Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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 Another "send the registry to everyone"

Although the email below should be enough to toss the sender in to etiquette hell, here’s some background info to fan the flames a bit. 

This email was sent to a yahoo group used by my high school classmates to keep in touch.  Traffic is generally slow on the loop—mainly announcements, changes in contact info, and the like.  Many of the folks on this group haven’t seen each other in 15 years, so while an announcement that a baby is coming would be appropriate, the assumption that these people would want to send presents or money is a bit presumptuous.  Secondly, the loop had been buzzing the week before due to the death of a very beloved teacher, and we had been sharing memories, making plans for attending the funeral, etc. Sending out a good news message after that much sadness would have been fine, but to use his death as a jumping off point offended several of us who received it.

Here’s the email (the grammatical mistakes are hers):


 Hope you are all doing well despite the recent loss of our beloved teacher.  “Mary” (a different classmate), thank you again for all you've done to communicate with the group.  It means so much.

 Life is about to change for John and I in a BIG way here soon.  We are expecting our first child, a boy named John Jr., on May 11, 2005.  We may not have seen or communicated with many of you for quite some time and just wanted to say hello and update you to this big event coming up in our lives. 

We're busy getting things ready (the room, the house, our minds etc..) and I cannot believe he will be here in less than 8 weeks.   We're both very excited and of course our parents are bursting at the seems with joy. We really don't need much in the way of stuff as local friends and co-workers have donated plenty of items and thrown a big shower for us recently.  I've got enough baby blankets to keep an Eskimo warm...go figure.  However, there are still a few items we could use so if any of you are inclined to send a gift please check out our registry at   (search by: Mom’s Name).   We have also decided to open an Educational Savings Account fund that anyone may contribute to.  If you would like to make an electronic monetary donation to John Jr.’s Educational Savings Account please go to:  (search by: Mom’s Name). 

  Above money and things, we mostly hope that we will get to hear from you and how you are doing.

 For updated pictures of the progress, John has put together this webpage: (web page contained sonogram pictures and links to registry)

 Please stay in touch!


John and Jane Doe



Received a call from a good friend's husband. He said that he was arranging a small party for his wife's (my friend) b-day. This was to be 5 gals staying in 2 suites in a very fancy NYC hotel overnight, dinner at a fine restaurant and manicures and pedicures for all us gals at the hotel spa.!! Woww...Generous and lots of fun, eh? We all had a great was lovely until the morning that we were all departing when my friend gave us all little cards with what we OWED for the hotel cost and spa stuff! His contribution (unbeknownst to any of us guests) was just the dinner!!!) Now, we all live in or around NYC so that nice dinner would have been great on it's own. We could have all enjoyed that and gone home. None of us needed to pay almost 300.00 apiece for our share of the hotel and spa costs..HELLOOO!!! 

And she acted like this was all just fine and wasn't it nice that he paid for the dinner!!! One of the women was reduced to tears as she has little money and had lost her job. The rest of us coughed it up under duress (none of us with tons of discretionary money) but made it very clear to our "friend" that while we love her, this was a terrible thing to do to us...SURPRISE! She was offended that we weren't overjoyed at the privilege of having such a luxurious evening! If I wanted to spend $300.00 on a night in a beautiful N.Y. hotel room I would have done that with my husband! Yuk..



A former "friend" of mine is the epitome of greed and shallowness. She and I have been friends for years and I have noticed her slowly becoming the most self-centered and materialistic individual to walk the earth. Let's call her Jo. Jo and I have been growing apart for some time. This past year we had a falling out when I tried to cut ties and told her that we were "too different" and "growing apart". She countered this by slamming my boyfriend, accusing me of "not doing enough for her for her wedding" and then asking if I was "jealous of all her success in life". However, she was at a loss as to exactly what successes I might be jealous of. She is now pregnant with her second child and the other day I noticed that she has THREE registries, listing a total of 100+ items including several car seats, strollers, and maternity clothing for herself. Who does this sort of thing? Her first child is barely 3 years old. Thanks for letting me vent.



My co-worker and I are a part of a small 3-person home office, which is regularly frequented by the boss and his family. Some time ago, the eldest of his four children turned 16, and my co-worker and I, among some other business friends of his, were invited to the family's Sweet Sixteen party for her. I, not knowing what to get the boss' daughter, brought my boyfriend of three years with me to the mall, and spent $50 on a cute gold rose pendant in chain department store's jewelry department.

The party was big, held at a local hotel's convention room, and between my co-worker, my boyfriend, and my business friends, we all made small talk and managed to pass the time easily enough in what was otherwise a slightly uncomfortable situation for at least my co-worker and myself. Having worked under my boss' thumb for years prior to this, I held up hope that perhaps it wasn't so bad. It seemed like an attempt to "lighten the mood", at the least, and we appreciated the invitation. But I had no idea about what was to follow.

Two weeks went by, and I thought it safe to discard the gift receipt, as nobody had come back to me asking for it. Instead, the following day, the boss' wife approached my desk (in front of my co-worker), and asked not if I had the receipt - *but if I could return my own gift*. I was shocked. I asked if there was something wrong with the pendant, and the response was that the daughter already had one of those pendants. While I was already suspicious, I grudgingly agreed to go look for the gift receipt since I had already thrown it out.

