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What Would You Have Done?


I experienced a challenging situation recently, one that I would like to get your thoughts on. I gave a baby shower in my home, I prepared all of the food for it. On the menu were chicken salad croissants, spinach dip and crackers, punch and chocolate cupcakes with maraschino cherry buttercream frosting. After the shower there was a good amount of food remaining, which I planned to have for dinner that night for my family of 7 (5 children). As my guests were departing, I stepped outside to help carry gifts and to see my guests off. When I came back inside two of my guests (a mother and daughter) were putting the last of the leftovers into plastic grocery bags to take home for themselves. They had 2 or 3 bags full of paper-plate stacked food. I (calmly - on the outside - not on the inside!) mentioned that that food was intended for our dinner that night. The response...."Oh. Sorry. We didn't know." The food remained in the bags. I went to speak with my husband about how to handle it. He said to go back and say something more to them, that it was unbelievably rude. Back to the house I went. I (calmly again) told them that it was very rude to take that food, when it was clearly intended for our family. The response... "Sorry. We didn't know." A few minutes later they walked out.....with the bags of food.
Please, please tell me what was the right thing to do. I have never received a sincere apology.

  1. I hope that mother and daughter never darken your door again. Kudos for keeping calm.

    1. I suppose one thing you could have said to them the second time around when they replied "We didn't know" is

      "Well, you know *now*, and I would very much appreciate if you would hand over the leftovers for my dinner tonight. Thank you!"

      1 Reply
      1. re: linguafood

        I think that's the best thing you could have said. I probably would have been too stunned to say it myself, but I would have regretted not thinking quicker.
        I hope these people aren't friends of yours.

      2. wow, that takes some balls. im not sure what else you could have done (besides grabing the food from them, throat punching the mother and kicking both of them out of the house). what was the association of the two guests to the person having the baby?

        52 Replies
        1. re: majordanby

          They are not related to the mother. I am a pastors wife. The guests are our church members. My husband and I were both shocked and horrified.

          1. re: missgulfsouth

            Maybe they needed the food but sounds like they were taking advantage of your good nature or your position. It was a test I think.

            1. re: Ruthie789

              These people did not need that food. I won't elaborate on that, you will just have to trust me.

              1. re: missgulfsouth

                Well if that is the case, perhaps the only thing you can do is view it as an affirmation of their character and lack of virtue.

            2. re: missgulfsouth

              They're members of your church? That the two of you lead? Then, in my view, they can be gently and appropriately corrected. That is part of being part of a community--and you and your husband are the perfect people to do it. As someone who has been in church leadership, I've had conversations with people--again, gently and with compassion! about particular behavior.

              I'm not saying it will be easy. Creating and maintaining community rarely is. But if they're willing to do it to you, they're willing to do it to others--and, again my opinion, this is the sort of thing that can totally strangle community.

              Just my two cents.

              1. re: NorthEncantoGirl

                Wholeheartedly agree! Not altogether certain on the exact way to approach and admonish at this point. They were corrected in my home and told that it was unacceptable. And yet they still took the food. What more is there to say?

                1. re: missgulfsouth

                  Let me sleep on it. I'd PM you if I could, because it might mean using language (ie scripture or 'faith based' language) that some Hounds might not be comfortable with. Let me think about it...

                  1. re: NorthEncantoGirl

                    Yes, sleep on it. And then do nothing. Just because you are the pastor's wife, doesn't give you extra "ammo" for them. They were unbelievably rude. Unless you want to create more problems in the church, do nothing.
                    You know.
                    They know.
                    Sit by them in church.

                  2. re: missgulfsouth

                    They took the food because you *let them take it*. The second time you told them they couldn't have it is when you should've taken the bags out of their hands and sent them home.

                    I really don't understand the communication issue here.

                2. re: missgulfsouth

                  somewhere in there either:
                  1) your communication failed and you did not attempt to clarify/rectify
                  2) your leadership failed when you did not follow up and reclaim the food.

                  next time someone is this out-of-line to you, you might be able to muster more clarity and more forcefulness in your follow-up.
                  it was a learning experience.

                  next time, you won't be so shocked and you will exercise your choice about what you will and will not tolerate.

                  the guests probably relied on your "good manners" to take advantage of the situation, and, probably because you were shocked, you allowed them to do it.

                  1. re: westsidegal

                    Not being a Pastor's wife, I would have done just that. I am in a very delicate position, tempering authority with a measure of grace, while attempting to teach an important lesson at the same time. While I am used to training my 4 year old in such matters, grown women who ought to know better is another matter entirely, and not so black and white.

                    1. re: missgulfsouth

                      i'm not clear about what you are saying.
                      are you saying that being a pastor's wife and the mother of a 4 year old makes you unable, for social reasons, to respond to situations such as this in which you are clearly being mistreated?

                      it's one thing not to respond the first time because you were in shock, it's quite another to say that in the future you are limited to having no response or to having only an ineffectual response.

                      if that's what you are saying, you already have the answer to your posted question.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        Jesus was mistreated. I was keeping that first and foremost in my mind. Having never been in a situation quite like this, I had two options. Do and say what I wanted to do and say, which would have made me look like a jerk. Or say what I had to say, and leave unsaid what ought to be plainly understood. And perhaps my response was not at all ineffectual. The point was not to get the food back. If it were that simple I would most assuredly have gotten it back. My goal was to teach propriety. Manners can be taught. Class cannot. You either have it or you don't. No response of a pastor's wife can make up for the lack of it.

                        1. re: missgulfsouth

                          You have answered your own question, "Manners can be taught. Class cannot."
                          The teachable moment is long gone, let it go. As well as the grudge.
                          If something should happen again, gently take the bag out of their hands. If they resist, let go.
                          and let it go.
                          Harboring resentment in the name of "teaching" is not a good thing to have on your shoulders. You did what you could. it's over. One can lead a horse to water. But they can drink or not, their choice, which you have no control over.

                          1. re: wyogal

                            I agree with you. If this ever happens again I guarantee it will be a very different scenario. I may still not end up with the food (I'm not really into food wrestling), but they will be thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed of themselves. Which is exactly what I hoped would have happened this time.

                            1. re: missgulfsouth

                              "but they will be thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed of themselves. Which is exactly what I hoped would have happened this time."
                              Oh, dear.
                              IMO, that is not teaching.

                              1. re: wyogal

                                If a lesson is learned, it is indeed teaching!

                                1. re: grampart

                                  Ineffectual teaching
                                  I think the OP actually got to the heart of the matter with "but they will be thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed of themselves. Which is exactly what I hoped would have happened this time."

                                2. re: wyogal

                                  When I do wrong I am ashamed and embarrased, aren't you? Those are GOOD things to feel! Otherwise we are amoral. When you can do such things without being bothered by it, that is when you take what doesn't belong to you. That is when you can be a guest in someone's home and help yourself. That is when you become entitled. That is when nothing bothers you. That is when you won't acknowledge your own wrongdoing and take some responsibility. That is when you won't apologize. And when someone has the wisdom to tell you you ought to be ashamed of yourself, you tell them that they aren't a very good teacher. Then by all means, come into my home and help yourself to whatever you want, and don't feel at all ashamed or embarrassed. Is that the kind of world you want to live in?

                                  1. re: missgulfsouth


                                    missgulfsouth. You are the one who's been appointed, based on your own statement. "the point was not to get the food back" the moral judge & teacher of character? You were hoping to embarrass and shame them, based on your own words. They didn't show the slightest bit of either because you received 'no apology'. Your 'teaching' was ineffectual, it appears, and so mental illness must be the cause of their lack of response to your teaching. The next step would be to publicly humiliate them, by your husband on the pulpit, which didn't work either. Is this the correct way of looking at it?

                                    1. re: latindancer

                                      That's how I'm reading it, too.

                                      1. re: latindancer

                                        latindancer's interpretation seems like the only logical one to me-- the only one that is supported by the OP's posts.

