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My friends left the hired help outside in the rain. Are they jerks?

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The question

I recently attended a swishy engagement party. It rained, the party moved indoors and the otherwise charming hosts left the bartenders to stand outside in the driving rain to serve drinks there rather than moving the bar inside. I was mortified. Should I have spoken up or gone into a closet to find the poor staff some umbrellas?

The answer

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You learn the most about people when you see how they treat the help. If your hosts left the bartenders outside inadvertently, that's hardly great, but it's understandable. If they did it on purpose, your charming hosts aren't so charming after all. Either way, you would have been justified to suggest the bartenders be moved indoors or under cover. Assuming the response (and that the hosts were one of the betrothed's parentals), you wouldn't have been out of place to warn off the future in-laws, too.

Chris Nuttall-Smith is The Globe and Mail's food critic. Have an entertaining dilemma? E-mail

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