll do any this year, though at least as much because I'm going to have big expenses/be really busy later in the year.

VorFemme

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #20 on: January 13, 2010, 01:35:11 PM »

What I mean is this:

Mary says "hey, what do you y'all think about ordering pizza together in the park?" - apparently this is fine.

Mary says "hey, what do you y'all think about ordering pizza together? we could do it at my place if you want, it's kind of cold outside." - apparently not fine.

I'm completely lost on the distinction here that makes the second scenario rude.


I'm seeing it as the difference between "Let's share the costs for pizza at the park/my place" from Mary and Mary saying "I'm having pizza night at my place - come on over!"  THEN getting everyone to pay up at the door while the pizza guy is standing there with the pizza, several two liter bottles of soda, and needing to be paid & given a tip (and coincidentally she only has $10 in her purse when her "share" of pizza & tip would be closer to $12).

But she still calls herself the hostess instead of the organizer.  Because it was at HER house. 

I have gone to a party or two where the choice was given that we could pay $X and go to someone's house where his wife & daughters would be preparing shrimp cocktail, etc. as part of a home economics project (photos of them fixing the food & serving it) or 2 to 3X for the same menu from a caterer or at a restaurant (restaurant was higher as it would loose one of three dining areas to the party).

Since the wife had brought some good food to a pot luck at the office earlier, it was decided to "help" them with their home economics special project grade.  I hope that they got an "A" - it was good food..........and the price charged would have barely covered just the TIP at a restaurant for the same appetizers, meal, wine, dessert, and coffee!
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Aeris

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2010, 01:43:31 PM »

What I mean is this:

Mary says "hey, what do you y'all think about ordering pizza together in the park?" - apparently this is fine.

Mary says "hey, what do you y'all think about ordering pizza together? we could do it at my place if you want, it's kind of cold outside." - apparently not fine.

I'm completely lost on the distinction here that makes the second scenario rude.


I'm seeing it as the difference between "Let's share the costs for pizza at the park/my place" from Mary and Mary saying "I'm having pizza night at my place - come on over!"  THEN getting everyone to pay up at the door while the pizza guy is standing there with the pizza, several two liter bottles of soda, and needing to be paid & given a tip (and coincidentally she only has $10 in her purse when her "share" of pizza & tip would be closer to $12).

But she still calls herself the hostess instead of the organizer.  Because it was at HER house. 


This distinction makes a lot more sense to me. You don't spring it on people after they've 'signed up', you don't claim super-hostess territory, etc etc.




I have gone to a party or two where the choice was given that we could pay $X and go to someone's house where his wife & daughters would be preparing shrimp cocktail, etc. as part of a home economics project (photos of them fixing the food & serving it) or 2 to 3X for the same menu from a caterer or at a restaurant (restaurant was higher as it would loose one of three dining areas to the party).

Since the wife had brought some good food to a pot luck at the office earlier, it was decided to "help" them with their home economics special project grade.  I hope that they got an "A" - it was good food..........and the price charged would have barely covered just the TIP at a restaurant for the same appetizers, meal, wine, dessert, and coffee!

Ha! Sounds like a fun time!

little bird

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2010, 01:46:24 PM »
Quote
I don't know if this was clear from my post, but I think some people had an issue specifically with someone actually cooking food that is too expensive for them to buy for the whole group all by themselves.  So buying all the ingredients for sushi and making it, and asking people to pitch in $10 (or whatever).

So it would be a little more involved that supplying the space, because they'd also be actually cooking/preparing the meal.  Does a situation like that change your opinion, or do you still think it's akin to everyone pitching in for pizza?

I really have no issues with this whatsoever as long as everyone knows what's going on.  My friends and I do this all the time.  Everyone chips in for the expensive main (including whoever cooks and provides the space, usually me since we have a house and large-enough kitchen - and YES, if the amount spent is actually less than collected they are reimbursed immediately), I cook and provide the location, all side dishes and beverages.  It's basically a group-decided event with one person as the agreed-upon "host" (even though they're not quite a host, it's close enough for us since they're providing most of the food, all the beverages, the entertainment, location and all the prep work).  