I went home and mulled over the nerve of this woman, and thought of something. I worked for the store where I bought this pendant, once, and knew some of the people IN that department. A few days later, I was asked if I returned the piece. I said 'no', and received a look like I had six heads. I asked if they had tried to return it themselves, and received a reply of "Well yes, but they wouldn't take it back."

"Really?" I asked, surprised. "They wouldn't let us have the money for it." "Really. I'm surprised, they should at least have given you store credit." "No, they wouldn't let us do even that."   Seeing the line for what it was, I finally dropped the other shoe: "Well, I used to work for that store. Let me have the pendant, and I'll speak to some people. I'm sure they'll be able to get you a gift card."

Suddenly, her mood changed astronomically. Suddenly, she said in a small voice, "No, that's Okay..." and backed away, annoyed that I would not be her lackey.

Since then, I have not bestowed more than a card upon this family, for the sake of politeness.


Several years ago, when I was married, my now ex-husband and I received a birth announcement from his cousin.  She and her husband were announcing the birth of their second son, Blaed (and no, that is not a typo!)  Her first son, Aidan (also not a typo) was about two at the time.  Here is what the announcement said:   

Since we have so many items left over from Aidan's baby days, we are not in need of clothing, toys, etc.  Please remit any gifts to Blaed's account at Bank XXX, Account Number 123.  Thank you.   

I was in shock.  I sat for about ten minutes staring at this message.  I hung it on the fridge for a long, long time, not to celebrate the birth of baby Blaed but to remind my then-husband what a freak show his family is!   



I received an invitation to my friend's daughter's third birthday.  The invitations were very beautiful and it was apparent that a lot of time was invested in making them.  They were, however, ruined by the following inscription:

"We will ONLY be accepting monetary gifts for our daughter's college education.  Please make checks out to Jane Jones."

How tacky is that?  When I asked my friend why she is only accepting monetary gifts for a 3 year old, she explained that Jane had enough toys and the money was for her college education.  I understand that she may not want so many toys laying around the house, but in lieu of a gift she could have us purchase or donate toys to a charity or something.  I also commend her for thinking about Jane's future,  but we have our own child's college education fund to contribute to.  I find it pitiful that they are demanding that other people to donate to their daughter's future.  Personally, I can't find any justifiable reason for asking for monetary gifts in the first place.  Am I wrong?



Last spring, we received an invitation to a twenty-fifth anniversary party for some friends of ours. I thought the invitation was original, it was a photo of the couple on a beach (while vacationing, I presume). It was one of those photo greeting cards that many Americans have made up for holiday greetings. The back of the invitations said to respond to their eldest daughter and offered her phone number. My husband and I are not ones for these kinds of events. We always celebrated our own anniversaries quietly among ourselves. We always felt our anniversary was "OUR SPECIAL DAY". However, knowing that some people feel differently, we agreed to attend this party. Because we had to RSVP to the daughter, we assumed that the children were throwing this party. So we called the daughter (who might of been 22 or 23 years old at the time) and told her that my husband and I would love to attend. She was happy to hear from us (the first to respond it seemed) and advised us where to buy their gift certificate from. Gift certificate? What gift certificate? It seemed that this couple used a specific travel agency for their vacations and I was told to purchase a gift certificate for them there. I took her advice at face value--advice, and given by a young person without experience in throwing parties. Later, I learned that the party was not being given by the kids, but by the couple themselves. I thought that was strange too.

However, as I work 90 miles from home and keep long hours, I could never find this agency open when I was around town. So, when the party came, I didn't get around to buy the gift certificate from the travel agency. Instead, I wrote a sizeable check from my husband and I as a gift.

It turns out that the couple was upset that I didn't buy the gift certificate. Apparently, the travel agent was getting a bonus from this and was going to discount the couple on their future trips because of it. I think it is somewhat tacky to use your party to further someone else's career goals.

In addition, the party was held at a local pizza restaurant. They have a banquet room and I have been to many events there. It is not a formal place. The invitation never mentioned any dress code. I wore dress slacks and a silk blouse, my husband wore khakis and a casual, collared shirt. After all, we were going to a pizza restaurant! We were shocked to enter the place and find the other guests in evening attire -- long dresses, evening gowns, the husband in white tails! Needless to say, we were embarrassed. I thought that formal dress needs to be specified.

It's no small wonder that my husband and I are not planning to have a 25th anniversary party that includes any one else but our children and our moms!


Yet another submission regarding my etiquette  challenged in-laws. Years ago my youngest SIL moved into an apartment with another young woman. We received an invitation to a house warming party with a two page list of items "requested". This was a post college apartment, one in which my SIL was only planning on staying in for a year or two. We declined to attend.          

A year or so later my husband and I bought our house (we've been here 12 years) and invited our friends and family for a BBQ and a chance to see the house. My SIL, a different one, asked if this was a house warming party, I said no, just a party. Her response, "Well, how do you expect to get gifts?"  I could go on but you get the picture, the greed of my four SILs is only surpassed by their mother's. I truly hope this is a case of environment and not genes!



 I got an invitation to a housewarming party in which the "hostesses" gave a list of what stores the couple wanted gift cards from. It was literally a gift card grab and nothing more. I think I'll RSVP that I'm out of town. At least have the decency to list the hostess's names and phone numbers and let people ASK what they want- don't just put it in the text of the invite! Yikes.


Page Last Updated May 15, 2007