When Personal Hospitality Morphs Into A Business Arrangement

by admin on May 28, 2014

My husband and I received this invitation by Evite yesterday. I think it is rude and will not be attending. My husband wants to go to the pool party/ bonfire that night and skip the dinner so we do not have to pay. The people hosting used to be good friends but we have grown apart over the years. I was wondering what Ehell Readers think? We do not have other plans that night, but I really want no part of this. I told my husband to go if he wants but I will be staying home. The invite is below.

“We are excited to host our 1st annual Surf & Turf 4th of July Celebration! This is a new tradition for us as we have been asked by several people to host an event like this!

We’re asking for $25 per couple/family to help cover the cost of the steaks, crab and lobster. Please RSVP YES only if you are certain that will will be attending. We cannot return several of the grocery items if our head count is lower than actual guests who RSVPed Yes!

We will be having a pool party and bonfire after an early dinner. We’ll have hot dogs and chicken nuggets for the kids and sides for everyone. If there’s something specific you want, feel free to bring it. We’ll also have some cocktails, soda and juice but if you have a specific preference please bring it. Also, please bring a blanket or chairs for the bonfire.

Hope to see you there!”

P.S. – We are not of the “several people” that asked them to host and event like this. 0527-14

If the $25/couple fee is to cover solely the steaks, crab and lobster, I’d be inclined to think people were being overcharged.   I can get 2 nice ribeye steaks for the hubby and I for half that price.  For a first time event, they appear to be very extravagant in their food choices.  Seafood and cocktails?  And I think they may have a challenge in keeping track of who paid and who did not and therefore who eats what.   It’s a lot more complicated of a BBQ than I would do because anytime you turn guests into paying customers the dynamics of the relationship changes.   What if there is a freeloader among the guests who did not pay but enjoys a lobster tail?  Or someone is a pig and eats far more seafood than $12.50 worth which deprives other guests of an appropriate amount of seafood? The latter is definitely quite likely to occur and I wouldn’t want to be in the role of “restaurant manager” with my friends refereeing who eats what.

{ 136 comments… read them below or add one }

Wild Irish Rose May 28, 2014 at 9:00 am

If I’m going to spend a specific amount of money for food, I’m going to buy it myself. OP, I think you have the right idea about staying home. If your husband wants to attend the fun stuff after the dinner, more power to him, but I’m with you on this one.

Also, I believe Admin is right about the extravagance of the food choices. Who chooses that for a cookout? Hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwursts, chicken breasts, etc. are perfectly acceptable choices for cooking and eating outdoors, and the leftovers are easy to wrap up and put away for later. I cannot envision eating seafood the next day.

These people have completely missed the actual definition of “host.” They’re not hosting; they’re charging admission.

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Kay L May 28, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Wow, I missed it the first time around that it was $25 per couple or family.

That’s a deal! Where you can go out and have steak with lobster and crab for $12.50/person or less? Nowhere! It’s at least $25 just for steak and lobster at a moderately priced place like Outback and that’s only if they have the special available.

And I don’t think you would have to be the food police. They have obviously gauged it so that they will have plenty of food for everyone. And if someone RSVPs and doesn’t pay then aren’t they the rude one?

I think that adults have the right to gather in all sorts of ways. To restrict ourselves to the 1950s model of a formal dinner party for every get together is kind of silly.

No one is obligated to go. And if you do go, you are not obligated to reciprocate to the same extent as if they served you steak, lobster and crab without having you pitch in.

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Steve May 28, 2014 at 1:58 pm

There was no such model in the 1950s restricting every get-together to a formal dinner party. I find the frequent dismissal of good manners as “dated” to be tiresome.

This isn’t a restaurant dinner. A restaurant provides tableside service, food cooked by professionals to order, full menu and drink choices, ambience and, incidentally, chairs–all with no effort whatsoever on the diners’ part. So it is improper to compare this price to that of a restaurant meal. That just creates confusion.

In fact, I think confusion is the problem here, as it often is with many potluck-style events. Too many people confuse coordinating a potluck with being a host. A potluck is a group effort, hosted by everyone who attends, so the owners of the venue do not get to put on airs and pretend they are hosting the event themselves. They don’t get to issue fancy invitations on their own behalf, decide the course of events, determine who sits where, decide the schedule for the evening, decree music or entertainments, determine formality or make any of the other decisions that belong to hosts alone. All of those decisions need to be arrived at by group consensus. Nothing formal–everyone “pitching in” is fine. But the venue owners do not get to pretend they are the hosts.

That’s where the evites are getting the “hosts” here into trouble. They are being issued to a wide swath of people who were not involved in coming up with the original ideal, and then they presume to dictate the menu and the course of events. That works only if the issuers are true hosts. Or if the invitation is being issued on behalf of a group. For example, we organize block parties this way on my street, but the invitations come from a group of people who have gotten together to help plan the event, and all neighbors have input.

So, confusion is the real problem here. You don’t get to dictate menu, entertainments and the entire course of the evening like you’re a host and then foist the costs on your guests like you’re the coordinator of a potluck. Can’t mix the two.

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Briar May 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm

It’s not about the cost, it’s not polite to charge people for a party you are inviting them to. If you cannot afford to hold such an event, then etiquette says that you should rethink how you are running it. Just doing the cookout without the surf and turf would be much more affordable and would have been equally enjoyable. Asking people to pay is like charging admission, and can cause resentment between guests if some contribute and others don’t.

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Wild Irish Rose May 28, 2014 at 3:09 pm

“I think that adults have the right to gather in all sorts of ways. To restrict ourselves to the 1950s model of a formal dinner party for every get together is kind of silly.”

Of course you’re right about this. Anyone who is hosting a dinner party can certainly serve whatever they want to, in whatever setting they want to. I’m just thinking that things can go more horribly wrong in an outdoor cookout situation than they can with a formal sit-down meal. Things like a dog running off with a steak, or bugs flying around the food, or someone dropping their lobster on the ground. This just seems like too much menu for the setting, and that’s just my opinion.

However, I stand by my statement about hosting. I’m wondering about the people who have been asking them to host such a party. Are these people soliciting a whole party, or are they simply requesting a venue for it? Because in THAT case: (1) if I’m the person asking, I will ask this couple to provide their home for the party, and I will provide the food; or (2) if I’m the person asking, I would ask them to let us use their home/property, and I would solicit potluck food from other invitees. But charging what amounts to an admission fee to a party is NOT the same as hosting!

