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Tales about "stingy" guests and hosts.

(162 Posts)
biglouis Fri 29-Mar-24 12:48:35

Just read a hilarious thread on Mumsnet about “stingy” hosts. Tales of guests being invited for “lunch” or “dinner” and given something like one baked potato or a quarter of a pizza unheated. Others invited for a meal and then asked for money afterwards! Or guests who bring a bottle or desert and take it home with them.

Have any of you encountered any examples of extreme stinginess as a guest or host?

Here is my contribution.

Many years ago in uni I became friendly with a woman of similar age on an extra curricular course. We decided to meet later that week but she did not want to travel across Manchester to the rough council estate where I lived. Fair enough.

She invited me to her house for the evening. It was a long cold bus journey in December so I was pretty chilled on arrival. When she went to take my coat I told her I would keep it on as the room seemed very cold. She confessed to not having the heating on “when her lodgers were not there”. Large double fronted house in a naice part of the city.

After about 30 minutes when she still hadn’t offered me as much as a cup of tea or coffee I asked for one, mentioning the long cold journey. She brought me some watery coffee in a mug and told me she “hadn’t got so much as a biscuit” in the house.

“Did I come on the wrong night? We did say Wednesday did we not?”
“Yes why do you ask?”
“Well I may only live in Hulme but I would never invite someone round to sit for hours in an unheated room and I would at least offer them a hot drink when they arrived. Probably nibbles too.”
“Oh I can see where you came from. That’s quite a working class custom isn’t it, feeling obliged to offer people food and drink!
“Well I think its more about basic politeness than social class.”
I didn’t mention that I had brought a bottle of wine. I just left it in my bag.

After an hour and a half I asked if she could call me a cab.
“Oh you can afford taxis on a student grant”
“Well I wont be standing at a bus stop again and travelling across Manchester after freezing my ass of for two hours.”

We never met up again. I don’t think she believed she was being rude or inhospitable. I felt sorry for her lodgers.

The course on which we met was assertiveness training!

Kate1949 Fri 29-Mar-24 13:08:26

We had a couple to stay some years ago. They live in another part of the UK. We had dinner out but we provided breakfast. The lady of the couple is a very fussy eater so I got an array of food. We offered them a cooked breakfast, eggs any way they wanted them, toast, marmalade, jam, several cereals, different spreads and butter, different milks, various juices and hot drinks. They ate a hearty breakfast.
Later when we stayed with them, we went down for breakfast. The lady said 'I've made porridge.' I told her I didn't like porridge. She said 'Well we haven't got anything else'. She didn't even offer me a piece of toast. No breakfast for me then!

Skydancer Fri 29-Mar-24 13:13:17

I just can't believe people who don't offer food or drink. I instantly offer refreshments to anyone who calls. In fact, I sometimes overdo things. I do have one friend who talks so much that it is at least an hour before she offers me anything at her house.

nandad Fri 29-Mar-24 13:24:00

Years ago I hosted a school mum’s get together at my house. Everyone was asked to bring something to share. One woman turned up late with a packet of nuts and tucked into the food that had already been laid out. As she was leaving she said “as you haven’t put my nuts out, I’ll take them with me!”

FannyD Fri 29-Mar-24 13:30:05

Many years ago a single female colleague asked me and DH for a meal. When we sat down to eat, she lifted the lid of a casserole dish containing less than I would normally give my husband! The vegetables and potatoes were similarly frugal. It was all delicious, but when we eventually went home a couple of hours later we called at the nearest chippy.

Astitchintime Fri 29-Mar-24 13:42:43

We invited a couple for dinner one night some years ago. Checking with them with regard to likes and dislikes etc, I planned a starter, main and dessert with appropriate wine and knowing one of them would be driving there was a non-alcoholic choice.

The couple arrived and I have to say, it was a lovely evening; the choice of menu was a hit and after dessert I offered the non-driver a tot of a very good single malt, of which he consumed rather a lot as I recall, but hey-ho, we had invited them.

Some weeks later they returned the invitation and I purposely chose a bottle of nice wine and some flowers as I wouldn't ever go without offering the hosts a gift despite them not bothering when they came to our home. The wine and flowers were in the boot of the car which was rather fortunate because when we arrived at their home they were both waiting outside and after swiftly getting into our car, announced that we were going to the local pub because 'they couldn't be arsed to cook'. Naturally, we offered to go dutch.
We took the wine and flowers home and never invited them for dinner again.

biglouis Fri 29-Mar-24 15:11:05

I can understand some reluctance to host nowadays with so many fussy eaters about - vegetarians, vegans and so on. It can be very expensive catering for everyone and I would not want to do it.

I very rarely host now. However if someone calls in without invitation or notice and I I dont want them to stay I dont offer them anything. Usually I just talk to them through the gate and dont ask them in.

Primrose53 Fri 29-Mar-24 15:49:04

Every so often I go on an all day knitting course with about 15 other women. We have a very well known designer to tutor us and we enjoy a lovely buffet style lunch with us all saying in advance what we’ll bring so it’s not duplicated.

