An expensive night out

Published 10:01 am Monday, July 25, 2022

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Dear Aunty Pam,


Advice, please!!

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Recently I held a party for my dear mother’s 80th birthday at an upscale, expensive restaurant. Naturally, my siblings and I were treating my mom and all of us siblings decided to go Dutch and pay our own way. I did, however, invite my mother’s best friend, who lives a state away and she said she’d be there and then phoned later to ask if she could bring another good friend of my mom’s. I said, yes, but that my budget was pretty tight, and while I was happy to treat her, because she was driving a couple of hours to come, I couldn’t afford to treat the other friend as well. She said, “Oh, no problem. Barbara intends to pay her own way.”


It was a great dinner, my mom had the time of her life and when the bill came, with wine, each person’s tab averaged about $125.00 per head. My husband and I paid our own way, paid for my mom and her best friend, but Barbara just sat there as we were collecting everyone else’s share and never made a move to open her wallet. I glanced at her a couple of times, but she just sat there and it felt too awkward to say in front of everyone, “You owe $125.00.”


She chatted with my mom for a while as we were all getting ready to head out to our car and then left with my mom’s best friend. She never thanked us or offered to pay. Aunty Pam, I’m not a rich woman. My husband and I saved up especially for this party and I really feel like she should have paid and want to give her a call to request it. My husband says to let it go and forget about it.


What would you do?





Dear Annoyed,


I have to agree with your husband on this one, and I’ll tell you why. Your mother had a marvelous night and, really, isn’t that the most important thing? To be treated to a ritzy night out with her friends will be a cherished memory forever.


The time to have corralled Barbara was as she was leaving with your mom’s other friend. To discreetly ask to speak to her a moment, in privacy, and tactfully mention that you thought she was aware that you couldn’t afford to treat everyone and that you had been told she would be paying her share, and take it from there. If you call her now, there’s always the chance that the conversation will get back to your mother. Why take the chance such a thing will tarnish that happy memory?


Chalk it up to a hard lesson learned. Indeed you were taken advantage of, but to quote the late, great Ann Landers, ‘you can only be taken advantage of if you allow it.’  Let it go, annoyed, and take heart that, in the end, that extra hundred bucks you ended up spending made your mom’s night even more special.


Cheers, dear!

Aunty Pam