THOUSANDS of dollars worth of missing crockery and cutlery is being sought.
Country Manor Catering owner Jeannie Peebles said she realised people didn’t mean to keep the platters, plates, coffee plungers and bodums, water jugs and ramekins, but the number of missing items was rising, and the cost of replacing them was “getting up there”.
“There is a few thousand dollars worth of equipment missing, so I have had to buy more and more.”
She said about 14 coffee plungers which cost $160 each years ago, 40 platters worth $30 each, about 50 sets of cutlery, and lots and lots of ramekins had disappeared.
“We are always losing platters and are now down to two china ones, so we use melamine ones now.”
Side plates, in particular, were also easy to lose, she said.
“They are often popped into [someone’s] cupboard [after being washed] along with all their others, not realising they need to be returned.”
The Winton-based caterer often delivered food for family get-togethers, dinner parties, birthdays, funerals and anniversaries in homes, churches and at country halls throughout Southland, Central Otago and even as far as Te Anau.
“All our dishes are white… nothing leaves on disposable platters… everything is garnished and ready to serve.”
It had been 10 years since the last amnesty.
In February 2011, Ms Peebles said an amnesty worked for police with firearms and libraries with books, so why not for caterers?
Country Manor Catering business assistant Amie Butcher said at a typical weekend catering, it was normal to leave 20 cups and saucers, along with platters, a coffee bodum, milk jugs and a hot water jug at an event for the clients to “sit back and enjoy the rest of the night”, trusting the items would be returned on the Monday.
Sometimes items were returned, such as when two “random plates” were left on a freezer in the Winton shop last week, and when a dusty pile of platters appeared.
“Someone had obviously had a tidy up… maybe they had shifted , and found them under the stairs,” Ms Peebles said.
After 23 years in business, Ms Peebles understands how this has happened.
“People can forget the equipment is just on loan. Often the items are washed and dried and then put aside, in a cupboard or under the stairs and forgotten.
“This is just a reminder to please return them.”
And for their good deeds, Ms Peebles said she would give the returnees a coffee voucher.