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Thread: Food At Potlucks--Opinion

  1. #1
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    Default Food At Potlucks--Opinion

    Not sure if I'm posting this in the correct section but here it goes. I'm wondering if anyone here has a penny-pinching relative? I have a large family and most of us are married with kids. With lack of time and our lives being pulled in all directions with demands of spouses and children, we still manage to get together for family events at least once a month. We usually have potlucks for holidays. Yesterday for example, was Memorial Day and we got together for a picnic at the beach. Most of the cousins go, and we all pitch in and bring a dish. In my case we usually make or take the main course.

    Yesterday for Memorial Day we had a potluck at the beach. My husband and I took hamburger meat, hotdogs, pork ribs, all the buns, all the condiments, cheese, 2 liters of soda, side salad and the dressing. Not to mention we took the grill, the charcoal and the lighter fluid. We even took our boat to take family members out for a cruise, to make it more fun. You know, different intervals. My sister took macaroni salad and kids drinks. My other sister took 5 desserts. My mother brought all the ice, some coolers, potato salad. In other words mostly everyone chips in...except 1. I have a single cousin (we'll call her Diane), who shows up late for every family event and family party. ALWAYS. We're not talking about 1 hr. We're talking about 3 or 4 hrs late. She says she's bringing 'something', but its always something like 1 liter of soda and 1 bag of chips. She's known for being a penny pincher and doesn't put much effort in whatever she says she's bringing. It's never anything she cooks herself, it's usually some inexpensive snack you know she got all the clearance isle at the store.

    Well, whatever the reason, Diane shows up so late that people have already eaten and are stuffed after dessert. Her items hardly ever get eaten. She shows up (like yesterday) serves herself 2 or 3 plates of food, then she leaves...and takes her food contribution with her. I think it's so tacky. I've told Diane before 'Be on time. Showing up 3 or 4 hrs later doesn't count as showing up. It's just showing up to eat the food'. She still does it.

    Yesterday Diane brought 2 liters of soda and 2 bags of Lays chips. Most of the family had left but she sure managed to stack her plate full of food twice and just as everyone's packing up and getting ready to go, she says she'd taking her stuff since 'no one opened them'. I did say in front of 2 other cousins of mine, "Are you serious, Diane? You showed up late, ate the food and you have the nerve to take your soda?' She laughed and said "Yep". When she left I saw her walking out with her bag of 2 sodas and I said "You're amazing. We helped with the set-up, we all got here on time, we helped with the clean up and there you go taking your soda". She just walked away. She doesn't care.

    I voiced my opinion to several relatives that I'm sick of Diane and I'm not inviting her to any more family events. Most of my cousins are annoyed by her behavior too but no one has the guts to say anything to her directly. I'm the only one has basically told her in her face yet it doesn't really phase her. She has no shame and I know she will continue showing up hours late to events and then being cheap and taking off with whatever food contribution she thinks she's making. In my eyes it's no real contribution because she shows up so ridiculously late no one ever gets to eat her stupid chips or $3.99 box of brownies. But she sure manages to sit down, enjoy and stack her plate full of our food and then leave without helping any of us with the clean up.

    Do any of you have relatives like this? Why are they like this, are they just cheap? I can't figure her out. You try and keep the family united but relatives like this are just plain aggravating. It's so rude. I'd be embarrassed to constantly show up so late to events. Even more to eat the food and then take back my $1 soda liter or $2 bag of chips after I stuffed myself. I'd at least stick around and help with the clean up since others helped set up and I didn't even do that.

    BTW, whenever we have leftovers or items that are non-perishable after family parties, we just save them for the next event. Diane knows this. We told her the 2 sodas we were saving for next time. She said "No, I'll take them". The nerve! lol

  2. #2
    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    This is what I call doing a "drive by". You stay long enough to be able to say that you attended something, then leave before anyone can ask you to pitch in and do anything else. You have a choice - you can keep inviting her knowing that she'll do exactly the same thing every time and just accept it because you're not responsible for what she does - or stop inviting her. It's not bothering HER, it's bothering YOU.
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    Elite Member Moongirl's Avatar
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    I say open her bags of chips and sodas and leave them open (where she can't see them) and we'll see if she still wants to take them with her...

