What Happened to Common Courtesy?

Have you ever considered sending a bill to a party invitee who RSVP’d they will attend, but failed to show or notify you that their plans have changed? Nothing big, but a bill to reimburse the costs you incurred for their price of admission, refreshments, or whatever. Although it happens often in my experience, I’ve never considered sending a bill. This mother in London sees things differently – read the news story about the $24 bill she sent to the parents of a 5-year old boy who no-showed her son’s birthday party.

I’ve long lamented the erosion of common courtesy and respect in today’s society. Send an invitation to a special event with a RSVP request and wait. And wait. Many of the invitees won’t bother to respond. I recently co-sponsored an evening social event for local business professionals. Over half of the people who RSVP’d they would come never showed up. Some were busy. Some made other plans. Some just didn’t bother to show. But this isn’t about me. Let’s get back to the story in London.

Check out the the comments below KLTV’s Facebook post. They’re astounding! The majority of comments are from people who apparently believe it is perfectly acceptable to accept a party invitation and then simply not show up! I’m sure that many of these people are the same people who don’t RSVP to invitations and appear at the event anyway while they RSVP to attend other events that they simply choose to blow off.

This situation brings to light a very interesting legal question. If a person accepts a party invitation and decides to do something else without notifying the host of the change in plans but the host incurred costs based on the representation by the guest that he would actually attend the event, has a breach of contract taken place? In many states, verbal agreements can be legally binding. Was there a legal agreement, and if so, did a breach occur for which restitution is owed? OK, maybe that’s a bit too deep. But on the other hand, I feel the party mom’s pain and I’m glad she’s making a big deal of it.

To be honest, part of me feels just a bit foolish for letting this get under my skin. I guess I’m thankful that I’m not the only one who has tired of such boorish behavior on the part of people who choose to ignore invitations and disregard their commitments. While I don’t advocate taking these folks to court, I do have an idea: Why not agree to demonstrate respect and common courtesy to our fellow man? Not just where parties are concerned, but in all aspects of life. If we’ll do that, life on this planet we call Earth might be just a little more pleasant.

End of rant.

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