Ask Amy: Pre-party makes guests messy, less charitable

September 11, 2013 

Dear Amy: Each year we host an elegant, upscale fundraiser on our estate for a local nonprofit. One of the major sources of income for this event is the multiple cash bars. We offer a variety of beverages, including fine wines.

For the past two years, one couple (who are close friends, neighbors and business associates) have hosted a "pre-party" at their home, which we, of course, cannot attend due to our preparation obligations. They then arrive late with several other couples in tow.

This year they even arrived with their own wine, which they not only drank but shared with several other couples.

I did not learn of their "private bar" until my husband and I walked them out. Near their vehicle was a pile of wine bottles dumped on the lawn. The amount of alcohol from the bottles left lying on our lawn amounted to about $300 to $400 in lost drink ticket sales.

I feel insulted and hurt, and I am stunned by their behavior. Aside from business associations, we see each other often. Am I over-reacting? How should we handle this situation?

— Wined out

Dear Wined Out: First, let me thank you for outlining the very essence of the phrase "first-world problem" in this space. And yet, even though your dilemma occurs on an estate and involves fine wine, when you boil it down, this issue simply amounts to people behaving badly and the question of how to respond. And you should respond.

You say, "Daisy and Tom, we found a pile of wine bottles on the lawn near your car, and I think they came from you and your guests. What's up with that?"

And then after you have had your say, you move on. Don't dwell, punish or gossip. Consider the matter settled.

Next year you might enlist these people to join with you and use their pre-party as an additional fundraiser for the nonprofit. That way, not one drop will be wasted (unlike your guests).

Dear Amy: I was so incredibly touched by the letter from "Bryce," who was eager to thank neighbors (and others) who helped his family after a natural disaster. One idea was to host a dinner at a struggling restaurant.,

I hope he does this. What a great way to thank people and support a local business!

— Touched

Dear Touched: I agree. Bryce should also repay this generosity "forward" by helping others in need.


You can contact Amy Dickinson via email at, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

The Fresno Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service