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Your Worst Guest(s)

Posted by swampwitch (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 24, 06 at 13:21

I'm interested in everyone's "worst guest" stories. Maybe this woman wasn't so awful if I can hear about worse guests!

Last week we had a dinner party at our home for 20 of my husband's colleagues who had come into town for a conference. One colleague/friend had his girlfriend and her daughter join him here for a vacation afterwards, and my daughter and I were looking forward to meeting them.

I should explain that I cooked for four days for this dinner, and had three huge trays and a cake delivered. The appetizers included a vast assortment of cheeses, meats, crackers, and breads, also corn chips & guacamole (one of my specialities), a sushi platter (veg and not), and 25 lbs. (on a 24" platter) of fresh in-season cherries, blueberries, three kinds of grapes, strawberries, and local blackberries.

When this woman (the girlfriend) arrived, my husband introduced her to me, and I said, "It's so nice to meet you! I'm glad you could come; I know you are probably tired from travelling all day." Her reply, "Do you have any cream cheese? My daughter can't find anything to eat." She's hold a mini-bagel from the appetizer table. I found some cream cheese for her, but later I saw her going through the refrigerator and pantry, grumbling that there's nothing for her daughter to eat!

I accomodated her the best I could but as hostess I need to visit with other guests, too, and there are constantly things to attend to at a big dinner party. I don't know if she ate something when we had dinner and desserts, because I was extremely busy serving!

A couple of days later they asked if we could recommend a sitter, and since our daughters are the same age and the man is a friend, we offered to take care of the daughter for the evening. We were having soup and sandwiches for dinner, so we told them if the daughter doesn't like that, could they please pick up something she likes to bring with her. (They had a rental car.) For the life of me, I can't figure out what this kid eats.

When they arrived, the woman waltzed past me without a nod or hello (like she had blinders on) and went into the living room. The man gave us a gift of "cuddlefish chips" and "crabmeat cookies" as a joke. I asked if the daughter has had dinner, and the mom yells, "She had some fish, so you can serve her dessert." But we don't have dessert on Monday nights! The minute they drove off, the daughter turned to me and said, "I'm HUNGRY!" We were scrambling to find something she would eat. She'd eat only a bite of each thing then continue to cruise the pantry and refrigerator.

I'm glad they've gone back home now. The man is nice, but evidently "hello" and "thank you" are not in the woman's vocabulary.

Cheers, from
SwampWitch


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Your Worst Guest(s)

Oh, I think you get the award for this one. There's no way I'd have put up with that as graciously as you did. I'm afraid I'd have pointed to the buffet and said, that's what's being served, she can eat or not, as she wishes. No way would I ever let someone rummage through my kitchen/fridge. You're a good person.

Closest I come is my SIL and her bunch. They routinely would pull up chairs to the buffet table so they could be closer to the food. Double dipping was a given with them (DD and I would keep a secret stash of dip in the fridge for ourselves!). Once the outlaws were over for a party, and they ate every bite of the enormous spread I'd put out. I ended up cleaning out the basement freezer and nuking all the old stuff that none of us wanted. The nieces and nephews would take over the TV, turning it up to blasting, so no one could talk. And the clincher was, that once, after they'd visited, I found a strawberry crushed into an heirloom, embroidered tablecloth, that someone had hidden by putting a plate over it. Ruined the tablecloth that my grandmother had made (she died when I was three and it was one of the few things I had from her.)
Fortunately (long story) we no longer socialize with them. And we've all discussed it--none of us miss them. Not even DH, and she's his sister.


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RE: Your Worst Guest(s)

I agree...you should get a medal of honor for putting up with that behavior. There's NO WAY I would have allowed her in my kitchen to "rummage" through my pantry and refrigerator. How rude can she be?

DH once needed to invite a "friend" over so they could work on a project. They needed as much time as possible, so I offered to make dinner and they could work as soon as they were finished eating. I asked this guy a week in advance if there was anything he didn't like, was allergic to, etc. He assured me that he liked ANYTHING. I made spaghetti (my recipe, simmers slowly all day, plenty of spices, etc. and one of DH's favorite meals). He sat and picked at his plate the entire dinner and didn't take ONE bite! He rudely commented about how he didn't like mushrooms and I should've known (although I asked him what he liked beforehand!) When they finished the project, he was leaving and said he would have to go get something to eat since I hadn't served dinner. Excuse me? I served it, you refused it!!! At that point in our lives, we were REALLY struggling financially and although spaghetti is a cheap meal, it still required my time and effort. I worked very hard on it only to have him make snide comments all evening. He also made rude comments about our furniture and the way our home was decorated. We never had him over again.