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Abby May 28, 2014 at 3:14 pm

I still think it would be a logistical nightmare. Say 10 families RSVP yes, and that includes 20 adults. Are they going to buy 20 identical steaks? Or are they assuming that some people won’t eat steak and buy less than the number of adults? And who is going to cook these 20 steaks? And are they buying sirloin or porterhouse? And that’s the easy part. How do you determine how much lobster and crab to buy for 20 adults? At least steaks come in individual portions.

It makes a difference whether these people are planning to offset a portion of their costs by taking money from their guests, vs. just spending what they are expecting to recoup from their guests. $250 (using my example) is not going to buy enough steaks, lobster, and crab, for 20 people (plus whichever kids may want to try some).

I don’t think it’s a bad idea to have a collaborative dinner party, but then it needs to be treated as such. As Admin says, the way this is set up, I have a feeling some couples are going to pay their $25 and split an overcooked steak between the two of them and feel cheated.

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Danielle May 28, 2014 at 4:02 pm

The problem isn’t with how much they are charging, it’s with the fact that they ARE charging at all. You don’t invite people to a party, and then charge them for the privilege to attend. As the hosts, you provide the amount and type of refreshments that you can afford, and only invite the number of people you can accommodate. These people obviously want a party much more lavish than they can afford, and are counting on their friends to foot the bill, while they still take credit for being the hosts.

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Allie May 28, 2014 at 9:05 am

This is a terrible idea and I agree I would want no part of it. Why have people been asking them to host this event? Do they have a big property next to a beach or something? As for your husband, the invitation makes no mention of the option of attending the bonfire portion only. I wouldn’t want to do that because I would feel awkward and like a party crasher if I showed up while everyone else was picking steak and lobster out of their teeth. Move this e-mail straight to the trash bin.

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Charliesmum May 28, 2014 at 9:09 am

I’ll never understand this. Never. If you can’t afford to feed people you invite, then don’t have a party. Or for goodness sake, don’t serve expensive food!

To every party I’ve ever been to, and every ,one one I’ve ever hosted, there was no expectation that a guest should do anything but show up. To be sure, most people will say ‘oh, can I bring anything?’ and then I think there’s nothing wrong with someone saying ‘oh, could you bring that lovely bean dip you make?’ and that’s fine. If it’s a potluck then, well, the point is for people to all bring something, and that’s fine too. But to actually charge? Weird.

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knitwicca May 28, 2014 at 9:09 am

I simply do not understand the trend of claiming to invite people to a dinner or party then putting a price tag on it.

When I invite anyone into my home, I expect to provide food, drinks, companionship.

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Lo May 28, 2014 at 9:11 am

I’m embarrassed for them.

They desperately want to be the people who host a swank party with fine food and yet they cannot afford to do anything so grand. And the line “This is a new tradition for us as we have been asked by several people to host an event like this!” Seriously? Either you’ve got some pushy friends or you’re trying to pass the buck.

You can host the small extravagant party that you can afford or you can host the large and relatively cheap party that you can afford. If you cannot cover the cost of surf and turf for everyone then you cannot host this kind of party. Sorry.

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just4kicks May 28, 2014 at 9:15 am

Ummm, yes….how IS that going to work at a casual pool party/bonfire? Will there be “Lobster and Crab police”??? Who is going to stop that one (or 7) freeloader(s) who decides that they are going to get their money’s worth and grab extra lobster/crab? There is ALWAYS one person who is a piglet at these sort of things, and I personally would be furious if my husband and I ponied up $25.00 and got hot dogs or just sides. Yep, I agree with you, definitely would skip that outing. Tell hubby to have fun! :)

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Teapot May 28, 2014 at 9:29 am

What wonderful people! Others ask that they take on the burden of arranging and holding such an event and they happily agree to do it!

Admin hit every point that I though of while reading this evite. $25 per couple/family? So a couple attends, that’s $12.50 each. But a family with 3 growing teenage boys also attends, making it $5 each? (And does anyone think a teenage boy is going to be happy with a weenie and a handful of mcnuggets?) Do they plan to have someone stand over the food the entire time it’s available and keeps tabs on who already had a steak, smacking the hand of anyone who comes back for seconds? Something tells me that this will be the first and last Surf & Turf 4th of July!

I agree with OP. Although the eHellion in me wants to go and watch the fun, staying home sounds like the best idea. Buy a box of sparklers and say you already have plans for the day.

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e. May 28, 2014 at 9:35 am

Actually, $25 sounds about right to me. Around here the ribeyes would cost about $20, and lobster and crab could easily go over $25. Actually, this kind of invitation doesn’t bother me. They are very upfront about what kind of party it is, and what the costs are, so there are no hidden surprises. I would never expect someone to treat me to this kind of meal. But I also enjoy these kinds of meals, and would enjoy having them in this kind of atmosphere, so I’d probably go for it. If these people have friends that mostly can’t afford this kind of party, or just don’t want to spend their money this way, it will probably not go over well. The danger, though, is if they don’t have enough food, someone is going to be upset.

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Skaramouche May 28, 2014 at 12:36 pm

E, I don’t think the problem is that this concept is wrong, it’s that this couple is pretending to host a party that they aren’t actually paying for. It’s different if a group gets together and decides that 1 person is going to pick up the food but the others are going to split the costs. Here, it appears that these people want to be in control of all the hosting aspects including food but can’t actually afford it and so, are asking their friends to pony up.

Before someone corrects me on the point, there’s nothing wrong with not being able to afford something. The simple solution is to just not have it.

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Shoegal May 28, 2014 at 9:36 am

Things like this get started because at one time these people (the OP’s friends) have thrown a party or a rather small little get together where they cooked steaks/seafood which was so good that their friends suggested how much fun it would be if we had a big blow out 4th 0f July celebration with all this great and elaborate food choices and all their friends. These same friends also said that nobody would mind if they all chipped in for the all this steak & lobster they’d be serving because it is rather expensive and they’d all be willing to bring a side dish if necessary. I could see this conversation happening at my neighbor’s house. We were all sitting there after dinner one night – fat and happy enjoying a cocktail and the whole party idea would be born along with the cover charge. And – for all these “close” friends – they really don’t mind spending $25 for a great party at their friend’s house – the one they helped dream up. But for everybody else who wasn’t there that night the idea was born – it looks rather tacky.