It's not how I'd organize the majority of my entertaining as I really do prefer throwing hosted dinner parties but, if done correctly, I really don't see anything rude about them.  
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kingsrings

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2010, 02:29:13 PM »
The difference is whether this is a “personal” event vs. a “group” event. For instance, if Mary is throwing a birthday party for her husband at their house, and it was her idea, it would be rude for her to request that it be potluck or charge $$. However, if she and their friends decide to do this, then it’s okay for it to be potluck or charge $$. This way it’s everyone’s decision, and nobody is being shanghaied into providing for what was someone else’s idea.

CluelessBride

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2010, 02:48:45 PM »
I don't think there's anything wrong with someone acting as organizer/venue provider announcing "potluck" or "chip in $10 for surf-n-turf night" as long as everybody is clear on it from the get-go. I don't think the organizer/venue provider can exactly claim the title of host, though. I guess that line is getting a bit fuzzy. To me, a host provides food and bev (within reason), dining equipment and venue, and perhaps some light entertainment (games, music, etc.)

From the other thread, but probably more appropriate here:

Quote
I also think the idea of the "host"** having to provide all of the hospitality is one of the reasons that we have seen a decline of in-home hosting (at least I see far less of it in my social circle than I did watching my parents growing up and I've seen it lamented by others on this and other forums before).

This may be true, but back then I suspect you could count on some reciprocity. Obviously, it's declasse to count chits, but having an expectation that you'll be invited to your friends' parties to eat on their dime (and effort) creates more incentive to have them over to dine on yours.

Also, I think the student demographic isn't the best one to look at for traditional hosting. As you say, nobody has any money, and I think the culture of it all tends to be more casual.

However, now I'm a working person with a condo and a dog and all, I've had something like three dinner parties for my immediate neighbors, where I provided (and paid for) everything, including alcohol. We've all had a good time every time, they've thanked me, but I've never received an invitation to dinner from any of them (though I did get an enormous plate of homemade Christmas cookies from one of them this year). I doubt I'll do any this year, though at least as much because I'm going to have big expenses/be really busy later in the year.

I think reciprocity can be tricky - which is another reason why I actually really like the "everyone chip in" model (whether pot luck or split costs).  Because maybe Bobbie lives in a tiny studio and Betty can't cook to save her life and Ben is close to broke but Bellatrix has a large house, okay cooking skills and enough available funds to host.  So Bellatrix hosts Bobbie, Betty and Ben several times, but none of them can reciprocate (or perhaps they even constantly decline because they can't reciprocate).  Of course Bobbie, Betty and Ben try to reciprocate - maybe Bobbie makes cookies and Betty offers to fix Bellatrix's garbage disposal and Ben drives Bellatrix's kids to school sometimes, but maybe to Bellatrix it just feels like "I always have them over and they never have me over :-\"    So then resentment builds up, Bellatrix goes nuts becomes a death eater and kills Sirius Black - wait I'm not sure that last part is right :-p.   I think it's more likely Bellatrix slowly stops hosting.  Thus fewer hosted dinners.

In any case, maybe Bobbie is a great lobster chef, Betty arranges flowers on the side, Ben is an expert dish washer and Bellatrix has space.  So they all kick in some money, Bobbie cooks up lobster, Betty makes a swanky centerpiece, Ben helps clean up and Bellatrix provides the venue.   Everyone has a great time, and reciprocation is less of an issue because its kind of a group event.  Sure in the real world it probably doesn't work out like that, but if you are [somewhat] sharing the hosting "burden" and [somewhat] sharing the hosting "glory", I don't think its a big deal.

In another hypothetical case, maybe Bellatrix (who has space and decent cooking skills) can afford to host one gathering a year.  None of the others have the ability to host at all.  But if they split the financial burden of hosting evenly each time (always at Bellatrix's), maybe they can get together 3-5 times a year (since it would be smaller monetary amounts over time they may find they can actually squeeze in more events!).  Maybe they share in other hosting duties, maybe they just share in the financing but the bottom line is they are 4 friends who get to get together more often, have a good time within their collective means, and even get dinner out of it.

