One in every bunch!

ninosFebruary 27, 2008

I have taken notice at every potluck that i attend their is always atleast one person who really,selfishly overeats. At most of the potlucks i have also noticed that EVERYONE does not bring a dish to pass. I always try to bring extra so we do not run out of food. The last potluck that i went to was last week. One of the parents brought 2 buckets of KFC chicken. That was really nice of her since see works and did not have time to cook. The food was laid out and the line began to form. A man in the front of the line filled his plate high with the chicken. He needed 2 hands to carry it. There was not alot of food. But definetly enough if people dont get greedy. I was so mad! Does anyone else come across this problem? Would it be wrong if while i helped serve that i remind people of good portions? This man wasnt the only one. His was the biggest plate at that potluck. Their were others who over indulged. Unfortunatly the people at the end of the line had very little to pick from. How do you deal with this situation?

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Don't go to potlucks? (sorry, couldn't resist)

In truth, I don't think there is a lot you can do about boorish behavior like this. Once he has taken the food, he certainly can't put it back. And he is not likely to be the type to respond to little signs asking people to be considerate.

One option would be to have servers to actually limit the size of everyone's first serving, but that isn't always practical. (which dishes do you police, er serve? will the bringers of the un-monitored dishes be affronted? you can't win)

As for commenting, I don't think you could say "Now, now Mr. Smith, do you really need so many pieces? That is enough to feed 3 people" without being rude.

I'd be tempted to go sit by him and ask how he liked the chicken, casually mentioning that I didn't get to try it because they ran out before I made it through the line. But subtle digs like that never seem to penetrate thick skulls, and are never really as satisfying as I'd like.

If you have a frequent offender, maybe you could try to engage him in conversation away from the buffet while the line is forming so that most people get a chance at the dishes ahead of him?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 12:28PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I despise those kind of people and it seems the world is filled with them.
I would put a little sign in front of desirable items, usually the meat, saying "take one piece, only please", or something like that. It doesn't always work but it does allow other people to say "Hey, you took more than one piece!" and maybe make those cretins feel guilty.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 5:08PM
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Potlucks can be a bit of a free for all, but the ones I've been to most folks seemed to keep in mind that 1)there are a bunch of folks to feed and 2)there are a lot of things to try so take small portions.

You might try putting the more indulgence prone dishes later in the line. That way folks who have eyes bigger then their stomachs will have less opportunity to take to much of something as they may have taken servings of other dishes first.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 9:04PM
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Narcissism at it's best.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:30PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Ditto on putting the best items at the end of the table. I like to hold back things too, such as move half the chicken to the kitchen until the end of the line is near.

And when people bring food cut into regular sized pieces, cut them in half or quarters. Too bad that can't be done with fried chicken though!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2008 at 10:10AM
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Yes! -- hold back on a number of the items -- and "refill" the dishes as soon as a few people go through the line ... of course this means the someone has to do this work -- but it really helps! If possible -- have a basket or two of rolls that can be "passed" through the guests that have been through the line ....

Yes -- I've seen this behaviour at LOTS of parties -- sad -- really sad! Some people must believe that they are at a buffet-style restaurant!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 4:14PM
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For buffets at home, I either stand by the food or dish it out myself.

Away from home, there's not much you can do. I'm sure he knows what he did.

My son has a friend who always takes too much. I make him go last. He doesn't get a lot to eat at his house, so I don't mind feeding him, but not at the expense of other guests.

What REALLY bugs me is that these people often leave food on their plates at the end!


    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 8:20PM
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Another behavior is people over filling their plates at buffet resturants. It's not like they can't get a clean plate and go back for more. Our church has a lot of pot lucks and fortunately we don't have any gluttons but the popular dishes always go first. So, depending on the size of the item that has been prepared, not every one will get a taste.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 9:13AM
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This particular potluck was a celebration in my sons speech class. Their was about 15 class kids and 110 friends and families of kids. What frustates me is that any normal person could see that you should not overeat because there may not be enough food. But i guess the key word if "normal" person. This mans plate was so high he must have taken half of one bucket. I did not take any chicken because i knew it would be a kid favorite. I wanted the kids to enjoy it since it was their celebration.

That is a good idea to hold the chicken or the most popular items back. I will keep that in mind at the next pot luck that i attend. I also like the idea of recutting the food into smaller portions. Thanks for those tips.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 9:45AM
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We had a shower and served buffet style but some of the items were individual dim sum (little dumplings) and as soon as we noticed that one person started to help herself to a really large helping before we even started serving, my husband stepped over and using a tongs, dished out the items. That solved what could have been a real problem. It wasn't a pot luck but I guess the same problem prevails.
I think the problem with pot lucks is that you need to have a system so that you get lots more main dishes especially protein dishes than you do salads or noodle/rice dishes. I do try to suggest whether to bring a main dish or dessert. Trouble is that some people just want to bring a box of rolls or napkins if you don't supervise a little. I notice on one previous post somebody complained that they were being told what to do. Thats okay with me, we have great parties and if we have pot lucks and somebody doesn't like it, thats one less person for the next party. I don't do pot lucks at the house often, but our neighborhood does them and they usually suggest that A-G do main dishes or H -M bring desserts, etc.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2008 at 5:46PM
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I think that when you have a pot luck, you almost have to tell people what category to bring or you will inevitably get too many desserts. I have an annual pot luck party at my house for women only and I let them tell me what they are bringing. One year (a long time ago) I had about 12 people come, many of whom didn't bother to tell me in advance what they were bringing, and six brought dessert! It was gross. There was just barely enough savory stuff and the desserts were hardly touched.

Lesson learned. I now put on the invitation that no one is to bring desserts without specifically telling me that in advance, and I limit the number of desserts according to the number attending.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2008 at 11:16AM
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And don't even think about putting out a bowl of steamed or spiced shrimp! The pigs who don't pile their plates high will hang over the bowl & graze like it's their entire meal.

The company I work for has a lavish Holiday buffet/party & the boss' fiancee is a cook extraordinaire & caters the event; food is never in short supply & the shrimp bowl is unending. Problem is you can't get to it for the few who think it is their personal plate. DH was amazed at how high some piled their plates - like they hadn't eaten in days or had never had gourmet food in their lives or they couldn't go back for seconds - since the majority have salaries in the mid 6 figures!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 12:35AM
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I am a caterer and have seen it all!!! The best situation is when food is served by a server at the buffet because you will always have 1 or 2 people who just dont know there place I also agree to not put all of the food out i always replenish as the platter starts to empty i do this even when entertaining at my own home this seems to work very well!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 9:51AM
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To be honest I have never seen this type of behaviour at the potlucks I have attended. That being said, when I was involved with a boat club, which survived financially on serving meals to large groups, we always held the food in 4ths. Replenishing everything as it got low.

Now restaurant buffets are another issue. I hate them for a million reasons. My niece, Sara, loves a certain popular Chinese buffet in Toronto, not my choice at all but I love to spoil her, so we go.

I can barely eat anything just watching the disgusting behaviour of many of the customers. So much food on thier plates and they don't eat half of it, yet go for is so rude and so gluttonous and just so wrong.

Last time we went I talked to Sara about how maybe we should not patronize a place where people were so wasteful. She just looked at me and said " but I like it here, I can have what I like and Daddy never gets me Chinese food , he just likes Sushi" So maybe I can go for one or two more times.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 2:17PM
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At the Chinese restaurant buffets in our city, you get charged extra for any waste.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 11:54PM
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