                                    2. re: wyogal

                                      so you're saying she shouldn't have let them take the bags....in her position in the community, she can't really backhand these clods and take the food back, but you don't want her to embarrass them, either.

                                      Your scenario leaves her with no options whatsoever.

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        Then she's living in a world that many don't understand. I have no idea what a Pastor's wife's obligations are.

                                        The food wasn't theirs to take...most people wouldn't have let it go out the door if keeping the food was the main objective.
                                        Humiliated, embarrassed, upset, screaming, crying....the food would have stayed in the house.
                                        I would think the position in the community is clear, for her, and the problem with this thread was that nobody, clearly, understood the dynamics to begin with.

                                        1. re: latindancer

                                          no, some of us live/have lived in the South and have spent some time around small churches.

                                          Upset, screaming, and crying would have spread like wildfire through the congregation, to the local elders, and back to the local diocese....and THAT would have been a serious problem for the pastor's career.

                                          It's one of the few occupations where your spouse and his/her behaviour is a crucial part of your career.

                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                            Thanks for the explanation. I think I'm getting it now.
                                            It's totally unfamiliar territory for many of us.

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              I've read some of what has been added here over the last few days. Honestly, I got what I came here for on day one....validation that my anger was not uncalled for, and suggestions for how to handle such a situation if it were to arise again. I never imagined it would become so ugly here. Please stop using my situation as a reason to bash one another. Not one person here knows me, or my husband, or my church, or how I feel about what happened that day. Yet you are talking in circles and rehashing it over and over again. I am supposed to "let it go" but you can continue to beat a dead horse to prove your points? Sunshine - I would never have screamed and cried. The very thought of that is impossible to me. I myself was very truly ashamed and embarrased enough for the both of them, since they were not for themselves. And for those of you here who think they were right not to be ashamed, perhaps one day you will find yourself in my shoes. But then you are not Pastor's wives, so you will be able to scream and cry and rip bags out of hands. You will be able to gossip (which I have not done - no one in our church knows that this happened. My coming here was for advice on etiquette, as a fairly new Pastor's wife. I did not come here to spread malicious gossip. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE.) and do all manner of ill will to anyone who crosses you. No one will think you a terrible Christian for your lack of forgiveness. But there are people in the world who hate pastors wives and would love to tear them down, and I think some of you are just that. I didn't come here to win an argument. You gave your advice, and some of it was very good, and some of you have wisdom. But some of you have nothing better to do than argue and I ask that you please leave this particular forum alone now. I am leaving Chowhound. For those of you who are Christians, and who know the careful manner in which a pastors wife must walk, please pray for me. We face a lot of scrutiny, that is not always warranted or deserved. God Bless.

                                            2. re: latindancer

                                              Latindancer with all due respect you do not understand what her obligations are. She is under constant scrutiny.

                                              1. re: Ruthie789

                                                <you do not understand what her obligations are>

                                                I'm pretty sure I understand a few things after reading this thread in its entirety.
                                                I understand some of her*obligations* have very little to do with the subject of food leaving the house.

                                            3. re: sunshine842

                                              yet others on this thread have suggested versions of public shaming (the comment about getting the "ladies auxiliary "involved) and backhanded gossip (veiled as a "warning" to protect other church members) as being "legal."

                                              both of these approaches, (in my world), would be completely out of line.
                                              since you can never "take back" or undo such irrevocable negative publicizing, such tactics, (maybe just in my world) are seen as being truly malicious.

                                              sunshinegirl, are these quiet-but-lethal approaches ok in southern church social circles?

                                              there was no outcry, though, on this board about them.

                                              (whoops! i take it back, wyogal just posted that she found the OPs desire to embarrass and shame them to be disgusting. FINALLY someone sees something unacceptable about this approach!)

                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                I haven't been a girl in a very long time.

                                                But no -- if she starts gossip and innendo, then SHE is the problem.

                                                her hands are really firmly tied in this one, and there really is no recourse.

                                              2. re: sunshine842

                                                No, I'm saying that if one could be Cher and "turn back time," yeah, gently take the bags. If they offered resistance to that, let it go.
                                                But, in real life, there were no other options. I didn't say to "back hand these clods."
                                                In reality, there were no other options, she said what she said, they still did it and now she needs to just let it go.

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  ... and quite frankly, my point was that the OP wanted to embarrass and shame them, which I disagree with. I quoted the OP, that was never my position. My position involved grace. Let it go.

                                                2. re: wyogal

                                                  << they will be thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed of themselves. Which is exactly what I hoped would have happened this time.>>

                                                  was truly the OP's goal .
                                                  don't see teaching as what she's really talking about.

                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                    Yes, that's why I put it in quotes, and it tells me that "teaching" had nothing to do with it.

                                                    1. re: wyogal

                                                      But couldn't it be argued that this would lead to an understanding that the behaviour was wrong? People tend not to feel ashamed about doing the right thing...

                                                      1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                        Wanting to shame and embarrass somebody rarely leads to an understanding.

                                            4. re: missgulfsouth

                                              Honestly, I think you did everything you could have done, but these two women were bent on stealing the leftover food. Fume for a while, vent here, and get it out of your system, but in order to keep the peace in your community, you are just going to have to forgive them. And like Jesus, you're going to have to forgive even if they don't ask for it, as he did for the soldiers who put him on the cross.

                                              And here I must confess that I might be tempted to ask my husband to insert a sly little bit about thievery in his next sermon...but I'm pretty sure I'm not as good a Christian as you are!

                                              1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                And it shows class to gossip and laugh about these people behind their backs? Really?

                                                What they did was tacky, rude, and inappropriate, no doubt. But I have never known two wrongs to make a right. And certainly, as a woman who is so aware of her "responsibilities" as a pastor's wife and how that might reflect on her husband, I would think that public shaming, gossiping, grudge-holding, etc would be at the top of the list of things that would reflect very poorly on a pastor.

                                                WWJD? Pretty sure none of the things suggested by OP.

                                              2. re: westsidegal

                                                She is saying that gentleness and manners prevail in her position versus aggressive "mean girls mentality" confrontation. It isn't a throw down between street thugs.For some of us manners do count.Not everything in life has to be about beating on your chest and "winning" now does it?

                                                1. re: Lillipop

                                                  Lillipop, to you,
                                                  does being direct and straightforward equate to having:
                                                  an <<aggressive "mean girls mentality" confrontation>>?

                                                  haven't you ever had an honest, direct, simple, calm, interchange with someone that did not become:
                                                  an <<aggressive "mean girls mentality" confrontation>>, and, instead, have it lead to a simple, clear, agreement and understanding between the parties about what they both desire and are willing to give each other?

                                                  i;m not clear about why you think disclosure equates with an
                                                  <<aggressive "mean girls mentality" confrontation>>
                                                  and a <<throw down between street thugs>>.

                                                  conversely, i would submit that having good manners doesn't always have to involve high levels of dishonesty and deceit.

                                                2. re: westsidegal

                                                  Westside gal, a pastor`s wife lives in a glass bubble so to speak and a high standard is set for her.

                                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                                      I have a question, then Ruthie. I don't feel like I'm trespassing here, based on the OP's offering telling this thread she's a Pastor's wife....

                                                      What is the 'high standard' that's set for her? She's obviously questioning how she handled the situation and wants feedback. She's getting it, based on a number of various responses, and it's become confusing for some who've put it out there and been reprimanded for the response.
                                                      Living in a 'glass bubble'? What does that mean?

                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                        it means that as the pastor's wife, she is perceived as a model of the pastor and his congregation, and any misbehaviour (even perceived) on her part is seen as a black mark on her husband and his church. In extreme cases (far bigger issues than this one) a wife's behaviour can affect her husband's career.

                                                        She simply doesn't have the option of telling these two what she really thinks, nor even of doing what she really ought to, from time to time.