I was helping to set the lunch out and we had lovely salads, gammon, crusty bread, salmon, veggie tarts, potato salad, quiches, homemade coleslaw etc then fresh strawberries, cream, cakes, meringues and various desserts.

One woman is a real snob and always boasting about houses she has owned, cars they have, what their holidays cost etc. Everyone except her arrived with dishes full of lovely food. She brought 3 tiny shop bought tartlets about the size of a minced pie still in their box!

When I was clearing up she came into the kitchen and asked if they had been eaten as if not she would take them home for tea. i said “there is one left because TBH there was so much food and people are really generous”. She took it as well! 🤣🤣

Callistemon21 Fri 29-Mar-24 15:55:44

“Oh I can see where you came from. That’s quite a working class custom isn’t it, feeling obliged to offer people food and drink!"

Well, I never knew that!! 🤣🤣🤣

Someone called unexpectedly the other day, as he needed to discuss something with DH. I offered tea then panicked because I didn't think we had biscuits. However, I did find a packet DH must have bought, thank goodness.
Showing my working class roots.

Primrose53 Fri 29-Mar-24 16:00:00

I think I did post on another thread about my brother’s MIL who invited us over. It was a two hour drive on a boiling hot day, we were there about 1.5 hours and she never even offered us a drink! I thought that was the height of rudeness.

Most people know that Irish hospitality is renowned and as my Mum was Irish everyone got offered tea or coffee and she could always provide homemade cake even to unexpected guests. All the tradesmen got a drink and a sausage roll, mince pie or slice of cake and they loved coming to our house.

I do the same, even delivery drivers get offered a can of juice or coke to take with them on a hot day and in the cold weather I make them a hot drink in an insulated mug with lid and they always return it when they’re passing. It’s just the way I was brought up. 🙂

Actually the Asian culture is the same. When we lived in Leicester my husband was forever coming home with fresh samosas, onion bhajis and containers of curry from customers.

Callistemon21 Fri 29-Mar-24 16:00:29

Primrose53

Every so often I go on an all day knitting course with about 15 other women. We have a very well known designer to tutor us and we enjoy a lovely buffet style lunch with us all saying in advance what we’ll bring so it’s not duplicated.

I was helping to set the lunch out and we had lovely salads, gammon, crusty bread, salmon, veggie tarts, potato salad, quiches, homemade coleslaw etc then fresh strawberries, cream, cakes, meringues and various desserts.

One woman is a real snob and always boasting about houses she has owned, cars they have, what their holidays cost etc. Everyone except her arrived with dishes full of lovely food. She brought 3 tiny shop bought tartlets about the size of a minced pie still in their box!

When I was clearing up she came into the kitchen and asked if they had been eaten as if not she would take them home for tea. i said “there is one left because TBH there was so much food and people are really generous”. She took it as well! 🤣🤣

That sounds brilliant, Primrose
The knitting course and the lovely food, not the woman 🙂

pascal30 Fri 29-Mar-24 16:03:31

Callistemon21

^“Oh I can see where you came from. That’s quite a working class custom isn’t it, feeling obliged to offer people food and drink!"^

Well, I never knew that!! 🤣🤣🤣

Someone called unexpectedly the other day, as he needed to discuss something with DH. I offered tea then panicked because I didn't think we had biscuits. However, I did find a packet DH must have bought, thank goodness.
Showing my working class roots.

I think it is normal hospitality in most parts of the world.. I would find it distinctly odd if someone didn't offer a drink..

Primrose53 Fri 29-Mar-24 16:12:38

Just remembered another one …..

A friend invited us and several other people to her garden for a BBQ. I filled a couple of cool boxes with burgers, sausages etc and cold cans. Other people did likewise with chicken legs, bread, salad etc.

Her OH was in charge of cooking and thanked us all for bringing stuff then he asked his wife where their contribution was so he could get started. She produced ….. and I am not kidding ….. a small tupperware bowl half full of leftover potato salad! he thought it was a joke but it wasn’t and he was very cross and embarrassed all afternoon and apologised as we left. It was like water off a duck’s back to her and she just got drunk on other people’s booze! 🤣🤣

merlotgran Fri 29-Mar-24 16:13:34

“Well I wont be standing at a bus stop again and travelling across Manchester after freezing my ass of for two hours.”

And you think she was being rude?

Callistemon21 Fri 29-Mar-24 16:15:21

🤣🤣🤣

biglouis Fri 29-Mar-24 16:18:02

My grandmother would not offer refreshments to uninvited callers if she did not want them to stay. She would remain standing and not invite them to sit. This encouraged them to keep their business brief. However if she wanted your company you got a full high tea with china cups and cream cakes. She was also very forthright in telling visitors who lingered too long that it was time to go.

She has a clock which dinged Westminster chimes on the hour and a less elaborate sounds on the quarter hour. She would look up and exclaim. "Oh is that the time? I must get on. Thank you for your visit. I will get your coat/show you out."