    I belive I've told this story before: Many years ago, I used to have a co-worker who never pitched in for potlucks, but always made sure to get a plate for herself, her son, her boyfriend, etc. She was also the type who never said no if you offered her (out of courtesy) some what you were eating. A friend and I decided one day to purchase some Metamucil wafers, which look and kind of taste like graham crackers. We passed by her just nibbling on some, and offered some to her. She of course said yes, quickly ate hers, and you can imagine our delight when about 20 minutes later, we saw her rush to the bathroom.

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    Elite Member MontanaMama's Avatar
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    I think Brookie nailed it. Although I would ask if she's financially able to make a contribution. She may view it (Devil's Advocate here) as she's just one person and everyone else seems to be at least 2 and probably upwards of 5-6 people so she shouldn't have to feed everyone. Plus, since she takes her stuff with her, I wonder if she's financially able to make a proper contribution, which might also be why she's arriving late and leaving early. If this is something you really want to resolve, I would talk to her at a time not surrounding a family event, otherwise you're just trying to shame and embarrass her in front of the whole family - hence the even more passive aggressive behavior.
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    Moongirl, that's hilarious! And yes, she's like that, she wants to take food to whomever she can. Her father divorced my aunt, yet my cousin's asked me twice at my own sons' birthday parties this year if she can take a piece of cake to her father! WTF? Now granted, her father was my uncle by marriage, but she's funny. She wants to take doggie bags to her dad and I havent seen him in ages. He's not invited to my kids' parties. She's a scavenger. BTW, my sister said that yesterday that we should've opened her sodas and chips the minute she got there even if everyone was full..haha. Good idea.

    Brookie, I agree with you and I readily admit, it does bother me. It bothers many of us. But I've been the only one who's actually told her. As far as the parties at my house go, she's not getting any invites from me. Family functions where all the cousins and aunts show up, I can't control that, but the invite sure isn't coming from me. Thing is that it's usually me, my sister and another cousin who are the main organizers so we know who's bringing what and delegate it. IMO since Diane shows up late, she should be part of the clean-up crew, don't think I haven't said it! But she won't do it. I've even said we should pack up the food early because we always know she's coming within the 3 or 4 hr mark, but even that seems tacky to me. Others should've have to pay for HER rudeness.

    MontanaMama, she does work. She has no husband or kids, but she's been living with her mom (my aunt) for years. She's 35 yrs-old and I wonder if the reason she's still there is because she's too cheap to pay for her own place. I don't think she has to pay rent. She pays her mothers' utility bills and buys her own food. She can afford to bring something, we're not expecting a feast. I really just think she's a penny-pincher.

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    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    You've got to realize that you can't change people and decide not to let it bother you or you have to not invite her. She's something else.
    Quote Originally Posted by Moongirl View Post
    I belive I've told this story before: Many years ago, I used to have a co-worker who never pitched in for potlucks, but always made sure to get a plate for herself, her son, her boyfriend, etc. She was also the type who never said no if you offered her (out of courtesy) some what you were eating. A friend and I decided one day to purchase some Metamucil wafers, which look and kind of taste like graham crackers. We passed by her just nibbling on some, and offered some to her. She of course said yes, quickly ate hers, and you can imagine our delight when about 20 minutes later, we saw her rush to the bathroom.
    Cool story and all but Metamucil wafers wouldn't have caused her to run to the bathroom. It's just fiber not laxatives.
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    Elite Member Moongirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twitchy2.0 View Post
    You've got to realize that you can't change people and decide not to let it bother you or you have to not invite her. She's something else.
    Cool story and all but Metamucil wafers wouldn't have caused her to run to the bathroom. It's just fiber not laxatives.
    Well, for whatever reason, it worked on her, and that's good enough for me!

