Opinions

Missing a party shouldn’t cost $30

After her son Alex missed out on a friend’s birthday party, Tanya Walsh received an invoice from the birthday boy’s mother for 15.95 pounds sterling – almost $30 CAD.

That birthday boy’s mother, Julie Lawrence, sent the invoice by way of the two children’s teacher, who slipped it into Alex Nash’s bag while at school.

It becomes hard to sympathize with Lawrence after an action like that, and it was rather passive aggressive to avoid confronting her fellow parents directly.

Rather than speak to Walsh, or her partner Derek Nash, Lawrence had an invoice quietly brought to the parents.

The party was at Plymouth Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre in Plymouth, U.K., a party venue that has since distanced itself from Lawrence’s actions. Party numbers need to be confirmed 48 hours before the event, at which time fees are paid in full, but the venue has stated that if a child does not show up, they typically offer credit in other ways to the party’s host.

After being offered that credit from the venue – it is unknown whether Lawrence accepted any credit or not – the parent decided to bill her son’s friend.

After Derek Nash refused to pay Lawrence back, which he says is due mostly to the way she went about asking for reimbursement, he was threatened with legal action. Lawrence said she was going to take the two parents to small claims court.

The BBC’s legal correspondent unsurprisingly stated, “It is all but impossible that Ms. Lawrence will be able to recover the £15.95 party ‘no show fee’.”

This long list of ultimately futile acts would be absurd even if the amount of money was larger than the small amount it really was, but to make matters worse Lawrence has involved the children.

Charlie Lawrence, the birthday boy himself, has now been forbidden to play with Alex Nash, and Julie Lawrence has stated that Alex will not be invited to birthday parties anymore – and Charlie will not be attending Alex’s.

It is unfortunate that the Lawrence party was put out $30 by Alex’s cancellation, but that is sometimes just the cost of hosting a party. The Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre is a nice enough venue that customers are offered credit, and Julie Lawrence should have accepted that deal and been done with it.

The world where parents can be passive-aggressively invoiced a small amount of money when their children go to visit their grandparents instead of going to a birthday party would include charging wedding guests for their meals if their schedule changes.

This just is not done.

Not only did Lawrence alienate fellow parents by childishly avoiding confrontation and sending an invoice, followed by legal threats, but she got her son involved and ruined a friendship over one little birthday party and $30.

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