I’m sure you heard the story this week, but if not let me recap it for you: a five-year-old boy in Britain was invoiced approx. $29 Canadian dollars by his friend’s mother for not attending a birthday party that his parents had previously RSVP’d to. The official bill was printed, including all details and banking information, and sent home in the boy’s backpack for his parents to receive and pay.
The boy’s father has stated that they did in fact RSVP that their son would attend the birthday party, but forgot that he already had plans with his grandparents for the same day. Instead of going to the party (at a ski and snowboard facility) he spent the day with his grandparents as planned. The parents of the boy claim they did not have the contact information of the birthday boy’s mother to let her know that their son would not be attending the event. She disputes this fact stating that ‘All details were on the party invite. They had every detail needed to contact me.’ The mother has threatened the Nash family with legal action if they do not pay the invoice she gave them.
This story has gone viral, and while some parents think it’s ridiculous to invoice someone for missing a birthday party, others feel that it’s completely justified. Regardless of who’s right, the real issue here is manners, not money. Here’s a quick refresher on the etiquette of RSVP’ing when it comes to a child’s birthday party:
- If you are inviting children to a birthday party, make sure you give a firm RSVP deadline and a method for getting in touch with you (phone number or email address is best).
- One week before the party reach out to those you haven’t heard from and say ‘I wanted to see if Johnny is able to come to Bobby’s birthday party on Friday January 23rd? It runs from 2-4pm. Please let me know.’ Don’t think of this as being pushy, think of it as a friendly reminder for a busy mom.
- If you have RSVP’d yes and your plans change, you need to keep your original commitment. Cancelling an RSVP without a very good reason is considered bad form, and isn’t acceptable unless there is illness in the family.
- If you have declined an RSVP, but then find yourself free, call the hostess personally to see if it’s too late to change your reply to an ‘accept’.
What do you think? Would you ever invoice a family for their child not showing up to a birthday party? Have you ever had to pay for a party where some of the guests didn’t show up?
Image from Apex/Lucy Davies via theguardian.com.