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When A Friend Takes Advantage of You

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
This past weekend took alot out of me and I am still seething. Grrrrr!
My wife has been quite ill since early December, and folks frequently phone to ask how she's doing. Thursday night, a friend of my wife's called to seemingly inquire about her health. The conversation ultimately became, "Do you think Steve could drop by tomorrow to give us some 'pointers' on preparing for our youngest daughter's graduation party this weekend?" My wife, always gracious, always a friend, said that I would.

Upshot....the party for 150 was Saturday and they'd prepared nothing; not even purchased the bare basic foodstuffs.

Needless to say, I have a reputation to protect, so there was alot of work to be done with virtually no help. Mediterranean buffet...all scratch prepared: from four types of hummous to baba ghanouj to cous cous salads, tabouli, poached and grilled salmon, etc. It was nothing I haven't prepared many times previously, for far bigger crowds than 150, but this was impromptu and gratis.

added...the worst item, physically, I prepped and fried over 300 falafel.

The woman who phoned my wife has been very supportive of my wife during her illness and treatment. It would have been emotionally impossible for my wife to tell her friend that I wouldn't help her. It burns me that this woman was well aware of that fact.

A lesson to be learned from my experience. Have a list of prepared, yet gracious, and believable reasons why you can't drop by with some suggestions or pointers:

e.g. "I know he'd love to help, but tomorrow he's having a colonoscopy" or "Steve talked about wanting to drop by to see if you needed some guidance but he managed to get poison ivy on his hands..."

You get the drift.
post #2 of 17
Or maybe have the phone number to the local pizza delivery handy...

Sorry, there just aren't any words to describe the appropriate response to someone who is obviously suffering from either an extreme sense of entitlement (to your expertise), or simply doesn't understand the logistics of pulling off a party of that magnitude.

What happened, did her daughter just get notice that she would actually graduate on schedule?? Jeeez...
I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
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I might be suffering from CDO.
It is just like OCD, except the letters are in alphabetical order.
Just as they should be...
Reply
post #3 of 17
RSteve - I'm not in the food industry, but know about being taken advantage of by so called "friends". They have their own motivation for contacting you, and IMHO, just use people. We've gone thru some bitter times in the last 5 years (escaping it now) but its no fun. We were really stuck in a corner business wise and had no other options. It sucked.

But first and foremost, best of luck to you and your wife. Stick to your tried and true friends - they are the ones that have been with you, and will remain. With no ulterior motives.

DC
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #4 of 17
Ugly but true. You can not be taken advantage of without your permission.

No bizarre explaination needed just say you have a prior commitment and offer whatever verbal advice over the phone that you feel like sharing.

150 guest party with that menu.....would be $3000-5000 dollars for food.


I recieved an e-mail from an actress who works for a theatre group I do alot of business with......she wanted info on how to "act" food stylist for an organic market Play. I asked for a couple of tickets in return.

As my dear friend the food editor of the local newspaper says, Julie will talk whether she's getting paid or not.......this was impetus to make sure there's a quid pro quo.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
I wish it were that easy.

post #6 of 17
You know, Steve, shroom is absolutely right, but you also did the right thing by helping them out. Provided, of course, that they knew how much this would have cost them had they not slimed you into it. If they've helped your wife (and you, by extension) out for the last few months, I'm sure you would have been happy to do something for them in return for their kindness...just not frying 300 falafels... :eek:

This makes you one very good guy! Your wife is very lucky!
post #7 of 17
Well, I think most of us have been set up by those who claimed themselves as our "Friends"...

This totally an awful experience, but you've also learned the lesson here as well.
post #8 of 17
Along these same lines, I got a call on Sunday from a cafe customer of mine asking me to price out a BBQ for her for 50 people. I got from her what she wanted for a menu and the date which turned out to be a date for which I'm booked. She continued to press me for a price and when I asked her why, she told me that her friend's catering company was doing the party but she thought she was being overcharged and couldn't I just price it out for her and let her know what I thought. :mad: I told her that there was no way I could price it out but if she wanted to tell me what the other caterer was charging, I would tell her if it was fair. At this point, she could have told me it was $75 per person and I would have told her it was fair. As it turns out, she was getting a very good deal- at least $5 cheaper than what I would have charged! They must be very good friends- such a lot of trust involved....

Another customer of mine asked me to put extra chicken in her cacciatiore and she'd be "willing to pay $2 more". Just for fun, I asked her how much more she wanted and she said a little less than a pound. I laughed.

People are funny.
post #9 of 17
Meh, for me it's pretty simple:

We own a business, or rather the business owns me.

We live in an "older" home, which requires outragous amounts of TLC, money, and time.

We have two kids.

I make most of the furniture, display props, repairs, painting, plumbing, etc for the business and home.

Figure it out for yourself, but I don't have any friends.

Mind you, I still get a lot of customers and potential customers looking for freebies/handouts/advice, but the friendship issue never comes up.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #10 of 17
Yeah, Steve, they truly took advantage.

I agree with shroomgirl: we can only be taken advantage of if we let it happen. This doesn't make you wrong; we've all been taken advantage of, one time or another, and there are always what we see as good reasons for it. But, at base, you could have said, "sorry, nothing doing." The fact that you didn't, for whatever reason, was your choice.

I am confused about one thing: How did "give us a few pointers" translate into "Steve caters the party?" That's the part that really sucks.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #11 of 17

Time to Reframe

Buddy,

Take a breath, sit down, have a beverage, and reframe. You didn't do all of the work and give all the time to you wife's friends -- you gave them to your wife. It was an act of love, and I'm proud to know someone like you.

You should be too. You're stuck in one of the worst of all possible positions -- someone you love needs help and there's nothing you can do to give the kind of help you wish you could -- which is make her better. Instead you did what you actually could -- which is knock yourself out helping people who have been nice to her. Stop kicking yourself for being a pasty, you weren't. In case the universal bookkeeper doesn't have plans to do anything soon (let's hope not!), treat yourself to something very nice. You deserve it.

And tell your wife hi from,
BDL
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
BDL, your post is very much appreciated and I know was written from your heart.
post #13 of 17
Yeah I don't get that bit either. If I had showed up and there was no food or any sign of prep, the only assistance I'd be giving is where to locate and buy in some ready-to-go grub in a hurry.

Steve, you must be a really great friend to decide to drop everything and pull a party out of thin air. Unfortunately I don't think your "friends" appreciated the effort. Even if the woman was good to your wife, you certainly don't support someone during an illness because you expect a gratuity in return. You do it because your friend needs you.
post #14 of 17
All learning curves along the road.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #15 of 17
True. It will all be ok!
post #16 of 17
I just noticed you advised someone else to run from those so called friends, i see why you said that, lol.

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

FRIENDS?
When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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When I stop loving what I do, I will do something else: Clint Eastwood http://NewDreamCatering.comCharleston, SC
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post #17 of 17
I think it is very sad that just because they helped your wife they felt you should help them. As I read it, though, it was your wife who wanted to help them but she couldn't so you did it on her behalf. I am sure your wife really appreciates this.
And what of your friends? Can you believe they weren't taking you for a ride? They expected such a lot from you - and they got it! You sound like a great husband and friend.
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