Child sent ‘no-show’ fee for missed birthday party

A “war” has broken out between two parents after one sent the other an invoice when their child failed to attend a birthday party without calling to cancel, according to the Telegraph.

As it happened:

The two sets of parents insist that they’re both correct in their responses to the party debacle:

Tanya Walsh discovered an invoice to the value of £15.95 as a “no-show” fee had been placed in her son’s bag at school. She then responded that she hadn’t known that her son’s grandparents would only be available for them to visit on the day of the other child’s party and that she hadn’t had contact details in order to cancel her son’s attendance at the party.

The invoice, Julie Lawrence, retorted that all the details including a phone number and email address had been on the invitation and that Ms. Walsh’s partner had confirmed that their son would be attending the party for which Ms. Lawrence had to pay.

She then stated that the “no-show” fee was to cover the costs of the boy’s failure to attend the party, a paid-for event at a snow park and that she intended going to a small-claims court to recuperate the loss.

Ms. Walsh said that she would not pay, and also stated that she was upset that the school had breached protocol by allowing Ms. Lawrence to place the invoice in her child’s bag.

The full exchange took place on Facebook before going viral- some parents sided with Ms. Lawrence, saying that the R.S.V.P., even if verbal, meant that a contract had been entered into (and that the boy’s non-attendance with no cancellation was just rude), while other parents berated the “”no-show” invoice as petty and extreme.

Birthday party etiquette can become extremely complex, but there are some simple rules parents should do their best to observe:


•    R.S.V.P. within the stated time-frame; parties can be expensive and may involve complicated budgets.
•    Arrive on time and leave at the agreed time.
•    Ensure that your child is polite and considerate towards the host family and other children.
•    Check what’s appropriate in terms of gifts- some parents may not like their child to receive toy weapons, for example.
•    Find out whether the party is a “drop-and-collect” affair or if adults are welcome/expected to stick around.


•    Bring/send uninvited siblings to the party.
•    Arrive without confirming attendance.
•    Leave your kid at the party and treat the hosts like babysitters only to return long after the party is finished.
•    Get into a silly squabble with other parents!

What other good party etiquette would you recommend?
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