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Author Topic: Potluck vs. Contributing Money  (Read 9668 times)

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marcel

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #45 on: January 15, 2010, 06:39:22 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.
It was my understnading that this thread was specifically about the "organizer'of an event, not the 'host' of an event.

The issue of this thread I believe is the following:
If the part that I bolded is so, then it should also be true of a potluck. Some people argue that a potluck, and people pitching in are equal hospitality, others argue that a potluck is more hospitable.
I am with the former group, and my thread gave my reasons why.

I will edit my previous post slightly, because I just notice something that can be read 2 ways.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 06:49:13 AM by marcel »
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Venus193

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #46 on: January 15, 2010, 06:56:41 AM »
I think this is all about presentation and context.  I don't think it's rude if the organizer is a good cook but not particularly well off makes the offer to cook Dish X for friends if they are willing to contribute.  The example given with the rotating host sounds wonderful.

What is rude is figuratively presenting a bill by telling people to contribute at any point after they have accepted the invitation.

Of course, this thread has made me realize that if I ever made friends with anyone who has access to a kitchen of the appropriate size and appointments, this is the only way to afford to have an Iron Chef party.   ;D





Bob Ducca

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #47 on: January 15, 2010, 08:08:08 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.
It was my understnading that this thread was specifically about the "organizer'of an event, not the 'host' of an event.

The issue of this thread I believe is the following:
If the part that I bolded is so, then it should also be true of a potluck. Some people argue that a potluck, and people pitching in are equal hospitality, others argue that a potluck is more hospitable.
I am with the former group, and my thread gave my reasons why.

I will edit my previous post slightly, because I just notice something that can be read 2 ways.

My issue, which I explained in the part that I bolded, is that people call themselves "hosts" when they do not, in fact, extend any hospitality other than providing a space.  Someone calling themselves an "organizer" would be confusing in my circle, especially if the event was in that person's home; that person would be the de facto host.  For a very informal event there wouldn't be an organizer, the decisions would be made by consensus of the group.

I also explained why a potluck *seems* more hospitable than asking for money.  It is considered by many to be extremely crass to ask for money, but asking for a dish or other material contribution to the event is acceptable.

Venus193

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #48 on: January 15, 2010, 08:13:08 AM »
There is no question as to what a potluck is, but my issue with them is that if they are not organized one could end up with 6 potato salads, 8 dips, and no meat or fish.

If a cash contribution is requested I think it is incumbent upon the organizer to provide a coordinated meal. 





Bob Ducca

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #49 on: January 15, 2010, 08:23:38 AM »
There is no question as to what a potluck is, but my issue with them is that if they are not organized one could end up with 6 potato salads, 8 dips, and no meat or fish.

If a cash contribution is requested I think it is incumbent upon the organizer to provide a coordinated meal. 

For me, the difference between a hosted and a non-hosted event is that in a hosted event, the host is the one calling the shots.  First of all, the host is the one who takes the initiative to say "I'm having an event."  The host plans the menu, picks the day, provides or chooses the venue, chooses a guest list, and provides entertainment.  If someone is doing that, but requires guests to pay for or otherwise provide their own food, then it is rude.  Essentially, someone is taking on the duty of hosting without the incumbent financial responsibility.

A non-hosted event is one in which things are decided by consensus.  Perhaps not everyone invited has input, but the decisions are made by more than one or two people.  People get together and decide what they want to eat, ask friends for money (which I don't like, but will concede) or food to varying degrees of specificity, decide on a venue based usually on practicality (who has the biggest house), etc.  In a non-hosted event, no one gets the credit for being a host because there just isn't one.

marcel

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #50 on: January 15, 2010, 08:42:54 AM »
There is no question as to what a potluck is, but my issue with them is that if they are not organized one could end up with 6 potato salads, 8 dips, and no meat or fish.

If a cash contribution is requested I think it is incumbent upon the organizer to provide a coordinated meal. 