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    Chalk the grand coincidence up to karma!
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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Just let it go. Next time she arrives late, try to have everyones food all packed up and in the cars. When she gets there, immediately open everything she brought an eat/drink as much as you can stand.
    Other than that, she is kin. Can't get a divorce!
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    Elite Member VenusInFauxFurs's Avatar
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    This probably wouldn't bother me. One lone person turning up should bring less than someone with a husband and a bunch of kids. A relative who eats more than they bring to the table is no biggie. Either tell people what to bring or don't invite her.
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    Elite Member Brookie's Avatar
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    Next time she shows up with a bunch of stuff - late - have everyone bring a couple of Tupperware containers and spoon out all her food to take with them. Don't let her take anything home except the empty dishes.
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    Elite Member louiswinthorpe111's Avatar
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    Tell her the potluck starts 3 hours before it actually does. Or quit inviting her.
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    Venus, she is single with no kids, but the woman can eat. She stacks her plate and gets 2nd's and 3rd's! That is not an exaggeration. Other relatives have noticed and commented. So yes, she may not have kids but she is eating an equal amount of food that some of us with kids do (sometimes more). She even wants to take doggie bags to her dad? I think it's absurd. I have 1 husband he's the eater. I have an 8 month-old (who doesn't eat potluck food) and a 2 yr-old who's a fussy eater and maybe takes a bite of macaroni and takes off. Most of our kids in are in that age bracket, younger than 8 or so. I'm the mother chasing my toddler at the family parties and I eat in 10 minutes because I have to care for my kid. I don't even get second servings. I don't have time. Well, I'm sure many of you remember how it was when your kids were that small. You gulp your food down and get back to chasing your kid. Diane's sitting there without a care in the world just eating like she's at an all you can eat buffet. Which, I don't mind, but dang, girl, be fair. Don't just be a taker, share. And we have been more than generous to her. We know she's single so she's always delegated to bring the minimal items like soda, chips, salsa, etc...we are specific. But she never makes it in time to share them. She gets there literally 3 or 4 hrs late and then wants to take her stuff with her when she leaves. And don't get me wrong, I'm not a stickler for punctuality. I know things come up and people will be late. But she is habitually late. You say 12pm and she shows up at 3pm or 4pm and we start packing up at 5pm or so. My other cousins complain and mumble under their breaths how she is but I at least have brought it to her attention. She's had the opportunity to be more considerate.

    Louis, love your idea about giving her an earlier time though. Love it! lol.

    Thanks everyone for your comments though. I guess it is like the work environment. When you have potlucks and events, you always have the tightwads in the group who never want to contribute or say they won't eat, but then when the leftovers are offered they sure eat then.
    Last edited by PrettyGirl; May 31st, 2011 at 06:21 PM.

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    Elite Member Sylkyn's Avatar
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    Yep. Had an ex brother-in-law (who actually I still love and talk to all the time) who did that (and still does at their get togethers) all. the. time. There'd be a gathering of at least 25 people, usually more, and he'd show up with a bag of ice (one!) or one 2-liter of the cheapest soda known to man.

    Or just a bag of chips...the medium size. Or nothing at all. He did that a lot too. He was on time, though. He had no intention of missing one single bite. He was usually the first one there.

    He's not an ass in any other way, though, so after about 10 years of his crap, I would just say, Oh, still being a cheap bastard, Johnny?? And he'd always say, I guess so!

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    Well...you know she is going to come and you know she is going to eat but, not contribute. IMO you have 2 options...1) stop inviting her OR 2) call a spade a spade and tell her not to bring anything. The easiest way to lose the tension is to stop expecting that which pisses you off from her. If she isn't cool enough for you to want her to come empty handed then do #1.

    As an aside, I was the empty handed person at the family potluck. Not because I wanted to be rude but, I didn't know how to cook at the time or at least I had low self-esteem for my cooking. I always brough chips, pop - you know one of the things you don't really need but, feel obligated to bring something. Finally someone just told me to stop. They would call me if they needed anything but, to just come and have fun. True to form, I almost always got a call at the last minute for something I needed to pick up at the store on my way over
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