The whole thing though becomes more complicated in trying to collect money and decipher who paid and who didn’t and who gets to eat what. If the same same small group of friends did the same party – it would probably all be perfectly fine but once you decide to invite everybody else – even friends who you haven’t seen in awhile – it doesn’t work at all. I actually don’t think $25 is so awful much. These people are buying steaks/ lobster/crab for everyone and other items for the children, providing sides and cocktails. I’m rather forgiving of this party idea but I certainly wouldn’t want to be the host of it.

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Margaret May 28, 2014 at 9:38 am

To me, this invitation reads like it is all one event. That is, the $25 covers the dinner AND the sides provided at the bonfire/pool party. It doesn’t look to me as if they are saying $25 if you come for the dinner, but if not, feel free to come by for the rest of the party. Perhaps the hosts said something in person that makes it clear you can skip the dinner part, but based on the invitation, I wouldn’t assume so.

I think they are going to run into problems with people who don’t RSVP yes because they aren’t CERTAIN that they are going to go, and then decide to go anyway, possibly letting the hosts know in advance and possibly not.

I don’t really have a problem with someone doing this, if it’s a group of people who have said they want to have a surf and turf party and then one of them offers up their home and volunteers to do the purchasing, as long as it is understood that everyone is pitching in for the cost. I think that’s different than if the couple decides on their own that they want to host this party and then charge a cover. But I think, in that case, the invitation should be worded differently. More on the lines of Hey, so and so, a bunch of us are pitching in to have a surf and turf night at our house. It’s $25 each if you want in, and these are the details.

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Cat May 28, 2014 at 9:51 am

I suspect that their “first annual Surf and Turf 4th of July holiday celebration” may well be their last. To charge guests for dinner turns ones home into a restaurant. I would have hamburgers/hot dogs on the grill with potato chips and salad and skip the charge for food.
As for the idea of attending the pool party and skipping the dinner, I think not. The invitation does not read as if that is an option. It sounds as if you are expected to leave the kids at home for the dinner, and then allow them to attend the pool party where they will have hot dogs and chicken nuggets. Adults will be allowed “sides” and a drink.
My school always had a Thanksgiving dinner celebration in which everyone brought a dish during dinner. One year a secretary was allowed to organize it. We had only about ten employees as it was a small adult education (night school) center. The secretary required everyone to bring food for thirty people or to pay fifty dollars for the dinner. I declined to attend.

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Brit May 28, 2014 at 9:52 am

Meh, when I want to buy expensive food someone else has cooked, I go out to dinner.

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clairedelune May 28, 2014 at 9:54 am

I’m with you as far as not attending at all. Not that there’s any obligation to buy into someone else’s rudeness–and if their party-invitation system has an obvious built-in flaw, it serves them right if people take advantage of it–but unless there’s more to the invitation than I’m reading here, I don’t think they mean for people to attend just the pool party/bonfire and thereby avoid paying for dinner. I suspect they expect people to pay no matter how much or how little of the party you might attend (in which case your $25 becomes “cocktail money” or something like that). I’d just stay away from the whole thing.

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Abby May 28, 2014 at 10:15 am

That’s definitely rude. Although, these friends who “asked” their friends to host a surf and turf are rude as well. I actually don’t think $25 per family is that unreasonable, but I don’t think it’s at all friendly or polite to invite people to a party and charge a cover. If a few of them want to have a high roller dinner, have a smaller gathering with the understanding among those that it will be a cooperative event.

OP, we had something like this happen in our circle of friends a few years ago. Only it was $5 a head (all of us were single and childless) and the menu was hamburgers and hot dogs. Everyone opted to do what your husband suggested- tell the host they couldn’t make the dinner but would be happy to come to the party afterwards. It wasn’t that $5 was a lot of money, but we were all really put off by the invitation. The host ended up getting mad that he had no takers for the dinner and cancelled the whole thing.

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Kay L May 28, 2014 at 10:22 am

It’s not really that different from a potluck. Instead of bringing a dish to share, you pay $25. And honsestly, it sounds like a good time!

There is no bait and switch-you know what you are getting into.

Not every invitation has to be something that is 100% hosted by the “host.” Not every dinner party is a formal one. It would be tacky if they were charging people to raise money for some personal reason but here they just want to have a good time with their friends, have something different than hot dogs nad hamburgers and not go broke doing it.

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Dee May 28, 2014 at 1:23 pm

If being a “host” no longer requires one to actually … host … then what is your definition of “host”? Because the invitation clearly says “host”, and that definition still means that the host does all the hosting. As in, they pay for everything. There are plenty of other terms for what these people are planning, such as “organizing”, but in this case they are initially promising something and then demanding payment for that promise. That is so not hosting. People are right to be offended by this “invitation” to spend their money.

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Rap May 28, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I agree. A pot luck actually works on the same principle, instead of twenty five dollars, you bring a dish to pass. Where I grew up, steaks, crab and lobster *were* for grilling, granted, usually a bit fancier of a grill party than the usual hot dogs and hamburgers.

My parents moved into a neighborhood in the south where the people in the community do this. Person X has a pool and is the host, the neighborhood is invited, if you want to partake of the pig roast and seafood buffett, you chip in 20 bucks. If you don’t want to go, you don’t. The parents were off put at first, because they’d never been to a “pig pick” as it was called, but they had a really good time. Frankly the pricing was twenty bucks per household to account for extra people who weren’t going to pay (there’s always that one at the potluck too) or people who changed their minds at last minute. There was no headcount or “you paid x so you’re here” sort of thing. The last time I visited, I went to one and it was fun. Is etiquette supposed to be so inflexible? This clearly wasn’t a dinner party but fancier than normal barbeque.

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Surianne May 28, 2014 at 4:05 pm

I agree completely. I don’t see anything rude about this whatsoever — they’re very clear up front about what the event is, and all the OP has to do is decline.

I’ve been to these types of cookouts before and I thoroughly enjoy them. I have no problem chipping in a set amount for the food when one couple is hosting the location and doing the legwork of organizing everything–I’m glad they saved me the work of being an organizer!

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Kimstu May 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm

The use of the term “host” implies that you are 100% hosting something.

I completely agree that it’s fine to have a cooperative dinner among a group of friends where everybody chips in to help cover costs. But it shouldn’t be described as “hosting a party”.

This sort of arrangement becomes more unworkable the larger and less cohesive the guest list becomes. What happens when one family feels they didn’t get enough steak or lobster for their $25 and asks for a refund?

