Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


Main Page/Home

The Faux Pas Archives
Wedding Etiquette

Bridesmaids and Beastmen
Bridal Showers
Bridezillas and Groomonsters
Faux Pas of the Year
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
Guests From Hell
Tacky Invitations
Wedding Rugrats
Just Plain Tacky
Tacky Toasts
Thank You Notes From Hell
Tacky Vendors
Wedding From Hell
Wicked Witches of the Wedding
Perfect Bride
Bridesmaid Dress Incinerator



Everyday Etiquette

Baby Showers
The Dating Game
Ooops! Foot in Mouth Disease
Funeral Etiquette
Gimme Hell
Holiday Hell
Just Plain Tacky
It's all Relatives
Every Day RugRats
Road Rage

Business Etiquette

Bad Business Etiquette
Merchants of Etiquette Hell
Bad Bosses

Faux Pas of the Year




Press Room/Contact


Baby Showers


Jul-Dec 2000 Archive
Oct-Dec2000 Archive
2001-2002 Archive
Jan - Jun 2003 Archive
Jul - Dec 2003 Archive
Jan - Jun 2004 Archive
Jul-Dec 2004 Archive


When I quit my former place of employment I kept in touch with Casey. We didn't see each other very often but we sent Christmas cards, etc. Christmas 2003 she informs me she's pregnant with her first child. I was thrilled to be invited to her shower. I also took a lot of time picking out gifts from her registry for her present. Upon arriving I knew no one except Casey. There were 30 people there and I am shy around people I don't know so it was uncomfortable for me. I spent the 5 hours (yes 5 hours) talking to her senile aunt about credit cards and luggage.  Soon after I receive a birth announcement and we talk regularly be email. One time she just doesn't email me back and I don't hear from her. I begin planning my wedding and excitedly inform her of my plans. Nothing. I make sure she's invited to my bridal shower. She couldn't even bother to RSVP and say "I'm sorry I can't attend 'Julie's' shower. Please give her my best." She didn't acknowledge the wedding invite either. I was very hurt and realized she only invited me to her shower for one more present because she sure didn't consider me much of a friend. I found out many months later what happened to her. Apparently, after giving birth to her son she promptly began an affair with her employee and was fired from her job. Then, her husband found out and left her. I guess she's been too busy picking up the pieces of her shattered life to worry about hurting my feelings!



As a member of a rather large extended Catholic family, with more aunts, uncles, and cousins than I can often remember names for, I've been invited to more weddings, showers, graduation parties, baptisms, etc. than I can count. Also, I've endured more petty bitching and squabbles over etiquette issues and perceived slights from my mother and various aunts than I care to recall. It's been enough to convince me that, should I ever marry and decide to reproduce, I should simply elope and forego completely any notion of receiving any sort of shower. I don't want to deal with the headache of which great aunts whose names I can't even remember should be invited, or how many weeks can go by before the Thank You notes arrive without being blacklisted by the family.

I'm a pretty mellow and forgiving person myself, and after enduring years of this sort of grief, I'm willing to let all but the most thoughtless and egregious lapses of etiquette slide by without so much as a bat of the eye. The anecdote I'm about to recall comes not from my family with their endless, good-natured bickering, but from a group of high school friends, most of whom really should know better.

In high school, I was friends with a group of about 10-15 girls. (The number varies depending on whom in the group you're asking. This creates another etiquette nightmare, of the "why wasn't so-and-so invited?" variety.) Since we all graduated in 2000, we've all maintained differing levels of closeness with each other, but still get together as a group on different occasions throughout the year.

One friend, Jami, moved to Utah after graduation to attend college (we're all from Michigan), and in the last year has gotten married and is now expecting her first child. This past Christmas she was home visiting her family who still live in Michigan and invited everyone over to her parent's house to socialize and meet her new husband, as none of us were able to attend her wedding in Utah. It was supposed to be just a casual get-together and a chance to socialize.

I went to the gathering with two other friends from the group, whom I have always been closer to than the others and whom I speak with much more often than the rest. We were incredibly excited at this opportunity to see Jami and meet her husband--until the rest of the group arrived. They had all come with gifts for Jami and her baby.

Lauren, Becca, and I were appalled! We asked the other girls if this was supposed to be a baby shower, and they said no, they had just felt like purchasing gifts for the new baby. Each new person who arrived had a gift. We asked one friend, and she said that she had spoken to one of the other girls the day before, and when she found out that they were bringing gifts, she had run out to buy one. Would have been nice for someone to inform us! My friends and I had always intended on buying gifts for Jami and her baby, but since we received no shower invitation, we had intended on waiting until the baby was born to send them.