Another time we had a large group over for a party and a woman came waltzing through the door, looked at the room and asked if I was *really* going to leave it arranged that way b/c it just looked terrible. (rolling eyes). She was also not invited back to our home.

People don't seem to understand that an invitation to dinner is not an invitation to pick apart every detail of a meal or home. It's an invitation to relationship, not criticism.


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My SIL came over with her bunch (little one's.) Her youngest one started jumping on my son's bed, she crawled up on our bed, she climbed in our hot tub. She would touch everything. She would run both hands up & down our side lights, she ran them up & down the wall oven. She ran in & out. The final draw was ~ she started playing with our ice maker on our new refreg. We had only been moved in for a couple wks when they came to see the house. Her little girl (same one) had brought a water bottle with her. She kept going over to the refreg. & she would fill it up with water, walk over to the sink & hold her water bottle up high & then spill out all the water. On her third trip to the sink her mother said (calm as can be) "hold the bottle up high so it doesn't splash all over the cabinets & counter." I couldn't believe it. It was like she was giving her daughter the ok to play with our new freg. I finally had to put a stop to it. I said, "please don't do it anymore." My mother-in-law let out a little grunt. Like she couldn't believe I had the nerve to say something. My SIL is sweet as can be. She's calm & don't worry about a thing. The thing is ~ she would never let them do those things at my DHs aunts house. They are on their best behavior. Next time ~ I'M GOING TO BE BUSY!


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RE: Your Worst Guest(s)

You are very kind to say how gracious I was! But you didn't hear me complain the days after! (Oh wait, you did...)

What's with this distorted sense of entitlement some people have? Sounds like we've all gotten the message NOT to have these people in our homes again!

Cheers, from
SwampWitch


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RE: Your Worst Guest(s)

To Azzalea: Shout Gel (with the brush) on stains and Oxyclean and detergent in the wash has gotten out EVERY stain I've tried it on (even old ones). Hope it helps on your tablecloth!

Cheers, from
SwampWitch


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RE: Your Worst Guest(s)

One of my kids is a very picky eater, and believe me, it is so frustrating especially because of my love of almost all food. I never expect anyone else to cater to his pickyness and unless it's his birthday I don't want anyone to go to trouble making anything special for him. I make sure to feed him before we go to a party if I think there won't be much for him and/or I keep snacks around (in the car, my purse, etc) that I know he will eat if it will be a long time.

Obviously, the problem you had was really caused by the parent and I think is a sort of spoiling issue. I've had people make special things for their picky child by using my stove/oven during my party while I am trying to cook the rest of the meal. I just can't believe how they expect everyone to cater to their, yes, spoiled child.

If my picky son is hungry, I tell him to be quiet about it; he can eat later or he can just eat a lot of the crackers and grapes sitting out. He is not allowed to ask for anything except water if he is really thirsty. And, he is not allowed to make any kind of negative comments about any of the food. Have people just forgotten to teach basic manners? When these spoiled kids make it out to the real world without their mommies, they are not going to know what hit them.


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You WERE gracious. What clods.

My worst story is having a bridal shower for my friends daughter-in-law to be. I made it crystal clear on the invitations it was for brunch (not just cake or whatever). The shower began at 11:00. When the bride to be, her mother and sister were not there by 11:30 (my girls were always EARLY to their showers to welcome the guests as they came in) my friend called their house. She was told by the father that they should be along any minute....they were at Bob Evans eating breakfast and they are often slow and crowded on Sundays! What??!! So they rolled on in around 11:45, stuffed to the gills from their breakfast and ate nothing.

I have very high sloped ceilings in my house. As they were leaving, the brides sister standing in my foyer looked up and moaned....said she couldn't wait to get the heck out of my house because my crazy ceilings made her dizzy.

I can't say I was particulary gracious - stunned into silence over it all is more accurate. That's been probably 7 years ago and I'm still stunned.


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RE: Your Worst Guest(s)

I can't tell you; I'm still too steamed!


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RE: Your Worst Guest(s)

Please give us the story. Maybe you'll feel better getting it off your chest.(Worked for me!)

Cheers, from
SwampWitch


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RE: Your Worst Guest(s)

Oh, I want to hear that one, too!

