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to think that if guests stay for longer than 2 nights, they should contribute to food costs?

(93 Posts)
marfisa Mon 31-Dec-12 19:53:13

We have just had some guests stay for 3 nights, a family of 4. They are friends but not particularly close friends. My DH was cross with them (although he didn't say so) because they didn't offer to take us out for dinner while they were here, or shop for food and prepare a meal. They brought us some modest but thoughtful gifts, and also bought us some chocs. We went sightseeing with them on the 3 days (our city is a tourist city) and I noticed that when we ate lunch out each day, they didn't buy sandwiches for themselves, only for their 2 children. They then ate their children's leftovers. The only time they ate heartily was at our house in the evening, where food and wine were plentiful. They never once offered to pay for any food or wine. Our house is also not large, so having 4 extra people to stay isn't exactly comfortable IYSWIM.

We are not badly off financially but do have to watch our pennies. So do they.

My DH says that if we stayed with someone for 3 nights, we would pay for a meal. In fact, we stayed with these friends for a few nights a couple of summers ago, and while staying with them we took them out to a restaurant once and also paid for one communal food shop. Part of me thinks DH is being a little too obsessed with tit-for-tat, but another part of me thinks that he's right: if you're getting free accommodation, you should contribute to food costs.

There is also a Part 2 to this story. Our guests are still on holiday in our town, but have moved to visit another friend of theirs. She has a bigger house and they're staying with her for 5 nights. I saw our friends again today, and they are very unhappy with their new host. She keeps the heating of her house turned down so low that they are cold. She also fed them such small portions at dinner last night, apparently, that the children left the table hungry. Then for tonight's dinner (NYE!) she asked them to shop for food. Furthermore, she specified which shops they should purchase the food from: gourmet butcher, gourmet delicatessen and so on. My friends were quite irate about this. The husband said to me that they would not be buying the food "on principle", because (according to him) if you are staying with someone, it is a rule of hospitality that the hosts should pay for everything. He said that if guests stayed with him, he would not expect them to pay. At this point I couldn't help recalling that he had been happy to let us pay for 2 meals when we stayed with them. grin And we didn't mind paying at all TBH; we thought it was a normal gesture.

My DH is now evilly delighted with their discomfiture and thinks that it's a case of karma: tight people meeting tighter people. I am a little nervous though that they are going to want to return here now instead of spending the remainder of their stay with their less generous friend. Argh.

OneWellAndTrulyCrackeredMummy Mon 31-Dec-12 19:59:00

I would say that they have pennies to watch tbh & tried to contribute by buying you the modest gifts instead, as they can't afford the food shop. If they didn't buy themselves sandwiches its suspect. Did you invite them or did they invite themselves?

I perhaps would expect guests to pay for a meal out at the end of a stay but I wouldn't be annoyed if they didn't. I can see your dp's point but maybe this is the end of staying over at each others houses?

FreudianLisp Mon 31-Dec-12 20:00:22

Must admit it wouldn't occur to me to expect a contribution from guests, however long they stay. If I didn't want to cater for them, I wouldn't invite them. It's difficult when people have different expectations and rules for behaviour.

hermioneweasley Mon 31-Dec-12 20:00:55

3 nights isn't an excessively long stay and they brought some gifts. I woukdn't expect them to pay for food shopping, bu the offerif a meal might have been nice. Given they didn't eat during the day, maybe they are on a very tight budget.

If they want to come back to yours just say "I'm sorry that's not convenient"

breatheslowly Mon 31-Dec-12 20:01:42

I would not expect any contribution from guests, nor would I expect to be taken out for a meal. When we have guests, they are just that and I like to host them. However I don't think I would like to have guests for that long and would want my home back after 2 nights. Obviously I say this from the point of view of someone able to afford to feed another family and if it was a struggle then my pov would be very different.

If I was the guest I would probably want to contribute and offer both to pay towards groceries and take the hosts out for a meal.

debka Mon 31-Dec-12 20:02:11

I would take our hosts out for a meal if I could afford it.

However I would never expect that from a guest, and I certainly wouldn't expect them to pay for food.

I think your DH is being mean.

peggyblackett Mon 31-Dec-12 20:02:39

There is no way that I would expect guests to pay for a meal or contribute costs (unless they were staying for weeks at a time). I think it'd be quite rude to expect that.

However, I would expect them to reciprocate by hosting us when we go to visit them. Isn't that generally how it works between friends confused?

NinaHeart Mon 31-Dec-12 20:02:41

I wouldn't expect guests to contribute to food costs but would probably be a bit surprised if they didn't offer to take us out for a meal or similar. Or at the very least bring lots of wine and goodies.

KellyEllyChristmasBelly Mon 31-Dec-12 20:05:07

I wouldn never expect a guest to contribute unless we were getting a takaway one evening then its normal everyone would chip in.

