The following etiquette faux pas was related to me by my aunt, an experience that popped up as she planned a birthday party for her young son. My aunt wanted to throw a fun birthday party for her 7 year old, and this party marked the first time he was having friends over for the festivities.
After sending out invitations to the children her son wanted to attend she received a phone call from one child’s mother a few days later. Over the phone the woman wanted to know if the cake was going to be vegan and gluten free, and if there would be soda at the party because her child “was fed only what nature intended, and no products derived from animal slavery.” My aunt told her that while there would be juice instead of soda, the cake was going to be vanilla with chocolate frosting from a local bakery. The woman was unhappy with that answer and demanded that my aunt get a vegan and gluten free cake instead. My aunt told her that since it was her son’s first real party, she was going to stick with the cake he asked for. The woman then declared that a secondary vegan and gluten free cake be provided. My aunt told her that unfortunately she wouldn’t be able to honor that request because she didn’t think the bakery offered that option, nor did she have a lot of extra money to buy another cake for a single attendee. The woman scoffed and said that money and availability were no excuses since my aunt could easily make one from scratch herself. My aunt works over 40 hours a week and didn’t have any spare time to make a cake herself (hence the bakery cake) and told the mother that she was sorry, but she simply couldn’t make a secondary special cake. The woman promptly became upset, stating that my aunt shouldn’t force her dietary choices on other people’s children and hung up without RSVPing.
My Aunt was understandably miffed by the encounter and assumed that the woman’s son would not be in attendance when the party date came. Imagine her surprise when he arrived at the party accompanied by his mother who handed my aunt a homemade vegan and gluten free cake. As the woman gave it to my aunt she informed her that they did not get my Aunt’s son a birthday gift because she had to spend her money on the ingredients for the cake she brought, as well as the time she spent making it. My aunt accepted the cake graciously, but told the mother (with children out of earshot) she did not appreciate the unwarranted rude treatment she received on the phone. The lady looked irritated but said nothing, gave no apology, and left the party. The cake she made lay untouched by everyone, including her own child, even though my aunt set it out next to the birthday boy’s cake. My aunt is planning on a Halloween party this year and since this woman’s child is on her son’s close friends she is dreading another encounter with her. 0131-11