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Opinions? "taking" extra resort food

I’m curious as what people’s opinions are regarding the ethics of taking extra food at an AI for other people such as staff, locals who come to the beach, and local families in general. There was a bit of discussion after the hurricanes about taking buffet food out to the local families. :wink:

And what about helping yourself to a stash to keep yourself going on the way home? ::slight_smile:

Where is the line drawn? ???

We took ziplocks but our waiters always had a plastic bag for us to take pasteries and such from the breakfast buffet.
Those were our beach snacks, but who would know if we gave them to staff or others?
Groundskeepers always appreciated a can of beer, too.

I’ve never had staff ask me for food. At the Cameleon last year, some of the staff even asked me to sit with them at the buffet.

At Rancho Luna last month, I had people on the beach ask me to get them something from the buffet, but I declined. I had noticed that there was a bunch that hung out every day, endlessly demanding things from the tourists. Tourists that were nice and gave something were rewarding by even more demands. Which is why after a day or two, I spent my days elsewhere whenever possible. It was just too annoying. I think it ends up creating a real problem.

I know in front of the Breezes Jibacoa there were people begging as well when I used to go out on walks. There were only three or four when I would go out, but I had heard at one point it was pretty bad.

I think that it starts a vicious circle. Tourists just give things to people just because they ask for it. Sometimes because we want to help and sometimes because we just want them to go away and stop bugging us. The more we give in this manner, the more beggars we will attract. Then tourists will get turned off to going to these places.

I don’t mind people on the beach who have something to offer in exchange, like shells, handicrafts, artwork, cutting coconuts etc.

There was a day last year when a group of Cuban children came and played on the BJ beach. They were charming to watch. Someone ordered hamburgers for them all from the beach restaurant, and no one objected. This was not a case of begging - they were there to play, and hadn’t asked for anything.

While at a resort a few years ago, my dh and I encountered female guests taking food from the buffet to give to their Cuban boyfriends/members of the band. This did not sit well with us. How we saw it was that the “theft” had to be borne by the resort. The management of the resort would have to defray the cost of the loss and would thus pass it on to future guests by raising the price of an A.I. vacation. This happened at Brisas Guardalavaca, but I am sure it has happened at many others. When this situation was brought up here at Debbies, there was a vitriolic discussion including name-calling by some members who were avid B.G. fans.

It is a moral dilemma which has no easy answers. I personally will not take food from my resort to give to locals. I do, however, bring whatever I can to help alleviate some of the deprivation that does exist in these less fortunate countries we visit.

Northgal :sunglasses:

Monteverde, there was a family who lived near Breezes that I used to visit once in a while. They never asked me for anything but I would offer and buy some things from the Tienda at the resort. I think it’s different when you decide for yourself to give something. You have to be careful about what you might be starting.

The people scrounging off the tourists on the beach at Rancho Luna was about the only (almost only) negative thing I had to say about that place. It’s odd that to get some peace I had to go to the public beach. Nobody bothered with me there.

Although on one occasion, at another hotel, there was a group of five very old musicians who played in the afternoon at the hotel. I mean they looked like the Buena Vista Social Club, average age 65 - 70 yrs I’m sure. I saw them later just sitting around looking rather bored as they waited to do an evening set. I went and spoke with them, or at least tried in my primitive Spanish. I offered to get them a beer and all five heads nodded at once. After the first round I could see that the bartender was looking uncomfortable about it, so I bought the next round of beer from the resort Tienda.

Don’t shoot me Northgal, I couldn’t help myself :slight_smile:

In all of my travels to the DR and Cuba I have never been asked by anyone for food from the buffet. I have been asked to get drinks from the bar for some members of the animation team, always a rum and coke so it only looked like coke I guess. I didn’t mind doing it but it did bother me when my then teenage sons were approached to get alcoholic drinks from the bar because I didn’t want them being served. The only time I found myself being bothered by staff was in Varadero, we were approached to buy cigars, rum and tequila that my friend had to wrap up in her towel and place in her beach bag. We also were asked to leave behind all our toiletries. I don’t mind giving to the locals but I don’t like being aggressively pursued.

I take stuff from the buffet but it’s for our personal consumption in our room.
[li]pastries from either lunch or dinner to have with our early morning coffee on the balcony
[/li][li]pieces of cheese to have with a pre dinner glass of wine as we watch the sun go down on the ocean (well, I have the wine & hubby has his single malt)
I’ve never been asked by an employee for food or drink but hubby has a habit of taking a daily coffee to a certain someone at the resort by his choice not request.

I wouldn’t pass out food to people wandering on the beach as I don’t think it is a good precedent to set.