Maggie--there was no excuse for them to have eaten, if you alerted them that the shower was to be brunch, however, at least around here, it's standard for the guest of honor to arrive about a half hour after the shower is scheduled. Since most showers are (supposed to be, at least) surprise parties, it's considered good manners to give the guests time to arrive, get drinks, whatever, then the bride (or mother) to be makes her entrance so everyone can yell 'surprise'. Perhaps this is a regional thing? But I've never been to a shower where the guest of honor was the first one there. Perhaps your guests thought that was the way you were working things, too, and that they were supposed to give you a chance to get the guests settled in before they arrive?


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how about the reverse-- guests of hosts from hell.
my DB and SIL + kids. (they are gusts from hell too)
my kids lioke to visit them, but its horid.
They live in the country and have a very natural way to life. still i don't think of dog hair as fiber in my diet.
we've usually arrange our visits so we have an excuse to leave after 2 hours. drinks, snack or meals are never suggested or provided-- for us or their own children. so we travel with our own.

when they visit 'hungry/thirsty" are in the first few sentences. they never make arrangements for accomodations
if they plan on staying overnight (they don't wait to be invited, nor mention they are coming until they are in town
and its a 5 hour drive)about 10PM when their kids start whining about bed, they say " uh we thought they could all bunk together so they could visit their cousins" Then mom and dad go off to a hotel, be back first thing in the morning. as one or two of the kids are already asleep you have to deal with the issue. One year at christmas time 3 of the 4 kids fell asleep (including the 9 month old)so they
left for the hotel-- leaving the oldest in charge. the next there was very sleepy 8 year old who had stayed up with his cousins(14) until 3 am, a hystrical 5yearold who wanted her mom. a crying 3 yr old and a very hungry 9 month old. also no clothes for any of them, no diapers, no formula. The day started at 5am for us, mom & dad showed up at 11:30 to tell us how nice the pool and breakfast buffet were at the hotel.

at noon they said they had to be on their way, loaded 4 hungry kids into the car-- said they'ed stop for something on the way-- and took off for a photography convention for the rest of the day and a return home.

no mention about the clean, fed and dressed children they got in return. since they seem to reproduce an a regular basis, my brothers and sisters all keep a spare package of diapers in at least two sizes, a can or two of formula, and an assortment of "one sizefits all" pajamas and clothes on hand for such emergencies (in our mind). Roll our eyes, and talk about their lates exploits.

diggerb


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I have a guest that I usually invite(a neighbor)the father is single and the children are a boy and a girl in their late teens possibly 20 for the girl.I invite the father to a party and always specify if kids are invited also.It dosn't matter he bring them anyway regardless of what I say,they eat like their going to be executed in the morning and they are allowed to drink alchohol.Drinking age is 21.They usually hit him up for money in front of me and our guest and he rewards them with lots of cash that makes him look like a great Super Dad!!The he leaves me with a Card and a check for half of what they ate and drank.Not the worst guest but the kids are fresh and have no manners and theur friends that come to visit are rude nd obnoxious also.


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Okay, well, with some details changed just in case ...
The one I am still steamed about is that brunch for 70 people I just gave.
To make a LONG story a little shorter, the whole point had been to solve a difficult problem for the family having a big event: the parents have recently divorced, and the problem was that the extended families would be holding separate "auxilliary" events during the weekend, and where would the guests of honor go? I offered to give the Sunday brunch for all the out of towners, on the "neutral territory" of our home, and that way they could all come. That was over a year ago. Less than three weeks before the event, I asked the divorced dad about how many kids/adults to expect (I already knew the total of 70). He began, "Well, my kids won't be there. They will be with [ex-wife's] family."
????
"But," I said, "I thought the whole point of our giving the party was so that everyone could be together."
"I know, but [ex-wife] and her family said no."
(Good thing thing this was on the phone and he couldn't see my astonished face.)
Well, I thought, at least it won't be so many people. But he confirmed -- 70. (I.e., he had known all along, before it was too late to make other plans, that it would just be his family and friends. He also clearly was not surprised at my surprise. He knew we were still operating under the original assumption.)
At the end of the call, I asked, "Remind me again -- why are we doing this at our house?"
"Well, your house is a lot nicer."
!!!!!!!

The brunch was not hard, not too expensive (although even inexpensive for 70 people adds up to a substantial amount) and it was lots of fun. My kidz and husband and I enjoyed doing it as a family project. The guests were lovely and gracious -- I got nice notes from several. But I feel very much that he took advantage of us. We offered to do this to help them out of a sticky situation, not to take over the work and expense of his entertaining for him. It's as if we'd offered to give a couple a wedding, and then 3 weeks before one of them said, "We eloped, so you'll give me a birthday party instead." I think he had the responsibility to tell us as soon as he knew that the "everybody" brunch idea wouldn't work.

