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Jun 10, 2012 01:11 PM

frugal or just plain clueless?

Hi folks,

This is my first time posting, but I have been an occasional lurker in this forum. Last week, my friend suggested a bbq at his place. Our group consisted only four of us (including his female friend and my bf). I offered to bring some food since he was known for his frugality. He is someone who rather eats frozen/canned food for convenience's sake and prefers to spend his money on restoring his classical cars or flying (has a pilot license).

I bought chicken thighs, sausages, veggies, and strawberries. On the way to his place, I asked him if he wanted me to bring anything else? His reply was, "Don't worry, I have plenty of food at my place too." When we arrived at his place, we barbequed only with the food that I brought over. The only thing he offered was rice. Bf and I are non drinkers and thus we drank water at his place. Luckily, the food I brought was more than enough for 4 of us, otherwise I would be mortified.

Right after we got home, I received a text from him thanking me for the food and suggesting that we should do bbq often. My bf and I were quite perplexed. Was this a normal etiquette of hosting a BBQ?

Now every time I ask my bf if he wants me to bring food over his house, he reply would be, "Don't worry, I have plenty of food at my place too." lol


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  1. It's not an either/or thing. Yes, he's frugal and yes, he's clearly also pretty clueless. But you knew he was a cheapskate so you generously provided the entire meal and he had no problem with that. He did send the modern equivalent of a thank-you note, and by suggesting you do it again, says he's pretty happy with the way it worked out. No, it's not normal "hosting"; it's more like just providing the venue, but hey, no one complained.

    So next time, if there is a next time, you just clearly communicate. You offer to bring some stuff and you clearly spell out what he will provide. "I can take care of the protein; can you handle the salads and dessert? Great. What dessert will it be?" Be specific and don't take no for an answer. Remember, it's a collaboration; you are not a caterer.

    There is no problem here that a little clear communication can't clear up.

    1 Reply
    1. Yes, communicate. You enabled the behavior by providing the food. Next time, say that you can bring dessert.
      and no, not normal at all. Not frugal, just plain weird. But so was bringing food to a dinner to which you were invited without being asked, specifically. You shouldn't have offered. Maybe he was offended that you thought he couldn't provide a meal and "showed you."

      1 Reply
      1. re: wyogal

        I am curious to know if he knew in advance of the bbq that you were bringing so much food. I kind of think it was odd on both ends, you for providing such a variety of food to a bbq you were invited to and him for practically providing nothing. I see a precedent being set here and it must be nipped in the bud. Next bbq he will expect the same and I agree with the previous posters, you need to spell it out for him. I will bring x - can you handle the dessert, etc? It shouldn't be up to the guest to provide the dinner. I had a friend who used to charge our friends to attend her bbqs and then would buy the cheapest food you can imagine.

      2. No, definitely not normal etiquette when hosting a BBQ. On the other hand, I don't think it's normal to offer to bring the entire meal when someone invites you over for a meal either. I realize you were just being thoughtful, but maybe your friend had plans to provide everything and just decided it wasn't necessary since you were bringing the whole meal? He even might have had enough food on his own, but thought it'd be rude to use it, since you were bringing so much.

        Next time, just ask him what you can bring. If he asks you to bring a whole bunch of stuff or, if he says he's fine and you get there and he only has rice, then you might need to have a talk about why he is inviting you over without providing any food (maybe he thinks providing his grill is enough). Or maybe just decide not to take him up on his BBQ invitations unless you're ok with providing the entire meal.

        1. I agree with the other posters who see this as poor communications/expectations. But I'm most baffled by you writing "Luckily, the food I brought was more than enough for 4 of us, otherwise I would be mortified." Why would you have been mortified if your share of the food for the BBQ was not enough to serve everybody? You might want to reconsider what you view as your responsibility when you're a guest for dinner at someone's house.

          1. Cheap ass is better than frugal to describe this guy. I got suckered once by someone like that. I was invited to a BBQ and asked what I could bring- 6 NY steaks, for the 6 guests and was so young at the time (and shocked) that I brought them. He also used to charge for meals when he had guests over. No longer friends, life is too short. It's amazing what people will put up with.

            1 Reply
            1. re: BubblyOne

              we have a friend who used to do that - would call everybody up and invite them over, then ask for a donation -- and THEN he would go shopping.

              We quit going to his "parties" until he grew up and got married -- his wife wouldn't let him pull crap like that.