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Devil's Advocate May 29, 2014 at 10:15 am

A few points:

1. I agree with the other posters who say that they don’t see the breach in etiquette here. Like others I see this as no different then a pot-luck, except you’re chipping in money and not food. If you don’t want to pay, the simply don’t go. I feel, as least from this chain conversation, that some feels it’s a breach because the invitation uses the word “host”. I believe the “host” here is used to imply that it’s going to be at their house, using their cutlery, cookware, space, bonfire area. and pool. The “hosts” are the ones doing the cleanup, dealing with the organization, preparing and cooking the food, and basically opening up their house for a big celebration. I see no problem with them calling themselves the hosts.

2. Nowhere in LW’s story does it say that the hosts are trying to recoup their costs or are trying to spend only the amount which they collect. It could very well be that they are using the $25 dollar cost (which is cheap in my opinion) to simply offset somewhat what they are going to be putting on the table.

3. Something which may seem to an individual person to be a logistical nightmare doesn’t mean that it’s an etiquette breach.

A group of friends and my family to routinely get together for potlucks–meaning we are chipping in food and not money. Where the get-together is located sometimes changes but is typically at my house as it has more space. All the families that get together have kids (ages varying from 8 months to six years). When the get-together is at my house I would call myself the hosts. Here is why: we are providing the main portion of the meal (typically steaks or hamburgers/hotdogs), we are providing our house (meaning we cleanup before and after), and we are providing entertainment for the kiddos. We could not afford (and neither could are friends) to “hosts” a get together like this without help i.e. the side food/dessert provided by the other guest. From many on the comments on here, that would mean we should stop having these get-togethers. I find that silly.

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Rap May 29, 2014 at 1:04 pm

What should it be called? I’m askingbecause some of the hang and “its rude” declaration seem to hang on the fact that the inviter is saying they’re hosting a party. What should they call it to not be considering rude for claiming to be a host?

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Tanya May 28, 2014 at 10:22 am

I’m torn– on the one hand, it’s not like they’re springing the cost on you, or pulling a bait-and-switch. They have apparently been asked to host a pay-your-way gathering with expensive food, and if you don’t want to attend, then you don’t have to. If they were pressuring you to attend, then that would be rude. But I don’t see anything inherently wrong with hosting (and I use the term lightly, since clearly they are not full “hosts” if they’re asking you to pay) an event like this, so long as everyone knows what they’re getting into at the beginning. I’ve attended a party where everyone was asked to chip in $5 to cover the expenses of a lobster per person, and had no problem with paying– $5 for a lobster is cheap!*

On the other hand, the logistics seem difficult to manage, and I can definitely see some guests being short-changed somehow if someone decides to hoard all of the crab, or something similar. That would create bad feelings that really have no place at a friendly gathering. So I probably wouldn’t host an event like this unless it was small, agreed-upon by all invitees beforehand, and relatively inexpensive.

*I don’t really see $25/couple as being all that bad. Ribeye steaks for two might only cost half that amount, but crab and lobster would easily make up the rest of the cost. I’d count myself lucky to get a good portion of crab and lobster for $12.50/couple, especially if I didn’t have to cook it myself.

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starstruck May 28, 2014 at 10:23 am

ok maybe iam just crazy , but this sounds like fun to me!where i live a good lobster dinner is 50 bucks easy. and your getting lobster, steak, crab, plus a bonfire and cocktails by the pool? what a steal! lol if anything just go with your husband , pay the 25 bucks and have a good time. there are alot of other things the two of you could be doing for 25 bucks that wouldnt involve a pool party and lobster. i say go for it. a friend of mine did something simaliar to this for new years , only it wasnt lobster it was crawfish. we had to pay 10 bucks a person and it was worth it

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Beth May 28, 2014 at 11:36 pm

I’m with you…assuming this is a group of people I enjoy hanging out with, this sounds like a great way to enjoy an evening! More fun than just going to a restaurant and paying more with the same people.

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DGS May 28, 2014 at 10:35 am

My thought is, if you’re going to host an event like this, it is your responsibility to provide the food, etc., and make sure that you can afford to do so. If you can afford to feed 50 people steak, crab and lobster, you buy it, provide it, budget for it, etc. If you can’t, you serve burgers and hot dogs. If you can’t afford that, you don’t host a bbq but have a small family party instead. Rationing food and policing who paid for and ate what is ridiculously complex, unnecessarily cumbersome and quite rude. Friends don’t host pot lucks, unless it’s a fundraiser for a worthy cause (medical treatment, for instance), or a function raising money for a church, an organization, etc.

My DH and I have hosted a pretty elaborate NYE party for years (before we had little ones; now, we’re much less glamorous and fabulous. :-)) We would purchase and prepare a spread of 10-15 various appetizers and for entrees, serve Beef Wellington, Dauphin potatoes and grilled asparagus (and a simpler spinach quiche with the same sides for the vegetarians), and a strawberry trifle and champagne for dessert. We would host an average of 10 couples (so 20+ people total) and also provide alcohol (typically, one or two cocktails, red and white wine, non-alcoholic beverages and also champagne for the toast). We planned for, budgeted for and prepared food for all of our guests; if someone brought a host/hostess gift, we would be very appreciative and serve the food (usually, boxed chocolates or bottle of wine and occasionally, a fruit or veggie tray), and we would never dream of asking someone to contribute. If we felt uncomfortable hosting such a party, we did not.

It is not other people’s responsibility to subsidize someone else’s entertainment choices. I would skip the seafood grub fest.

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Stacey Frith-Smith May 28, 2014 at 12:29 pm

“Friends don’t host pot lucks”- there’s nothing wrong with a pot luck. In that case, however, those gathering get to decide individually what to contribute. No one is “voluntold” to bring specific menu items or cash in hand. Otherwise there’s no “luck” to be had and you might as well call it a fundraiser.

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The Elf May 28, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I agree with Stacy – done correctly, a potluck is perfectly fine. But this isn’t a potluck, and charging a fee for food is not the same as a potluck.

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Steve May 28, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Exactly. It’s the attempts to exercise the decision-making rights of a host while outsourcing the financial responsibilities.

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Daphne May 28, 2014 at 1:29 pm

I agree with you DGS. Unless it’s family, a potluck is not a party, it’s an obligation. And I’ve been roped into a few admission charged social events in my lifetime. But always they have been with the neighborhood or for work, not a strictly social situation. They were all awkward and horrible, by the way, with a few horrid individuals making sure they got their money’s worth. Yuck.

