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  • Writer's pictureLorna I. Robins

Your event is an environmental disaster waiting to happen and you're the cause! Part 2

Yeah, it’s still dramatic! If you haven’t read part 1 please do so first, we break down why the party planner or host is the cause of an environmental disaster due to avoidable food waste from a lack of appropriate planning. There are no pointing fingers or even blame shaming it’s just food for thought and a way of looking at events from an environmental perspective especially as one of the top 5 listed reasons for avoidable food waste by the experts is badly planned events.

I want to go a step further though and take some of those badly planned event problems off the shoulders of the host and put it on the shoulders of the invited guests. As you will see below, it isn’t always the host who creates the problem.

That one friend

You know the ones, who are well known to be fickle, non-committal or make excuses to duck out of arrangements you’ve had for months, constantly. You even know on the day of the event, that, that person is most likely going to call you to back out, you can set your watch by it, they are so predictable.

The most popular excuses are the kids are sick, they have to work, or they’ve been rushed to the hospital or someone they know has and you know it’s a load of crap, they are just not polite enough, to be honest (I am not talking about people with a real illness and genuine emergency).

But here is the most unbelievable thing about this person, if you didn’t invite them, all hell would break loose and if you told them the truth that you know they wouldn’t come anyway, you better buckle in for the infinity war.

Let’s take a sidebar here

If you don’t have a friend like this, it might be you. Please, understand your friends and family try hard to make you a priority, that is why they continue to invite you in the hope that one day they’ll be a priority to you.

This blog is to show a behind-the-scenes look at how being this person affects the people they are supposed to care about most and how it impacts the bigger picture.

Are you a polite or rude party guest?

Our client Sharon had invited people to a special party and was really stunned by how many people didn’t show up.

Sharon had arranged an amazing party for her son’s christening. She did everything right and planned appropriately. She had paid for a venue, catering, a DJ, balloon décor throughout the room, a children’s entertainer and a gorgeous cake. She had booked all this for the 35 family and friends that said they would be there. Over the course of the afternoon, 16 people showed up, 9 of them kids. That’s 19 of her family and friends that didn’t show up.

I’m aware that sicknesses and emergencies happen all the time, it’s possible a few people had a genuine reason for not being there, but 19?

There was no inclement weather, in fact, it was a beautiful April day. If Sharon was your friend or cousin or sister, how would you feel knowing she had wasted £200+ on no-shows? And this is only secondary to the amount of food that was prepared and wasted. Sharon paid for her guests to eat and be entertained for the afternoon.

So, who are you in this scenario? Are you one of the 16 that showed or the 19 that let her down and why?

Let’s take a look at who the no-shows are.

Selfish Susan

Susan has no intention of going to her friend's or family members' party for whatever reason. Maybe she can’t afford it, or it’s not her scene, but she doesn’t like kids running around or loud thumping music and would rather stay away than spend a few hours for the sake of her friend or family member. Susan should speak up. Say she can’t make it and be honest. But when you’re selfish and you don’t want to look bad you have to come up with a conniving plan. Susan thinks to herself ‘I’ll tell them I’m coming but, on the day, I’ll tell them I’m ill’ and guess what selfish Susan, you’re not the only person that does this, it’s the predictable behaviour of the fickle one as mentioned above.

Inconsiderate Ian

Ian has every intention of going to the party, he R.S.V.P.’d with a ‘yes’ and then on the day he just can’t be bothered. He’s not sick, there is no emergency, and he has no valid reason he just doesn’t want to get out of his pj’s, and it’s too much effort. Ian calls his friend and tells them a flat-out lie as to the reason he can’t go. Let’s face it, if you have to lie about anything to anybody, it’s because you want to save face for doing something you feel is wrong. If you know it’s wrong, why are you doing it?

Ignorant Irene

When you are as rude as Irene you basically have no manners at all. You decide that you’ll go unless something better comes along in the meantime. But just in case nothing does make sure you’re on the guest list by RSVPing ‘yes’ and then make that a no if you end up with other plans.

