Love you, love your column. I confess, this question begins with a rant.
If I’m bringing food to someone who just had a new baby or a death in the family, I’m doing so 1) to show I care, and 2) because it is a busy, taxing time and I want to make things a little easier. So why, in the name of all sensibility, would I bring said food in a dish I need to have back? That means my busy tired friend about whom I care deeply has to not only keep track of which dish is mine, but also make sure it is not injured in any way, and orchestrate its return! It’s called semi-disposable plastic containers, peeps! Or if you feel that presentation is inadequate, plastic-but-looks-like-crystal trays are available for a buck or two!
Rant over. Question begins.
When does the obligation end with other people’s containers? “I still have your Tupperware” can go on for months or even years. When can I give it to Goodwill? Or do I really have to spend the better part of a day driving around returning stuff?
On the bright side, you’re very lucky to have so many thoughtful friends. No doubt each tray of lasagna and loaf of banana bread was made with the best of intentions.
In light of that, I think it’s important to at least make an effort to return people’s containers. Instead of driving all over town, try sending out a mass email or posting something on Facebook. Pile everything on the kitchen table and take a photo, then begin your note with a warm thank-you.
So many of you brought homemade provisions when [junior was born or grandmother passed away]. We just can’t thank you enough!
[Husband] and I have full bellies and a tower of Tupperware that isn’t ours.
Does anything in this photo look familiar? If so, please let me know what’s yours so I can return it.
Lots of love, HC
From there, use post-it notes to keep track of what belongs to whom, then return things to their rightful owners the next time you see them. After a few weeks, anything unclaimed can be donated to charity.
Thanks for reminding future do-gooders that disposable containers are the way to go!
P.S. Betty Draper (pictured above) would know exactly what to do. Countdown to Mad Men Season 4 is on!