                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                          She`s a pastor`s wife living on faith but at the same time she is a human being capable of making human mistakes. Some church people put the Pastor and his wife on a pedastal expecting them to do no wrong. Glass bubble means you are constantly being observed and judged and expected to always due the right thing.

                                                          1. re: Ruthie789

                                                            ...even though every person in the congregation has their own definition of "the right thing" and will not hesitate to publicly discuss her failings by not doing "the right thing" according to THEIR definition.

                                                            It's a really, really difficult position -- and I respect those brave (and strong) enough to take it on, especially since it's an unpaid position to be the pastor's wife.

                                                        2. re: Ruthie789

                                                          Yep. I'm not a pastor's wife, but have held visible leadership roles in my church and other Christian organizations. It's not easy.

                                                      2. re: missgulfsouth

                                                        Could your husband have made an appearance, being that you're in a 'delicate position' trying to 'temper authority with a measure of grace'?
                                                        If he were to come into the door without saying a word, I would bet your 5 children would have had a feast that night.
                                                        I'm curious why he didn't.

                                                        1. re: latindancer

                                                          He did come in and did not say a word. He stood there and looked at them. And then he went back outside. A lot of help that was!!! I told them that Pastor was angry that they took all the food. They still took it. I'm telling you, these are impossibly clueless individuals! I don't want to be unkind, but perhaps there is some degree of mental illness involved??? How could there NOT be?

                                                          1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                            With advance apologies for the language, karma is a bitch -- and these two are ripe for a comeuppance.

                                                            1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                              You are calling (2) women, a mother and her daughter, mentally ill because they brazenly took away food from your home because they felt like they could, with a feel of entitlement.
                                                              They had to have had a reason for feeling like they could. Mental illness is not what comes to mind, whatsoever.

                                                  1. In some jurisdiction, that would be larceny.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                      It is stealing. We feel the same way. Just not sure how to handle the manners side of things. We are not accustomed to such behavior, and can't imagine any scenario in which it would ever be acceptable for a guest to help himself/herself to leftover food at a party. Without asking. After being told that it was meant for the hosts family. And that it is unbelievable rude. It does take a special kind of person to do that. To the Pastors family no less. I'm still at a loss some weeks later....

                                                      1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                        maybe these people are going through hard times and are just too ashamed to ask for help. you might want to mention at the next service that you are taking up a collection for these people as they have shown to you that they are in need of food. you can then use their act of taking every last bit of leftovers from your home as an example.

                                                        1. re: Vidute

                                                          OP said that need is not an issue with this family.

                                                          (well, need for food is not an issue. Need for lessons in basic human behaviour, obviously.)

                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                            public persona is not always the same as private reality. nobody knows what is going on inside someone else's home.

                                                            anyway, please look at stecworld's response. she understood the underlying message of my post.

                                                          2. re: Vidute

                                                            Very good idea! Then everyone will be alerted to what they do and will not be caught offguard as the OP was.

                                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                                          I would have shot them, of course I live in Texas. Really, just kidding. How 'bout having them climb the mast in a storm, thrown in irons, or keelhauled. Can you tell I just watched Mutiny on the Bounty? Cat 'o nine tails? I think you did all you can do, and just turn the other cheek.

                                                        3. I guess your cooking was amazing, you could take it as a compliment.

                                                          1. They took the entire plate of crackers, and emptied the dish of spinach dip. It really is unbelievable.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                              My employee made a bowl of trifle to thank us for the baby gift we gave her. It was in the kitchen all of 5 minutes and it disappeared never to be found again so I can believe it.

                                                              1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                Look on the bright side, at least they left the plates and silverware, right?

                                                                They did leave them, right? Right??

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  They took every last paper plate (pink for the baby shower) and special napkins (hot pink and white damask). Sadly, sadly true.

                                                              2. "I'm sorry the children were really looking forward to having those leftovers for dinner. Let me fix you a plate." And with a smile take the bags from their hands, unpack them, and make them plate with a small sample of each.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: viperlush


                                                                  OP, good for you for remaining so calm. I would be shocked if you ever received an apology. I also agree with sueatmo's well worded comment below. . . . including the suggestion that if these pillars of society must be invited to another function, they shouldn't even be given the opportunity to steal again.

                                                                2. You can do nothing. They were bound and determined to take the food. They are the ones who should do something. But they won't.

                                                                  There have been some posts recently about being frugal. Well, these people are just cheap. They are takers. I imagine they would never invite someone to their home so they could share a nice meal. or would host a shower for a friend. They are emotionally impoverished and they are to be pitied.

                                                                  If possible don't invite them again. If you must invite them, plan accordingly by not leaving food out.

                                                                  But the deed is done. Try to let go of it. They are very poor, joyless people who, though maddening, deserve pity because they really are pathetic.

                                                                  1. Some people are scrounges.You handled it in a polite manner.I hope your kids had some dinner though. I would cross those two off my future guest lists.

                                                                    1. I would have been too dumbfounded to do or say anything at the moment, but I think afterwards I would quietly make sure that everyone in our mutual circles knew what they had done.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Skippy1414

                                                                        Skippy, OP is the pastor's wife; discussing the guests' behavior is likely not an option.

                                                                      2. I think that has to be one of the strangest stories I've heard. I cannot believe the brass neck of them for even thinking it was OK to pack up the food. And then, even when spoken to, still take the bags.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                          I agree. I am sorry they put you in such an uncomfortable position, but their behavior was so absurd that I couldn't help laughing. Their "sorry, we didn't know" seems like a trained broken-record response that they've learned to utilize in such situations-- which suggests that this wasn't an isolated incident, and that they know it is unacceptable but just don't care.

                                                                          1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                            You aren't the only one who laughed about it. It is beyond comprehension. Normal people cannot imagine this scenario actually happening, I wouldn't have imagined it would happen to me. I was not amused. But I get that tacky bad manners is good for a laugh. Like Larry the Cable Guy.

                                                                        2. Well, now you know their character. And you'll likely see them again in similar situations. But now you can be prepared. Folks like this know that other peoples' good manners will usually prevent a scene and they take advantage of this. (Edited to add: oh, and you will never receive an apology from these folks. Chalk them up to experience and be ready next time.)

                                                                          When faced with them marauding next time, just let them know the food is intended for other uses (as you did). Smile, say, "Here, let me get that put up, let me get you a half sandwich each for the road", hold out hands until goods are surrendered. If they balk, continue to hold out hands, nod, smile, "No, really, I've got to put those away now".

                                                                          1. All I can say is "wow." Beyond rude. You are calmer than I would have been as I would have made them leave the bags. How well do you know these people?

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: wincountrygirl

                                                                              They have been members here for a while. We know them a lot better now, I think.

                                                                            2. I'm not sure exactly how the scene would have played out, but I guarantee you those bags of food would not have left my house. Then again, I'm not a pastor's wife.

                                                                              1. this is where I really miss not have emoticons. I would post the big eyed-shocked smilie.

                                                                                I think your husband has a topic for his next sermon….

                                                                                12 Replies
                                                                                1. re: foodieX2

                                                                                  You won't believe this. He did hit on it the next Sunday. It went right over their heads. Completely oblivious.

                                                                                  1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                    Well then theres your answer. Don't do anything and just let it go. You have already have wasted too much time and energy on this.

                                                                                    1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                      The, turn the other cheek. Make them another plate of sandwiches.
                                                                                      or not.
                                                                                      go on.

                                                                                      1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                        Ooh! Nice. A PA sermon for everyone. That's a great way to deal with it.

                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                          Was that sarcastic? If so, you misunderstand. Hitting on it is not the same as shoveling it down throats. My husband is the absolute picture of decorum, and would never handle it other than subtly. The point is, THEY got the message. And still, somehow, they didn't really get it at all.

                                                                                          1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                            <<It went right over their heads. Completely oblivious.>>

                                                                                            <<THEY got the message. And still, somehow, they didn't really get it at all.>>

                                                                                            so, what do you mean by this?