HecatePropolos Mon 31-Dec-12 20:06:13

If I had invited someone to be a guest in my home I would not expect them to pay towards food, or accept it if they offered.

The fact that they only bought food for their children and ate their leftovers sounds more like people who are really struggling than it does stingy people.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 31-Dec-12 20:06:25

Well I wouldn't expect a contribution from guests in terms of paying for shopping, or taking us out for a meal.

When I've got guests coming I menu plan and shop accordingly.

When we stay with friends or family, we normally take a couple of bottles of wine and some other gift - nice chocolates and/or other treats depending on how long we are staying. And they do the same in return.

3monkeys3 Mon 31-Dec-12 20:08:01

Did you invite them to stay? If yes, YABU. If they have come specifically to visit you then YABU too. However, if they are staying at your house as part of a 'holiday', instead of staying in a hotel/self catering accommodation then they are a bit cheeky and YANBU!

maxpower Mon 31-Dec-12 20:09:22

agree with hecate

HildaOgden Mon 31-Dec-12 20:09:49

I think they definitely should have brought you out for a meal,especially as you had set the precedent when you stayed with them.

I personally don't agree with short term guests literally chipping in money for the grocery shopping though,for the sake of a few days I would rather treat them as guests and not room-mates on a short let.

chandellina Mon 31-Dec-12 20:10:27

It sounds like they behaved entirely suitably at your house and best to stay out of any issues going on with the other hosts.

FuckityFuckFuck Mon 31-Dec-12 20:11:53

When I have guests then I don't expect them to pay for anything towards food costs, they are my guests! Generally, they would do the saame if we went to stay with them.

I certainly wouldn't give them a list of food and where to buy it from!

Plus the fact that they were only eating their childrens leftovers would probably make me want to feed them more and send them on their way with a massive pack up as well

NotMostPeople Mon 31-Dec-12 20:12:32

I wouldn't expect it but I would notice if they didn't bring say some wine or offer to get a takeaway. Having said that we often stay with friends at their holiday home and always do an online shop which we split the cost on. It wouldn't be reasonable to stay in their place and expect them to pay to feed and water us.

SantasENormaSnob Mon 31-Dec-12 20:13:26

I wouldn't dream of imposing on people for 3 nights and not contributing some nice things. Wine, beers, nice food etc. I would also pay for a meal out/in.

I would never have guests for 3 nights so no contribution issues from guests grin

Why are they staying if they're not close friends?

feetlkeblocksofice Mon 31-Dec-12 20:14:34

I would never expect guests to contribute unless they wanted too, sounds like the pennies are tight for this family. It was nice that the bought thoughtful gifts instead of any old tat, they must like and appreciate you.

Ilovesunflowers Mon 31-Dec-12 20:15:46

I wouldn't expect guests to pay towards food costs unless they were staying a pretty long time. YABU.

If they wouldn't even buy themselves a sandwich this suggests they are struggling financially. As a host you are supposed to be hospitable.

AnnaRack Mon 31-Dec-12 20:18:38

Wouldnt expect guests to pay for food or buy a meal out but its nice when they offer! If truly skint its considerate to offer to cook, wash up etc.
The sandwich incident suggests they really were skint, but i wonder why friends cant be honest with each other? Would it have made any difference if they'd said, "Look, we'd love to buy some food but were really strapped for cash at the moment because..." Its a bit odd that they didnt cancel their visit if that was the case.
The other people sound a bit mean tbh, its one thing to ask guests to pay their way vut quite rude to insist they buy from certain (expensive) shops. If they didnt want the guests to stay they should just say no.

Doilooklikeatourist Mon 31-Dec-12 20:18:39

I wouldn't even think about staying with friends for more than one night without contributing something to the food budget .
Whether bringing a hamper of goodies or bringing a few bits already made .
You're right , they're mean .

EggRules Mon 31-Dec-12 20:19:19

I think it depends on how often you have guests and the circumstance of their visit. We have regular visitors and I think they should contribute with wine and I would very much appreciate if they offered to pay for a takeaway or brtought something with them.

I would never stay in someone elses house and drink bottles of their wine night after night. If I go to someone elses house for dinner I would take wine, choc, flowers etc.

Your friends have essentially been on holiday at the expense of others. A family of four staying for 8 nights and possibly 10 days without making a contribution is tight imho.

ledkr Mon 31-Dec-12 20:22:34

I would certainly provide the wine and desserts plus suggest and buy a takeaway. These days a lot if people are struggling financially and feeding a whole extra family for days can upset the budget.
I'm obviously in the minority here though.

ThePathanKhansWitch Mon 31-Dec-12 20:29:34

I would never expect guest's to contribute tbh... but I know we are all different.

I also think any more than 3 days in someone elses home is too much, I am a home-bird, love my own bed, my own bathroom etc.

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