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Saucygirl May 29, 2014 at 7:15 am

I’m sorry, but it is bizarre to me that dgs thinks friends don’t have potlucks and daphne feels they are obligations. I am part of a group of fifteen friends. With husbands and kids that is more than 45 people. We spend an obscene amount of time together. And it is normally a potluck, because that ensures we can hang more often as a complete group then if we expected one person to host everyone, and we can hang for longer than if we were trying to “fit it in” between meals. No one considers them obligations, and people have been known to cancel other plans to ensure they can attend one. And while I know my group is awesome, I can’t believe we are unique in this.

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Devil's Advocate May 29, 2014 at 10:20 am

You are not unique. I think this really is the case especially when you have a group of friends who all have kids. We are in the same boat–but by doing a group potluck we are able to spend evenings with friends at least twice a month. I feel like a lot of comments on here are really caught up in this invitation using the word “host”.

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Daphne May 30, 2014 at 6:24 pm

But this post IS about the type of social situation where there is a host. The type of potluck I am referring to is where there is one host issuing invitations with the instruction to “bring a dish to pass”. To me, that’s not a party, it’s an obligation. It means making or buying a huge amount of salad or side-dish or entree or dessert in the appropriate giant dish of course, and loading it in my car, keeping it cool or warm, and getting my dish & utensils back when it’s gone. No thanks!

Saucygirl, if I had a group of 15 close friends all in the same boat ( husband/kid/money wise) who all wanted to get together an “obscene” amount of time, I would not consider that a true potluck situation. Because it sounds like everyone is pretty equal in your social group and no one person is acting as host. It becomes an obligation when you are inviting people you really aren’t that close to, and expecting them to feed people they don’t know and will probably never see again.
:-)

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Skaramouche May 28, 2014 at 10:40 am

I also wonder about $25 per family/couple. A 12 year old while technically a child, is quite capable of eating and enjoy a lobster tail. Does that mean that a family of three (potentially consuming 3 lobster tails) would pay the same as a couple? I realize I’m being a bit mercenary but these things do come up and cause bad blood.

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just4kicks May 28, 2014 at 1:22 pm

There was a couple who came to my sister’s first wedding. Well, not so much a couple as one of their single friends who brought a date, unannounced to the ceremony and reception. This guy was in a large group of singles without steady girlfriend’s or wives. So, this guy shows up with his “date” for the evening, and my sister, never one to pull any punches, said to him after dinner. “Who is that? We paid for just your dinner!” This guy said to her, “well…I ate the “surf” and she ate the “turf”….what’s the problem?!? For starters, it’s presumptuous and rude!

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Dominic May 28, 2014 at 10:45 am

Anyone else see a follow-up letter from the hosts of this event in the future?

“Friends of ours asked us to host a 4th of July event where people would contribute toward the cost of some of the food, and we invited a group of family and friends. You won’t believe what happened next! …”

I would steer far clear of this and opt not to attend. It’s unclear to me from the invitation whether there’s the option of going after the “early dinner” and thus not being subject to the $25 contribution. As mentioned in the Dame’s response, I wouldn’t want to be involved in hosting such an event either, for all the things she’s mentioned, as well as the other issues of liability when providing food and alcoholic beverages and charging for them.

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Harley Granny May 28, 2014 at 10:47 am

Before I send them to e-hell I guess I need to know a few more facts.

Does this include all food AND the cocktails…the cocktails alone could blow a budget.

OP, you said you hadn’t socialized with them for awhile….could it be that those that do still socialize with them thought they would be good hosts for an event like this? In my group of friends, we might come up with an idea, someone volunteers to “host” and we all chip in to make it happen so that the brunt of the cost doesn’t fall on the “hosts”.

And it could be they thought you might enjoy this so they invited you.

Sorry from what you submitted I think you’re over reacting.

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ValB May 28, 2014 at 10:54 am

Another thought; I like medium-rare steak. If a restaurant brings me a well done steak, I’ll send it back. So what happens if the host overcooks steaks to the point of ruining them? Will they have extras? Or is it a tough luck kind of situation? I wouldn’t care so much if it was a burger, but if I’m being charged a cover fee for my food, I’d want it to be to my taste.

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Cecilia May 28, 2014 at 10:54 am

I’m a bit confused- they are asking for $25 per couple/family to cover the steaks, crab and lobster. If you have 4 kids plus wife & husband that’s 6 people. $25 will not cover a family of 6 dining on steak, crab and lobster.

Then, in the last paragraph they say they will have hot dogs & chicken nuggets for the kids and sides for everyone else. If you pay the$25 are kids not supposed to eat until the pool party/bonfire or they still get hot dogs & chicken nuggets while the adults dine on steak, crab and lobster? $25 does seem a bit much unless each adult is getting a steak, crabs and a lobster.

I agree with admin about moochers. Someone will show up for steak, crab and lobster without having paid and then what are the hosts supposed to do? Tell them they can not eat because they didn’t pay?

While an annual party with friends sounds nice, when you start having to keep track of who paid, who didn’t, etc, that kind of sucks the fun out of it. Also, can your husband attend the pool party/bonfire without RSVP’ing and paying?

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Rosie B. May 28, 2014 at 5:51 pm

In their defense, they did they it was to “help cover” the cost of food, not pay for everything. So it’s possible that they were willing to pay for some of it, just not all. Still incredibly rude though.

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Justine May 28, 2014 at 11:01 am

Yikes! I would be upset if a family with 5 kids was paying $25 and my family, me and DH, was also paying $25. Not to mention, like admin said, how do they keep track of who paid and who didn’t? Will one of them be by the door checking off names from a list of those who RSVP’d and paid, and turning away those who didn’t? Potlucks are fine if you cannot afford all the food for a big get-together/non-celebration. But this? I wouldn’t go!

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Rap May 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm

In the letter it says the kids will be provided hot dogs and chicken nuggets by the host.

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Missy May 28, 2014 at 11:02 am

This shows how regions differ because I would consider $12.50 a person to be very cheap for steaks and lobsters.

I’m not sure if I would consider this completely rude. Like The Dame says, it would be a headache, yes, but not really rude. It sounds like this was the brain child of multiple people. If several people got together and said, “We want a pool/surf n’ turf party and we’ll all pay.” I think that is their business. I see this in the same vein as a bunch of people saying, “I want to go see X show.” and then all paying for their own tickets to a group event. If someone spearheaded the organization and/or driving, I wouldn’t think they were rude if they didn’t offer to host.

I’m not sure how I feel about a mass invitation though. If I decided to do something like this, I would keep it to the interested parties.

