A neighbor invited my spouse and children over the other day for muffins and hot chocolate. When they arrived, they were served muffins, but did not immediately receive hot chocolate. My daughter alerted their host to this omission by saying, “Umm…you forgot the hot chocolate.”
My spouse was appalled. Back at home, we had a dinner-table conversation about what the most elegant and respectful way to handle the situation might have been. Unfortunately we had three different opinions, and we could not reach a consensus. I’d already returned the three etiquette books I had out from the library to help me polish my social graces (turns out I shouldn’t spit food into my napkin or use my butter knife as a mirror to help me when I apply lipstick at the table…who knew?), so I’m putting the question to you.
Which of these is the proper way to alert a host that he’s forgotten to provide a specific item he previously offered?
a) “Umm…you forgot the hot chocolate.” (my daughter’s actual response)
b) “When we were out shoveling snow a little while ago, you mentioned hot chocolate. May I please have some hot chocolate?” (my spouse’s suggestion)
c) Say nothing. It’s rude to request something in someone else’s home. If they remember, fine. If not, you must do without. (my suggestion)
Other suggestions are welcome. I’m looking for a best-bet response, something we can offer our daughter as a guide for her future behavior in a variety of similar situations. (Sure, I could Google it, but this is more fun.)
9 Replies to “Hot Chocolate Etiquette: Your Input Requested”
Personally I would tend toward C, but I like Kylie’s response the best, particularly if (outspoken) children are involved. It would be both polite and a casual reminder to say something like, “Yum, I love these muffins! It’s so fun to have muffins and hot chocolate with friends.”
I would say, “it’s so nice of you to invite us over for muffins and hot chocolate! Thank you!” And that would prompt her if she forgot. I space things like that all the time and wouldn’t mind.
Pet peeve: When kids say, “I’m good,” when I offer them something rather than “No, thank you.”
I like that idea! It’s a memory jogger and an expression of gratitude all in one!
And while I think the only people old enough to call me a “kid” anymore are my grandparents (eh, maybe my parents, too), I admit to saying both: “No, thanks…I’m good.” Maybe that means I’m at an in-between age.
Maybe it’s because my first exposure to “I’m good” was from an anorexic who was clearly NOT good.
That would do it, I think. I’m pretty sure that most times, “I’m good” isn’t really the truth. I know it doesn’t mean exactly that when I say it. I can see not appreciating that kind of dishonest response. I’ll have to mull that one over.
I’m going with (c). Elise recently did the same thing at a friend’s house where we’d been invited to dinner. She was expecting something in particular (which I’d been told was on the menu). It wasn’t an oversight, just a misunderstanding, so she didn’t get to have what she thought she would. What mattered to me more was how she handled it not being served, not that she asked in the first place. Thankfully, she is not Addie, and she coped fine with its absence. I did talk to her about what was appropriate (option (c), unless you know the hosts really well), but for a 7 or 8 year old, I think it’s totally fine to ask.
Thank you for siding with me, Katie. I suppose saying something breaks through the awkwardness of the situation, but I almost always err on the side of not making waves, especially when it comes to food (I make enough waves in issues around food without adding any more).
Oh man I definitely agree with bits of B and bits of C. I think if it was previously offered, then the person may feel TERRIBLE after the visit was over after realizing he (or she?) forgot to serve the cocoa. He may have wished someone would have reminded him. On the other hand, asking for a particular food or item when you are a guest at someone’s house is a little forward.
I don’t know if it’s the right answer to teach a kid (lol), but what I would have done in that situation is politely ask for a drink, not necessarily name the hot chocolate, but just a drink in general. If someone is serving you bread or something else semi-drying, I definitely don’t think it’s rude to ask for a drink to wash it down! It would be my hope that the host would suddenly remember “oh! a drink! I forgot the hot chocolate.”
Maybe that’s super passive aggressive but like you said, it’s a difficult situation! I like to lead people to something, make them think it was their own idea 😀
I kind of like the passive-aggressive solution. I’d still probably say nothing…but then, not eating gluten or dairy, I wouldn’t have expected to be served either.