Last year I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time – for sixteen people, a dog, and an invisible friend. Looking back, I can laugh at my rookie mistakes: being under-prepared for unanticipated rush orders, not accounting for unstable service markets, being blindsided by specialized requirements, and not fully utilizing my resources when purchasing in new commodity areas.
1. Unstable Service Markets
I knew from the beginning that I was in for a very hectic and chaotic day (maybe two or three days) so I started early. I went to the grocery store on the Saturday before Thanksgiving to try to power through my list. Little did I know, the grocery store is an unstable service market during the holidays. I managed to complete my list, but I had to go to four different stores.
2. Unanticipated Rush Orders
Surprise! It’s Wednesday morning and I learn that my cousin and her daughter will also be joining us for Thanksgiving. Back to the store(s) for a little extra of everything. Three hours later I finally make it home and I am three hours behind on prepping.
3. Specialized Requirements
Wednesday night: my cousin decided she is vegan this month; back to the grocery store again. I kid you not, there is a food (product? thing?) called Tofurky, which is exactly what it sounds like it is – tofu turkey.
4. New Commodity Area
After waiting for an hour for my number to be called at the butcher counter in the organic (code word for expensive) grocery store, I learn that Tofurky is not in fact sold at the butcher counter so I pull my number at the deli counter. Of course! I should have known fake turkey is sold with cheese, not real turkey!
5. Unanticipated Rush Order #2
Thursday morning and my family and soon-to-be in-laws arrive. Two more unexpected guests, my cousin brought her hundred-pound English Mastiff, Duke, and her daughter brought her invisible friend, Mr. Coco. Duke, not a vegetarian, was served enough turkey for five people. Mr. Coco was served a full helping of everything because eating animals is bad for the environment, but wasting food on an invisible friend is perfectly fine.
6. Spot Buys
Luckily, I made extra dessert. Unluckily, four-year-olds and invisible people do not like pie. Luckily again, the liquor store around the corner was open and had an assortment of candy bars.
My overall stubbornness combined with my desire to impress my now mother-in-law, blinded me from fully utilizing my resources. I wanted to do it all by myself. My network of family, like The Ariba Network, was full of experts. The family members in my network have been preparing Thanksgiving dinners for years, and they would have been able to help me plan better. Needless to say, this year I will be going to my mother’s house instead of hosting.
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