Jami herself even seemed embarrassed at the shower of gifts she wasn't expecting. When we apologized for not having anything for her, she assured us that she had not intended for this to be a baby shower, and she completely understood why we didn't bring gifts. The whole time she was opening her presents, she kept apologizing to us, saying, "You guys, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean for this to be a baby shower!"

Needless to say, I found it incredibly rude for our friends to put us and our host in this awkward situation. And I'm sad to say, this isn't the first time they've all decided to turn a casual gathering of friends into a gift-giving extravaganza without letting the three of us in on the plan. My only hope is that they don't do it intentionally, and will someday learn how much it puts us out to be the only ones without gifts when we had no idea gifts would be exchanged. Either that, or I'll have to learn to carry an assortment of wrapped gifts with me to all get-togethers to assure I won't be caught without one again!



Hi Jeanne,   First of all, let me say how much I love this site. When my husband and I were married almost two years ago, it kept me laughing at how much worse things could have been.

My story has to do with my SIL, "Laura." Laura and her husband "Dave" found out they were pregnant shortly after my husband and I got married, and my husband and I were very happy for them. I was, at the time, quite friendly with Laura and talked to her off and on, but we didn't see each other much since we live almost four hours apart.

The first sign that things were going to be, um, interesting came with the baby shower invitation that arrived in October. (Their baby was due in January.) Okay, this seemed a bit early to be having a shower, but I figured it's her shower, and it was no big deal. Then I opened it, and the registry cards fell out. Now, this annoyed me, as my husband and I had flat-out refused to use the things when we registered, because we considered them tacky and pushy. But since this wasn't about us and what we wanted, I figured, okay, no sense in getting my feathers ruffled.

The details of the shower indicated that there was a theme of "children's literature," and that no "overtly girly" items were to be given. At this point, I became truly angry at this pushiness, a feeling that only increased when I went to the online registry. Laura had registered for, I kid you not, 15 pages of items, many of which were duplicates (particularly the most expensive ones.) Which leads me to think that if she'd gotten duplicates, she would have returned them to the store for cash. Lovely.

At any rate, Laura is my husband's only sister, and he wanted to go to the shower (it was co-ed,) so I said okay. A week before the shower happened, we were involved in a car accident and were unable to attend because our only car was in the shop. We called Laura to let her know and told her that we would be sending a gift. What with one thing and another, we were unable to send a gift until after their daughter was born. So we called Laura and Dave and asked when would be a good time for us to visit and drop off the gift. Laura said that the coming weekend would be fine.

So my husband and I rearranged our schedules (they live, as I mentioned before, almost four hours away) and went up to visit Laura and the baby. The gifts we brought were two books about games for new parents to play with their children, and a calendar for the new parents to record the milestones of their daughter's life. Although they weren't terribly expensive, my husband and I had put a lot of thought into picking them out (and rearranging our budget to do so, since we were still newlyweds at this point and money was excruciatingly tight.)

Laura greeted us at the door with her baby, took the gifts from us, and tossed them aside without so much as a thank-you. The rest of the visit went downhill from there, Laura apparently viewing her new baby as an animated stuffed animal---cute until it cries, at which point she could be handed off to someone else. And no, needless to say, we never did receive a thank-you note. The baby is almost two now and our relationship with her mother never really did recover.



My roommate's brother's girlfriend was expecting her third child (from 3 different daddies) and my roommate, her mother, her aunt and myself were invited to the shower. The shower was a 4 hour drive away. Thinking to kill two birds with one stone, my roommate's mother rented a van in order to transport some of her son's furniture to their new house as well. We ended up leaving late due to problems at the rental store and, because there was so much furniture, we ended up taking two cars. We had called just before we left the house to let them know that we were on our way and that we were running late. It was August and stifling hot. We finally get to the shower and lo and behold it's practically over! Now we were not THAT late, maybe a half and hour to an hour tops, and we had CALLED ahead! We sat down and were not even offered a drink (the house did NOT have air-conditioning). The food was practically gone and ALL the gifts were OPENED! No one had waited for the Grandmother, Great-Aunt and Aunt to arrive! The mom-to-be tore through our gifts and commented on how much money the soon-to-be grandma must have spent on the stroller, commenting how nice it must be to have money. The family certainly are not rich, but they aren't on assistance (everyone else at the shower was). Next thing I know, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE in the room lights up. There are small children running around, a toddler sleeping in the next room and a very pregnant women and all these people are smoking. Now, I'm a smoker but I do NOT smoke in front of children, especially in a closed up house. The mom-to-be was even puffing away. Afterwards (another 4 hour drive home plus stopping to eat because we never got fed) we did not receive a thank-you card. We didn't even get a verbal thank you or an offer of re-imbursement on the van rental from the son for dragging all his stuff to his new house (which is why we were late in the first place). The two are married now and, in my mind, are the supreme example of a white trash family.


