I’m afraid that I may have sent myself to E-hell recently.
My husband and I regularly attend charity dinners. We pay between 20 to 50 dollars for a plate then listen to a speaker or watch a performer and are usually asked to donate more at the end of the evening as well. We prefer these to more normal date-night activities because we feel we have a nice time and our money is put to good use.
I regularly have lunch with four female coworkers, but I consider them causal friends and we’ve never spent time together outside of work. I’ve talked about the dinners my husband and I go to before, and one of the women “Kate” expressed an interest in attending one and asked me to tell her about the next one so she could go with her husband.
So the next time my husband and I decided to attend a charity dinner I told her about it. I told her the date, where it was going be held, that it would be $30 a plate, and you could pay ahead of time or at the door. She thanked me for telling her and said that she looked forward to seeing me there. When we got there we greeted each other, introduced our husbands, and headed inside. When we got to the check in table the person didn’t have their name on his list. I had informed her that tickets were available at the door and assumed she had chosen to pay when she knew she would be attending so I told her we would see her inside. They sat at the same table as us, but seemed cold throughout dinner and the speaker’s presentation. Afterward I asked them if they would like to join us for coffee before heading home, but they declined and left.
The next day I received an angry phone call from “Kate” berating me for not paying for their dinners. She claimed that when I told her the price over the phone she thought it was “tacky” to put a price tag on a gift but hadn’t wished to call me out on it because she didn’t want to “embarrass” me by pointing out my lack of manners. She hadn’t realized I had been “so poorly raised” that I would expect guests to pay for their meals but that’s what she gets for trusting people. Finally she informed me that she and her husband had not donated a cent to the charity (not that I asked) and hoped that that would “teach me a lesson in manners” before my next etiquette misstep cost me a friendship with someone “less understanding of my faults.”
I’m a little stunned. I didn’t invite her over to my house and try to sell Tupperware or invite her to my wedding and pass around a hat. I certainly didn’t hide the fact that the event was based around giving money and honestly didn’t consider myself a hostess at all. Finally I’m peeved that she thinks denying money to people who need it is somehow supposed to punish me. 0607-14
How amusing that Kate initiated and arranged the gift of dinner you were supposed to give her and her husband. You inadvertently got bamboozled by a sweet little con artist who cleverly tried to arrange for you to pay for her evening date with her husband. At the point where Kate brought up your “tacky” mention of the price of the gift, you could have said, “Whoa! Wait a minute! Are you telling me you thought this was a gift from me? What ever gave you that impression? As I recall, you asked me when the next event was and I passed on that information to you. At no time did I ever offer to pay for your dinners and I am at a loss as to see you could have misconstrued my information.” What you would have done is to have taken the faux pas back to its origins, namely her presumption that by merely asking about these charity dinners means you would be paying for her and hubby to attend one.