I wonder what he'll plan if they marry? A wedding year? Will the guests foot that bill as well?
Not entirely sure that the guest were out more money for this event. Its also unclear as to how much more each guest paid.
Yeah...from the OP it sounds like even if the friends did pay for the dinner, that is standard practice for birthdays in the circle. So I don't think snarking on that as if it's something unique to Todd and Jenny is fair.
If Todd was serious about the friends covering Jenny's cab, that's the part of the story I have a problem with, but that's the only mention of money I've noticed so far. (Always possible I missed something, of course.)
It's not just that that they may or may not be called upon to spend more money, it's that they're being called upon to be out a LOT more time, over the course of a LOT more days. Sure, they can refuse to go, but essentially, he was making an entire week (well, a few days) of their (social) lives ALL.ABOUT.JENNY.
It'd be one thing if it were something along the lines of "group P friends can (mostly) do Tuesday, group Q friends can (mostly) do Friday, and the family wants Wednesday" and maybe there's some overlap, but essentially you have celebrations with different groups each night, but this is more along the lines of "If you're agreeable, I'd like you devote an entire week outside of work/school/whatever to celebrating Jenny's birthday."
That's the part that drives me nuts. It's not about the money, unless transportation costs to/from each event are a concern, or some other factor makes it far more expensive to spread the celebrations out over multiple days. If it's the same approximate amount, just split up, that's no big deal. The hogging of errand/housework/chill time for so many days would get under my skin.
I can only think of 2 occasions that call for a week-long birthday celebration: 1) Royalty (who are likely to fall under the "group X on one day, group Y the next, etc" plan), and 2) 100 years (or other number that either most people are unlikely to reach, or the honoree specifically was not likely to reach).
Just my 2.5 cents, inflation adjusted.
Even if they decided to only go to one event, it's still going to go cost more than usual. The birthday girl's night is usually split by the whole group. With only 1/3 of the group attending, the cost will be much higher than usual. (it's not really my business how much of a difference it actually is, but the OP says that they're all struggling students, so a few dollars can be a big deal)
I'm not sure that there's anything rude per se, in the multiple events, but it sounds like Todd might have been a little tone deaf here. If he wanted to do something special and different for Jenny's birthday, he might have been better off throwing a party himself or discussing it with the other friends, rather than assuming that everyone will go along with (and fund) his grand plans.