Update: Thanks for all the comments! I’m glad I’m not alone in feeling annoyed with these unexpected expenses.
The last two weeks has been a flurry of activity. DS1 began his performing arts summer day camp. DS2’s summer camp was canceled altogether. That was a bummer, I could have used the break from the wild toddler.
I also had a baby shower and 2 birthday parties to attend. All of these left a bad taste in my mouth for any future event I may be invited to.
The baby shower was for a close family friend. DH and I were invited and it was hosted by her brother’s bar/burger restaurant in town. They closed to the public for this event. We arrived with two boxes of diapers, and various clothing items as gifts. We were told to take a seat anywhere, and help ourselves to the taco bar. Later in the evening, the guys behind the bar went around handing out drinks. DH had a beer, I had a bottled water.
The entire gathering was odd. Just seemed like a bunch of mingling. No games, no other activities, no gifts opened. After nearly 3 hours of just sitting there, we decided to call it a night. We said goodbye to our very pregnant friend and as we were about to leave, the guy behind the bar brings us a bill!!! We were charged $15 per person for the “taco bar” I didn’t even eat anything from, $10 for DH’s beer, and $5 for my bottled water. $45 to attend a baby shower I had already spent $75 on in gifts!! The guy must have seen my shocked face, because he immediately began justifying the tab as a “donation” to my friend for her recent speeding ticket. What?!?!?! No! I was livid.
Fast forward a week and we’re attending a friends 37th birthday party at a restaurant. The invite states the following: “Please join us in celebrating K’s 37th birthday with a catered dinner party on xxxx date. To be held in the Grand Ballroom of such/such restaurant.”
What would your understanding of that invite be? Dinner provided? That’s what we thought. Instead we ended up with a $88 bill for our two small, mediocre meals, which we didn’t even get to choose.
It doesn’t end there. We also had our nieces 5th birthday party to attend. It was held at a local indoor bounce-house type place. They rented a party room, provided pizza, etc. Except that in order for the kids to participate on the fun stuff, we had to pay $10 each for a wrist band!! Oh and had to pay for the kids drinks, as none were provided.
My kids’ birthday party is coming up, we’re providing food for the kids and adults. Should I charge them $5 a slice now? Is that the new thing to do?! Maybe I should just install a vending machine by the pool. How about towel rental for drying off from the pool? Parking fee? Tacky, tacky, tacky!!!
I already feel like we’re being nickel and dimed by corporate America. I certainly don’t need it from friends and family. I’ll be sure to clarify these issues going forward and turn down any invites that will break our budget.
Really though, have you ever encountered this?!?! I’m still baffled, and annoyed.