Again, Bellatrix would certainly be rude if she invited everyone for dinner and then demanded payment after the fact.  But if the cost is stated upfront, people can bow out if they like, and everyone agrees to it?  Perhaps its even suggested by someone other than Bellatrix?  I just still have trouble understanding how that is rude. Maybe if Bellatrix refused to listen to menu suggestions?  Or planned a meal (after arranging money) without making sure it was something everyone was interested in?  Or tried to use it as a money making venture?  Yeah, those things would be rude - but that is separate from the issue of whether or not its rude to organize (I'll even avoid the word host) an "everyone pays for their share" event in your home.

ETA: Not trying to imply that you are missing the reciprocation attempts of your neighbors, Nox, just trying to illustrate a point :-).

high dudgeon

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2010, 03:30:00 PM »
I guess my opinion from the other thread is pretty clear.  ;) I still think it's rude. The host/organizer wants to have all the control and benefits of hosting, to decide the guest list, the formality, the time, the place, and the menu, but doesn't want to actually host or be responsible for the bill. With a potluck, there's a lot more freedom on the part of the guests and the host has to relinquish some of the control, and has fewer responsibilities. Guests can choose to bring something pricey or something less expensive, something store bought or something homemade, depending on time and budget constraints. If you all meet up at a restaurant, people get a say on which restaurant it will be, if they want a whole entree or just an appetizer, they get to choose their own food and have some control over what they want to spend. All that goes out the window for a "$10 for the dinner I feel like serving you" kind of event. I guess my point is that hosting has both rights and responsibilities, and it's not fair or polite to demand all the rights and none of the responsibilities.

I think where the real disagreement is coming in is here.  As far as I can tell, what you see this as is "Hey, I'm throwing a big formal shindig!  There's gonna be steak, and lobster, and caviar, and maybe some bubbly too!  Wanna come?  Great!  $20 a head, please."  And we see "Hey, I had this fun idea.  What if we got a bunch of people together, all of us chipped in $15-$20, and we got a bunch of lobster and steak and stuff.  I'll cook, we'll all hang out, and lobster!  STEAK! :D"

It looks like you see this as a "party" with an entry fee, and we see it as a big collaboration that happens to be in some person's home.

Also, while I was typing rashea said about the same thing.

I think it's always rude to wait until after someone has accepted an invitation and then add on conditions, fees, limitations etc. That's never okay in my eyes. But other than one aspect, I don't really see a difference between the two invitations. I want to spend time with my friends because I enjoy their company. We don't have to have steak and lobster and caviar and black truffles to make it worthwhile to get together. I'm just as happy to see them and have a cheap pasta dish or breakfast foods (which you could easily make enough for ten people at a low enough cost for almost anyone who wasn't completely penniless.) So "whoo-hooo! STEAK!" is basically completely meaningless to me. It's just food. It's not what it's about. And if I want a food or to attend an event that I can't afford to treat all my friends to as well, then I save that just for me and my husband, or us plus whatever friends I can afford to invite. I feel like that's a pretty standard rule in etiquette. If you can afford to host a party for six people, but not twelve people, then you only host the six and don't talk about it in front of the six who weren't invited. Instead of charging all twelve people because you can't afford to host all twelve.

I also don't see how this saves anyone a penny. Either one person pays for the whole group to eat one night, and another pays for the whole group to eat on a different night. Or everyone chips in on a meal by meal basis. It seems to me that it doesn't make anything cheaper or easier, and the costs are the same, but people come off looking penny pinching, to me.

I guess this isn't a widely held belief, but I just don't see valuing super special food over what I feel my obligations are when I invite people into my home. And I know I'm not completely alone on this, since in almost every case (other than a spontaneous gathering or a charity fundraiser, or since some wild college parties before we knew better) my friends would be absolutely shocked to be asked to pay their host's grocery bill. It just wouldn't compute and I think they'd feel quite used if invited to an event like this. I do think a lot of it has to do with the fact it's in someone's home. At a restaurant or other neutral location, no one person is in charge. But I think once you're inviting people into your home, even for something like a potluck, the person who's hosting/organizing still has a greater responsibility to make sure people have enough to eat, that the bathrooms are clean and accessible, that the house is in good condition, that there is enough seating, that there's enough plates and utensils and napkins, that one guest isn't harassing the others, etc. I just don't think it's quite so easy to relinquish a host's responsibilities. And I think asking for cash violates that and doesn't make it into a collaborative effort the way a potluck or restaurant meal does. I guess I'm just old and stodgy, but I think that's just not how you should treat visitors to your home.