For me, the difference between a hosted and a non-hosted event is that in a hosted event, the host is the one calling the shots.  First of all, the host is the one who takes the initiative to say "I'm having an event."  The host plans the menu, picks the day, provides or chooses the venue, chooses a guest list, and provides entertainment.  If someone is doing that, but requires guests to pay for or otherwise provide their own food, then it is rude.   Essentially, someone is taking on the duty of hosting without the incumbent financial responsibility.

A non-hosted event is one in which things are decided by consensus.  Perhaps not everyone invited has input, but the decisions are made by more than one or two people.  People get together and decide what they want to eat, ask friends for money (which I don't like, but will concede) or food to varying degrees of specificity, decide on a venue based usually on practicality (who has the biggest house), etc.  In a non-hosted event, no one gets the credit for being a host because there just isn't one.
But, doing all that is what good organizing is all about. What you are saying is that by organising a non-hosted event, in such a way that the attendants do not have to worry about a thing, you are being rude. Most people love it if somebody organises an event, and all they have to do is show up, pay their part, and enjoy the evening.

re your last sentence, somebody will usually get the credits for organizing though. I have never been to a non-hosted event, where the organizer did not get the credits for organizing, either in private, or if their are speeches in a speech.

I think that the number of people organizing a non-hosted event is completely irrelevant.

I also still do not see the big difference between asking attendants to contribute money or food and labour. In both cases you ask them to contribute. Like I say in my first post, seeing this difference probably has more to do with whether you grew up with potlucks or not, then with one being more hospitable then the other.
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shhh its me

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #51 on: January 15, 2010, 08:50:58 AM »
There is no question as to what a potluck is, but my issue with them is that if they are not organized one could end up with 6 potato salads, 8 dips, and no meat or fish.

If a cash contribution is requested I think it is incumbent upon the organizer to provide a coordinated meal. 

For me, the difference between a hosted and a non-hosted event is that in a hosted event, the host is the one calling the shots.  First of all, the host is the one who takes the initiative to say "I'm having an event."  The host plans the menu, picks the day, provides or chooses the venue, chooses a guest list, and provides entertainment.  If someone is doing that, but requires guests to pay for or otherwise provide their own food, then it is rude.  Essentially, someone is taking on the duty of hosting without the incumbent financial responsibility.

A non-hosted event is one in which things are decided by consensus.  Perhaps not everyone invited has input, but the decisions are made by more than one or two people.  People get together and decide what they want to eat, ask friends for money (which I don't like, but will concede) or food to varying degrees of specificity, decide on a venue based usually on practicality (who has the biggest house), etc.  In a non-hosted event, no one gets the credit for being a host because there just isn't one.

Yes, this.   For the most part I've seen things along the lines of large family reunions/parties go from potluck to " Hey everyone how would you feel if we had this catered next year?"  discussion ensues.


I've never seen or heard of what I think some posters are imagining........Mary sits down and figures out how much it will cost to feed 12 people surf and turf , then starts calling friends " Next Saturday I'm throwing a party , you'd have to pay$20 a person , will you be coming?"  


The exact wording is not absolute but it should be clear your being invite to participate in something not be a guest that's being billed.

the main difference is at a hosted dinner if your a vegetarian and the host doesn't ask you can;t really insist they serve a vegetarian meal at a chip in event you can say" Mary , I've a vegetarian  can you order a vegetarian meal?" 

Bob Ducca

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #52 on: January 15, 2010, 09:04:29 AM »
Marcel, I'm sorry my explanations have not been clear. All I can say is that Americans view hosting as something different than organizing, and to an American there is a difference between providing hospitality and expecting others to pay for it.  One is hosting, the other is running a business.

I have not been trying to debate you, but you asked what the difference is and I tried to explain why, to me, there is a difference.  You may think some of my points are irrelevant, but I disagree.

