Author Topic: The "My BIL is tacky" thread got me thinking...  (Read 2211 times)

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snappylt

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The "My BIL is tacky" thread got me thinking...
« on: April 25, 2007, 10:48:32 PM »

I was reading the "My BIL is tacky" thread and it reminded me of something that happened to my wife and I years ago, shortly after our wedding.

I want to commend the original poster of that other thread, because she did the right thing to warn the guests up front that it would be a "pay for yourself" party.  At least they knew what they were getting invited to!

A few months after our wedding I got a call from a woman I had known from the joint singles group from my church and several neighboring churches.  (We had never dated, but we had attended a lot of the same social events and I considered us friends.  She had brought her then new boyfriend as her guest to my wedding.  My wife and I hadn't met her boyfriend before our wedding day.)

Anyway, a few months after our wedding my friend (I'll start calling her "Hostess") telephoned us and invited us to come to a birthday dinner she was having at a restaurant for her boyfriend.  She did say something about wanting us to have a chance to get to know him better, etc.  Absolutely nothing was said about who was paying for the party.

Well I just assumed that we were to be her guests.  She never said a word about expecting us to pay, until after we got to the restaurant.  After we were seated the waiter came over to take our drink order and said something about starting a tab for us.  I just looked at him, in surprise, and about that time "Hostess" walked up.  I said to her something like, "He's going to keep a tab for us?"  And she just said, very matter-of-fact-ly, something like: "Yes.  That way it'll be easy for you to settle up at the end of the evening.  He'll be adding a share of Birthday Man's tab to everyone bills, too, since we're all treating Birthday Man for his birthday."

My jaw dropped.  I was so surprised.  This was the first we had heard about being expected to be paying guests.  My wife and I had brought a nice present for Birthday Man, but we had no idea that we were expected to pay, too.  Neither one of us had stopped at the bank to get extra cash.  Neither one of us carried ATM cards back then.  But I quickly decided that I didn't want to make a scene, so I just turned to the waiter and said, OK, we'll pay you with our Visa card, then.  He replied that no, this restaurant did not accept any credit cards!  (No kidding!  I never did figure out why they didn't take plastic.)

Well, I had a little bit of cash in my wallet, and my wife looked and it turned out that she had a little bit extra hidden in the bottom of her purse.  We ordered about the cheapest items on the menu and only had one drink each.  Turned out that we had enough cash, barely.

Never did get to know the Birthday Man better, though.  It turned out that all of the other guests were Birthday Man's old friends, so he spent the evening chatting with them. My wife and I chatted with "Hostess" some and with Birthday Man's friends who were seated near us, and it was OK...

...except that it left an odd taste in my mouth.  I sort of felt "used" somehow, by having it sprung on us without warning.  If the "hostess" had just said, "I cannot afford to throw a birthday party for my boyfriend, will you come help pay for it?"  my wife and might have come anyway, but at least we'd have known what we were getting in to.

OK, my last paragraph was unkind.  If she had just said up front that it was Dutch Treat and that everyone would be chipping in for her boyfriend's dinner... then we'd have known.

My wife was put out about the surprise aspect of it, too.  She hadn't wanted to go all that much, but was wanting to be kind to an old friend of mine...

What do other people think?

Was it rude of "Hostess" to have not explained what kind of party it was?

Was it reasonable of my wife and me to feel surprised and "used"?

Does this kind of surprise happen often to people?  (I don't remember it ever happening to us again!)

Yarnspinner

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Re: The "My BIL is tacky" thread got me thinking...
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2007, 11:50:17 PM »
Years and years ago, friends and I were invited by another friend's parents to attend a birthday party for her at what was then a very upscale restaurant.  The parents insisted we try the wine, get a lot of appetizers and order some pretty fancy dishes.  They kept saying not to worry about the money.  So we didn't.  Until the bill came and they divided the tab up among us.  We were all young twenty somethings just starting out and being told "money is no object" suggested we were all being treated.  We all had to scramble for cash, let me tell you.

With that in mind, I offer the following thoughts:

1) Always ask if this is a Dutch Treat deal.

2) Yes,it is tacky beyond belief to invite people to a birthday party for someone and then spring on them that not only are they expected to pony up for themselves, but also to pay for the birthday boy who they never even meet.

3) Not sure I would ever party with this couple again.

I can say when our friend was married a few years later at a fancy shmancy inn, we all brought a ton of cash with us, just in case her father was going to make us pay for the wedding, too.

Hawkwatcher

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Re: The "My BIL is tacky" thread got me thinking...
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2007, 01:01:07 PM »
Quote
Years and years ago, friends and I were invited by another friend's parents to attend a birthday party for her at what was then a very upscale restaurant.  The parents insisted we try the wine, get a lot of appetizers and order some pretty fancy dishes.  They kept saying not to worry about the money.  So we didn't.  Until the bill came and they divided the tab up among us.  We were all young twenty somethings just starting out and being told "money is no object" suggested we were all being treated.  We all had to scramble for cash, let me tell you.


