Every Party Has A Pooper; That’s Why We Invited You

, , , , , , | Working | June 22, 2021

Last year’s work Christmas party was a mess. There were complaints from nearly everyone about the food, restaurant, and dates, and complaints from people who said they didn’t get asked. But worse was that so many people didn’t turn up, meaning those that did had to stump up an extra bill.

I’ve been asked to organise it this year, as I am super organised and tend to enjoy these sorts of things, so I get to work.

Months in advance, I send out a poll with a choice of restaurant and a selection of dates. I get the menu as soon as it is released and stick it on the board and email it out. I make sure I get a response from everyone regarding their attendance and any allergies.

I chase everyone down who didn’t respond, especially when it comes to collecting a deposit. It’s strictly a “Don’t pay, don’t come!” scenario.

I track down one of the non-responders.

Me: “Last chance to come to the Christmas party.”

Coworker: “Oh, no! I want to come. Where is it?”

Me: “It’s at [Restaurant] on [date].”

Coworker: “Oh, I don’t really like that place. Can’t we go somewhere else?”

Me: “I sent out the options months ago. Sorry, it’s all decided. Do you want to come?”

Coworker: “Err… Sure. Okay.”

Me: “Okay, I need your deposit by the end of the day. Cash is fine, or you can transfer the money.”

Coworker: “Well, I didn’t know about—”

Me: *Interrupting* “I emailed everyone three times about this and it has been on the canteen and office notice board.”

Coworker: “Fine!”

Me: “Great. Everyone who has paid the deposit will get invited to the group chat for any updates.”

I send her an email, and then another the next day. She doesn’t pay. I collect everyone’s deposits, set up the group chat, and think we are pretty much done.

A few weeks later…

Coworker: “Oh, I realised that I never gave you that deposit. Here.”

Me: “Yeah, I already paid the restaurant. If you don’t pay them you can’t have a space.”

Coworker: “Well, you could have just paid it for me.”

Me: “You and the other fifteen people who didn’t pay me?”

Coworker: “Look, just sort it out or I will go to Human Resources.”

Me: “No.”

Coworker: “What do you mean, no? You’re excluding me; this is bullying.”

Me: “No and no. Firstly, you had plenty of notice and I don’t owe you anything, and secondly, we moved the meal to last weekend. Everyone who did pay the deposit had a great time.”

She swore at me and ran off. I think she might have made a complaint, but it never reached me. The next year, she made a big bid to organise the meal, presumably to spite me or “forget to invite me,” but she ended up going on holiday and half-a**ed the meal planning, and I had to step in again.

We had a good time without her again.

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No One Messes With My Sister But Me

, , , , , , , | Related | May 25, 2021

It’s my bridal shower, and my mom, my aunts, my best friend, my younger sister, and I have spent all morning getting it ready, snacking and taste-testing as we go. By the time guests have arrived and we’re ready to serve lunch, I’m already pretty full, and since I’m trying not to gain weight before the wedding, I opt for a mimosa and a plate of fruit. I spend the time chatting with my friends, several of whom I haven’t seen for years. I’m on the point of pouring myself a mimosa when I hear my fiancé’s aunt, in a just-slightly-too-loud voice, comment.

Fiancé’s Aunt: “Oh, I see the bride is drinking her lunch. Typical.”

Needless to say, I’m hurt, but I go hang out with my friends and try to pretend that nothing’s bothering me. I am not expecting that five minutes later, my sister would march the aunt, looking sullen, over to my table.

Fiancé’s Aunt: “…”

Sister: “You say it or you leave.”

Fiancé’s Aunt: “I’m sorry I was rude.”

Sister:And?

Fiancé’s Aunt: “That was uncalled for. I know you spent all morning getting ready. I’m sorry for being rude when you wanted a break. I’ll be polite.”

Sister: Good. You’ll be polite or you won’t come to the wedding.”

I was deeply touched. My sister is almost a decade younger than me, and between sharing a room and having very different views, we fought far more often than we got along. When I left for college, we didn’t talk for almost two years, and I was not at all expecting her to come to my aid in this. I made it a point to sincerely thank her later, and we wound up talking sincerely for the first time in years. Five years into the marriage, we’re closer than we ever were growing up. I’m not sure what prompted her to be my knight in shining armor that day, but I’m now glad to call her my friend as well as my sister!


This story is part of our Best Of May 2021 roundup!

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The Only Thing Worse Than A Party Crasher

, , , | Related | March 17, 2021

My youngest sister-in-law moved closer to us a couple of years ago and we have included her and her boyfriend in our friend circle which we have known for approximately ten years. Everybody is in their mid- to late twenties; [Sister-In-Law] and her boyfriend are the youngest.