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KarenK May 29, 2014 at 7:28 am

Missy – I live in Maine (and my DH is a lobsterman – so you can’t get any closer to the source) and I also think $12.50 is cheap for steak and lobster! I could just about get two good ribeye steaks for 25 bucks, although there are probably areas of the US where they could be bought much cheaper.

But that is not the issue here. I actually agree with you and the Dame. Go or don’t go, but the basic idea doesn’t offend me.

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The Elf May 28, 2014 at 11:06 am

*headdesk*. If you want to serve lobster, buy and serve lobster. On your dime. This is why when we serve seafood to guests, we do shrimp skewers or sauteed scallops. When I host a crab feast, which we do every few years or so, I figure out how much crab I can afford, how much the average person eats, and invite & buy accordingly.

It’s not that hard to figure out, people! If you host a party, pay for that party. If you can’t afford it, don’t host it.

The exception is potluck, which is a different kind of party all on its own and should be labeled as such on the invite. But no one’s doing surf ‘n’ turf for a potluck!

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Anonymous May 28, 2014 at 11:15 am

I agree with the OP’s husband–if the hosts are combining a social event with a business transaction, and they’re setting it up like “Dinner for $25 per couple, pool party and bonfire for free,” then I’d simply forgo the “Dinner for $25 per couple” part, and take them up on the part of the event that I do want, which would be the “pool party and bonfire for free” part. Actually, “for free” should go without saying, because hosting an event means HOSTING an event and paying for everyone; otherwise, you’re just organizing it, and there is no host. So, between the fact that I don’t eat Surf & Turf, or chicken nuggets (vegan), I couldn’t justify spending $12.50 for dinner at a friend’s house, and I don’t like feeling exploited/extorted, I’d have no problem with forgoing the politeness of a genuine hosted social event, which would obligate me to go to the whole event and eat what I could, and simply decline the business transaction that the “hosts” are proposing. Surely they wouldn’t mind that, because if they invited people to a party, they must actually want to see them and not just their wallets, right?

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Library Diva May 28, 2014 at 11:21 am

I agree with admin that this won’t end well for the couple. I guess they really want to have a fancy party but can’t really afford to do so, and have hit on this as a solution. OP’s husband is already planning to come late and skip dinner — how many others will do so? How many might say that’s what they’re doing but sneak in early?

Also, they’re not providing chairs, and they’re inviting people to bring whatever they want in terms of food? And they did it all by Evite, which allows people to RSVP maybe, despite their statement that they need an exact headcount? To quote Sophia Petrillo of the Golden Girls, “Your heart’s in the right place, but I don’t know where the hell your brain is!”

I predict this will go one of three ways: either it will be a one-off (as the couple realizes that this isn’t workable), it will get scaled back immensely, or the couple will escalate their rules and demands each year until they’ve sucked all the fun out of it and no one wants to attend. I hope they scale it back next year and stick with a pool party, bonfire, and hot dogs and hamburgs. Real friends will enjoy such an event. Everyone else can treat themselves to dinner at a swanky restaurant.

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kit May 29, 2014 at 1:19 am

I don’t think suggesting to bring a blanket is too much, although phrasing it as “have warm clothes or a blanket with you” would have been better. Chairs… I wouldn’t dream of asking everyone bringing a chair (could, possibly, ask a friend who has many chairs, for a loan for a night, but not everyone their own).

When my husband (who wasn’t then even my boyfriend so I’m not guilty) had the house-warming party with his coworker friends in the very first his own home, he had next to no furniture in it yet. He had asked his guests to bring their own chairs for this reason… and his friends promptly decided that a set of stools was what he needed for a housewarming gift.

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The Elf May 29, 2014 at 7:19 am

We’ve asked people to bring chairs before, for an outdoor party or camp out, though I usually explain it over the phone to the guests rather than spell it out in the invite. I have way more lawn chairs than I need for just my husband and I, but they’re the stacking white plastic type. They’ll do, but they’re not comfy. Lots of people – especially the outdoorsy types – have a lawn or camp chair that is “theirs”. Bring it. Sit on it. And if you don’t have anything, sit on a stacking white chair. I’ve never run out of chairs at an outdoor party, but one reason is because so many of my friends prefer to bring their own.

Where we used to host a big camp-out, there were backless wooden benches ringing the firepit. Perfectly adequate, but by hour 3 not quite so comfy. Or you could bring a chair.

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The Elf May 30, 2014 at 7:24 am

Wanted to add to this….. When I RSVP to an outdoor party, I ask about chairs. Sometimes we end up throwing our collapsible lawn chairs in the car and deciding as the party goes on if they are needed. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

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Maggie May 28, 2014 at 11:22 am

So what if someone’s vegan/vegetarian? Do they bring their own veggi burgers etc. AND still pay for food they can’t eat? Here’s a wacky thought… If these “hosts” really need help offsetting this menu, what about (gasp!) scaling back? Just burgers/hot dogs, chips/sides, beer/soda – they don’t have to go all out as long as everyone’s fed!

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Anonymous May 28, 2014 at 5:29 pm

I actually am vegan, so if (when) I get invitations to meat-centric events (barbecues, etc.), I either eat before or afterwards, stick to side dishes, or offer to bring my own veggie burger or whatever. If I was invited to a pay-your-own-way dinner, I’d assume, or even state, that I wasn’t going to be paying, because I’d be bringing my own food. If they tried to get me to pay anyway, then I’d stay home.

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ohboy May 28, 2014 at 11:28 am

I’d have a lot of questions. For example, it seems to be indicated that the hosts were asked to hold this event. It makes me wonder where for starters. Is the host renting out a country club or paying for facilities for this event? I guess I would understand the need for some to chip in for the food. Are we sure it’s not a fundraiser or charity event–it almost sounds as if it were.

I do differ from admin in that $25 for steaks, lobster and crab sounds like a steal to me. I don’t often attend events where people ask me to pay for items, but if several people have said, “hey you guys host it at your house, get the pool ready, set up a bonfire and we’ll help by paying for food” then I’m okay with it. In which case the host should limit the invites to just those who asked to put this together.

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Angel May 28, 2014 at 11:30 am

This is not a real invitation. If it were the hosts would accept the costs of entertaining and have the party they can afford. It’s nice to have seafood, cocktails, etc, but if you have to ask your invitees to pay, you shouldn’t have them! I agree with the OP this is not a party I would be attending.

The only things the hosts did correctly is by spelling it out in this unvitation (that is not a typo, that is a thing!) and not springing it on guests when they get there. Guests should have all the information about the event before making the decision whether or not to attend!

