Mom Invoices Birthday Party No-Shows: Who Does That?

Although a kid not showing up for a birthday party he R.S.V.P.ed yes to is bad manners, so is the birthday kid's mom sending an invoice for a "no-show fee."
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There's nothing more annoying (or expensive!) than not receiving RSVPs when you're planning a party. In light of that, we completely understand why a mom felt she had to do something when invitations to her daughter's 16th birthday went unanswered. But her proposed plan of action definitely crosses the line.

The mother took to mumsnet to vent her frustrations and seek out other opinions on a controversial idea. "Invites given out late July before school broke up. Reminder invites by instagram in August before deadline for paying deposit and ordering/paying for food...TONIGHT 3 people have told daughter they are not coming. 2 have yet to say yes or no. Out of 12 (including daughter). Minimum for activity is 10," the mom wrote.

She also posed a question: Would it be unreasonable "to send a terse note to these families? And maybe an invoice?" Naturally, fellow commenters shot down the idea—because as rude as it is to ignore multiple RSVP prompts, it's also not a fine-able offense. We get where this mom is coming from, but as we see it, a move like this would just cause unnecessary drama

She's not the first mother to think of this tactic: In a story so ridiculous it has made its way from England to America faster than the Concorde, five-year-old Alex Nash was billed $24.10 (£15.95) for not showing up to a friend's birthday party after he had RSVPed that he would attend. According to a story on BBC.com, the friend's mother sent home a business-like invoice, complete with her bank details, in Alex's backpack for the "No Show Fee" after he did not attend the ski party at a local dry slope. Alex's parents said they realized he was double-booked and due to spend time with his grandparents, which is what he did instead. They claim they did not have the contact information to inform the birthday boy's mother that Alex would not be attending after all; the birthday boy's mom says all her info was on the invitation.

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I say, two wrongs don't make a right. If you RSVP yes to a birthday party, your kid goes, unless he is sick or there is some kind of emergency reason he can't attend. Not only will the birthday kid's parents have spent money on your child's "seat" at the party, that spot could go to another kid who they may have wanted to invite but couldn't because the party space limited the number of guests. Plus, I've been to a child's party where several kids were no-shows, and it was really sad for the birthday girl who wondered why her friends didn't show up when they said they would. This is basic manners, people.

On the other hand, sending an invoice for the money you're out because of a no-show is also bad manners. That seems like an overreaction and a rather passive-aggressive way of dealing with the situation. My guess is the mom is probably more upset about the reasons I mentioned above and going after the money is her misguided attempt to make a point or get some validation that the other family was in the wrong. The more I think about it, the whole story just makes me sad. How about you?

Ellen Sturm Niz is a New York City-based editor and writer who finds managing her eight-year-old daughter's social calendar more complicated than her own. So. Many. Birthday. Parties. Follow her on Twitter and Google+ to see more of her articles about kids and parenting, home design and DIY projects, and food trends and menu ideas.

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