Somehow it never sounded rude when she said it because she was a real Edwardian lady and did it with such confidence. Of course she had been brough up in her youth to make formal "calls" which only lasted a short time.

Callistemon21 Fri 29-Mar-24 16:18:22

I remember an occasion when we had the opposite scenario.
We had an invitation for "morning tea" by a friend in Australia.
We went with a suitable contribution but morning tea consisted of a loaded dining table, just groaning with food. The friend gave us boxes of leftovers to take home too.

pascal30 Fri 29-Mar-24 16:18:47

merlotgran

^“Well I wont be standing at a bus stop again and travelling across Manchester after freezing my ass of for two hours.”^

And you think she was being rude?

I had a neighbour who would give a party and when he wanted people to go he would turn off the heating.. sometimes at about 10ish..

silverlining48 Fri 29-Mar-24 17:04:56

We travelled a total of nearly 5 hours round trip on public transport to visit friends.
It was a long tiring journey, and our meal , when it finally arrived was mashed potato on a slice of toast. . 😮 .

JustMe Fri 29-Mar-24 17:04:57

We had a funny one. A guy my DH worked with lived round the corner, we didn't know him and his wife well, but we did ask them round for a meal... all quite casual, it was a Sunday lunchtime and I did a farm shop quiche, cold chicken, new pots, salads etc. Nice weather, sat outside. All went well.

A few weeks later they asked us round for a BBQ. Arrived at their house at 12 noon, I took them some chocolates. Went into the garden, had a small glass of wine each and we sat. And sat. And sat. No sign of a barbecue, no one talking about it, and the longer it went on the more embarrassing it was. It got to 2.30 and I made faces at my DH, and we said... oh, we better be going. They said OK! And off we went!

Seriously strange! Never met up again, never found out the reason for that one

halfpint1 Fri 29-Mar-24 17:15:15

When I first came to France I had to make a cake for my
daughter's Maternelle end of year party. I'm no cake maker
but I try. A Mother , next to me had a piece of my cake on
her plate , bit into it and said Oh lala c'est terrible, I laughed
and said 'I made it , sorry' . She never spoke a word to me
in the next 10 years and it was only a little village!

Esmay Fri 29-Mar-24 17:15:49

Years ago , a very pleasant American lady asked me if I would like to come to her party that night .
I was new to the exercise class and was happy to make new friends .
As you're English , she said , perhaps you could bring some of your English desserts and puddings . And
about 40 are coming .
My Pakistani friend joined me and told me that her husband was furious as every single time this lady invited them they seemed to be providing the main course .
In fact , he'd said that they would not be attending any more of her parties .
My friend was upset and went home to make biryani for 40 knowing that her husband would be annoyed , but she didn't want to lose the lady's friendship .
I shopped and then spent the afternoon madly cooking desserts for 40 adding enough for an extra ten - just in case .
We arrived at the same time and then took our contributions to her kitchen .
She ushered us into the almost pitch dark garden where we could just about make out the almost bare empty tables in the moonlight .
Each one was furnished with a water jug , glasses and crockery and cutlery and nothing else .
Someone arrived with drinks , another salads and another nibbles .
And that was this lady's idea of a dinner party !

Serendipity22 Fri 29-Mar-24 17:17:29

Its funny you starting this post because up to last year I hadnt had an 'experience' to talk about but here goes.

Last year my husbands relative and his wife came to stay 3 nights.

Day 1 i made a huge cornish pasty, vegetables and salad all presented beautifully on the kitty table (( thats how i was brought up - home cooking and presentation))

Day 2 Breakfast - an absolute mammoth choice.

Day 2 Tea - homemade chicken and leak pie blah blah blah.

I said on day 2 " Oh dont eat a lot for your lunch because I am making chicken and leak pie for tea."

This was met with "PASTRY AGAIN!!!!!"

I was soooooo gobsmacked that I managed to garble "yes".

I was then told that THEY would provide the tea and THEY would cook it, that was as far as it went, the washing up remained untouched, so I did it.

Looking back I am cross with myself for not speaking up and saying how RUDE of them. We took them out for the day alllll over, i washed and dried some clothing for them, my husband took them to the pub every night, the house was lovely and warm, our overall hospitality was nothing more than perfect, yes its boasting, but i know it was.

So now we have a private joke ( myself and husband ) if I make ANYTHING consisting of pastry... hahahaha. So good has come out of bad.

Serendipity22 Fri 29-Mar-24 17:18:29

Not kitty table

Meant to say kitchen.

1summer Fri 29-Mar-24 17:28:53

Many years ago when we first moved into a house the neighbours asked us for dinner.
They served us packet ham oven chips and peas, then biscuits with squirty cream. But worse than the meal was the list of DIY jobs they gave my husband to do before we left.
We lived next to them for 14 years and did become friends, they were both school teachers but the husband was useless at DIY he couldn’t even change a light bulb and his wife the worst cook ever. But in lots of ways they were kind and generous.