Arrogant Annie and Entitled Eddie

The arrogant and entitled rude guest may not impact food waste and may not have been that bad for Sharon’s situation but they are people that we come across from time to time, sometimes in our own families and they impact our lives and hearts. Let's say the event is a wedding for example.

Annie has an invite to her cousin's wedding, she checks the date in her calendar, she has nothing planned, but Annie considers herself a popular woman and her company is in demand. She’s really not sure whether committing to her cousin’s wedding is the best use of her time and she decides not to R.S.V.P. keeping her options open.

On the actual day of her cousin's wedding, Annie realises she’s not quite as popular as she thought and going to a wedding isn’t the worst thing, she could do that day. She gets dressed up and goes.

Her cousin is shocked to see her, Annie isn’t written into the seating plan, they haven’t bought her a meal, and Annie is now the problem the bride on her wedding day doesn’t need. The bride hands the problem to her wedding planner and that’s why Annie ends up on the kid's table next to dribbling Tarquin and eating the child’s chicken nugget option.

So, Annie how did that work out for you, huh? You’ve upset your own cousin. You created more work for the wedding planner just when she had it all under control and running smoothly. How are you more important? And why on God’s green earth would you think you are? Entitled people, who are like this and get exposed, don’t usually get invited again, now who’s the popular one?

And just for kicks and giggles, there is only one more arrogant person worse than Annie and that’s Entitled Eddie, and he is the type of person that is truly up his own…well you know, where the sun doesn’t shine. He gets his invite, and he doesn’t acknowledge it in any way, no ‘thank you for the thought’, no rsvp and he doesn’t show up. Replying and going is beneath him because it isn’t HIS day, and he wouldn’t be the centre of attention. But then he starts seeing the photos online and he’s really bothered that the guests who attended had an amazing day without him, how dare they! In order to put the attention back on himself, he starts leaving hurtful comments and putting the wedding and his cousin down. After all negative attention is still attention. My take on Eddie is that if 'where the sun doesn’t shine' is such a nice place, stay up there.

Polite Penny

I think we should all try to be more like Penny. She is a genuine and trustworthy person who doesn’t need to think about conniving plans because she doesn’t make them. Being a polite guest comes very naturally to Penny. She appreciates her friends and family and loves spending time with them. When Penny gets her invitation, she doesn’t reply right away, she takes some time to check her diary, and she considers how much it will cost her to get there in fuel or in taxis. Or if the party is in a faraway location decide if she will need a hotel room and can afford it. Once she has done her research and comes to a decision Penny will then R.S.V.P. and she always does this before the date specified. If Penny can’t go for any reason, she politely declines the invitation.

The effects of rude guests

To the host it’s wasted money and disappointment, to the caterer it’s wasted time, food and money, to the environment wasted food makes a detrimental impact. Did you know food waste sent to landfills, while decomposing gives off methane, this is a greenhouse gas that can be up to twenty times more potent than CO₂. Food wasted due to rude people is avoidable waste*.

At the end of the day

We lie and make conniving plans because we care about how we appear and don’t want to appear heartless and unkind, but in fact, it is a very twisted way to look at it and you actually appear exactly how you’re trying to avoid appearing. You look like a fool and a liar; people aren’t as stupid as you think. Do you actually prefer to be thought of badly and the topic of gossip than simply saying no? Since when was saying no perceived as such a shameful thing? It isn’t and you have the choice to say no and say it honestly.

Let’s all celebrate our lives with each other, stop letting meaningless things get in our way and if what’s in the way is you, get over yourself.

*Always dispose of food waste in the green bin so it can be appropriately treated and turned into valuable resources such as compost, fertiliser, and renewable energy.

* These rude guest tactics have been shared with me over the years by my conniving friends and family, names have been changed to protect the foolish but they know whose on blast :D

Blog post by Lorna Robins head hero at Buffet Heroes. Buffet Heroes is a small family-run catering business

in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

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