Monday, 19 January 2015

Party Invitation - Plus No-Show Fine

So everybody's talking about it - the mother who sent an invoice to the parents of a five year old who didn't show up for her child's birthday party. Here are the gory details.

We've all been on the receiving end of a no-show, and yes, it can be very irritating. In this instance, the mother claims she is out of pocket to the tune of about sixteen quid. In fact, she would have been paying that amount one way or the other, so technically she's not really out of pocket. But that would spoil her bid for revenge, I suspect.

There's no getting away from the etiquette issue here - the parents of the no-show boy should have made every effort to tell the host parents that their child wouldn't be able to make it; especially as they had already RSVP'd yes. They say they didn't have contact details, but hmmmm......finding that a little hard to believe. You're telling me that you didn't know anyone at school who might have had their telephone number?

But when you host a party, and estimate the numbers based on responses, there is always someone who doesn't show up. You're either left with far too much food, or, as in this case, a spot on the dry ski slopes paid for in vain. Isn't that the inherent risk of throwing a bash? Surely if you're that bothered about being "out of pocket" you should minimize your losses and have a party at home.

I can just see next year's invitation -

"Please join Freddie as he celebrates his 6th birthday at Such and Such zoo. Please RSVP by no later than next Friday. Oh, and please sign below:

I, the undersigned, as a confirmed guest at Freddie's 6th birthday party, undertake to show up at said party. On the occasion that I do not attend, and fail to give 48 hours' notice of this change, I will reimburse Freddie's parents (name and name) of the full cost of my participation in the event, including cake, ice cream and goodie bag."

I can see that poor kid not having too many friends in the future.


  1. There has been a lot of comment on this situation. Of course, if the "offended" parent is merely providing a sandwich or two and some cup cakes, we can expect him/her to build in a buffer amount, but where tickets are concerned, the problem becomes different. Last year when my daughter was married a large number of people indicated they were coming—and were no shows. For each of them I had to pay the venue $80 —money I could have put to other use.

  2. Beryl - I'm assuming though, that you didn't send them an invoice? It's very rude and inconvenient to have no-shows, but an invoice for a kids' party is still completely OTT.

  3. I've been watching this story unfold today - now even the BBC is covering it with its legal correspondent wading in about contracts etc (thankfully saying there is no way they can insist on payment) Very entertaining!

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  5. It even made our news in Chicago!

  6. Beryl Ament, so sorry about the rudester would-be guests at your daughter's wedding. I would make sure they didn't get any future invitations!

    However, I attended a wedding where the opposite happened: many, many people did not RSVP at all, one way or the other. The bride's family accordingly provided vittles for those who did. The result was that there was not nearly enough food or drink for all the guests. The non-RSVPing attendees gave their excuses as "I TOLD the [bride's mother or bride's father] that we were coming", or "I thought you KNEW we were coming."

    Such idiocy and lack of basic social skills is always annoying and discouragingly prevalent.


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