                                                                                            1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                              My grandmother had a way of dealing with people like this.

                                                                                              If a guest acted so greedy that they're willing to take advantage of her Southern hospitality in such a manner, she would shame them with brutal charity.

                                                                                              As an example, she once set up a wooden collection box with, "For the Poor" hand-carved into the top of the box. Once the box filled up with donations, she and my grandfather privately presented the couple with the carved box and all the proceeds therein...

                                                                                              1. re: deet13

                                                                                                so let me get this straight--
                                                                                                your grandmother took donations from people who thought the donations were truly going to help needy people and who entrusted that money to your grandmother.
                                                                                                the donations that were given with a generous heart, however, did not really go to needy people.
                                                                                                instead, your grandmother gave the donations to people that she KNEW weren't needy, but simply were people she wanted to brutally shame.

                                                                                                if this is what she did, i'm speechless.

                                                                                                1. re: deet13

                                                                                                  Appalled that you would think this is clever and anything less than the rudest behavior. "Southern hospitality" isn't about humiliating others, sweet pea.

                                                                                                  1. re: Terrie H.

                                                                                                    Oh, I never said I thought it was clever. I referred to it as brutal charity for a good reason. I also should have explained the reason behind my grandparents actions.

                                                                                                    The individuals in question were thieves who my grandparents repeatedly witnessed stealing the churches property, as well as my grandfather's property (he was the pastor at that time).

                                                                                                    Yes, the couple in question were privately shamed, as opposed to publicly arrested (or any number of other less savory actions that some of the more hot tempered members of the congregation may have decided to take); but, it was the absolute last time they ever stole from that church, and my grandfather remained pastor of that congregation until his death fifteen years later...

                                                                                                    1. re: deet13

                                                                                                      Well, good for y'all. Shaming people and all. Way to go.

                                                                                        2. Never invite those freeloaders to your home again. And, I would have no qualms about spreading the word to the other guests about their rudeness.

                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Kat

                                                                                            I don't think gossiping is the answer for a Pastors wife.

                                                                                            1. re: Kat

                                                                                              That's just what the preacher's wife should do, bad mouth parishioners to other parishioners.

                                                                                              1. re: Kat

                                                                                                Gossiping is malicious and only makes matters worse. The op is in a difficult position, she cannot be hostile to a church member.

                                                                                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                  Very true. And yet try to make a point so that it NEVER happens again. Delicate.

                                                                                                2. re: Kat

                                                                                                  Well, what if this was phrased a little differently? Rather than debating whether to spread the word about their rudeness, what about debating whether to spread the word about their tendency to take things that don't belong to them? I mean, yes, in this case it was food that they took, the food is gone, the OP has done what she can. But at what point is it no longer spreading gossip, or bad mouthing people who aren't there to defend themselves, and instead becomes a matter of warning others what might happen if they invite these people into their homes? What if these "guests" instead had displayed a tendency to walk off with one of the shower presents? Prescription drugs from the medicine cabinet? The dog?

                                                                                                  This is a bit of a tangent, but this sub-thread just made me wonder where the line is between gossip and the obligation to warn others, since it's a fine one and the OP is trying to walk it.

                                                                                                  1. re: Mallomary

                                                                                                    wouldn't it make sense to focus first on learning how to take care of your own home before deciding that it is your place to <<warn others>>?

                                                                                                    maybe the others would not be so paralyzed that they would even NEED warning.

                                                                                                    to me, <<warning others>>, in this case, would just be a thinly veiled excuse to spread damning gossip about a member of the congregation: gossip, that once spread, can never be undone.

                                                                                                    1. re: Mallomary

                                                                                                      <<the obligation to warn others>>

                                                                                                      you are really talking about an <<obligation to warn others>> that someone took home left-overs and paper goods from a party??

                                                                                                      on top if it, in an effort to support this position you have resorted to making up hypotheticals that are not in any way equivalent:
                                                                                                      <<What if these "guests" instead had displayed a tendency to walk off with one of the shower presents? Prescription drugs from the medicine cabinet? The dog?


                                                                                                      1. re: Mallomary

                                                                                                        I hear you but am sure the ``perpetrators`` have done this before and that others are already aware of their behaviour. I have been reading through this thread, think the only solution is to have a polite discussion with this person advising her it is not to happen again. Whether this alienates her or not so be it but that is not my call is it? We do not know how this family contributes to the church and if actions to alienate them are warranted. As well could have a dominoes effect, once one family starts leaving others follow, it is not as easy as it seems. I do not agree with addressing this issue on the pulpit, it has to be directed at a personal level.

                                                                                                    2. As others have said, there was not much else you could do, short of physically taking the bags out of their hands and emptying them yourself, which would possibly have made you look worse than them.

                                                                                                      I went to school with a girl who stole a baseball card of mine in 5th grade, then a brand new cassette tape of mine in 8th grade. Each time, she just claimed she didn't have them. I kept thinking she just didn't understand or remember that she did have them. It took me a while to get that she just really was a nasty thief of a person. Some people are just sad, horrible, nasty rude people and you just have to cut them out of your life, ignore and avoid them as best you can.

                                                                                                      You did the best you could. I would never speak to them again.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                        when my daughter's sidekick was stolen by a classmate who claimed not to have it, she told the teacher who promptly interceded and got it back for her.

                                                                                                        letting children get away with being a <<nasty thief of a person>> is not necessarily the kindest thing to do to them in the long term.

                                                                                                        when you take that approach, the kid basically has no behavior correction from which to learn BEFORE becoming an adult when s/he would face much more serious consequences for such behavior.

                                                                                                      2. Move on. Maybe they were poor and hungry.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: beevod

                                                                                                          The OP states she is very confident of the fact that the family is not in need. But even if they were poor, that is not an excuse for selfish. They could have asked if there were any leftovers they could take, and mentioned that they would be much appreciated and put to good use. And in that case, I can't imagine the OP begrudging to put together a small plate for them, after setting aside what she wanted for her own family's dinner.

                                                                                                        2. I agree with all those above me who have posted that there's not much more to be done.
                                                                                                          And yet, while I know this is probably not a tremendously useful or polite response (and probably not one I'd actually engage in), the daydream part of me would really enjoy making sure I gave them food every time I saw them (as you've already indicated they didn't take the food out of actual need). I'd just start giving them food... constantly. Scraps leftover from dinner, canned goods about to expire, cartons of unmarked soupy mysteries, each time with a big smile and saying you know how much they NEED leftovers, and you ALWAYS think of them!

                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                            HAHAHA - I like the way you think. :-D

                                                                                                            1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                              oooooh.....I really like that suggestion hyacinthgirl!

                                                                                                              1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                                Ooh, that's being a stinker. But I like the way you think!

                                                                                                              2. The mistake you made was giving them too much credit. Now you know.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Violatp

                                                                                                                  Yes, too much credit. Don't leave them alone in my house for 5 minutes if I still want to be able to feed my family. ;)

                                                                                                                2. Since you're a pastor's wife, would it be possible to take this up with the Ladies' Auxiliary (or whatever name the charity organization of your church uses)? I would think some public mention of their "need" (yes, I read the thread and know this is bogus) could be beneficial. If nothing else, it would bring the issue out in the open and you might feel better. This is the perfect example of my grandmother's adage "Never get into a pissing contest with a skunk".

                                                                                                                  Remember, when an adult tells you something about themself, believe them. These two have revealed volumes about themselves - they're users with very little consideration of others.

                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                    If you do have to endure another of these events have a guard on that food!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                      Yeah, put those 5 kids to work.

                                                                                                                  2. First, I think your menu was lovely--it made me "think spring".

                                                                                                                    In the "silver linings" department, I suppose I would be glad they didn't make off with your punch bowl and silverware.

                                                                                                                    You did the right thing. They didn't. Shame on them...and what a terrible example for the mother to set for her daughter.

