News: IT'S THE 2ND ANNUAL GUATEMALA LIBRARY PROJECT BOOK DRIVE!    LOOKING FOR DONATIONS OF SCIENCE BOOKS THIS YEAR.    Check it out in the "Extending the Hand of Kindness" folder or here: http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=139832.msg3372084#msg3372084   

  • November 23, 2017, 02:35:19 PM

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Potluck vs. Contributing Money  (Read 9674 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Amava

  • Member
  • Posts: 4556
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2010, 10:47:32 PM »
For me, it is all in the spirit of the invitation (or organisation).

A shared-cost lobster get-together that is casually agreed upon, like described in Aeris' post, if perfectly fine with me.

People who send out a pretend-invite and then add "admission: x$": that bugs me.

kandikrisp

  • Guest
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2010, 11:14:01 PM »
Being fresh-out of high school with a lot of early college friends whose parents have just cut them off, I'm going to also say this is not rude, and necessary for some of us if we want to have a party.

Of course, we don't do formal invitation parties at this point, we do facebook and text invites.

To take the most recent invite I got along these lines (Not an exact quote, but it was similar to this):

"'Sally', 'James' and I were talking about how much we miss having an excuse to get dressed up and dance. So, we put our heads together and decided that Sally's basement was perfect to have a party in! It's got couches, a lot of floor space, and a really awesome sound system.

So....

We're going to have our own little GraduateProm!

We're thinking ThisDate and ThisTime, and hoping maybe to order from ReallyGreatHoagiePlaceDownTheStreet if everyone can pitch in $10 to cover it.

And, if you have a song that you think just HAS to be played, bring the CD and we'll be sure to put it on."

Honestly, from what I heard (I couldn't make it), it was a really good party, the food was better than prom, the music was better than prom, and the cost was about $60 less a head than prom. About 40 people went in and out through the night (Sally really does have a *huge* basement, I think I could put up walls down there and fit my immediate family, plus my grandma and grandpa in there fairly comfortably. My mind boggled when I first saw it.)

This isn't something that anyone would have been able to do on their own with the way things are right now.

I'm in the "as long as it's an up front cost with no hidden fees" camp.

Some parties are better called get-togethers. There's no host, there's not really "guests". It's just a bunch of people hanging out and having a good time. Maybe it happens to be at one person's place, or maybe you all pitch in a little extra to rent out a place. Or maybe it's at a park. Either way, I don't think it's rude as long as everything is out in the open.

As far as the PP who said that it's not about the food, it's about the people, I'm going to follow that up a little bit. I can't host an event at my place. The space issues alone leave my mind reeling. But if someone said to me, "we can all hang out and eat and have a good time if we all bring $10", then seeing my friends would be worth it. I wouldn't think the organizer was rude, I would think that they were providing something I couldn't (space) and giving me something I really appreciate (having a good time with the people I care about).

If everyone in the group has no problem with pitching in and having their own anti-prom, then go for it. Could one person afford to throw it on their own? No. But I see nothing pretentious in the practice of saying "we'd all really enjoy this, let's do it".

magdalena

  • Member
  • Posts: 5517
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #32 on: January 14, 2010, 05:22:21 AM »
I have no problem whatsoever with potlucks OR chipping in.

And like many of you know, I'm not a poor starving student anymore. I'm a poor freelancer - not starving because I'm married to the law type I used to feed with my wages while he was in school and he feeds me now ;D

Most of our friends are law types as well, not the really high flying 27 hours a day working mega firm types but they have nice enough jobs. And we still do these.
We've had a huge New Year's bash that started about the way Aeris described - we made fondue, the guy whose place we had it at bought everything and we then divided the cost between us. And we are now talking about a cocktail making night at a friend's place (everyone raid their cabinets and bring what they find, organizers buy the rest and we share the costs).
Do we need the yummy food or the drinks? Nope. We have a great time no matter what we're doing, but there are times when we'd like a fondue or something and figure sharing the costs is the best way to go.

We all also host real parties (dinners, parties, afternoon cake and coffees, you name it).