VorFemme

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2010, 03:55:47 PM »
The difference is whether this is a “personal” event vs. a “group” event. For instance, if Mary is throwing a birthday party for her husband at their house, and it was her idea, it would be rude for her to request that it be potluck or charge $$. However, if she and their friends decide to do this, then it’s okay for it to be potluck or charge $$. This way it’s everyone’s decision, and nobody is being shanghaied into providing for what was someone else’s idea.

I can see "movie night" being more open to being a potluck or toss money in the hat (if you brought the sodas and rented the movies, say) being not rude (if everyone coming knows what is coming down - but "husband's birthday party" is going to be a bit more of a "spouse should be paying for things as the host(ess) unless someone else organized it to be at the birthday boy's favorite place, house, whatever.

If you "host" - you don't charge for things (unless you are running a pub or an inn - I've heard the owner referred to as the "host" in various older books & stories).  If you are hosting in your HOME or inviting everyone to meet you somewhere, then you need to make it clear BEFORE the event if they need to bring at least some money (you are buying dinner but no alcoholic beverages for some reason) or if they will only need money if they are going to tip a parking valet or pay a taxicab.

But don't call yourself a host and collect $10 a person AFTER the meal when you haven't mentioned a thing about it until that moment............I've heard of people scrambling at weddings to find small amounts of money to buy a drink, because ONLY the food was prepaid (not even tea!).  Not often, but I have heard about it.

Who takes a lot of small cash to an event that is usually catered and paid in advance?
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shhh its me

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2010, 05:17:37 PM »
I guess my opinion from the other thread is pretty clear.  ;) I still think it's rude. The host/organizer wants to have all the control and benefits of hosting, to decide the guest list, the formality, the time, the place, and the menu, but doesn't want to actually host or be responsible for the bill. With a potluck, there's a lot more freedom on the part of the guests and the host has to relinquish some of the control, and has fewer responsibilities. Guests can choose to bring something pricey or something less expensive, something store bought or something homemade, depending on time and budget constraints. If you all meet up at a restaurant, people get a say on which restaurant it will be, if they want a whole entree or just an appetizer, they get to choose their own food and have some control over what they want to spend. All that goes out the window for a "$10 for the dinner I feel like serving you" kind of event. I guess my point is that hosting has both rights and responsibilities, and it's not fair or polite to demand all the rights and none of the responsibilities.

I think it's at least somewhat a different case if it's a spur of the moment thing instead of a planned event. If friends spontaneously drop by, then I don't think I can be expected to have plenty of food on hand, even if I do want to hang out with them. But if it is planned event, and it's not a potluck, and it's happening in someone's home, then I think they are the defacto host and have an obligation to their guests not to charge them money for hospitality.

I'm sorry if I'm irritating you Aeris, that isn't my intention.

I think this explains your point well.  The difference is if I say" does everyone want to chip in $10 and I'll make sushi" the guests have the right to say " sushi, I'd rather have steaks " , " sure please get alot of california rolls" or "I like x brand" chip in parties are collaborations.  Guests do have input and the right to negotiate this type of event.
 

little bird

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2010, 05:56:18 PM »
Quote
I also don't see how this saves anyone a penny. Either one person pays for the whole group to eat one night, and another pays for the whole group to eat on a different night. Or everyone chips in on a meal by meal basis. It seems to me that it doesn't make anything cheaper or easier, and the costs are the same, but people come off looking penny pinching, to me.

It saves money only if what your group wants is both the meal composed of expensive ingredients and the company of others.  At least when my group does an event like this, everyone has the same shared desire to try a certain food.  No one could afford to fully host it for our large, foodie group on their own.  We have a shared desire to avoid a restaurant's mark-up and maybe would like to try cooking it in a way that we couldn't get at a restaurant.  Could we all fix ourselves that meal individually?  Yes, but then we wouldn't get to share the experience.  By everyone chipping in for the expensive ingredient we get everything we want -- to try something as a group at a lower price than we could get at a restaurant.  All members of the group get input into the menu, guestlist (we welcome friends of friends), entertainment, how much we want to chip in (if it's really expensive we usually decide to make very small portions and the cook for the event prepares a tapas-like meal -- again the guests other than the cook only pay for the pricey ingredient, everything else is provided by the cook) etc.

