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5-Year Old Billed for No-Show at Birthday Party

(Photo: Apex/Lucy Davies)

Julie Lawrence of Cornwall held a birthday party for her daughter. The child invited her classmates, including 5-year old Alex Nash. Alex accepted. Then Alex's father Derek realized that they already had reserved the day of the birthday party to spend with Alex's grandparents. So Alex didn't show up to the party.

After the party, Julie Lawrence slipped an envelope inside Alex's backpack at school. It contained an invoice for £15.95--Alex's share of the cost of the party. This made father Derek quite mad. He went to the school to investigate the incident, then confronted Lawrence about the invoice. BBC News reports:

Mr Nash said: "It was a proper invoice with full official details and even her bank details on it.

"I can understand that she's upset about losing money. The money isn't the issue, it's the way she went about trying to get the money from me.

"She didn't treat me like a human being, she treated me like a child and that I should do what she says."

In a short statement, Ms Lawrence said: "All details were on the party invite. They had every detail needed to contact me."

Mr Nash said he had been told he was being taken to the small claims court because he was refusing to pay.

It was perhaps undiplomatic of Lawrence, but I'm sympathetic to the notion that people should keep their appointments or cancel them.

-via Daily of the Day

What do you think?

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I threw a birthday party at a roller rink a couple of times, where you paid per guest. It was nothing like $30 a head, and they only charged for the number of people who showed up and ate there (on top of a base rate). Still, I've learned that even if you ask for an RSVP on an invitation, only about 10% of families will bother. If I used a venue where I had to pay for each person's reservation, you better believe I would call each and every invitee the night before the paying deadline and ask if they were coming or not.
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I'm glad that I'm not the only one who feels this way (although polling shows us in the minority).

It's important to keep your commitments. Billing someone for missing a birthday party is terrible. But it's still important to keep your commitments.
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I do agree with you, actually, but let me propose a similar situation: you book a table at a popular restaurant. The restaurant holds that table for you (foregoing other customers who wanted to eat there) but you don't show up - can the restaurant charge you for a no-show fee? In that case, the restaurant lost money in terms of opportunity cost (it could've given that table to someone else).
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This is going to be a very long childhood for that poor kid.

Raising kids costs money. This is not the last time people will be less than perfect in their interactions with her special snowflake. Will she bill them when they only drink half of the can of soda they opened? Have to leave a movie early because they become sick? Don't cover exactly half of the supplies needed for a joint science project?

What values exactly is she trying to teach her kid?
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