NotCinderell

  • Member
  • Posts: 2685
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2010, 07:11:01 AM »
As long as it's not done in someone's honor (hey, everyone, come celebrate NotCinderell's b-day!  Bring $5 for steak!), I think it's okay.  Having been of limited means at points in my life (esp. as a student), I can see that there are plenty of people out there who may enjoy grilling a steak once in a while and own a small grill, but can't afford to spring for steak for all their friends.  I see nothing wrong with, "hey, I'll supply the grill and the locale, bring your own meat and a side dish or drink,"  or "bring $5 for your share of the steak" as long as the host doesn't think that this equals reciprocity for functions in which someone has paid their bill, and as long as they don't presume to keep any one else's leftovers.

iridaceae

  • Boring in real life as well
  • Member
  • Posts: 3573
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #34 on: January 14, 2010, 07:19:59 AM »
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.

Every invitation and get-together is not some high-falutin' shindig.  If my friend says "hey, if you'd like to come over on Saturday night and we'll play on the Sega* and eat pizza and salad and dessert but could you bring the soda?" this is hardly a sit down dinner for twelve and pate de foie gras.  It's not even a formal get-together: it's friends having a good time. 
Nothing to see here.

Bob Ducca

  • Member
  • Posts: 5332
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #35 on: January 14, 2010, 07:52:10 AM »
As a guest, I would be okay with this if it fit the dynamic of the get-together and was told about it beforehand.

As a host, I would feel presumptuous inviting people to my home but charging them money, especially if I am cooking.  I just don't have that much confidence in my cooking skills. 

So, if a group of friends are all together, and start saying things like, "Hey, we have a long weekend coming up, how about we get together on Holiday and barbecue?  We could all pitch in for steaks and Sven can coook?"  I would say, "Great, we can do that here," because I'm not the one issuing the invitation, I'm just offering my home for a group event.  In that scenario, I would feel like everyone has basically equal "hosting" ownership.  (I would also expect that we would all pitch in with the serving, clean-up, etc.)

But I would not be comfortable, as a host, saying, "I want to have you all over for dinner on date, and I want to cook a really special meal, so I need you each to give me $10 so I can afford it."  Not at all.

high dudgeon

  • Member
  • Posts: 3905
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #36 on: January 14, 2010, 10:58:23 AM »
Every invitation and get-together is not some high-falutin' shindig.  If my friend says "hey, if you'd like to come over on Saturday night and we'll play on the Sega* and eat pizza and salad and dessert but could you bring the soda?" this is hardly a sit down dinner for twelve and pate de foie gras.  It's not even a formal get-together: it's friends having a good time. 

I wouldn't see anything at all wrong with this example. It's a potluck. One person brings pizza, one person brings salad, on person brings dessert and one person brings drinks. It's not about high-falutin' versus casual. It's about asking for money from your friends to cover the expenses of the invitation. I still can't get my mind around the concept that that's considered polite and e-hell approved. Even if it's common, I still don't think it's polite. Why not just ask them to bring their own meals for themselves, their own drinks, their own activities and their own seating, or charging them for all that too? I honestly don't see any difference between "Hey, let's get together and have X and everybody can chip in $X." And "Party at my house, admission fee $X." Either way, you're asking people to pay their money for your event. I think a "communal" event would be everyone bringing something to share (other than cash) or each paying their own tab to a third party. I've always felt the "bring your own meat to my grill" party was also rude (unless it was done as a potluck.) And I don't see how economic necessities have anything to do with the etiquette of the situation. The only way I could afford to have a big expensive dinner dance would be to charge the guests to come to it, and that would be rude, so I don't have a party I can't afford to have, even if I really really really want to throw one.
 
I guess I'm just outvoted on this one, and I'll stop arguing my perspective. But I'm still pretty flabbergasted. In my circle of friends, an invite like this would be met with a blank perplexed look and "You want me to pay you money to have dinner at your house? I don't understand. I don't charge you money when you come over to my house. Maybe we should just potluck until things aren't so financially tight."  Or they might stop accepting your invitations all together for being offended by the attempt to get money out of them.

er-bear

  • Guest
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #37 on: January 14, 2010, 11:30:23 AM »
In my group of friends this is type of event would not be rude at all.