In my opinion, the attendants "not having to worry about a thing," should include the money to attend the event.  I accept that things may be different in your culture, but asking attendants at a formally hosted, purely social event to pay to attend would not be done here, which is what you seem to be saying is acceptable in your culture.  The host would provide everything.  "Organizing" would only be done for extremely informal, very close-friends-and-family sorts of things, and would most likely be done with the consent and/or participation of all attendants, and to acknowledge an "organizer" with gifts or speeches would be quite inappropriate to the event.

What you are describing sounds like something that might be done at a charity dinner (but the proceeds would go to charity) or a workplace event, like an awards banquet, but not a social event among friends.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2010, 09:06:16 AM by Deb1000Faces »

Dindrane

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #53 on: January 15, 2010, 09:12:04 AM »
For me, the difference between a hosted and a non-hosted event is that in a hosted event, the host is the one calling the shots.  First of all, the host is the one who takes the initiative to say "I'm having an event."  The host plans the menu, picks the day, provides or chooses the venue, chooses a guest list, and provides entertainment.  If someone is doing that, but requires guests to pay for or otherwise provide their own food, then it is rude.   Essentially, someone is taking on the duty of hosting without the incumbent financial responsibility.

<snip>

But, doing all that is what good organizing is all about. What you are saying is that by organising a non-hosted event, in such a way that the attendants do not have to worry about a thing, you are being rude. Most people love it if somebody organises an event, and all they have to do is show up, pay their part, and enjoy the evening.<snip>

(I edited both of your quotes for length)

Marcel, I think that Deb1000Faces is saying that the biggest difference between a hosted event and a non-hosted event is in who has control of the decision-making.

If I am hosting something in my home, I can make all of the decisions without even telling my guests what those decisions are.  I invite them to dinner at my house at 6:30, we're having pork chops, and they are free to decline or accept.  They are not free to say, "Oh, I don't really like pork chops - can we have steak instead?"

However, if I am organizing something, but not hosting it, I can't tell people, "We're having dinner at Betty's house at 6:30.  Jane, you bring potatoes, John, you bring green beans, and Sally, you bring brownies."  Instead, I have to actually ask people about all of that stuff first - I need to clear it with Betty that she's okay with using her house for the gathering, and I need to ask all the other people if they are willing to bring whatever dish I think we need.  The other people are also free to say, "Oh, I don't really make potatoes very well - can I bring some fresh baked bread instead?"

Once all of that has been worked out, then the organizer can tell everyone what is happening where, but presumably, all of those people will have had a chance to give their input on the decisions made, if they want to.

If I want to be able to set a menu, a time, and everything else without input, I have to pay for it.  If I can't do that, or don't want to do that, then I have to seek out and listen to more of a group consensus.  I think that's closer to what Deb was getting at.

Also, Deb (and anyone else), I think the key with the cash contributions vs. potluck is that the meals would be organized in a similar way.  One person may say, "Hey, we should totally have a part, it'll be fun!"  But beyond that, they will solicit input as to what type of party and what food and entertainment to have, unless they are willing to actually host (and pay for everything themselves).  I can't imagine ever telling my friends that I want to have a party with thus-and-so for dinner, so please give me $10 each.  I actually think that's a rather ungracious thing to do, if not downright rude, and certainly wouldn't win me any points with anyone.  But I don't think it would be odd if a group of friends all reached a consensus of, "We really like sushi - Bob knows how to make sushi - I bet it's cheaper if we all buy ingredients for Bob to make our sushi than it would be to eat in a restaurant - None of us really knows where to get sushi ingredients, though - Hey, Bob, if we give you money, can you go buy the ingredients, since you're the one who will know what to get?"