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Barb May 28, 2014 at 11:37 am

Also, if you charge people for food, you put yourself in the position of needing a licensed kitchen, etc, and open yourself up to all kinds of liability should someone get sick. This is why a lot of church suppers are now “By donation” instead of charging a set price.

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NostalgicGal May 30, 2014 at 11:54 pm

In the 1980’s KFC in Minneapolis (at least one franchise) would donate their leftovers to a soup kitchen that fed the homeless. A batch ‘got held improperly’ and when served the next day, a homeless fellow got sick from it, sued (SUCCESSFULLY) and won like $1.4 million. From KFC. They stopped the donating the moment the lawsuit was filed and it is now policy that all the food has to be thrown out at the end of the night, period.

You do NOT want to be in the path of liability if someone gets sick from something they ate.

We have lots of church suppers, fundraisers, etc, around here and they are always ‘DONATION’ (usually a price listed but still labeled a ‘donation). It has been over the last several years they all suddenly went to adding the Big D word.

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Anonymous June 1, 2014 at 10:25 am

@NostalgicGal–You know what scares me? If the soup kitchen itself had made a mistake, and someone got sick after eating there (even if there was no proof that the food had caused it), then someone could sue, the whole place could shut down, and a lot of people would go hungry, possibly for no good reason.

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NostalgicGal June 9, 2014 at 2:42 pm

The soup kitchen had gotten sued also; but they got dropped as they had nothing to ‘take’ in the suit… so they sic’ed on ‘deep pockets’ and that is how KFC got sued. And KFC appealed and still had to pay.

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Amara May 28, 2014 at 12:05 pm

We’re asking for $25 per couple/family to help cover the cost of the steaks, crab and lobster. … We will be having a pool party and bonfire after an early dinner. We’ll have hot dogs and chicken nuggets for the kids and sides for everyone. If there’s something specific you want, feel free to bring it. … if you have a specific preference please bring it. Also, please bring a blanket or chairs for the bonfire.

Hmm, we’re having this party but to throw this party we need you to “pay us, bring anything specific you want (like an entrée if you are a vegetarian?), specific drink, and a blanket or chairs.” I wouldn’t be attending this party either. Like you, OP, I find it insulting. And if it takes off, who knows where it will go in the future–high end champagne, caterers, etc?

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Ashley May 28, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Doesn’t sound like much of a party to me. Sounds like they are just offering a place to cook the food the guests pay for.

Don’t have a party you can’t afford. It should really just be that simple.

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Stacey Frith-Smith May 28, 2014 at 12:17 pm

This one was worded wrong. They aren’t “hosting”. They are “organizing”. That would clear up the muddle and allow anyone who wishes to participate the ability to do so without quibbling. The “several people have asked us” allegedly speaks to their event/ culinary/ social expertise and is gratuitous and self-important. Good food and good company are a great combination but the unwillingness of some to take on the full duties of hosting can rob a special occasion of its charm. Then it just becomes about “branding” the party in the name of the hosts and guests must pay for their privilege of attending. Sad.

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Margaret May 28, 2014 at 10:10 pm

I think that is a great distinction — organizing vs hosting. I had a few university years where I hung out with a group. We did lots of fun things from going out to a new restaurant to going on a weekend road trip. One guy ALWAYS organized it — making sure everyone had a ride or booking rooms or making reservations or getting tickets — and each person would pay his or her share. I look back knowing what I now know and I am so grateful to him for the many many hours he spent organizing for the rest of us. It might not be as big as deal as hosting, but organizing is still a big deal.

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The Elf May 29, 2014 at 7:25 am

It is, and likewise I am grateful to the organizers around me too. Those kinds of trips and nights out are a blast, but they just don’t come together! And as long as it is clear that the person doing the logistics isn’t HOSTING but ORGANIZING, no big deal to pay my own way. Our circle likes to pay for the designated driver, if it is an event with alcohol. So each pays their own way, and splits the costs of the DD (food, non-alcholic drinks, gas, tickets, entrance fees, whatever). Not only does take the sting out of being the designated driver, but it also allows a friend who might be temporarily out of work or something to have a night out for no cost.

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Alicia May 28, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Rude and unfair to single friends
1 person $25
2 people $25
family of 6 $25

I do understand the being asked to do it however. I have a big deck and host an annual BBQ for about 70-80 people multiple times people have suggested I ask folks to chip in and do a big crab feast this is out of my budget but they think that folks would love to have a crab feast and really yes crabs and oysters is delicious but no way in H.. can I consider charging my guests or affording it myself.

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Brit May 29, 2014 at 5:46 am

I find people suggesting I throw a big party to be cheeky. ‘Hey, why don’t you have a crab fest and get everyone to chip in?’

“Because it takes a ton of organization and hard work, it still costs too much and if I’d wanted to do that, I would have.”

Host it yourself, don’t push it on others as some ‘great idea’.

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wren May 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm

This doesn’t sound like an invitation to me. It’s more like you got an advertisement inviting you to a short-term restaurant that’s opening for one night and charging $25 for their prix fixe menu. And Barb makes a good point that charging for food could be a way of inviting the government into their back yard. My state’s health department would start by doing a kitchen inspection. They started doing this a few years go at churches that charged for fundraising dinners, so now churches suggest a freewill offering.

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Onlyme May 28, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Parking my POD to the fact that it doesn’t have an option of attendingthe Bonfire separately. Its for the pepple who paid also.

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lakey May 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Also, the invite doesn’t specify whether people who choose not to pay for the dinner are welcome to attend the pool party and bonfire. I think it sounds like everyone who comes is expected to pay for the dinner. There could be a legal issue with having people pay to attend a party, and serving alcohol at that party. They can SAY that the money isn’t for the alcohol, but the authorities might not see it that way.

My feeling is, throw a party you can afford. Also, Administrator is spot on with the situation of who eats what. It’s different if it is billed as a community function, a work function, or an organization’s function.

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lakey May 28, 2014 at 1:15 pm

And by “It’s different if it is billed as a community function, a work function, or an organization’s function,” I mean that it’s more acceptable to charge people.

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Syn May 28, 2014 at 1:17 pm

My group of friends does this often, but it’s a solid group and the invites are usually done via FB groups where we discuss what to buy together, the host gets them and then we repay him back. But as a larger event with such an open invite, it seems odd to charge for the ingredients.

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fountainof May 28, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Personally, I find the act of hosting to be a lot of work. Even without paying for the food hosts have to do so much with cleaning their home, having plates, cutlery and cooking the food (all things I hate to do) so I wouldn’t have a problem splitting the cost of food of someone else did the work for me. Now if this was for something like wedding where you get gifts the payment for the food would be my gift.