It's like a potluck but even easier for the 'travelers/guests' because most of the time the 'homeowner/host' does all the work!  

This type of thing happens because we are still at a time in life where most of us do not have the living space in which to host an event.  So if we want to get together at some place other than a restaurant the only option is: the ONE couple with enough room for people to sit and mingle (and I'm not talking about a dining table here) The ONE couple with a backyard for a BBQ. So we do a lot of the bring your own meat and a side or dessert to share because its simply not possible for us to reciprocate full hosting in anyway other than at a restaurant. (And traditional potluck of trading who would do each course would be a nightmare because of food restrictions/preferences)

When it becomes possible for our social group to each have the ability of reciprocating hosting I think the situation will change to full hosting (for me anyway - I love to cook and would DIE to host a true dinner party). For now the logistics just do not permit.

magdalena

  • Member
  • Posts: 5517
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #38 on: January 14, 2010, 11:36:28 AM »
In my group of friends this is type of event would not be rude at all.

It's like a potluck but even easier for the 'travelers/guests' because most of the time the 'homeowner/host' does all the work!  


This, too.
My best friend and her husband (my DH's best friend) live 4-5 hours from us, another great friend 2 hours away, yet another 3 hours away, and so on and on. When we have a big get together, one of us will be the "host" and provide the space. We might then either do potluck or chip-in for the "main" dinner one night and the "host" will provide snacks, breakfasts, coffee and cakes, drinks and so on. We can afford a lot by now, but buying all that at once could be a burden on any one of us at any time. Chipping in makes it easier for those driving/taking the train and is often even suggested by the guests, who would usually respond to an invitation with "what can I bring". Yeah, we're a very tight knit group and love getting together and are very laid back about it as well - it's more family than frieends, really (so much so that I call my best gfriend's grandma "Grandma", and she's been "adopted" by my mom - her mom retaliated by adopting me :P)



evely28

  • Member
  • Posts: 2585
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #39 on: January 14, 2010, 11:36:37 AM »
I guess I'm just outvoted on this one, and I'll stop arguing my perspective. But I'm still pretty flabbergasted. In my circle of friends, an invite like this would be met with a blank perplexed look and "You want me to pay you money to have dinner at your house? I don't understand. I don't charge you money when you come over to my house. Maybe we should just potluck until things aren't so financially tight."  Or they might stop accepting your invitations all together for being offended by the attempt to get money out of them.

I think the distinction has been made that events like this are not in place of reciprocity. If I have been the one to host the last 5 dinner parties I think I'm in the clear if I make a suggestion that may start a ball rolling of "anyone see the sale on crab and want to go in on a crab feast?" and then let it go from there.
If I am behind in reciprocity, I wouldn't do this. I would be the one to host.

Flora Louise

  • Member
  • Posts: 3193
  • Nothing like champagne for a champagne occasion.
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #40 on: January 14, 2010, 01:48:02 PM »

In my circle of friends, an invite like this would be met with a blank perplexed look and "You want me to pay you money to have dinner at your house? I don't understand. I don't charge you money when you come over to my house. . . .

I think that would be my reaction. I like a potluck but the only time I go to events where money changes hands is when I go to a fundraiser. Come to think of it we didn't even do this when we were all starving recent graduates. Maybe it's a new thing? Generational?
Just because you're disappointed in me doesn't mean I did anything wrong.

shhh its me

  • Member
  • Posts: 7526
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #41 on: January 14, 2010, 02:38:04 PM »

In my circle of friends, an invite like this would be met with a blank perplexed look and "You want me to pay you money to have dinner at your house? I don't understand. I don't charge you money when you come over to my house. . . .

I think that would be my reaction. I like a potluck but the only time I go to events where money changes hands is when I go to a fundraiser. Come to think of it we didn't even do this when we were all starving recent graduates. Maybe it's a new thing? Generational?

High Dudgeon  under those circumstances I'd agree with you it would be weird. Tone and context would make a big difference.

Your picturing " Please join me for dinner of the 12th your cost will be $xx".  One person deciding a menu , one person deciding the cost and passing it on. 

