An interesting story has emerged in England this week. A five-year-old boy and his parents have received an invoice for £15.95 (around $25) after the child skipped out on his friend’s birthday party. Though the boy had RSVP’ed yes to the party, he missed the event without giving notice and the birthday boy’s parents had to cover the expense of his reservation. The parents then sent the boy home from school with an invoice for the reservation charge.
First of all, I have to say that the parents’ approach is inappropriate. They should not have involved a small boy and should have reached out to his parents directly if they expected to be reimbursed. A polite phone call explaining the fee should have settled the issue. It’s a bit awkward to ask for money, but they also had a point in that it’s not fair for them to cover the cost themselves.
The boy’s parents should have declined the invitation if they did not intend to go, or at the very least contacted the hosts and venue to make them aware of the last-minute change in plans.
I have been invited to dinners, concerts, and spa outings in which the venue sets the price based upon the number of guests. There is often a fee if you fail to show up. Usually the party organizer must make the booking and offer their credit card number for the deposit. If someone cancels, the organizer is the one charged. A smart solution that I’ve seen people do instead is to make the booking and then ask each guest to contribute their share ahead of the event by transferring money to the organizer’s bank account. A guest is more invested in turning up if he or she has already paid $30 for that winery tour. Others shouldn’t have to carry the cost of your inability to show up.