This is more of a story as this incident has already passed and once I realized what was really happening, I don’t need to ask whether this was impolite.
As it happens more and more, this took place on Facebook. An event was posted, not sent to every friend of theirs, though quite possibly, but it was sent to individual people including me for which I felt honored to be thought of by my two friends and former co-workers.
This event post was to be a surprise by one man, “Jim”, for his partner, “Mark” for his 30th birthday. There were 2 ways the invitees could help “celebrate” Mark’s birthday. One was to contribute to a picture book with artwork or pictures of homemade creations with accompanying notes to celebrate Mark that would be put together and given to Mark during his celebration. The second way was to contribute any amount of money to an art space for Mark as it was always his dream to have his own studio. I thought both ideas were sweet, even with the obvious hand sticking out for donations to this luxury for Mark, so I contributed to both. My monetary contribution was very small as that was all I could give but the artwork I submitted cost a lot more with time and energy. Again, I thought it was a nice cause to support and I looked forward to being there when Mark received these sweet, caring gifts.
About a month goes by and the date of the event got nearer. I looked up the Facebook page for this event to find out where I was supposed to be in a few days. There wasn’t a date or address. I looked again. Apparently, I hadn’t read close enough. The ‘celebration’ all 200+ guests were invited to was just those two things, giving money and/or giving art. The “ You are invited” and “Let’s help celebrate Mark’s birthday” had me completely fooled that I was going to actually attend a celebration, see my friends, and enjoy Mark’s happiness that all of it had been done for him. Nothing in the cleverly worded invitation indicated that “share in the celebration” meant “give us stuff, we’ll celebrate privately, then tell you about it later.” but that’s what happened.
Once I got the hint, I was pretty disappointed but chalked it up to my fault for not reading it closely enough and decided to let it go. But it didn’t stop there. 2 days before the birthday, Jim sends out a reminder to all 200+ invitees to contribute to the fund. Then again at 36 hours prior. Then again at 24, again at 12, 8, 6, etc. Finally around T minus 2 hours, Jim sends out a update that they “far exceeded their goal!” And “we’ll video Mark opening his picture book and gift of the studio fund and post it! Thank you!”
Mad but still holding on to the belief that maybe they just weren’t “party people” and the gifts were thoughtful, I was just going to forget about it and hopefully never fall for it again.
Mark’s birthday day, though, his Facebook page becomes filled with rave upon rave of the amazing restaurants they were hitting all day long, the rich and succulent dishes and gifts, and the PARTY THEY HELD IN THE PARK! The party I wasn’t invited to. The party I find out that most of the contributors were also not invited to. Just select people at a party I was now pretty convinced I helped pay for.
I’m horrified to be used that way. I never would have thought these two would do something like this but I was clearly wrong. And guess what? They never even posted the video they promised of Mark opening his gifts we also paid for.
I’m not sure if all of their doings were fueled by ignorance or by pure greed. I truly don’t know. It’s the first time, hopefully the last, I have ever come across this blatant gimme-grab and intentional invitation-shunning and I hope other people who read this don’t get blindsided like I did. 0325-14
Now you know to listen your internal gimme pig warning bells when they squeal to high heaven that a gimme pig is in range. You walked right into this despite recognizing “the obvious hand sticking out for donations to this luxury for Mark”. If it smells like a gimme pig, even a whiff, it is most likely a gimme pig.
This reminds me of the old story submitted many years ago by a co-worker who, along with her other co-workers, had been invited to a wedding shower for another co-worker. They had all been instructed to bring a potluck dish to the shower as well as a bottle of champagne and told where the bride was registered. Got that? Not one gift but three….the shower gift, a bottle of champagne and food. The worst part of this was when it was revealed at the shower that none of the shower invitees, all of them co-workers, were actually invited to the wedding but their bottles of champagne were to be used at the wedding reception. It was a classic example of how greedy gimme pigs really are quite obvious and they are not above using people to fund parties or gifts they themselves cannot afford.