I don't by any means think that hospitality and generosity should be equally reciprocal. But you can't just ALWAYS be on the receiving end. No matter how different circumstances are, you can always do SOMETHING nice for someone else. We have done a LOT of nice things for this guy and his family, and he has NEVER reciprocated in any way. This took the cake -- I'm done. Believe it or not, I really do like him. But he has got to learn not to be such a 100% taker! (And he isn't going to learn it from ME.) He didn't even invite us to all the other events of the weekend. By the way, the ex-wife, who we also like a lot, was TERRIFIC about everything -- she invited us to everything she did, she and the children (although not their out of town guests) and she did make the effort to come to our brunch and were delightful, and she even took me shopping at Sam's Club for the food. I think she felt really bad; she hadn't known this was going on.

The worst actual guest I've ever had was my friend's wife. They and their (adorable) kidz were here for a few days, and I didn't think I'd survive. She is SO MEAN!!!!! Especially to my pal. We were all on edge all the time. The last evening, we had spent the day at the State Fair. It wasn't easy to please her there, either, but it was fine. As we drove home, I was really, really tired -- so exhausted I just couldn't wait to collapse. What about dinner? I said I'd figured that we were all tired, so we'd just order a pizza or go out somewhere in the neighborhood for something easy and light. "No," she said, "I think we should stay home and make some chicken breasts for the adults and some buttered pasta with fresh broccoli for the kids." I screamed internally -- hadn't I just said I was too tired to shop and cook, let alone two menus? -- but all I said was sorry, that we couldn't have both butter and chicken at the same meal anyway (not kosher), and wouldn't pizza or something be okay? No. Sigh. All right. Whatever. We got home and I found some frozen mixed vegetables, including some broccoli, in the freezer, and some fresh carrots. Would either of those be okay? "No, I had really pictured fresh broccoli." I couldn't believe her gall, and my friend was so mortified, but we all knew better than to argue with her. Anyway, at that point, tired as I was, I actually PREFERRED getting in the car to go get the %^$#!! fresh broccoli, just to get AWAY from her. I was so stressed that the grocer took one look at me and asked me if I was okay. He felt so sorry for me he gave me a can of salmon!

Thanks for listening!


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RE: Your Worst Guest(s)

gellchom: I would have been arrested that night. There's no way I would have gone to the store for fresh broccoli. My good hostessing would have turned off at the point and I would have probably beat her with the chicken breasts.

About the shower incident...in my area it is customary for the guest of honor (bride or mother-to-be) to be at least 1/2 hour early to the event in order to greet guests as they arrive. I've never even heard of a surprise shower being done, as most people here plan it *with* the guest of honor in order to accomodate their likes/dislikes. It's interesting to hear about the differences in other parts of the country.


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RE: Your Worst Guest(s)

Gosh, what a parade of clods through our homes!

I try REALLY hard not to expect others to act/react/do the way I would in a given situation, but really some simple manners are in order when a guest in someone's home! Here are some guidelines I've come up with from your posts; please feel free to add to them.

1) If you are lucky enough to be invited into someone's home, be KIND. Find something nice to say about the home, the food, the kids, the cat... Anything you think isn't that great, keep to yourself. Remember you are a guest. You aren't paying these people to open their home to you. And they didn't hire you to come with decorating or cooking advice.

2) If you and your kid(s) are guests for dinner in someone's home, bring along a dish that you know your kid(s) like to eat, but bring along enough to share. Bring some wine or flowers, too. It shows appreciation.

3) When staying in someone's home, don't expect a free ride; give a little back. Buy everyone's dinner at least once (pizza or burgers are O.K.), especially after a long day of outings! Since you're using their stuff and eating their food, go along grocery shopping and buy the groceries at least once if you're there for more than a couple of days.

4) Don't leave your kids for the host(ess) to care for. You have not hired them to babysit! If you are staying for a while, why not offer to care for their kids in their home and give the host(ess) a few hours break?

5) If you are staying in someone's home, bring the things you would need for your family as if you were staying in a hotel. If you forgot something, go get it yourself (or better yet, see #3).

6) Teach manners and respect to your kids when they are guests. Don't let them run around touching and playing with everything. This is someone's home, not a playground. Don't let them drink alcohol at someone else's house if they are underage. If you can't control that, don't let them go. It's not fair to the host(ess).

7) Don't just show up at someone's door. Calling when you get into town is not enough. Give your potential hosts a call at least a day in advance and ASK if you can come. If it's a bad time for them, you don't go.

8) If are invited for dinner in someone's home and you say you like to eat anything, then you should eat what is served and find something nice to say about it. Don't show up empty-handed, either.