I'm picturing A" Hey ,did you know you can have a Sushi chef come to one of our homes" 

person B "I've heard of that,it'd probably be very expensive"

person C "I wonder if we could afford it if we all chipped in?"

person D, E, F " lets find out " etc.

Much more we came up with plan rather then I'missuing an invitation.  Of course once a core group establishes this persons added wouldn't be as in on the collaboration. So you could end up with " every 6 months a group of us  all chip in and get a sushi chef would you like join in".





rashea

  • Member
  • Posts: 9678
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #42 on: January 14, 2010, 02:59:58 PM »
But I'm still pretty flabbergasted. In my circle of friends, an invite like this would be met with a blank perplexed look and "You want me to pay you money to have dinner at your house? I don't understand. I don't charge you money when you come over to my house. Maybe we should just potluck until things aren't so financially tight."  Or they might stop accepting your invitations all together for being offended by the attempt to get money out of them.

I think the difference is the scale. For example, if dinners in your group are usually pasta and salad, but someone wanted to suggest doing a big fancy steak and lobster dinner, then you're not just inviting someone over for dinner. You're offering to provide a location and organization of an event. So it's not a dinner invitation in that way, it's an invitation to an experience. And I do charge people for experiences. I often suggest going to a movie or a concert. I may buy the tickets, but I expect to be paid back.

And then there is the fact that joined together, you can have an event that you otherwise wouldn't be able to do. My example of a family get-together is a perfect scenario. Few people could host 70 people even for a simple meal. But by having people chip in, my parents can actually host this 2-3 times a year (4th of July, and Thanksgiving on the Beach on Labor day). In that case, the food is definitely a big part of the event (lobsters on the 4th, and a full Thanksgiving on Labor day), but the getting together at the lake is also a huge part of it.

So charging people for dinner would feel off to me. But charging people for an event wouldn't. It's a fine line, but one I'm willing to draw.
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post

Vermont

marcel

  • Member
  • Posts: 1776
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #43 on: January 15, 2010, 01:34:38 AM »
Potlucks are not very common here. If we have one with friends, then the food is an integral part of the get together, by this I mean that we try to make a special meal, where people make their best dishes. If it is about providing food for a group that gets together, even if it is a special meal, then here a potluck is very uncommon, and 1 person will cook.  it is then normal for the cook to get paid for the costs (if this event does not rotate between organizers). The only potlucks in the American way that I have been to have been organised by my GF who is American.
This means that the potluck is here the event that makes people uncomfortable and thus the event that is the rudest.

I just don't see how it can be rude for the organizer of an event to let people pay for attending, if it is not rude for an organizer to let people work for attending. I just do not see how it is rude to make life easy on the attendants to the event you organise.

I also can't see how the location can make a big difference. If you say that the difference is in recieving people in your own home, then that would mean that if there is another space that you can use, and otherwise the event is the same, and the organizer provides the food, it would be ok.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 06:40:27 AM by marcel »
Wherever you go..... There you are.

Bob Ducca

  • Member
  • Posts: 5332
Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #44 on: January 15, 2010, 05:43:45 AM »
Marcel, for most of the people I know (I'm American) an integral part of the concept of "hospitality" is the investment of the host, both in time and material resources.  One is known as a "good host" not because of the amount spent, but because the host is willing to invest time and money in creating an enjoyable atmosphere for the guests.

So, to me, asking guests to pitch in money so that the host doesn't lose any money on the entertainment is actually the opposite of "hospitality."  It changes the nature of the event from one that is hosted to one that is completely collaborative.  If, as some posters have asserted, this is acceptable for a non-hosted event, I can accept that, but I've never done it or heard of it done; potlucks are much more common.  (Part of the reason for that is that many people find the public discussion of money rude and distasteful; telling someone, "You need to pay $10," it's much nicer to say, "Oh, could you bring that banana pudding you brought last year?")

My issue with the practice is that some people (not on this thread, just it seems to me) might use the title of "host" because their home is being used, or it was their idea, when there is no host at all in such an event.  Thus, when a "host" invites me to something, I expect hospitality to be extended, not a bill offered.