In 2007 in Holguin at the Playa Pesquero we had a young boy ask us for pizza because he told us he was hungry. We went but it was a mistake because after that every day his mother would ask us again and when we refused she would be kinda agressive. Ask for clothing, ask for food and even ask for money. So next time I won’t. I learned the hard way.

We’ve taken food from the buffet but only for our own use - snacks for late evening while enjoying a drink on our balcony or a snack for the beach.
I don’t like to see the increase in mooching from locals at the beach. A few years ago it was virtually non existant but seems to be more common. My wife has a hard time saying no to people and gets quite intimidated by beach beggers. The lack of aggressive beggers is one reason why we prefer Cuba to other Carribean vacations areas. Is it only a matter of time before the current friendly approach for money/drinks/Tshirts etc turns into the aggressive approach we see in other countries?

[quote=@cubavisitor]We’ve taken food from the buffet but only for our own use - snacks for late evening while enjoying a drink on our balcony or a snack for the beach.
You were not taking, you are at an AI and it’s all inclusive

However, taking food for other people is really taking, and taking is not what an AI is all about.
It’s kind of like taking pens from your employer. It’s only fifteen cent so is it really taking.
Yes it is.
I realize that it pulls on the heart strings, but if you want to give them something, give them your own money, not the company that runs the resort. If you don’t have it in your heart to give them your own money, why should you give them someone else’s.
This is just my opinion, I know it can be a sad situation, but like I said, if it pulls on your heart strings that much, I’ll bet a few CUC’s put a lot bigger smile on their face than a piece of pizza

Try it and see

I agree and I too think it sets a precedent that can impact on other tourist’s vacations. We haven’t experienced these type of requests too much in Cuba, in fact I can only think of a couple of instances where we have been approached and usually in the city - away from the resorts. The Dominican Republic was a different story - both on and off the resort.

Interesting thread.

Would you take food from a buffet at home and give it to people on the street?

We’re taking some food with us to give away this time- dried soup, fruit bars, and energy bars - in case there are still food shortages. And if there are no shortages, they’ll probably still enjoy it anyway.

I had received a letter from a local family after the hurricanes to say that food was hard to get, but it was a comment, not a request. We’ve never been asked for food by anyone in Cuba, in fact when we visit them they offer us food! And although we enjoy the interaction, there’s some guilt involved since we have so much available to us at the resort.

For the sake of this discussion, I’m not as concerned about the resorts bank statements as I am about the impact that this will have on the people who live around the resort areas and the tourists who visit these places.

Whether you’re giving the resort’s food and drink away or whether you’re giving your own to people who beg, the effects will be the same. You encourage people to beg. Some people don’t give up either because they know that most tourists have a breaking point where you give because, you either want to help or just give it to get rid of them.

I recall at Jibacoa, I never really saw many tourists walking around outside of the resort in that beautiful countryside unless they went out with the organized resort walks. You could understand why, because when you went out on your own, there were always a few very aggressive beggars hiding just past the front entrance of the resorts. I found that polite "no thank you"s were not enough and at times had to raise my voice. Eventually, after a few days they wouldn’t even look at me. I got the feeling that these people don’t actually live in the area.

So as a result, many tourists isolate themselves in the resort, and don’t explore the area. There are some people living in the area that are trying to take advantage of the resorts in a good way by offering services. Some people sell dinners in their homes (illegally, but who cares). One guy I met had a machine made to crush sugar cane, so tourists could get a demonstration on making the juice. Business must be good because he was able to renovate his house. I like to encourage entrepreneurship instead of begging. It seems a lot healthier.

I’ve always been able to deter those beggars outside BJ by saying that we’re visiting friends up the road, which is true. And the food we’re taking is for the families we know, not for the beggars. We were told by a local family that the beggars are bused in, and that basically it’s their “job” - the local families don’t like having them there.

123phoenix, I liked your post and what you said about encouraging entrepreneurship as opposed to begging. I’ve never encountered begging in Cuba outside Havana and I don’t get the impression it’s all that common (yet). But I am sure the best way to encourage it is to be a “soft touch”.

There are lots of productive ways to help people in Cuba if you take a minute to seek them out, and then you won’t feel so guilty about saying no to begging.

Nope !

they are not animals !

i love to help the locals, but i agree that i should be giving from myself, not the resort. one of my worst experiences, was a couple of years ago at the arenas blancas in varadero. every day by 6 or 7pm they would be out of all kinds of different alcoholic drinks at the bar, it only took me 1 or 2 days to see that the bartenders were selling the alcohol to the guests at a great discount and to fill their pockets. now to me this is definitely stealing, yet management seemed to look the other way