...and no one complained.

okieladybugAugust 1, 2006

I mainly lurk on this board, but I read a similar thread on another board I visit and thought it would be interesting to see what your responses were.

The point of the thread was that just b/c no one complains when they attend your event does not mean that they approve of all your decisions or that everything was acceptable. It *does* mean that your guests were polite enough not to complain in your presence or in the presence of the hosts.

An example that was given:

-A rather long wedding ceremony held outdoors in the mid-summer heat. No drinks or shade (in the form of trees, umbrellas, tent, etc.) were provided to cool off the guests, but "we did this and no one complained."

Can you think of instances where you've heard that phrase? Or what about those situations where someone really believed their major faux pas was perfectly acceptable?

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Oh, you have to be talking about the thread on the wedding forum about cash bars! For that matter, the thread on this forum, too.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 4:52PM
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No, I'm not. I was actually talking about a thread on ultimatewedding.com. I found it very interesting that people seemed to think that just b/c no one complained that it was a ringing endorsement for their bad judgement in the area of entertaining. Sorry for the confusion...

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 9:34AM
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A huge party...likely 200 people invited, in late July, outside, in a metal machine shed at a "gentleman farmer's" place. 95 degrees out. The door of the machine shed faced west and the setting sun poured in. No fan. The keg was in the shed. No shade but down by the pond where the mosquitoes would eat you alive. No place to sit but for a chair you brought yourself. About 7 a tub of BBQ pork brought by the local supermarket was brought and another of potato salad ( remember it was about 110 in that shed) bags of chips and some pickles. The very lovely and large new home was open for "potty breaks" but you were treated to a pile of paper booties by the door, and a sign asked that you please don shoe covers before entering.
The next day I called and thanked her for inviting me and apologized for having to leave early. She said..."it was hot wasn't it....but no one seemed to complain!"
Or the wedding with the open bar and 250 guests and only one bar....but no one complained....out loud....to the hosts. Even those who never managed to get anything to drink before dinner was served.
Or the shower where invitations were sent and a copy of the entrees offered at a local restraunt and asking that I choose my entree and send a check for the cost of the entree I chose, and include $6 for my share of the cost of the bride and groom's dinner and $15 for my share of the gift. I am sure no one complained out loud!
Or the party where a friend asked me for Sunday night supper....she had invited 6 other young(er!) couples and their children. She had hot dogs in a pot of water boiling for the kids and emptied 2 leftover 1/2 trays of Sam's club frozen lasagna, which had been heated served and refrozen and now were to be reheated again, and some bags of lettuce and bottled salad dressing and some leftover frozen Christmas cookies. She said to me later, "the lasagna was a little dry...but no one complained". ( she just didn't hear them!!)
But...on the other hand I am remembering once when I had home made bread on the table and forgot to put out the butter...but no one complained ( the dummies!!) and another time when I was having 10 for dinner and my drain plugged and the sink flooded the kitchen and I said "I won't get dinner on the table until the plumber gets the sink un plugged...I'll get out more hors d'ouvres and have another drink"....and no one complained...at least not where I could hear them!
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 1:49PM
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I think "no one complains" when something happens that's no one's fault...drains stopped up, A/C broken, caterer fails to show up. However, most good hosts try to rectify the situation in some manner, and so complaints are just not good form. When something audacious happens, like the shower invite with the bill attached, or the horrendous dinner of re-frozen leftovers, I usually regret the invitation, without coughing up the requested donation, or in the case of the dinner, I just don't accept another invitation and don't invite them back either. I replied on the thread about the cash bar that I was stuck without enough money for a drink when I attended a wedding by myself, and so I never had a drink and felt sort of silly. In none of these instances would I complain...I don't think it's gracious. I just gear my future behavior with an eye to how these "friends" have treated me in the past. And I agree that for breaches of good taste, the fact that no one complained didn't make the behavior OK.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 4:45PM
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LOL! I did regret the shower with the bill attached ( but saved the invitation, just in cast I needed to be reminded about how totally manner-less some are)
But...do you suppose the friend with the re heated leftovers twice frozen lasagna originally from Sams asked me over for that? No...she called and said I am having some neighbors over for an informal Sunday night supper. It was only after we got there and she was combining foil pans of frozen stuff that we started rolling our eyes at each other!
I was invited to her house another time for an "informal Sunday night supper" and the conversation was so interesting she forgot about the soup....and the broccoli cheese soup boiled for about 45 minutes, separating into rubbery clods and clear liquid. She said..."I over cooked the soup a little, but its' still good"...I didn't tell her that her guests were so hungry by that time they would have eaten a shoe...but to their credit...no one within my hearing complained...at least not that I could hear.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 2:13PM
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I agree with sudiepav that when things beyond your expectations or reasonable planning occur, that it isn't polite to complain, especially when the host/ess is trying to rectify the situation.

However, in the example of potato salad and BBQ being left outside in 90+ degree heat, not saying something to the host was wrong. People actually die of food poisoning, at the very least can become very sick. I would have discreetly offered to get ice and coolers for the food to the host. If s/he refused, I would have mentioned that it is very unsafe food handling to continue to serve dishes let out so long in the heat. And then gotten the coolers and ice and put the food in them myself. When people are in danger, politeness comes second to being safe IMHO. And yes, I have done exactly that at a company picnic. Sometimes people just don't think about things like food safety- fine, they forgot, big deal- but that's no reason to allow the potential poisoning of many people.

I had an incident at my party just this weekend and was SO glad that someone "complained." My friend told me very discreetly that the towel in the guest bath smelled a little funny. I went in there and was immediately overwhelmed by the towel- it REEKED! I have no idea what the smell was- perhaps someone cleaned up a spilled appetizer with it- but I was so grateful that I could throw it in the washer, put on the fan, and light a scented candle before anyone thought that I cleaned my bathroom with something from the compost pile. If saying something will prevent further embarrassment to the host/ess then by all means mention it and offer to help fix the problem.

Sometimes when people do things like attach an invoice to an invitation, it's just useless to complain. They're already so thick-headed that they thought this was acceptable; what are the chances they'd listen to an opinion to the contrary?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2006 at 6:38PM
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Interesting thoughts...

I agree that one should not complain when it's a matter of personal opinion (they used paper napkins rather than cloth? Perish the thought!) However, as Meghane stated, when people's health is on the line, I think one should definitely speak up.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 11:35AM
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The potato salad in the 110 degree shed was on ice. I am sure it was safe...but it was so hot in there you would almost rather starve than stand in line to get a sandwich and potato salad.
I think it's never good manners to complain ( the incident with the towel was not really a complaint but rather a heads up). You can be served raw chicken or green beans with chocolate sauce and you never complain. That's what good manners dictate.
BUT to assume that even though you served curdled soup and warm beer that the guests loved it because they didn't complain is foolish. Guests with good manners don't complain....they may push the food around on their plate or make an excuse and leave early but a well mannered person never complains when they are a guest.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 12:44AM
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lindac has nailed it, as usual. Helping hosts by alerting them to something they would want to know is not "complaining." Criticizing hosts' choices is, and therefore the usual warning not to assume that just because no one criticized you, "everyone thought it was fine."

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 5:33PM
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