Kids’ birthday parties are expensive, sure, but would you charge your guests for not attending? That’s what UK mom Julie Lawrence did — after five-year-old Alex failed to show up to her child's birthday party, she billed his parents a no-show fee for missing the party and failing to RSVP accordingly. The fee? A whopping £15.95 (or $24.14). Apparently $24.14 is the price you pay for friendship, at least according to one set of parents.
Alex’s parents Derek Nash and Tanya Walsh told BBC News that Alex was double-booked for two parties that day (props to Nash and Walsh for raising a regular Mr. Popular), and they were unable to find the original invitation to let Lawrence know. So, in turn, instead of doing the normal thing like calling up Nash and Walsh, or even mailing them a letter, Lawrence sent her kid to school with a detailed invoice to give to Alex. Because involving your kids in your adult financial matters is totally appropriate.
This story is a whole lot of ridiculous, on both sides, so let’s take a minute to give each side a thorough shade-throwing. It’s pretty rude to just totally ghost on someone’s event that you previously said you’d go to, there’s no denying that. Even if you couldn't find the invitation, could you have tried to Facebook the other parents, or even — gasp — looked through a phonebook? Yes. Nobody likes a flake.
At the same time, you’d have to be living in
some sort of Utopia to not think no-shows are an inevitable part of any
event. When I made a Facebook event for my 23rd birthday I knew about 1/3 of the
people who responded “yes” wouldn’t show up, and I’m (presumably) a lot younger
than these people and I’m not even a parent, so yeah. That is something that
should be expected, and if you are going to charge a fee for not properly RSVP'ing, that needs to
be clearly stated on the invitation.
While I don’t know this family’s financial situation, I think it’s pretty safe to say that if $24 (that you were spending anyway if Alex had attended) was going to put you in so much distress that you'd force your invitees to recoup your loss, you really shouldn’t have been spending that much money in the first place. When did we become too good for bowling and pizza parties?
Honestly, I think the real victim here is the unnamed birthday boy because I'm sure he doesn't understand why his party made the news. If his parents are willing to charge a fee for no-shows, what’s next? Late
fees? Inadequate present fees? Excessive mess fees? If I were a parent I would probably save myself the trouble and just RSVP "no" from the jump. I've got to hand it to the parents though--they've found the quickest way to ensure nobody comes to their kid's party next year.