9) If you're extremely lucky and someone is hosting an event in your honor, notify the host(ess) IMMEDIATELY of any changes from what was agreed upon. Clarify ahead of time when the host(ess) would like for you to come. And don't be late!

10) Always say hello to your host(ess) and always say thank you when you leave.

11) Realize that the host(ess) has a right to say "no" to your unreasonable requests. Realize, also, that rude and inconsiderate behavior may not get your another invitation.

Cheers, from
SwampWitch

p.s. okieladybug: You are too funny! "I would have been arrrested that night."!


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Swamp Witch, The guidelines you posted are right on!
Teri


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RE: Your Worst Guest(s)

Swampwitch, you are so smart to use this string as an opportunity for us all to learn how to be good guests when the situation is reversed. You drew on everyone's posts, and I for one will be a better guest for your efforts and insight. Thank you.


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Long vent - Couple attended a couple of parties at our home. Husband was a joke-teller and consumed quite a bit of time doing so. His DW in my "girls group" opined at one time how difficult it is to have a holiday dinner w/o grandkids, etc. since most people have them. Since neither they nor we have them, I invited them to our house for Thanksgiving. They were going away for her birthday but thanks. Weather turned lousy and they came home. She called the day before Thanksgiving and asked us to her home. I said that I had already bought everything so why not come to ours. Well, they had already asked others to theirs. We spent TG home alone. I brought this up to a GF who said that maybe the husband was uncomfortable at our home, but I said that he didn't seem uncomfortable telling jokes to our other guests for an hour or so....

Fast forward; her sis and BIL were visiting. She called and asked my DH to schedule a golf game a few days hence, which he did. Since I hadn't heard from her in the meantime, I called the evening before to confirm golf date. She said, "Oh, they aren't playing." No thanks, or KMA or nothing.

The last straw was a discussion about storage of seldom used things (party items, etc.), and they had just recently had a Christmas party with 60 people(we were not invited).

It hurt like he!!, but at least I'm old enough to realize that $#!+ happens and I think if she ever knew how hurt I was, she would be devestated. I just think she didn't have a clue, even though they are very socially connected and well liked.

Thanks for reading. It's been several years to put this in writing.


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My SIL is the worst guest for me! She just married into the family after 5 yrs of dating my BIL. DH and his bro are close and have good relationship, but live 5 hrs apart, so it's not like we see them all the time.

She has never, ever said one nice thing about my house, my cooking, my holiday decorations, nothing! And as a fulltime housewife and now stay-at-home mom, this house and the family funtions are a huge part o fmy life and something I work hard at. I am no marth stuart, but I do love to entertain and all the family get togethers are at our place. I go to a lot of trouble at these occations... but she jsut refuses to acknowledge any of it. It's like she tries NOT to say anything nice about my home or my cooking!

Recently, we added french dors to a formal living room to make it a study, and I totally decorated this new room and I was so proud of it. The new office furniture arrived the day before a visit from BIL & SIL. Wwe moved the computer into the new study and now the back of it is exposed (flaoting desk, so when you sit at the desk, you are facing the french doors) and it was dusty. When she came in to see the new room, she wrote "dirty" on the back of the monitor base with her finger and then left the room. No one saw her do this but me.

I could go on and on. There are worse things she has done and said, but this one is the most recent and the one that I am still fuming about now.


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RE: Your Worst Guest(s)

Oh, poor katy!
I totally understand about how you felt about your SIL never, ever acknowledging all your hard work. It sounded to me like she is just very insecure, and like many insecure people, incorrectly believes that building anyone else up makes her smaller (as we know, it's the reverse). Some people just don't get it about making decorations, meals, etc., nice, and I'm glad my mom taught me long ago: DO IT FOR YOURSELF -- it's nice when others notice, but many don't, so get your own satisfaction from it.

Then I got to the end of your post -- "Dirty" -- !!!!! Sorry, insecure or not, she's still a jerk! Maybe she actually thought it was funny? Anyway, it was really uncalled for.

Well, I wish *I* could see your new room. I'll bet it looks great!


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WOW, katy_texas! Your SIL gets my vote for worst guest! She's just plain mean.

I've discovered that if you have to be around a person like this, keeping a journal helps you laugh about it. There's something about seeing all the rude things listed one after the other that really makes you realize how ridiculous and absurd this behavior is!

Cheers, from
SwampWitch


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RE: Your Worst Guest(s)

SwampWitch, I really like your idea to keep a journal and laugh about it.

I'll start one at our next family get together. I'll have it filled in no time.


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