I received an invitation to a cousin's baby shower that along with the gift that was to be purchased at Baby's Are Us where she was registered. Each guest was to also bring a large package of disposable diapers. Would that not be a gift itself? I purchased a very cute outfit only and did not buy diapers. I thought it rude to tell you what to bring.


I was recently uninvited to a baby shower.  Our entire family had been looking forward to the day when my cousin "Jen" and her husband would have a baby.  The day after I received the lovely invitation, I RSVP'd to the phone number on the bottom.  I got a machine, but I left a message saying I would be delighted to attend the shower but that I had to bring my four-month-old daughter; at that point in her life, I was exclusively breastfeeding and I had never left her with anyone else for more than 45 minutes.  I never heard back from the purported hostess, but I got a call back from Jen's mother, "Cathy".  Cathy explained that this was really Jen's special day and that she didn't want the atmosphere spoiled by a bunch of crying babies and screaming kids, so she had made the decision to exclude all the kids.  Now, I realize this isn't technically an etiquette blunder, but I think Cathy is confusing a baby shower with a bridal shower.  I believe the day is in honor of the impending baby.  And if Cathy thinks Jen might be upset by a couple of crying children, wait until she's knee-deep in dirty diapers, colic and temper tantrums.   Obviously, it's the prerogative of the hostess to invite or not invite guests.  I simply pointed out that the restaurant where the shower was to be held was 45 minutes from my home and that the baby had to be fed every 2-3 hours.  I left her to do the math, but she instead asked if I could just leave her home with my husband and a bottle.  I told her that we were not using formula, but Cathy reminded me that I had pumped my milk into a bottle on a previous visit so other family members could feed the baby.  Couldn't I just pump a couple bottles, leave them with my husband and go to the shower?  At that point I politely explained that breastpumps aren't a substitute for nursing and that the last time I had tried to pump out more than one feeding in a row I ended up in bed with plugged ducts--a painful condition.  I then expressed my regrets and hung up.  I understand that it was Cathy's right to exclude all kids under 12, but what still has me shaking my head was how she tried to tell me how to parent and feed my child for her and her daughter's convenience.



I first met "Grumpy" at my previous place of employment at which we worked in the same department.  "Grumpy" was notoriously hard to get along with and many people tried to work around her because everything always needed to be about her.  She was rude and profanely vocal about issues that bothered her, so I'm not sure why this irritated me.  Anyway, imagine our glee when she decided quit and buy a house that was 2 hours away.  You see she wanted a tax write-off since she was getting $50,000 a year in alimony (for 10 years) and was making more than that at our job (she even said if she met Mr. Right she wouldn't remarry until after her alimony was up and couldn't see why she had to pay taxes on it).  Understandable.  I am the type of person who tries to keep my relationships positive no matter how negative and life sucking the person can be, which made me her only friend.  Not more than six months after she moved we fell out of touch (trust me I didn't mind).  

Two years later I received a call from her asking me to help her find a job in our area because she met someone and was going to rent out her house and move in with this gentleman.  I called one of our former co-workers who was looking for a person and reminded him of her negative attitude, but since the position didn't require interaction he hired her.  "Grumpy" never called or sent me a thank you letter or email for helping her find a well paying job. In fact there was no contact until a year and a half later when I received an email that I thought was spam but noticed her email address in it.  It was from a large online retailer and it was a Baby Registry and the message said "Please help us welcome "Grumpy's" and "(some man's name)" bundle of joy due in April"  Visit our registry at "such &".  Just out of curiosity I check out their registry and found they had registered using "Top of the Line Baby Registry - because our baby deserves the best!".  Nothing on the list was under $70 and most gifts were $150+.  Needless to say, I deleted the email as if it was spam.


Page Last Updated May 15, 2007