Hi there! Sorry this is so long, but the devil really is in the details.
My wife and I are trying to decide if we should attend this party, and if we do, how we should conduct ourselves. We are interested in outside opinions, in part because we want to make sure we're not just party-poopers before we say or do (or not-do) anything.
Some months ago, close friends of ours, we'll call them H. and B., announced they were going to Japan for a month-long vacation. Good for them, it was something they always wanted to do, and to pay for it they probably had to make a lot of day-to-day sacrifices. Like us, they don't have a lot of disposable income.
Some weeks later, we received an invite from a mutual friend. She's hosting a "going-away party" for H. and B.
We thought, that's a little odd. Aren't going-away parties something you do for someone who's moving away, or going for an extended period? Shouldn't the duration of the trip at least be longer than the regular interval between when anyone sees them socially? They've been actively reclusive lately.
So where is the line between saying "hey, have a nice trip"; and throwing a full-blown party in their honour? Some might say "any excuse for a party", but considering we had to change our plans to attend, we think the excuse should be pretty good.
Ultimately, and we're stretching here on their behalf, we decided that we are not locally-raised and maybe "Happy Vacation" parties are some local thing we haven't encountered yet, so we'll go to this party, say "hey, have a nice trip", make the rounds, and discretely leave.
So we RSVP'd. And then it got worse.
First we received an email announcing there would be a donation jar at the party. So H. and B. would have a bit of spending money on their vacation. Whatever.
Next, we received word there would be a silent auction at the party, proceeds to the H. and B.'s trip. I thought, what is this, some kind of "vacation shower"?
Then, a request for items donated to the silent auction.
After that, a reminder that the event is both a potluck and BYOB. We have to feed ourselves as well.
Then, a second and third request for items for the silent auction. And additional reminders to bring money.
At this point my wife and I are insulted, appalled, offended.
I thought, surely, if H. and B. knew that the hostess was behaving this crassly, they'd put a stop to it?
Next email: At B's suggestion, the hostess emails out a map with all the nearby bank machines
marked on it!!!
Looking back now, we see little else in any of these emails besides, come and hang out, bring money, bring your own food and drink, and bring more money. Not so much as a loot bag to tempt us to attend this cash grab.
So, party's this saturday... Do we go? Do we walk in the door, go right up to B and H and give them our warmest wishes for a great trip, then leave? Do we tell them that the hostess offended us? We don't want to be thought of as party-poopers, or bad friends. But one thing we won't do, is donate a single penny. Ironically, if we'd been invited to this party, and had never received these offensive emails, and there was a donation jar sitting quietly on the table, I'd have probably thrown in some money.
I'm interested to hear people's thoughts on this one.