                                                                                                                    But now you know the type of people they are.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: pinehurst

                                                                                                                      I'm ever so glad that they left the punch bowl, since it wasn't mine! I wonder what FloFab (New York Times Etiquette expert) would do.....

                                                                                                                    2. Could someone please tell me what would have been so wrong about simply relieving these "guests" of the bags of food and telling them (one more time) that they were being outrageously rude and it was not going to be tolerated.

                                                                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: grampart

                                                                                                                        Yeah, seriously. Maybe you'll get an answer, since I've asked about this twice already in the thread.

                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                          We are all far better at coming up with solutions after the fact, or when not involved in the situation, than we are at coming up with the zinger remark or abrupt action in the heat of the moment.

                                                                                                                          i'd like to think I'd have taken the bag away, but I wasn't there, I can't say *what* I'd have done-- so I'm sure not going to tell the OP that she should have done it.

                                                                                                                          (of course, I am typically outspoken enough to never, ever make a good candidate to be a pastor's wife....)

                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                            Sorry, to me it's a no-brainer. But I'm about as far from a pastor's wife as humanly possible :-D

                                                                                                                          2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                            As someone pointed out earlier, it would have made me look worse than them by getting huffy. That is what I was trying to avoid. Once they had been told TWICE, they had a decision to make....do the classy thing or the tacky thing.

                                                                                                                            1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                                                              I understand the position you were in - needing to turn the other cheek, so to speak.

                                                                                                                              Me? I'm an athiest and I'd have been having a free and frank exchange of views with these no-marks.

                                                                                                                              1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                                                                I honestly don't understand why insisting on keeping your own food for your own family could've made you look worse. And given how little respect you seem to have for these guests, why would you even give a damn what they think, or how you look to them?

                                                                                                                                As I said twice now, I would've taken the bags and said "Well, you do know now". Period.

                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                  How little respect I have for THEM? Excuse me??? They are very lucky they didn't see the side of me I wanted to show them. Instead, they received FAR more respect than the situation called for. Can I get an AMEN?

                                                                                                                                  1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                                                                    Hmm. I might have gotten that impression given your posts in this thread. Your indignation at their actions might have colored your responses, but here are just a few examples I probably misinterpreted:

                                                                                                                                    "Class cannot. You either have it or you don't."

                                                                                                                                    "I may still not end up with the food (I'm not really into food wrestling), but they will be thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed of themselves. Which is exactly what I hoped would have happened this time."

                                                                                                                                    "I don't want to be unkind, but perhaps there is some degree of mental illness involved??? How could there NOT be?"

                                                                                                                                    "And that it is unbelievable rude. It does take a special kind of person to do that. To the Pastors family no less."

                                                                                                                                    "Completely oblivious."

                                                                                                                                    Those are generally not things I would say about people for whom I have respect. Repeatedly.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                      I don't think I'd have a lot of respect for people who came to my house and behaved this way either. I'm pretty sure the OP came to her conclusions because of their crass behaviour.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kbdid

                                                                                                                                        Then why would she (or you, in her situation) give a rat's ass what these "crass" people think of hers (or yours)? Sorry, I don't get it, won't, never will.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                          because she's the pastor's wife, and her behavior matters to him, to the congregation, and to his superiors in the church organization.

                                                                                                                            2. You did what you could - if you clearly stated it was rude to take without asking, and your husband even worked it into a sermon, either these people are just incredibly rude or not too bright (or both). Honestly, I admire your patience - most people offer to clean up/put away food at a gathering, not walk off with it!

                                                                                                                              I think your only option is just to guard any foodstuffs at future events that these people may attend...

                                                                                                                              23 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: kbdid

                                                                                                                                Thank you everyone for your thoughtful replies! This topic really got everyone thinking! I don't think any of us is accustomed (or prepared) to dealing with something like this. Some of my friends could not stop laughing as I was telling them the story. It really is that ridiculous! As a pastors wife I had to handle it graciously, people are watching me all the time! But I also have to make them realize that it was wholly unacceptable (besides being extremely tacky) to conduct oneself in such a manner as a guest in someone's home. It would reflect very badly on our church if ever it should happen to another unfortunate hostess.

                                                                                                                                1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                                                                  There's always the GRITS (Girls Raised In The South) response -- a tersely drawled "why bless your heart" says volumes.

                                                                                                                                  With a username like yours, I *know* you've heard it, and you've likely used it a time or two. ;)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                    To be honest, my inner Julia Sugarbaker was in no mood for blessings at that particular moment. And it would not have worked with these people anyway.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                                                                      I know, but "how nice" would have been weird.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                      "a tersely drawled "why bless your heart" says volumes."

                                                                                                                                      That phrase has been directed at me only a few of times in my lifetime. I can remember every single time it was used, by the person who said it and the room it was said in and the way they said it.
                                                                                                                                      The reason I remember it is because behind that phrase was some of the darkest vitriol I've ever experienced. I would have rather the person tell me, honestly, what they thought of me. It was truly creepy.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                        when i've witnessed that term being used, in addition to being vitriolic, it seemed like it was always used to absolutely prevent the possibility of any constructive conversation or understanding between the parties:
                                                                                                                                        very controlling and passive aggressive too.

                                                                                                                                        latindancer, i'm sorry someone ever said it to you.

                                                                                                                                        i never even heard that phrase until i was in the dorm at college. another girl on the floor said it to my very sweet and dear roommate.
                                                                                                                                        made my head spin, took meanness and rudeness to a new depth.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                          by the time that one gets pulled out, the constructive part of the conversation has been over for a while.

                                                                                                                                          I'm quite capable of unleashing a blue-tinged stream of profanity -- but sometimes the quieter option is the better choice, for any of a number of reasons.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                            <by the time that one gets pulled out, the constructive part of the conversation has been over for a while.>

                                                                                                                                            That's assuming there's been conversation, or a justification for using it, before that phrase is used. It's not always the case.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                            Thank you for your kindness, westsidegal.

                                                                                                                                            The incidents happened when I was very young, before the age of ten. She was/is an adult who knew what she was doing and how that phrase could cut straight to a child's heart and confuse me like no other person on this earth could.
                                                                                                                                            "Bless your little heart" with the right tone, to purposely cause damage & pain, is something a child (or adult for that matter) should never hear. It's heartless, cruel, vicious and controlling...it's used, in the context I remember, to stop the person in their shoes, take a breath and hurt.

                                                                                                                                          3. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                            it works well, doesn't it?

                                                                                                                                            Not a single curse word, not a single verbal assault -- but there is no doubt whatsoever as to the intent.

                                                                                                                                            ("bless your heart" can also be benign and sincerely acknowledge positive emotions. It's all in the context and the pronunciation)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                              you can also choose a statement that is not loaded with superciliousness:

                                                                                                                                              "we will just have to agree to disagree" is one such benign statement that ends the conversation just as effectively.

                                                                                                                                              when you said:
                                                                                                                                              <<it works well, doesn't it?>>

                                                                                                                                              the obvious question is:
                                                                                                                                              it works well for what?
                                                                                                                                              this is especially true when others are in earshot when the statement is made.

                                                                                                                                              the girl in my dorm who made the statement to my roommate was basically shunned because she said this in the hall and virtually everyone heard it.

                                                                                                                                              after that, the speaker was seen as being poisonous.

                                                                                                                                              nobody wanted to have lunch or dinner with her.
                                                                                                                                              she didn't return to college the following september.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                I'm just not buying that one phrase did her in socially.

                                                                                                                                                Would it have been better had she called your roommate a long list of vile names?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                  all i know is the timing of events.

                                                                                                                                                  i lived in a dorm that had a curfew policy.
                                                                                                                                                  since this incident took place after curfew, everyone was on the floor with their doors open. since we lived 4 to a room with the one ladies room/shower room at the end of the hall, the dorm floor was pretty packed both with people just coming in from curfew, girls on their way to take a shower, and the normal situation of everyone having their door open because the rooms were so small and crowded and it gave us some sense of space.