Obviously these sorts of events are not for everyone
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noexitwounds

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2010, 10:31:35 PM »
I guess my opinion from the other thread is pretty clear.  ;) I still think it's rude. The host/organizer wants to have all the control and benefits of hosting, to decide the guest list, the formality, the time, the place, and the menu, but doesn't want to actually host or be responsible for the bill. With a potluck, there's a lot more freedom on the part of the guests and the host has to relinquish some of the control, and has fewer responsibilities. [...] All that goes out the window for a "$10 for the dinner I feel like serving you" kind of event. I guess my point is that hosting has both rights and responsibilities, and it's not fair or polite to demand all the rights and none of the responsibilities.

Okay, in this hypothetical sushi party, what stops someone from going "Are you planning on making onigiri/maki/chakin-zushi?" and even offering to help if they say "I wasn't. I'm not sure what chakin-zushi even is." ? Absolutely nothing. AND if having onigiri/make/chakin-zushi sushi is important to the invitee, then they can decline or accept based on that.

We don't have to have steak and lobster and caviar and black truffles to make it worthwhile to get together. I'm just as happy to see them and have a cheap pasta dish or breakfast foods (which you could easily make enough for ten people at a low enough cost for almost anyone who wasn't completely penniless.)  [...] I also don't see how this saves anyone a penny. Either one person pays for the whole group to eat one night, and another pays for the whole group to eat on a different night. Or everyone chips in on a meal by meal basis. It seems to me that it doesn't make anything cheaper or easier, and the costs are the same, but people come off looking penny pinching, to me.

Since most of the people I know are scrapping the bottom of their bank accounts come the end of the month, if not overdrawn, I'm not sure if most of us could afford to have even a pasta with spaghetti sauce from a can, woo! party for 12, tbh. Life as a graduate student is truly sad. But, on the other hand, most of us could probably splurge enough to have homemade sushi one night in a month. It doesn't help that certain ingredients only come in packs or contain far more in the smallest size you can buy (like a bottle of paprika, for example, or a jar of something) than you'd need or are cheaper in bulk. This is why the cost of stocking a kitchen can be prohibitive while the cost of keeping a kitchen stocked manageable.

Even if one argues that the costs are even, reciprocity, while polite, cannot be assumed. With a party of twelve, for it to come out even, each twelve (or each of the households that comprise those twelve) would have to host. In my group, like I said, at least one probably can't afford to do that. To have them decline to attend anyone else's night because of that would make us all sad. Even if reciprocity could be guaranteed, the single cost of hosting ONCE can overshadow the costs of attending numerous events with split costs/host cooking.

To illustrate what I mean by that, let's say that it would cost $10 each for a group of 12 to have a dinner together in someone's home.

Example One, where hosts pay all costs: Including the host there are 12 people for a cost of $120. There are four such events, rotated between the group of twelve, each month. That means in November it costs Group Member A $120 to host, or 1/10th of their income, and they can manage that. February comes around and Group Member H is supposed to host, has been saving up to do so (because it's also 1/10th of his income), but had a financial crisis and had to spend the money elsewhere so cannot reciprocate. H feels horrible. Group Member C feels cheated (even though they know it's not H's fault). Two people are unhappy.

Example Two, where everyone chips in: Including the host there are 12 people for a cost of $120. There are four events, where everyone chips in $10 and the host suggests what they'll have that event (but takes requests on sides or sushi types to prepare when possible). In November, Group Member A collects the money, suggests sushi, and goes to town. February comes around and Group Member H, who's recently had a financial crisis, is set to host. He does so, collecting the money, makes steaks, and goes to town but can only afford one of the other events (G's event, lets say) that month (for a total of $20 out of pocket) due to aforementioned financial crisis. Members I and J can then choose or choose not to waive the chip in amount OR one or more of the others can chip in for H (which H would, presumably, reciprocate when in better financial straits). No one's unhappy.

This is operating under the reasoning that while someone may be able to afford forty dollars a month they may not be able to afford $120 in one go every three months, even though it's the same amount of money, for either crisis reasons or because people tend to find it easier to save smaller amounts of money over shorter periods of time than larger amounts of money over longer periods of time.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2010, 10:51:53 PM by noexitwounds »
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