Open Thread

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  1. parking garage pauline

    I have been parking my car at this garage in Manhattan for the past month and the monthly cost is very high. Sometimes they leave it in the back of the garage and I just take it out myself, other times they drive it to the entrance and I hop in. The attendant is usually the same. My question is this: Do I tip the attendants for bringing me my car? It just seems excessive to pay so much for parking, and then adding a daily/weekly fee is just crazy. If it changes anything, I do plan to give a gift for the holidays, but thats a few months away.

  2. Sara

    My family is having a birthday party and serving the usual pizza, cake, ice cream. Everyone knows I have a severe dairy allergy so therefore I can either sit and watch everyone eat, or bring my own food. When I host, I accommodate the vegetarians, the diabetics, food allergies, etc, and make sure everyone has something available to them to enjoy. But it definitely is not that way when others entertain…they just tell me to bring my own food. Am I completely wrong for being enraged by this? In other words, it’s “Hey we are feeding everyone but you, bring your own stuff…” So this time, instead of being hungry while everyone chows in front of me, or bringing my own stuff only to have to feel like an outsider, I told them I am taking my family out to eat, then we’ll be over for dessert…this REALLY got the host upset. But I think it should send a message. Let me know if you think I am unreasonable.

    • Elizabeth

      It is difficult to have a dietary restriction that precludes you from eating foods that so many people association with parties or celebrations, so I certainly sympathize with how you feel. I think there could be a lot of reasons why the hosts do not accommodate you. They could be nervous about taking on the responsibility to ensure the food is dairy free, they could be budget-conscious and pizza and ice cream is about the cheapest and least labor intensive way to feed a crowd, or they could have been ‘trained’ to not accommodate you if at previous events you insisted on bringing your own food. For some people, party=pizza, so there could be cultural reasons as well. I suppose they could just be cheap, lazy, or just not care enough to accommodate you, as well.

      I think your tactic for conveying your feelings, justified as they are, is a bit passive-aggressive. Have you had an honest conversation with the hosts about how this makes you feel? Have you requested that family dinners take into account your allergies, and explained that it makes you feel left out and uncared for when they don’t host you properly? The first step, I think, was to have some kind of conversation like this. Instead of “sending a message” through your choice to arrive late to the party, why not be up front about things? It is possible that they don’t even know why you’re doing this, people are not mind readers. Perhaps you will need to give them some suggestions for other foods. However, you need to tread lightly, because it is also quite improper to tell people how to host you, especially when the foods you can eat will likely be more expensive and time-consuming to prepare than some cheap pizza. But I agree that it is rude to invite someone over with the intention not to host them properly.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      I wouldn’t classify their behavior as rude because hosts are not required to accomodate all of their guests’ dietary restrictions. However, accomodating your allergy would be a sign of caring, and because they are your family they should really make an effort to show they care. I do not think your decision to go out to eat instead of joining them for a dinner you cannot eat is unreasonable. I hope in the future your family will find ways to show they care.

      • Elizabeth

        Winifred, wouldn’t you say that a host is required to have something a guest can eat? The more I think about it, I think it is so rude to invite someone and then demand that they bring their own food. It’s the very definition of inhospitable!

    • I have a friend with a severe peanut allergy. That is, if he eats one, he may die (and he’s blind, which compounds the problem). I have always made certain to keep peanut and peanut derivatives out of my food selections. If I were having a party and there were peanut-butter items, I’d absolutely be sure that there was something safe for him – after all, I know about the allergy and he’s my friend! In short, while not everyone can be expected to be psychic and plan for all contingencies, your family is aware of your limitations, and should plan accordingly. I may not realize that my acquaintance/guest at a dinner party is vegan, but I know that my girl friend keeps Kosher, and have appropriate food for her.

    • Alicia

      Sounds like you have trained them that you always bring your own stuff. A good host provides at least some food and drink that all of their guests can eat. Instead of rsvping that you are assuming that they will not be hosting fully when you rsvp mention the food restriction. Ie hi sue I am do looking forward to the party and my family would love to attend but I just wanted to remind you I am allergic to dairy and need a non dairy dish. Then leave at dinner time if nothing non dairy is available but if there is anything even bland salad make a point of genuine say thanks to hosts regarding that.

  3. Vickie

    I’m totally lost and need some assistance please. I recently hosted a family baby shower for my daughter-in-law. Soon after the shower she lost the baby just into the third trimester. My question is what to do with the gifts and how do we handle the thank you notes? We don’t know whether to return the gifts, ask if they want them back or just keep them in anticipation of trying for another baby. What about spent gift cards (e.g., the parents purchased furniture for the baby with very large gift cards)? All help is much appreciated during this difficult time for our family. Thank you!

    • I am so sorry that your family is dealing with loss during what should be an exciting, happy time.

      If I were someone who had given a gift, and I learned Mom-to-Be lost the baby late in the pregnancy (or even if the baby were stillborn), I would not expect my gift returned.
      I realize engagement presents are returned when an engagement is called off, but this is entirely different. The family couldn’t avert the death, and the parents will likely try again. I would want the mother to keep my gift for when her next little one is born.

      If the mother simply can’t stand to see all the presents and wants them returned, I suggest returning them with a brief note of thanks and an even briefer explanation. “Our little bundle of joy was taken too soon, but we thank you for your generous gift.” or something.

    • Elizabeth

      It totally depends. How did you end things? Would your condolences be welcome? A heartfelt card or email might be more appropriate than flowers unless the funeral has not yet occurred.

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