Bob Ducca

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #54 on: January 15, 2010, 09:21:03 AM »
Dindrane, I see the point with the cash contributions.  It makes *me* a little uncomfortable, but only because of my family's utter refusal to discuss money openly. ;)

If, for example the gathering is, "Hey, we're all getting together for the season premiere of Lost!  We were thinking of ordering pizza, does that sound okay?" and it is agreed that everyone will pitch in $5 for pizza or bring their own food, great.  It just rubs me the wrong way when done for a more formal kind of thing.

Also, my own skills as a cook are such that I might have to pay the guests for agreeing to eat it... ;)

Aeris

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #55 on: January 15, 2010, 09:30:29 AM »
Some interesting replies. I think more people are thinking in the same vein than they may realize, just minor differences in phrasing, etc.

I'm sure I've made it clear that I'm on the side of not-fully-hosted organized events being fine.

I absolutely agree that there is a big difference between 'truly hosted' events and 'non-hosted, but organized events'. With 'organized' events, the organizer should not be taking the credit for being a super cool host. However, there is effort in organizing, and there's nothing wrong with getting props for *organizing* a cool party, no matter whether everyone financially contributes and no matter where it's held.

And I do agree with you Deb1000Faces, that non-hosted, organized events are definitely on the more casual side of things. One generally would not get a written invitation to such a thing, for instance. In the same vein, they are usually closer friends and fam.

And I also agree that in such an event, the organizer can't call all the shots. If my group wants to all watch the big game together, or the Battlestar Galactica marathon, and I offer up the use of my home as a stomping grounds only, and suggest we could all chip in and order pizza, I can't complain if the group changes it's collective mind and decides they'd rather order family style chinese instead. I'm not providing it, I'm not hosting, I don't get to make that decision - the GROUP decides.

The thing that I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around, and I'm not really sure how many people fall in this opinion camp, is the idea that taking a forming group activity, and then volunteering the use of one's space to house that forming group activity, is rude. It just does not compute. As long as I'm not 1) taking credit for being a super cool host or 2) trying to take the reins of all the decision making, like a true host would, I don't get it. It's like saying you can't offer 1 nice thing, you have to offer 0 or 3, no in between.

Flora Louise

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #56 on: January 15, 2010, 09:32:32 AM »
What happens when you pay $20 to go to someone's house to eat a lobster dinner they've prepared and the food is bad? Is it rude to ask for your money back?
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Aeris

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #57 on: January 15, 2010, 09:36:27 AM »
What happens when you pay $20 to go to someone's house to eat a lobster dinner they've prepared and the food is bad? Is it rude to ask for your money back?

You aren't paying them for their cooking - you aren't paying a wage. You are paying for the base cost of the raw materials. (At least you should be.) If you agree to involve yourself in this kind of party, someone's poor cooking is a risk you take. And if it's a problem with the raw materials you purchased, that's your own problem - demand a refund from the store.

If you go to a potluck and everyone else's dish sucks, do you pack up your dish and leave? Of course not.

Bob Ducca

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #58 on: January 15, 2010, 09:38:44 AM »
Aeris, I think on the group thing you and I are in accord.  And I would certainly thank the organizer, but casually, and without a gift or card or flowers the next day.  An organizer who expects the accolades due a host is out of line, but I don't think anyone has disagreed with that.

Flora Louise: that's the problem I see with applying the organizer principle to more formal events: it blurs the line between providing hospitality and conducting a business transaction.  I agree with Aeris that it would be rude to ask for your money back, but I would be more upset about the food being bad when I'd paid for it than the food being bad at a hosted dinner or a potluck.  At least at a potluck, I could eat what I brought. 

Flora Louise

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Re: Potluck vs. Contributing Money
« Reply #59 on: January 15, 2010, 09:45:20 AM »

If you go to a potluck and everyone else's dish sucks, do you pack up your dish and leave? Of course not.

I wouldn't pay $20 to prepare a dish for a potluck. I wouldn't pay $10. So, I don't think I'd feel at a loss if I didn't like any of the other food at the party.
Just because you're disappointed in me doesn't mean I did anything wrong.