When does "enough" become "too much" ?

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notAgrandma's picture
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Questions for everyone: Do you set out dinner cordials for your guests to enjoy? If so, what do you provide? Lastly, have you ever had guests abuse the complimentary alcohol?

I have scotch and bailey's set out with teeny, tiny glasses. The bottles are fifths (750mL), but I just fill them from the huge gallon handles of booze Costco sells for $15. So it's not like it costs me a ton to provide the cordials. However, I have had several guests grab a tumbler from the cabinet, fill it with ice from our ice machine, then go to town on the alcohol.

Should I say something to guests at check-in, "Feel free to enjoy our dinner cordials *in moderation* using the glasses provided next to the bottles." Or should I place a tag or sign on the bottles? Or just get rid of the whole thing entirely? I feel it's a nice gesture for guests, but wow, some folks feel free to take a mile!

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Tom
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State law (Oregon) allows beer and wine at B&B, but not hard liquor without license, but I would not put out self serve hard liquor anyway out of concern for guest driving under the influence and liability would flow to the server.  We do offer local wines and home-brewed beer, but only by direct service: I pour to a 5 oz point on our logo classes.  The wine is not cheap: a 750 ml bottle is $12 to 15 for whites, $20 to 28 for reds, but it has the cachet of local origin.  Two pours (a couple) costs me average $8, about what it costs to charge a Tesla.  I would never leave it out.  And serving plonk to discourage consumption ruins the intent of hospitality.

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Don't put out unlimited cookies or booze if you're going to be upset when guests eat or drink all of it. 

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notAgrandma's picture
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PhineasSwann wrote:

Don't put out unlimited cookies or booze if you're going to be upset when guests eat or drink all of it. 

My husband points out that this behavior from guests is something that I struggle with in multiple scenarios. I constantly expect people (friends, family, guests, & strangers) to behave as I would behave in situations. Just like Morticia said about the meager bottle of wine that she, in good conscience, could not drain dry. I wouldn't dream of drinking an entire bottle of a host's booze during my stay, even if I were there a month! There's a huge liquor store warehouse 5 blocks away, and a grocery store and a Walgreens with booze 3 blocks away. 

However, you're absolutely right, PhineasSwann. Unlimited availability of anything means that some guests will invariably take advantage. I am going to try putting out sherry, which I can't imagine folks drink by the tumbler full. If it does get drained dry multiple times, I will give up & no longer provide dinner cordials. 

Morticia's picture
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I would walk to the warehouse in the snow before I would drink the sherry. So, you should be safe!

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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Honestly, what traveler arrives without his own booze?   Rookies!

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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hahahaha.

We had planned to put congac in each room when we were dreaming before we closed on the house.   Once we got here, it because too much work.   

So, cookies.    Help yourself to cookies.  And they are in the common area - not the rooms!   

 

Smiling

notAgrandma's picture
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Thank you so much to everyone for the feedback. Yeah, I know most folks drink scotch on the rocks, but if you do that in Scotland the bartender will glare at you. It's meant to be enjoyed neat or with a few drops of water. I had a decanter at one time, but it was challenging to keep it clean. Plus guests were sloppy pouring from it. I had one gal empty it all over my hardwood floor & wool rug, then yell at me when I mentioned breakfast was delayed bc I had to mop up an unexpected spill.

Anyway, I like the idea of removing the bottle after a certain time, like when I turn down the lights in the parlor around 7 or 8. My current guest drank the whole bottle of bailey's in 3 days by enjoying glasses of it every evening around 5 <sigh>.

I'll bet if I changed the cordial to sherry or cognac, it wouldn't disappear nearly as quickly.

Morticia, your story about the stale cookies and skimpy amount of wine is sadly humorous! We tried an all out "wine & cheese" happy hour once or twice. Not a single guest came, and we had great local craft beers, wine, the whole 9 yards. I think it's because we're not a "destination" inn. We're in the middle of a city and folks go out to do their own thing.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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You are upset because your current guest took some of the complimentary cordials each night of her stay.   I don't understand.   If I were staying at your inn, I would have done the same.  

Oh, look, honey, they put out Baily's.    Let's have one before we go out to dinner.  

Perhaps you don't drink, but a cocktail each night when you are on vacation is not a big thing.   And we always try to enjoy the amenities of whatever hotel we stay at.   The pool, fitness center, complimentary cocktails, coffee, whatever they offer, we generally try.   It's part of the fun.

I think if you don't want people to drink it, don't put it out.  

  

gillumhouse's picture
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I think an entire bottle in 3 nights is more than just a cocktail. Sounds more like lush - I believe that one she refers to is there alone.

notAgrandma's picture
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Yes, she is here *alone*. And she's drinking a large glass full of bailey's each night - I've seen her doing it. She has also had local family members come over during the past 3 days "to see the beautiful B&B" and apparently drink all of my booze. The entire bottle of scotch is nearly empty, too. It's not a matter of a guest enjoying amenities, it's a matter of a guest abusing amenities. IMHO, if there are tiny cordial glasses set next to the bailey's, it is an invitation to enjoy a small amount, NOT an entire cocktail.