Our Dutch friends have a summer party every year, and this year, for the first time, they invite [Sister-In-Law] and her boyfriend. The Dutch friends start an email chain as it is a potluck party. 

Sister-In-Law: “We are bringing our friend, [Guest], as well.”

The party hostess is obviously a bit surprised to be told and not asked.

Hostess: “I guess that is okay.”

After a couple of emails about food:

Sister-In-Law’s Boyfriend: *To [Hostess]* “So, do you have a large table where [Guest] can set up?”

Another friend in the group email replies.

Friend: “It’s okay. We are only supposed to bring one or two dishes each. She won’t need a large table.”

Sister-In-Law’s Boyfriend: *As if stating the obvious* “For the health products she is going to sell us, of course. It is amazing what they can do! It has changed our lives!”

My dear husband and I see this email before our Dutch friends and have a discussion on how to politely stop [Sister-In-Law] and her boyfriend from embarrassing themselves further, but while my husband is composing an email to his sister, the hostess responds.

Hostess: “This is our summer party, not a sales party! You can tell [Guest] she is no longer welcome!”

Sister-In-Law: “But everybody will love the products and I promised her I would arrange this.”

Hostess: “NO!”

Host: “Do not bring her!”

Our Dutch friends are graceful and do not uninvite [Sister-In-Law] and her boyfriend, but at the party, both [Sister-In-Law] and her boyfriend still can’t understand that they have done anything wrong or weird.

Sister-In-Law: “Too bad they didn’t want to hear about all the nice products. This would have been such a perfect setting for a sales party.”

I have a distinct feeling [Sister-In-Law] either would have kept the hostess gift herself or would have gotten a discount on her next purchase for “arranging the party.”

In all fairness, I had complained to [Hostess] about [Sister-In-Law]’s immaturity and bad manners a couple of times, so I did not feel too bad for her. Anyway, she was better at shutting [Sister-In-Law]’s antics down than we were.

[Sister-In-Law] and her boyfriend — who became her husband — “saw the light” many more times in the following years, but after a couple of failed tries to “convert” us to whatever nonsense product or fad they were fans of, they realized we were out of pedagogic reach and stopped trying.

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Not Showering This Monster-In-Law With Praise

, , , , | Related | March 15, 2021

My husband’s mother doesn’t trust men. When my husband was eight he “broke up” with a classmate. His mother yelled at him, saying he was just like all men.

He had a girlfriend in high school for two years but they mutually broke up their junior year. When my husband and I got engaged, some friends, including his ex-girlfriend, threw me a bridal shower. At one point, I was in a small circle of women: me, my husband’s ex-girlfriend, his mom, his sister, and two friends. His mother turned to the ex.

Husband’s Mom: “[Ex-Girlfriend], this should be your bridal shower.”

I told my husband that night that when we got married, his mother could visit but her suitcases would never come through the front door. She also told us we couldn’t invite his dad to the wedding. I told her we already had and would let her know if he was coming so she could decide if she wanted to attend. If looks could kill…

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Give ‘Til It Hurts

, , , , | Friendly | March 10, 2021

Our friend group constantly has to meet wherever is cheap enough for [Friend]. [Friend] doesn’t work and doesn’t see the need to; he is content sitting at home watching TV and smoking. 

If he doesn’t have enough money to smoke or drink, he will leech off one of his friends until they have had enough, and then he moves on to the next. I’ve been that friend to him several times and had enough.

Everyone has tried to help him find interviews and offered to drive him to work, should he get the job. But he just won’t do it.

My birthday is coming up, and I don’t want to have another fast food parking lot meet-up. I find an inexpensive restaurant with a bar and share the invite out to all. Nearly everyone is really excited about it, apart from [Friend].

Friend: “I can’t afford this. You should choose somewhere everyone can go to.”

Me: “[Friend], we always go somewhere that suits you and we always end up back at your flat so you can smoke. Just once, I want to go somewhere nice.”

Friend: “Well, I won’t come, then.”

Me: “Okay, well, sorry to hear that.”

Friend: “Wow, that’s just nice, isn’t it?! Just ditch me.”

Me: *Sighing internally* “A couple of guys are just going for drinks. Why don’t you just come for a drink?”

Friend: “What, and miss out on the meal?”

Me: “I don’t know what to say. You don’t want to pay for a meal, you don’t want to come for a drink instead…”

Friend: “You could pay for me.”

Me: You want me to pay for your meal at my birthday celebration? I suppose you want me to drive you there, as well.”

Friend: “Well, yeah. You’re going anyway.”

Me: “I was being sarcastic. I won’t be driving to the bar; I’ll be drinking. The bus is what, 80p?! Look. Come, don’t come, whatever. I’m not the one paying for you this time.”

He didn’t come, but he did complain about me constantly for weeks. I lost touch with him. A year or so later, he still hadn’t changed.

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