I don't blame you for assuming that they were paying.  What type of jerk tells someone "not to worry about the money" when they are ordering and then turns around and divides the bill?

I wonder what these jerks would do if someone actually did not have the money to pay for their "share" of the bill.

twinkletoes

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Re: The "My BIL is tacky" thread got me thinking...
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2007, 01:19:53 PM »
"I wonder what these jerks would do if someone actually did not have the money to pay for their "share" of the bill."

I have wondered that as well. 

I think if you honestly thought it would be "on them," I can see saying "whoops, I don't have any cash on me..."

Bob Ducca

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Re: The "My BIL is tacky" thread got me thinking...
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2007, 01:36:54 PM »
This sort of thing is very common.  I always assume, unless being told otherwise, that I will have to pay for my own meal, and if the restaurant is out of my price range, I decline.  I find the idea that you all were expected to also pay for the birthday boy above and beyond, though- she couldn't pay for his meal as well?  Cheap!

The opposite of this post actually happened to me, once- I went out to celebrate a friend's recital at the invitation of her mother.  I assumed we were all paying our own way, so I kind of splurged on fancy appetizer, dessert, etc...

They paid.  I was mortified.  They were so kind and gracious- I tried to insist that I pay something, but they refused.  The check was paid before any of us even knew what was going on- otherwise, I would have found the waitress and asked her to separate mine.  That taught me a lesson- never, ever assume.  Anything.

hobish

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Re: The "My BIL is tacky" thread got me thinking...
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2007, 02:20:11 PM »
I have never had that happen to me personally; but i have stopped my co-worker from doing the exact same thing, snappylt, and for her husband's birthday, as well. She called all his friends and family and invited them to dinner, then remarked that she hoped people didn't think she was paying for it all. It took myself and another co-worker with back-up from Miss Manners and other etiquette resources to convince her that inviting people out to dinner meant just that.

So ... she called them all back up & informed them that they had to pay their own way.



modified for numerous typos

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snappylt

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Re: The "My BIL is tacky" thread got me thinking...
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2007, 02:11:23 AM »
I have never had that happen to me personally; but i have stopped my co-worker from doing the exact same thing, snappylt, and for her husband's birthday, as well. She called all his friends and family and invited them to dinner, then remarked that she hoped people didn't think she was paying for it all. It took myself and another co-worker with back-up from Miss Manners and other etiquette resources to convince her that inviting people out to dinner meant just that.

So ... she called them all back up & informed them that they had to pay their own way.



modified for numerous typos




(I'm the original poster.)

You did the right thing, I think, to save those guests from an unpleasant surprise.  I don't mind a "Dutch Treat" situation, as long as it is made clear to me.

You know, maybe it wasn't fair, but that was sort of the beginning of the end of my friendship with "Hostess".  I was embarrassed that she pulled this stunt because it made my wife think "Hostess" was rude. 

My wife and I continued to be acquaintances of "Hostess" for several more years.  We would chat with her on the phone, mostly, but I think we did meet her and Boy Friend for dinner, just the four of us, a couple of times.  (I don't remember if it was Dutch Treat!)

The story of the end of the friendship deserves a post of its own... some night when I'm not so sleepy.


StuckInCube

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Re: The "My BIL is tacky" thread got me thinking...
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2007, 01:23:26 PM »
This sort of thing is very common.  I always assume, unless being told otherwise, that I will have to pay for my own meal, and if the restaurant is out of my price range, I decline.  I find the idea that you all were expected to also pay for the birthday boy above and beyond, though- she couldn't pay for his meal as well?  Cheap!



Same here. It's understood that when you go out to dinner for someone's b-day you are paying your own way unless specifically told otherwise. So, I wouldn't automatically assume someone is paying for my meal. However, I would be upset if it was expected for me to pay for the b-day person's dinner without being asked! That is not right!!

NOVA Lady

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Re: The "My BIL is tacky" thread got me thinking...
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2007, 02:12:04 PM »
This sort of thing is very common.  I always assume, unless being told otherwise, that I will have to pay for my own meal, and if the restaurant is out of my price range, I decline.  I find the idea that you all were expected to also pay for the birthday boy above and beyond, though- she couldn't pay for his meal as well?  Cheap!



Same here. It's understood that when you go out to dinner for someone's b-day you are paying your own way unless specifically told otherwise. So, I wouldn't automatically assume someone is paying for my meal. However, I would be upset if it was expected for me to pay for the b-day person's dinner without being asked! That is not right!!

I agree, I always go with enough to cover my own meal if I need to! However, if it were someplace that didn't accept plastic I might be stuck, since I don't generally carry a lot of cash on me.

bopper

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Re: The "My BIL is tacky" thread got me thinking...
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2007, 09:48:10 PM »
I have a friend that lives off her disability check.  We will ask her to go to dinner with us, and she will ask "Do I need to stop by the ATM first?"  and we always say "No, it is our treat",  but if it wasn't we would say "That would be a good idea."