This is the last straw on a loooong list of items that this woman has done during her stay. Her 2 adult daughters stayed over the weekend (which I knew in advance), arriving late on Friday night. Saturday morning, they surprise me by bringing a 1yo to the breakfast table (blatantly violating our no kids policy). They then proceed to want special food for the baby, want me to do their laundry, want me to supply a toothbrush and feminine products, specially wash the baby's bottles, provide coffee to go, etc. This is by far the most demanding, high maintenance reservation I have ever had in 6 years!

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notAgrandma wrote:

Yes, she is here *alone*. And she's drinking a large glass full of bailey's each night - I've seen her doing it. She has also had local family members come over during the past 3 days "to see the beautiful B&B" and apparently drink all of my booze. The entire bottle of scotch is nearly empty, too. It's not a matter of a guest enjoying amenities, it's a matter of a guest abusing amenities. IMHO, if there are tiny cordial glasses set next to the bailey's, it is an invitation to enjoy a small amount, NOT an entire cocktail.

This is the last straw on a loooong list of items that this woman has done during her stay. Her 2 adult daughters stayed over the weekend (which I knew in advance), arriving late on Friday night. Saturday morning, they surprise me by bringing a 1yo to the breakfast table (blatantly violating our no kids policy). They then proceed to want special food for the baby, want me to do their laundry, want me to supply a toothbrush and feminine products, specially wash the baby's bottles, provide coffee to go, etc. This is by far the most demanding, high maintenance reservation I have ever had in 6 years!

Ok.  Lets take a step back now and breath.  This person is not your typical guest. This is a PITA and you should not change your routine based on the actions of this 1 guest.  BUT if the bottle runs dry on a regular basis then I would consider making a change.  - But I do agree that setting a time limit would be best for all.  

notAgrandma's picture
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[/quote]

Ok.  Lets take a step back now and breath.  This person is not your typical guest. This is a PITA and you should not change your routine based on the actions of this 1 guest.  BUT if the bottle runs dry on a regular basis then I would consider making a change.  - But I do agree that setting a time limit would be best for all.  

[/quote]

It's happened a handful of times, tho this case is the extreme. No one has drained both bottles, but a few guests have drank the entire bottle of scotch or baileys. One set of guests bought me a replacement bottle, one set paid me $20, and the remaining dozen or so didn't care. Also, guests pouring a full tumbler definitely happens more frequently than I ever imagined. So yesterday I bought a $6 bottle of cream sherry to set out. Problem solved.

Thank you everyone for the thoughtful comments and advice, and for lending an ear to my rant Smiling 

gillumhouse's picture
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Put the cheap stuff in an  inexpensive decanter that looks like crystal and they will not know the difference. They will perceive it to be the "good stuff".

Morticia's picture
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Yeah, that's a lengthy list of demands for a single person to suddenly show up with. I might have had to make a little sign to hold up whenever they opened their mouths 'No'.

Once I saw the open door policy she thought you had, the booze would have disappeared.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Yes, I was thinking a couple.  

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Most people who drink scotch drink it on the rocks.   You can't do a proper 'on the rocks' in a cordial glass.   I'm afraid I'd look for a tumbler and ice too, if I were to find a bottle of scotch set out for us.

BUT, to the other question, we don't put out liquor.   We do breakfast.   And a plate of cookies.  Even those sometimes go to one person.  

Once in awhile we will offer a glass of wine when it looks like it would be appreciated.   Like a late arrival from the airport who doesn't realize that the closest liquor store is over 5 miles away and it looks like they could use a drink.  

My suggestion is that you only put out cordial type liquor, like sherry, port or cognac or sweet wine.

  Baily's works.  

Generic's picture
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Are mickey bottles available? Then get those and put them on the table, so you have a smaller amount. But whenever there is something with a value, some people will abuse. It's like those people who take soaps. They have plenty of soap at home, but it's FREE, so they feel they have to take it with them.

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We do not put out any alcohol for guests - State law say we cannot serve or "charge" for it.

The only safe way for us is if we want to offer a guest to share a drink with us like we would our own personal family/friend - that rarely happens...

 

Morticia's picture
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I would not suggest moderation because someone will take that as your being cheap. Better to have a time limit.

I might also get glasses that look huge, but don't hold a lot. And put the ice right there in a bucket so the guests don't go wandering around and find the good glasses!

Morticia's picture
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Interesting. We stayed at what the owner was billing as a fairly posh place - a horse farm in horse country - with photos everywhere of the owner meeting and greeting senators, governors, presidents, you get the idea.

We were told to 'help yourselves to wine and cheese' in the library. There were no other guests. There was about 2 short glasses of wine left in the bottle and a couple of stale cookies on a paper plate.

We could not in all conscience 'finish' that bottle. So, we each had a couple of sips.

In your case? If you like offering this, get small decanters, rather than a full bottle. Keep an eye on it during the evening. Remove it at a certain time. So, it's not a free for all all night.

I might have it out only for a couple of hours. Avoid the after dinner guzzlers.

But, yeah, free booze! That's why wedding planners tell you to shut down the open bar before you go broke.

gillumhouse's picture
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My State Laws say I cannot do it. When I first opened, I used to give guests splits of WV Sparkling cider & WV goblets. That stopped when the factory closed due to stratospheric gas prices (plus they had gone from 50 cents to $1 per goblet). I gave the cider so I wuld not endanger someone who was "on the wagon".

Perhaps your guests arrive at a time such things are nice - mine arrive at all hours so I just have a basket of fruit in the room as a welcome.

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