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Turning down food... a story...

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Turning down food... a story...

Post by Amanda on Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:13 pm

So I don't know about the rest of you, but I've been doing mostly birthday parties all winter and I'd say I get offered food or cake at at least 50% of them. Personally, I think it looks unprofessional for the face painter to be munching on cake while on the clock, but that's a personal opinion. And the last thing I want to do after an hour or two of painting the kids is stick around! So as a rule I turn down food, although I will take a drink if offered.

So this weekend I got a call on saturday to do a last minute sunday party. The family was Lebanese and when I got there dad was busy in the kitchen cooking. I painted for my hour, cleaned up and was getting ready to head out and the dad insisted I eat something before I go. I politely turned him down 3 times before I realized it would be more rude of me to keep refusing than to just eat something real quick. The kids had just finished and were off playing and what was left was this amazing spread of all home-made from scratch Mediterranean food. He loaded me up a huge plate and it was literally mouth watering good. I really had eaten a quick lunch before the party so I could only finish about half of it. I thanked them over and over, and they still insisted I take a container of food to go! Needless to say I had half of it for lunch on monday and have half left for tomorrow still. Smile It was definitely a unique situation for me, but man could that guy cook! I'll paint for them again any time just for food. Smile
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Re: Turning down food... a story...

Post by kilpatrickkreativedesign on Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:28 am

love your story Amanda, this is an area my hubby and i disagree on. I agree with you it seems unprofessional and i wont take any food while my hubby looks at me longingly to just say yes so he can eat... men! the last one we did, they offered twice and i guess my hubby was hungry cause his answer was, sorry my wife doesnt let me eat when im working lol i let him eat that time lol sounds like it was yummy food, the homemade stuff is hard to turn down for sure Smile
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Re: Turning down food... a story...

Post by Psalmbook on Thu Mar 31, 2011 9:22 am

Amanda, that's how I feel too. I won't eat till after the party & then I usually need to get going to my next job. I will ask if it's ok to take a plate to go. In many cultures it's more rude to turn down the food than to graciously except. I often end up with enough on 1 plate to feed my whole family when I get home. They love this Very Happy
I do turn down cake. What I've started explaining to my host is that I can't take the cake because I do 3-5 parties a weekend & if I ate cake at every one I wouldn't be able to get in the door Very Happy It usually gets me an understanding laugh & keeps me from having to join the Biggest Loser affraid
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Re: Turning down food... a story...

Post by AngieAnders on Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:36 am

What an awesome experience! I'm sure it gave him pleasure for you to accept some food, especially after his hard work preparing it. I am the same as you - never accept food on the job, but there have been a couple of times when the spread was so amazing and the host so insistent that I took a plate to go after my time was up. Man those are great memories, lol.
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Re: Turning down food... a story...

Post by BluAngL83 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:49 am

I say, "Thank you but I ate just before I got here so I am so full but I'd love to take a plate home and eat it for dinner!"

or

"Thank you, but I have another gig I have to rush off too, but I'd be happy to take a plate with me to go. Thanks"

if its just cake and i dont want it (not really a cake person):

"Thank you but as much as i love cake, I cant eat it b/c I have so many parties and cake offered that if i do eat it, i would get sick all the time."
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Re: Turning down food... a story...

Post by Amy Moon on Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:09 pm

I have not done a whole lot of face painting gigs but we encounter this in the henna world quite often.

If I am doing a short 2 hour or so gig for a non middle eastern family I usually just say no thank you to food but take soda or water if offered. If working for a middle eastern family I will say no thank you a couple times and then accept something like fruit that can be nibbled on or forgotten.

The taking it with you is a good option if they insist you have a full meal. It is also something commonly seen at the middle eastern gathering I have been to. Guests and staff will be sent home with food.

Usually though I work with a gal who does henna on a bride and I do the guests. At these events we are working 6-10 hours as as such must take time to eat or not only will our health suffer but our artwork will as well. These are not hourly gigs though. It is also considered very rude not to accept hospitality from middle eastern families we work with so at the very least I will take some sweats home for my kids.

As for the cake issue I think I would politely refuse or say "I am really sorry it looks lovely but I am afraid I am unable to eat it." I am lucky most cakes have cream frosting or filling so I can just say I am allergic and they will offer something else and I say "no really I am fine but thank you" and they usually drop it at that point.
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Re: Turning down food... a story...

Post by anramire2 on Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:29 pm

I agree with Psalm it could be a cultrual thing. I know when I used to visit family in Puerto Rico it was insulting if I didn't eat. I think gained 15lbs when I visited them. I used to try and explain that I was full, they were pretty bull headed and kept insisting I eat anyway. PS. They would tell my father how rude I was if I didn't eat. He would agrue for me too, but then I just tried to keep the peace and made small plates.
My Greek inlaws throw a fit (literally) if you visit them and don't eat. I learned that the hard way when dating my husband. Now, I make sure no one in my family eats if were going to visit them. LOL
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Re: Turning down food... a story...

Post by Tilly - Formerly Punky on Sun Apr 03, 2011 11:54 pm

I am a firm believer in finding out the culture of the families you entertain for before you get to the party. Having taken 4 years of Spanish in school, I learned a lot about hispanic and Latino culture. This helped a lot because there are a lot Latino families in my area and when I know I'll be doing a party for one of them, I change my game plan a lot!

