A Point of Pot Luck Etiquette

We’ve long been a great fan of thrift store shopping. We can hardly pass by a Goodwill or a Value Village without popping in for at least a quick look at what’s on the racks. Whether it’s just a hasty rummage for a casual tie or an all-day weekend bargain hunt, there’s nothing we love better than pulling a piece of treasure from a pile of (ahem) non-treasure.

Lately though a strange thing has happened. We’ve been hitting the thrift stores as often as ever, but recently our searches have omitted clothing entirely.

Part of this is because we’ve just about reached the point where every new garment really ought to replace an old one; we’ve simply got enough clothes. Mostly though, it’s because we’re furnishing our living room and have kept a keen eye out for household goods. As always, the trick is to get things out of Goodwill that don’t look like they came out of Goodwill. We’ve picked up a few odds and ends that still had sticker-tags from some pretty high end stores. At this point we’re really just looking for some temporary solutions to make the room feel less empty, so thrift is a great way to do that while spending hardly any cash.

A homemade lasagna is excellent pot luck food.

A homemade lasagna is excellent pot luck food.

That’s all beside the point though. The point of this post is the great idea that a friend put us on to at Goodwill last weekend. It was so simply brilliant that we kicked ourselves pretty hard for not having thought of it before. So clever we thought we’d share it on the blog.

The idea was this: If you see a bowl or a casserole dish or platter that looks nice, buy it. Even if you don’t need it. It’s only a dollar or two. Then the next time you find yourself bringing a dish to a dinner or baby shower or graduation party or whatever kind of event people bring food to, bring your food in a thrifted dish and offer to let the hostess keep it.

In fact, insist that she keep it. It cost less than the cheap piece of disposable plastic you’d get at the grocery store and can be replaced just as easily. There are always plates and bowls at thrift stores. It even saves the hostess quite a bit of trouble. Bringing your own dish either forces the hostess to scrape off the burnt edges of lasagne before the end of the party so that you can take it home clean, or to coordinate with you for its return. A buck spent at Value Village can eliminate these chores and give everyone a little time for an extra glass of wine.

Gifting thrift dishes is a point of etiquette we’re going to adopt immediately, and once the living room is furnished and we start entertaining more some, we hope our guests will do the same.