The lesson here is: presentation is everything.
I once heard a great example of this in the realm of pastoral ministry for youth. The writer emphasized the importance of using good and beautiful things to serve others to make them feel valuable. If you use vessels of value, it sends the message that your guests are of value. When having a tea party for the young women who come to youth group, or the drop-in center, whether they are Christians yet or not, use lovely things, and they will feel lovely, and the teaching of the dignity of the human person will be easier to believe. The writer included a thought experiment: imagine a tea party where 14 year old girls come to the center and are served tea in disposable wax and paper cups, and cookies from a box on paper napkins. They would probably have a fine time and not notice - many young people today do not have homes where they would expect any more than that when serving guests, or in daily use. Now imagine they were served in the center's plain mugs and simple (mismatched) plates. Ahh, that feels homier, right? The girls might even help wash the dishes and share a sense of accomplishment. Finally, imagine using the finest, fanciest china you own, with homemade cookies, of course - what does this say to young girls who so often feel objectified, uncared for, put down, unloved? It says yes, they are worth it, yes, we believe in you and your ability to live up to this, yes, we care about you enough to spend some extra time baking and washing dishes to please and delight you!
I am never insulted per se when I go to a party and am served food on disposable plates. It is normal. That is how I grew up. That's how my mom and aunts and uncles still do it. But for me, I have made an inner vow: to not serve the salmon on the shiney cardboard it came on, to not let people eat out of tupperwares, and to just say no to plastic forks.
Because you are worth it! Happy birthday, Sam!