                                                                                                                                                  it was only after the incident that nobody was willing to take meals with this girl. maybe she did do additional revealing things that night as well.
                                                                                                                                                  this was the only thing i witnessed.

                                                                                                                                                  i only have my observations--no other speculations about what woulda, coulda, happened if <<she called your roommate a long list of vile names?>>.

                                                                                                                                                  will say, though, that it is tremendously interesting, that you only raised those two approaches as options.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                  Unfortunately women are not nice to each other when we disagree. I have seen the circumstances that you have noted. Seen it at school, all levels, at work and even at church. Pull her down syndrome is form of social shunning and it works to leave a person alienated and alone. It takes one Alpha female to start the isolation process. So that is why I think it might be best to talk privately to this person. As well for future events give her a role and an opportunity to contribute to it maybe being connected and responsible will change her actions. Give her a second chance.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                    <unfortunately women are not nice to each other when we disagree>

                                                                                                                                                    Is that, truly, your experience or the experience of the OP? Is this the climate you're used to? To socially shun another woman in oder to alienate them to the point they're feeling *alone* isn't a world I'm accustomed to or would want to be a part of.
                                                                                                                                                    Can you imagine a world where very intelligent women, with ambition and drive, will debate and argue with one another (because they're part of an industry where theories and hypothesis are argued) and walk away extremely respectful of each other?
                                                                                                                                                    I respect your viewpoint(s) but I'm saying there's a possibility they're not the norm.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                      I do not shun anyone Latindancer. I have worked with women coming out of prison in a community kitchen teaching them to cook and loved it. I have the mindset that each person is someones child, sibling, or parent and would never intentionally shun or hurt someone. However pull her down syndrome is an actual thing that goes on. I do not know what goes on in the ops world. I would hope that women have healthy communication with each other but have not always seen the best of it.

                                                                                                                                                3. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                  <can also be benign>

                                                                                                                                                  Of course it can and we all know the people in our lives who we trust with the phrase. It can be used to reflect incredible love and adoration and comfort.
                                                                                                                                                  Conversely, I'd rather have 50 curse words slung at me than to hear the way it's used to hurt someone. There's an intent, for sure, and I'm not sure who deserves that.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                                                                              While I understand you and your family are in a unique position of leadership, and have been called upon to teach and guide your congregation, I don't think it would reflect badly on your church as a whole. You can not be expected to take responsibility for all of your members' misdeeds and sins!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                                                                                Another question, please, missgulfsouth. Was this a private baby shower that you hosted or one that was open to all members of your church? The answer will help clarify your obligation to having these women in your home in the future.

                                                                                                                                                My grandmother, mentioned earlier, was from the South. There was not a more rude word in her vocabulary than "woman" as in "that woman" when referring to a female. "Woman" was reserved for the truly boorish; the kind who just didn't know any better, or those who were put on this earth just to serve as bad examples to others. Otherwise, it was assumed that we were all ladies.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Sherri

                                                                                                                                                  It was open to all of the ladies of our congregation. It is inevitable that they will be in my home again. But next time, the food police will be on duty.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                                                                                    "It was open to all of the ladies of our congregation"

                                                                                                                                                    Well, this lets you off the hook for the future. Please see "women" VS "ladies" in my post above. No need to include women; ladies only. These two have self-eliminated (she writes, only wishing that it could be true). I wish you all success on your difficult road. Your husband's congregation is lucky to have you.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                                                                                      Maybe you should include her in the food preparation so she can understand what is involved in getting a buffet meal together. What does she cook well, ask her to bring something along?

                                                                                                                                                2. Did they come prepared with their own plastic grocery bags? If so, that would suggest premeditation of behavior!

                                                                                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                    They helped themselves to mine, of course.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: missgulfsouth


                                                                                                                                                        Here's kind of my thinking. If you are at another function with them at someone else's home and you see them doing it again, I think you have to step in and say something to make them knock it off. While you have to be gracious in your own home and guests, even badly behaved and rude ones, get the benefit of the doubt, if you see it again and they are preying on another of your church's parishoners, I think you'd be well within your rights as a member of the church and community alone, let alone the wife of the pastor, to make them put the stuff back or stop them in the process. Otherwise they're going to continue to do this every time they go to a function. If they're going to act like little thieves, I'd have no problem approaching them the 2nd time I saw it with a hissing voice under my breath and saying something like, "You took advantage of MY generosity but I cannot stand by while you take advantage of other parishoners as well. Please put the food back."

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rockandroller1

                                                                                                                                                          Oh believe me, Julia Sugarbaker comes out next time. Let's hope there isn't a next time.

                                                                                                                                                    1. <He said to go back and say something more to them>

                                                                                                                                                      There are certain circumstances, over the years, I've known my husband could handle better than I could & I've asked for him to assist. Did it ever occur to you that perhaps it was appropriate? Or maybe playing *good cop bad cop*? "Sorry, my husband is looking forward to the leftovers, love to let you have them but he'll (your Pastor) be livid if they're not there later".

                                                                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                        I REALLY wanted him to come to my rescue! At the same time, I felt it was a test from the Lord (oh, how I love those) to see how calm under fire I could be. The battle was mine to face. I made the food. I was the hostess. I had to do the uncomfortable thing and confront them. I did tell them that Pastor was very upset that they had taken all of the food (he was!), but it made no difference.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                                                                                            Holding a grudge may also be your "test."

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                              It was. I passed that one, too. Not easy, though. I was 100% ready to forgive, I simply wanted a heartfelt apology. I have been nothing but lovely to these people, and the fact that I was not worth an apology has been far more hurtful than the taking of food from our family's table.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                                                                                                It's not about you.
                                                                                                                                                                It's their behavior, which you cannot control.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                                I see this as "venting" more than holding a grudge. What an exasperating situation! I'd say any testing from God was passed when she kept her cool. I'd be using some very unladylike words had I caught them sneaking food and utensils out after they were asked not to. Who does this?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kbdid

                                                                                                                                                                  now i really don't understand,

                                                                                                                                                                  but how does using <<very unlaylike words>> in a situation like this offend god?

                                                                                                                                                                  also, when you say <<very unladylike words>> do you mean words to deal with the perpetrators directly, calmly, and clearly in a manner so that they would be more likely to behave properly?
                                                                                                                                                                  why would that be bad?

                                                                                                                                                                  if they learned from your <<unladylike words>> all of their social relations could well be improved and they might have a richer life.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                    there is a time and a place for everything -- unless you're a pastor's wife, in which case, you really don't ever have the freedom to tell someone (like these ingrates) what you *really* think of them.

                                                                                                                                                                    There's also an entire layer of "Southern woman" at play here that if you've never been a part of and aren't familiar with, takes a lot of 'splainin'.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                      I was referring to the fact that she held up well whereas I, not being in the position of pastor's wife, would probably have lostmy temper. I didn't refer to offending God.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                                                                                                  <I REALLY wanted him to come to my rescue!>

                                                                                                                                                                  "Rescue"? Is that how you actually see this? In my way of thinking a marriage between two people is an equal, side-by-side endeavor. The only reason I mentioned your husband stepping in is because there are times when one, instinctively, knows the other may be a better match for the circumstance.
                                                                                                                                                                  If it was really a matter of the food staying in the house then it would have stayed one way or another....a *strong* male presence, from my experience, usually does the trick.

                                                                                                                                                              3. I don't think I'm in a place to tell you what you should or shouldn't have done. You did what you felt comfortable doing and that's great.

                                                                                                                                                                It's not possible, generally, to control the behavior of other people (right?). It's not very useful, then, to expect a particular reaction to your behavior, whether it be the guests returning the food or apologizing. You'll merely be disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                                All that one can do is role model appropriate behavior. Again, I'm not in a place to dictate your role in life, but as a pastor's wife, it might be beneficial to your community to lead by example...show forgiveness, charity, and kindness in your own actions and I *think* that you will see it reflected back to you.

