General Etiquette > Family and Children

Should've seen this coming: All expenses paid trip part 2

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JeanFromBNA:
If you missed the first thread, here's the link:  http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=129551.0

Synopsis & update:  DH and I have invited our friends, John and Samantha, their daughters who are 6 and 4, John's mother, Doris, and their cousins, Ethan and Mary, to go to Walt Disney World (WDW).  We are paying for everything except tickets.  They are pretty excited, and we are looking at a fall, 2014 trip.  Samantha was to ask the cousins' mother, Casey, if the cousins could go.  Today, I received a private Facebook message from Sam asking if Casey could come if she "stayed somewhere else."

Not only can we not afford to pay for Casey on this trip, but I withheld something from the first thread because I didn't think it was relevant:  Casey is harsh with her kids.  She escalates to shouting and cursing pretty quickly.  She has had a rough past that she is doing her best to get over, but like all recoveries, it is two steps forward and one back.  She still runs with a pretty tough crowd.

The other thing is that I was hoping to spend some time with Sam and the girls.  We usually see them for a couple of hours here and there, often in big family gatherings, when we can barely exchange a few words.  I am concerned that if Casey comes, it will change the dynamic. 

I feel like I've gotten in hot water.   :P

Miss March:
I'm sorry, can you clarify-- is  Sam's question "Can Casey come if she makes her own accommodations at another hotel and she joins us in the park every day?" or is Sam's question "Casey wants to know if you could include hosting her if she stays in a cheaper location?"

If it's the latter, I think you could say "I'm afraid that won't be possible. It's simply not in our budget."

But if Casey is saying that she would pay her own way to tag along, that's a lot trickier.

JenJay:
No good deed, huh?  :-\

She offered to stay somewhere else but what about her other expenses? I think the only thing you can say to potentially dissuade this is "I'm sorry but we can't afford to pay for Casey's transportation and food." I imagine Sam will say "Oh no, she doesn't expect you to. She'll pay for everything for herself and meet us at the park each morning." You can say no to Casey inviting herself on the vacation but I don't think you can invite the kids while excluding their mom. Sounds like it's going to be all or none.

johelenc1:
I think JenJay has a good response.  I would also first just email Sam back and ask if Casey is assuming you are covering all her expenses as well.  "  Sam, just clarifying something...does is Casey thinking we will cover her expenses as well.  We really can't afford to do that.  Do you know what she was thinking?"

I might just avoid the general question at first until you hear back.  If she was, and now knows you won't pay for her, then that might stop the invite right there without you ever having to say if you want her included or not.  It also gives you more time to form a response.  If you are lucky Sam doesn't want her to go either and can use the not paying info to talk her out of it. 

If the response does come that Casey is willing to pay for her whole trip, then I think I would pick up the phone, call Sam and talk to her telling her just what you did here.  I would be pretty unhappy about someone who resorts to cussing at her kids coming along on my vacation.  And, unless Sam and John also yell and cuss at their kids, I'm betting they'd rather her not come too.

There are always ways Sam  (I'm assuming it's her sister) can convince Casey that it would be a wonderful break for her to be home without the kids.

I feel bad for you.  Nothing ruins a vacation faster than the odd ball out.

Poppea:
I would just tell your friend:

"Hey we wanted to spend time with you and the kids.  I thought it might be nice to take the cousins too, but this is beginning to get too complicated."

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