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Daphne May 28, 2014 at 1:39 pm

I wouldn’t be surprised if the “friends” suggesting this expensive soiree just happen to be in the wholesale lobster business. ;-)

And I also have to say OP, that unless you are willing to pay the $25 I don’t think your husband should attend the party. It seems like a pretty specific invitation–and if foregoing the seafood meal was a welcome option they probably would have stated that on the invitation itself. If he really wants to go you should probably call them and ask if it would be ok to show up later, after the meal, and not pay the admission.

But personally I would not go at all. It just sounds like all kinds of awkward and tacky to me.

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Calli Arcale May 28, 2014 at 1:48 pm

That’s a good price for restaurant food. But this is not a restaurant. Given that it’s a BBQ, you can reasonably expect that service will be buffet style, and $12.50 is a pretty typical price for an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet around here. And that includes profit, and it’s professionally prepared. I wouldn’t expect a backyard BBQ to be professional quality, so I would not expect to pay that much. In my experience, if you can’t cover the cost of the food, you do a potluck.

I would have something else going on that evening, frankly.

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Double You May 29, 2014 at 4:35 am

$12.50 for an all you can eat seafood buffet? That’s amazing…

I must be living on the wrong continent, because $12.50 would just about buy me a small take-away pizza. In some not-too-expensive lunchroom it might stretch to a toasted cheese and ham sandwich with a cup of tea or a small soda. Europe seems quite expensive compared to the States judging from the comments I’ve read here today.

As for the $25 in the OP’s story, that would barely cover the cost of two steaks at my local butcher’s, let alone the seafood.

That being said, I don’t see anything wrong with friends planning a party together and splitting the costs, but if that’s the case then the invite should have been clearer and the ‘hosts’ should not have emphasised their ‘hosting’ of the event.

In our group of friends it’s not unusual to share (part of) the costs. For example, a few years back we got together on New Year’s Eve with three other couples: the couple at whose house we were gathering got all the drinks and appetisers in, we brought the entrees, another couple the main course, and another took care of the desserts, and we simply added up the costs of all ingredients and split them in four.
Also, it’s not unusual that we get invited to a restaurant to celebrate a friend’s birthday, with the friend offering to pay for all drinks while we each pay for our own meal. If that arrangement is made clear from the start, I have no problem with it.

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admin May 29, 2014 at 9:53 am

I didn’t read anything in the original post that indicated this was an “all you can eat seafood buffet”. And perhaps if guests assumed that it was, this would likely contribute to a pig gorging him/herself on seafood.

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Double You May 29, 2014 at 5:13 pm

I wasn’t referring to the original story, but rather to Calli Arcale’s remark that “$12.50 is a pretty typical price for an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet around here” ;-)

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MM May 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm

My thoughts:
Steak- Not everyone likes steak cooked to a certain temp. Wonder if the “hosts” cook every steak to well done. (Blasphemy!)
Seafood- Would someone take more lobster because they don’t eat crab? Would that growing boy of 14 take two lobster tails because no-one was paying any attention?
Kids- What is your definition of ages of kids? The hosts might think anyone under the age of 14 is a kid. Parents on the other hand have different ideas.
Dinner then bonfire- Nope, you don’t skip the dinner (therefor not paying anything) and go to the bonfire. Just don’t do it!
Price of “admission”- Are all their friends couples or families? Did they invite a friend who is single? Does that person pay the $25.00 or $12.50?

So, This party might be good in theory, just not going to be a happy ending.

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Meegs May 28, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I have no problem with this type of party, but I think it is definitely best kept as a small group rather than an all-out shindig.

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Kilmer May 28, 2014 at 2:21 pm

When the American Legion or some other organization does something like this, it is clearly spelled out what you will get – $10 for a 10 oz. ribeye steak or $15 for a 1 pound lobster. You pay – you get. Maybe they could do it that way. Order what you want, the “hosts” buy exactly what was ordered, no waste, no extras for the piglets. Give each guest a chit for whatever they ordered, which they turn it when they get their food.

Gee, doesn’t sound like much of a party, does it….

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koolchicken May 28, 2014 at 3:18 pm

I suspect there are more issue here than we realize. I’m willing to bet this couple moved to a new house with a pool (or had one built) and their “friends” have been badgering them to host a party for them. This couple can’t afford to do that, that’s why there’s a cover charge. Now I’m not saying that’s right, they should grow a spine and say no if they don’t want/can’t afford to throw a party. If those friends that asked them to throw a party chipped in, I’d say fine. But if they declined, I’d say “Sorry, I cannot afford to host your party maybe we’ll do it another time”. I would not have passed the financial burden off to my other “guests”.

As for the food costs being high, well yes and no. Where I live now I could feed people such “fancy” food for under $25 a head. But where I used to live I could never have done it, not in a million years. The OP doesn’t mention what state she lives in, but they’re not all created equal.

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Marozia May 28, 2014 at 3:27 pm

What a bunch of entitled snowflakes!! Hosting a party and then expecting guests to pay for it!
File that E-invite in the circular cabinet where it belongs.

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kingsrings May 28, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Okay, is anyone else on here now really craving the menu after reading this post? LOL.

This reminds me of a party invite I received last summer. It was for an big, hot, happening annual party attended by many thrown by a friend of mine (we’re not real close, but still friendly), and last year I actually scored a Facebook invite somehow. I was so excited to finally get an invite to this event – until I read the FB invite. First of all, there were several rules posted in big, bold, capital letters repeated throughout the invite. One was stating in so many words that only the invited were to attend, no friends or plus ones, no exceptions. The next was that everyone was to bring a dish. And on the FB invite were several reminders to bring a dish, rudely stated such as “there’d better not to be any empty platters at all throughout the night!”. It was a major turnoff for me, and I ended up not attending because I felt so scared and intimidated by this event. I mean, was there going to be some kind of party police force at the door, checking me to make sure that I’d brought sufficient food and didn’t bring a plus one? The entitlement factor that these hosts had was off the chart! And that can be said about the party hosts in this post as well. Some people just seem to think that if they’re offering their home, they can now make all these rules and expectations for their guests. Whatever happened to good ‘ol fashioned hospitality, where you hosted and provided everything for your guests simply because you loved to do that and wanted to do something nice for others?? It seems to have gone by the wayside nowadays, unfortunately. Even a potluck would be better than requiring payment for a party.

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