                                                                                                                                                                Is leading by example of virtue difficult? Yes. Does it suck in this situation? ABSOLUTELY.

                                                                                                                                                                It's easy to show virtue when the other party is deserving. It's challenging when we think they aren't. This is definitely a time of challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                I think you'll find greater peace if you just let it go. Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

                                                                                                                                                                (Hey, at least you know that your food was good!)

                                                                                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: leelabee

                                                                                                                                                                    +2. And, if there's another food-event at another parishioner's home sometime in your future, perhaps you could head off more-of-the-same-behavior from these 2; "oh, Sally, you and your family will have plenty of wonderful leftovers for dinner tonight. Shall we all help put it away for you." In that very gracious GRITS voice, of course.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                                      Sounds perfectly in order next time round!

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm just going to throw this out there, based on my experience with some women who who really have this mindset. They were parishoners, you and your husband are the pastor and the pastor's wife. Is it possible they felt "entitled" to take the leftovers from an event open to all the ladies of the congregation?

                                                                                                                                                                        Now, I don't think the women I know are so brazen as to take the food--especially having been told twice that it was meant for dinner--and I don't think they'd take the plates and napkins (that was just bizarre). However, they do seem to have the attitude that the minister is paid by the congregation and so anything provided by said minister was, in fact, paid for by them, the congregants. This mindset is mind boggling, but it is known to exist.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                          I just posted something similar myself. Great minds, eh?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                            That's an interesting theory. It would explain why the felt entitled or in their rights to walk away with leftovers in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                                            Of course, once they were told that the leftovers were, in fact, not for the taking, they should've scuttled off.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, I do think the women I know would have scuttled (at least after the second time they were told and after the unhappy pastor appeared. But there are some strangely entitled folks out there.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gaffk

                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, but people feel entitled when there's an atmosphere that allows them to feel entitled.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: latindancer

                                                                                                                                                                                  what is there about food prepared in and offered in a private home that allows entitlement to pack it up and haul it off?

                                                                                                                                                                                  Most churches don't have a parsonage any more -- the pastor has to pay for his own housing himself. The money usually comes from the local diocese (or equivalent local management office) -- nowadays the salary is more than the tithes and offerings will support (and it's a pretty modest salary more often than not)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                                                                                                    When the homeowners of the private home, faced with 2 very entitled acting guests who seem to feel they're allowed to do anything they please, don't make it clear and concise that what they're doing is terribly wrong.
                                                                                                                                                                                    I understand, now, the dynamics and why it was allowed to happen.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: missgulfsouth

                                                                                                                                                                            But what if Sally has no need for leftovers, and in fact doesn't want them? When I hosted a bridal shower for a friend, I sent each attendee home with leftovers. I even had pastel ziplock containers on hand for that very purpose, and they helped themselves. Although I had paid for the food, it was all much richer and fancier than what I normally eat and I did not want it to go to waste. I did have some of the leftovers for dinner, but brought the rest in to work (where it was devoured in a matter of minutes), but otherwise it would have been a shame to let it go to waste.

                                                                                                                                                                            Don't y'all ever try to get your guests to take some leftover party food home with them? Perhaps the OP's guests had encountered this situation in the past, and that's why they thought it was fair game for them to take home. I know it wasn't as she states she told them more than once that she wanted the leftovers, but I am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. I would hate to think that some members of my church congregation were that selfish!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                              if there are containers out and people are invited to take leftovers home, all's fair.

                                                                                                                                                                              When the clods rummaged around to find a plastic bag in MissGulfSouth's cupboards in which to carry home leftovers AND she told them TWICE that she wanted the leftovers, they crossed the line from deserving the benefit of the doubt to being classless thieves with no sense of propriety whatsoever.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ohmyyum

                                                                                                                                                                                Of course Sally (more likely, Sally Sue) can demur, offering the leftovers to the guests. That's actually what I do all the time--I make decadent food for guests that I don't need around afterwards for me to nosh on. So, I pre-purchase disposable containers for all the leftovers to leave the house. That wasn't the OP's intention, however.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. Regardless of what you do, and I think you handled the situation well, it won't likely manner. These two are so self-absorbed and clueless they'll likely never realize that their behavior was so incredibly wrong. Don't expect an apology. Move on..... Sorry for your experience.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. I'm not sure what I would have done, but after mentioning to them twice that the leftovers were spoken for and they didn't budge, I like to think I would have said to them, "I am so glad you enjoyed the food. As you know, I had intended for my family to eat the leftovers tonight. It looks like there is enough for me to make each of you a care package to take home." Then, I'd go into the kitchen with those bags of food, re-package them into one or two meals per woman, and given it to them that way. Shows you won't be completely steamrolled but can still be gracious.

                                                                                                                                                                            At this point, just let it go. There is nothing more you can do about it now (except for being extremely vigilant in the future), and you certainly did nothing wrong. There is no one right thing to do, and you kept your dignity intact. How much shame someone has is not within your control.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. I think your position as PW makes it almost impossible to do more than you did.

                                                                                                                                                                              You can't teach these women anything. Live and learn.

                                                                                                                                                                              If you can't exclude them from future events either tell them ahead of time they are not to do that (seems unlikely) or make sure you clear and package whatever you don't want scavenged.

                                                                                                                                                                              The unfortunate thing is bullies like this rely on the social protocols to protect them. They've found the perfect victim in you.

                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: hambone

                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, I'm a very quick learner. Not a victim. They will only do this to me once.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I think that you showed remarkable restraint.

                                                                                                                                                                                Just to play devil's advocate (no pun intended), perhaps they thought that since this was a church function that the food was fair game (I'm assuming that the church paid the cost of the food even though you prepared it). You did tell them that you had other plans for the food and that their behavior was rude. I don't remember you saying that you explicitly asked them to put it back. Maybe once they had handled it and put it in their bags, they figured the deed was done and you didn't want it back. I certainly wouldn't want food someone else had man-handled, stacked on paper plates and put into plastic grocery bags. Yuck.

                                                                                                                                                                                I'm not saying they weren't clods...they were. I'm just suggesting that there might be a possibility they're something other than outright thieves.

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Christina D

                                                                                                                                                                                  Actually I was also wondering who had covered the costs. If the church had paid for the food, then it would be more reasonable for people to think that they were welcome to the leftovers, and perhaps that they would even be doing the OP a favor by taking it off of her hands. The fact that the OP had designated the leftovers for her family's dinner that night makes me think that she had paid for all of the ingredients, etc herself.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Someone had mentioned the issue of who paid for the food for the function to begin with. This was open to all of the church ladies, so it was assumed by the poster that maybe the church paid for the food (I'm not sure where that is upthread).
                                                                                                                                                                                  Could you clarify that? By hosting, do mean that you held it at your house AND paid for all of the food as well? Or did you just hold it at your house? Are you expected to pick up the tab for these functions on a regular basis?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. It seems to me that, just as the social expectation of a pastor's wife has a fairly high bar, a pastor's *children* are almost expected to be on the wild side, right? Turn your kids loose on 'em!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ricepad

                                                                                                                                                                                      Excellent Post - which I'd thought to give that advice earlier!

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. My SO has had a turn at ministerial duties. I've had my turn at political functions. We've all had to deal with people who've been less than ethical, at our expense. I've seen more than one thread be locked here, that I've participated in like this one, where people have offered their experiences and opinions on human behavior within the realm of foodiness, but here goes.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Some people cannot be reached. Some people are simply passive-aggressive to the max. Some people have learned throughout life that behaving as they do reaps rewards to their minds (and often their pocketbooks) that outweigh other consequences.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I had a friend who had an addictive habit, she would shop at high-price stores and purchase extremely expensive clothes and such, then she would return them. She wouldn't even wear the clothes, use the items, she was just addicted to the attention, the thrill of the hunt I called it. Confrontation with clerks and store managers when she'd return items past their term, or items that were marked as "no returns", was a kick for her. I suspect a similar sort of temperament takes food, steals the "silver", from civic functions regardless of personal wealth or comfort. It's an emotional issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I tried to reach my friend. It went nowhere but down, she became hostile and shut me out. People who shoplift, people who "borrow" and don't return, people who use however they use other people, aren't people who can be shamed, or reasoned with. We can only learn from their sad example and try to be better people who don't take more than we give.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Jesus, leave it alone. Some people tried to bag up some leftovers. No big deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I cried once when someone took my leftover ribeye (no I didn't).

