What happens when a 5-year-old misses a friend’s birthday party? He faces …

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Dad gets ‘no-show’ bill after son, 5, misses birthday party.

LONDON — It was not what Derek Nash expected to find in his 5-year-old’s school bag: A bill demanding a “no-show fee” for another child’s birthday party. It might sound ludicrous, but Derek Nash and Tanya Walsh discovered an envelope with the invoice in their son Alex’s bag last week after he skipped the party at the Plymouth Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre.I’m fancying myself the judge in a possible small claims court case: one set of parents has charged another £15.95 for a birthday party “no show”. “It was a proper invoice with full official details and even her bank details on it,” said Derek Nash, the parent of the no-show.

Alex’s mother Tanya explained further. “Julie Lawrence and I weren’t friends, we didn’t talk to each other at school, but I felt bad about Alex not going to the party,” she said. “I searched for the party invite afterwards, and I’m not sure we even had one. It’s very condescending.” “It is inconceivable that a five-year-old would be seen by a court as capable of creating legal relations and entering into a contract with a ‘no show’ charge,” he wrote. Then the litigious parents could have sued the whole class, in a class action suit. (No, I know that’s not what it means.) However, this act is not as bizarre as it seems; rather, it is the jet of lunacy that signals a deep underlying pressure.

A ready-reckoner: anywhere specifically geared towards a party will charge between £15 and £20 a head, so even a modestly sized gathering will amount to £200. This can ratchet the price up so insanely that the only option is to have it in your house, where a man with a loud voice and a colourful jacket will happily relieve you of £250 for two hours spent shouting at the children so you don’t have to.

At the weekend, I went to pick up the same child from a party in a bar function room, then someone offered me a drink, so I said yes, but didn’t have my wallet, so left the host with the bill; that might have happened 30 times – on top of hiring the room in the first place. Party bags are fraught with risk, too: last year I sourced them ready-made and as cheap as I could find (£2.95 each: which is still another £50), then was let down by the company (apply to me for the name of these shysters) and had to do bags in a hurry in John Lewis.

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