For instance, I like arrive about 30-45 minutes early because they WILL want you to eat with them, which is great, because the food is AMAZING. If you've already eaten, they WILL still offer you food. TAKE IT, even if it has to be in a doggie bag. Refusing food offered to you is a good way to deeply offend someone of Latino heritage. Once the food is eaten and they've gotten to talk to me a bit, then I'll go and set up my kit.

It is also not uncommon for them to offer you a beer, even if you are in clown. They don't see you as just the entertainment, they like to make you feel welcome and at home as if you are a guest at the party as well. Obviously opt for water or some other non-alcoholic beverage, but if they offer you something to drink, take it, even if you only take one sip of that pepsi or water.

I have a friend who is also a clown and he did a party once where the patriarch of the family wanted to do shots with him (while he was IN CLOWN). He very respectfully refused, though it was a very awkward situation.

If doing a party for people of a different culture, it isn't a bad idea to learn at least a few phrases in that language in case someone doesn't understand english... or understands and just doesn't listen.

Another friend of mine who also does a lot of Latino parties knows only one phrase in spanish, which is "Nosotros no hacemos eso aquí" which means "We don't do that here" and that is how he keeps the kids in line, and the families love that he took time to learn their language to better serve their needs.

Many other cultures are much, MUCH more hospitable than what is generally encountered in the average American household. On the flip side, some are also much more reserved. Families from some middle eastern cultures may not offer you any food or drink at all and will look at you oddly if you ask for food or drink. This is because they see you as the entertainment. Period. Feeding you and giving you a beverage was not in the contract, so they don't expect to provide it to you.

It is always a good idea to learn at least a little bit about your client's culture so you aren't surprised when you arrive at the gig. This helps make a good impression on the family and is a sure way to get repeat bookings and to get business from other guests at that party as well.
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Re: Turning down food... a story...

Post by Kitty's Make-up Studio on Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:07 pm

Good explanation punky!
It's indeed professional to know your customers.

In the Netherlands (at least in the south) they always ask you if you want to drink or eat something. The drinks are welcome when I'm busy and if they offer something to eat I wait till I'm ready with the job or till everybody is painted once.
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Re: Turning down food... a story...

Post by Abril on Mon Apr 04, 2011 7:36 pm

I have to agree with punky! Smile

Im mexican..and i live on the border so 99.9% of my gigs are for mexican families..they dont see you at all as the entertainment like punky said..and they ALWAYS offer me food...of course i NEVER eat during the party...sometimes i tell them no thank you because i ate before (truth is..the party is over and theyre cleaning up and must be tired like i am! i dont want to make them go and fix a plate for me lol)...some ask me to take a break and eat but i obviously cant cuz im wrking against the clock..i tell them once im done id be glad to have some food..i never ask for it..but then they bring my money they have with them a bag of candy..cake, a drink, and a huge plate of food Very Happy...sometimes i eat it..and sometimes my dad eats it lol
...i dont want to be mean or anything..but american people...they dont offer anything at all! lol my experience of course haha...the few gigs ive done is no food..no drink..no candyyyyy!!! Sad hahaha
...@punky...TRUST me!!! if your friend would have taken that shot...a picture of him and the family would be framed on top of the tv for everyone to see the clown who took shots with the crazy "man of the house" LOL!!!!!
...i remember clayton mastaw asked the same question...i dont remember who said this but they mentioned something like....they dont expect people to offer them anything nor accept food from strangers pretty much..like when she hires a gardener or something to mow the yard she expects them to do their job not to feed them.....i would totally offer at least a glass of water...i live in texas! its HOT in here people! lol and when i have a party theres not one person who leaves my home without a plate of food/cake/candy! event the clown, dj, or whoever was there providing a service that btw we paid for too.
...oh yeah!!! another thing! i CANT say no to mexican food! are you crazzzzy people!??!?! LOL im getting hungry already! Razz
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Re: Turning down food... a story...

Post by Tilly - Formerly Punky on Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:42 pm

It's true. As Americans, we generally are very inhospitable and inconsiderate people. If we hire someone to do us a service, we expect them to do that service and be done with it. What? Feed you? Why didn't you eat before you got here? What? You're thirsty? Why didn't you plan ahead and bring your own drink? What do you mean you need a break?! I'm paying you by the hour! Now get off your backside and do what I'm paying you to do! That is the way our culture treats hired service... And really, it's crap.

Personally, being a hired service myself, I do not treat other hired people that way, I always offer food or drink if they'd like it. However, due to our culture being the way it is, most Americans who get hired to go perform a service plan to eat ahead of time and bring their own drink because we are also taught not to accept handouts even IF they are offered.

It's a very backwards society we live in, which is why I personally LOVE getting hired by families that hail from cultures that are much more friendly and hospitable to others.
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Re: Turning down food... a story...

Post by kat on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:24 am

I'm from the Southeast... you walk in the door, someone IS going to offer you food, drink, other hospitality. laugh

I'm the same way... before you leave, you're GONNA be taking something home with you!
otherwise, my Grandma would kill me for poor hospitality!

ahem...

I haven't been in that situation yet.. I don't think I would normally eat... but, having been to various homes of varied ethnicitiy, I understand that some people might be offended at being turned down...
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Re: Turning down food... a story...

Post by AngieAnders on Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:55 am

I've done hundreds of parties over the years - LOTS of hispanic, black, and white parties. I'd have to say it's a pretty even mix for me as far as who offers food and who doesn't. I couldn't peg down any one race or financial class as being more considerate than another. Hispanic kids are usually the best behaved though, while black children and adults are the first ones to hug you like a long lost relative, and white guests and hosts are generous with their praise and their tips. It's all good. Smile
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