                                                                                                                                                                                        People will be people. Live with them or don't...your choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                        16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                                                                          This was my thought too. A whole lot of fuss over some sandwiches... not like it was gourmet foods, and even then, it wouldn't have been worth all this fuss. Many people suck, get over it.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I also think the suggestions to "shame" them are shameful. It's just some freaking sandwiches, and behavior like that is why I stopped going to church.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                            isn't "shaming" one of those Christian biblical/religious issues/tactics? shaming to me is just a passive agressive way to get back at someone or even bullying. but what do i know? i'm just a godless heathen. anyway, move on! clearly the people who tried to take the sandwiches are total jerks. you learned a lesson and you know how far you can throw them next time. i had an incident where a lady came up to me at the grocery store and yelled at me for no reason. it then became "i shouldda, coudda, wouldda" but of course the moment was over and gone.

                                                                                                                                                                                            since you're the "pastors wife" and probably need to keep from getting your panties in a bunch publicly just smile at them at church and know who you're dealing with, jerks. don't the say only God can judge you or was that Tupac?

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: trolley

                                                                                                                                                                                              I am not criticizing the op. In regards to the opening of your thread, I have discovered that Church people are no different than anyone else, faulted and certainly not perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                              How is it not a big deal? IMO, it is no different than coming into my house just before I serve supper an taking the food. If the OP was counting on the food for supper, she must have taken this into account when deciding on the quantity. I have done something similar, as it is more efficient to make more once than less twice. They were told it was supper for the family and still took it. I can see no scenario where the actions of the guests are justifiable.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                I never said their actions were justifiable. I'm saying all the hooplah in this thread about it is a bit insane. They took the sandwiches, the event is over. I'm not sure why this warrants such a huge discussion that is evolving into some not so nice stuff, what's done is done. Life is too short to worry about some sandwiches.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Also, the sandwich takers are not here participating in the thread, and we're only hearing the story from one side of things. So a lot of what's being said here about them is speculation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                  <They took the sandwiches, the event is over>

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The event was over weeks before the OP came to the thread to discuss it. As a matter of fact the OP sat around with some of her friends, laughing, about the ridiculousness of the event. The OP's concern about the 2 women taking the food really wasn't the concern at all, it turns out (the OP's own words), but if/how it was handled correctly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hence, the discussion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I hear ya...
                                                                                                                                                                                                    as for there being another side... there has still been no response to the question: Who paid for the food? No where did I see that the OP actually paid for it, if she had, I'm sure she would have said so. IMO. She just said she "prepared" the food.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Who knows? Maybe the congregation had a fund for this food, and the ladies that took the leftovers were taking it to a shut in?
                                                                                                                                                                                                    We just don't know.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think the panties were in a wad. and they weren't big girl panties, either! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                    was the food that was destined for the family's dinner put out and served along with all the other party food, or was it clearly separated and kept wrapped up in the refrigerator/pantry?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    if it was served and put out for the party, why? what was behind that decision? why would anyone serve food that they really had no intention of sharing? decoration?
                                                                                                                                                                                                    (i've never been at a party where they served food that wasn't intended to be shared with the guests one way or another.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    just a question.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh that's a good point! I guess it would have made more sense for it to have been kept aside. That way there would've been no potential for misunderstanding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm guessing that it was all put out so that it was apparent there was enough. I find sometimes that if the amount of food is *too* accurate, people don't take what they would like. A bit extra solves that. I like to host from a place of abundance, and would hope that the OP would not have stopped people from eating if she had miscalcuted the amount that would be eaten.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                          This makes too much sense. I'm sure likes to argue posters will be all over it in seconds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                            so, you think that the food WAS put out for the guests to eat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            so why is it so terrible if the guests ate some later as opposed to eating it while at the party?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            when anybody in my social groups makes a party and puts food out, they expect that any uneaten food that has been served, may be taken home by the guests. the food was purchased and prepared for the guests, and that's why it was SERVED to the guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            if the guests to whom the food was served, choose to take some of it home, how does that action that turn into a Class A Felony in anyone's mind?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            these are guests that have been invited to your home to enjoy the food that you served them. these are not passerby s who stole a bag of groceries from your shopping cart. . . . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: CanadaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ever have your lunch stolen at work? It is rather annoying but harmless all at the same time. We have a thief at work, he or she helps herself to any food left in the fridge overnight and never replenishes. People like this seem to be around all over the place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                                                                                                                                                            it's more like "how would you feel if someone at work, to whom, earlier in the day, you had tried to serve lunch, decided to take the aforementioned lunch from the office refrigerator later in the day, ( some time after the lunch had originally been served to him?)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            your analogy would be closer if the OP had never served the food, but had it wrapped it up and stowed away in the fridge or pantry at the time she served her guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                                                                                        If it had been a twenty pound beef tenderloin @ $25.00 per pound that "walked off" then I could understand the histrionics....finger pointing...snide comments...pretense of being "oh so scandalized". If a person can not afford to part with a few chicken salad sandwiches and cupcakes without a major meltdown then maybe someone else should be in charge of hosting events in the future that includes serving food. I also agree that the posters on here who advocate for bullying shaming and hostile confrontation towards the two women who took the food should get over themselves. PETTY.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's not about the food, it's about the way they treated her. If someone asks me politely for something, I'm happy to give it to them. If someone rudely takes something, no matter how small it is, I feel hurt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Do you have to be Amish to practice "shunning"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Lesson learned. And that my friends is why over many years we only invite a very select few of long time friends and family. Did you hear about the couple who suspected their 'friends' were sneaking into their medicine cabinet when they went to the bathroom? So they carefully loaded up the medicine cabinet with golf balls. If you are careful and give it some thought it's easy to do. Get someone to hold a towel up against the bottom and side of the cabinet door which is only ajar enough to drop the golf balls in from the top. Then with fours hands you can move the towel and close the door.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            The next time one of these 'friends' excused themselves and went to the bathroom. In a minute about thirty golf balls were heard hitting the counter and floor.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            The 'friend' walked into the living room and motioned to her husband that they were leaving immediately. They moved away shortly thereafter b/c it only took a few days for everyone in the community to hear what the woman did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Puffin3

                                                                                                                                                                                                              WOW! haha, great story Puffin

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. We all have these moments and we have to decide what is more important. You made the call at that moment that harmony in the flock was more important at the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              If you aren't able to speak up for yourself, you'll be taken advantage of. Those "sorry we didn't know" people after hearing you twice say they shouldn't be taking the food away -- don't invite them again, and tell them honestly why. They are not worth whining about on the internet. Just do what you have to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Since I have no problem standing up for myself, when they said "we didn't know", I would have said "well, now you do". Then I would have picked up the bags of food and taken them into the kitchen. After that I would have walked those idjits to the door and bid them adieu and crossed them off my invite list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. OP, I've read most of your replies and short of taking the bags out of their hands, there was nothing you could do, They were self-entitled pigs. I've asked hostesses if I could take home a plate, but I've never packed up the remains of the buffet to take home!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If it makes you feel better, send them a bill!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MysticYoYo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I didn't notice that the OP actually paid for this, she "prepared" the food, all the ladies of the church were invited. I think there might be more to this, which might also be why her husband didn't step in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. It seems like everything there is to be said on this subject has already been said, and now the discussion is just going in circles, and growing increasingly unfriendly. We're going to lock it now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I would have jumped out of the nearest window.