A news story from this fall illustrates the consequences of responding to a rude pitch without bringing etiquette into play. A Minnesota couple accepted an invitation to a family member’s wedding. At the last minute their babysitter called in sick, preventing the couple from going. The couple did not notify the bride and groom. They may have figured that calling with this news “the day of” would have been more of a disservice than a courtesy. However, they never contacted the bride and groom to explain and apologize, as common sense and manners dictate. As such, three weeks after the wedding, the bride and groom sent them a bill of $75 to cover the cost of their food. The outraged no-shows sent the bill to a friend who posted it to Facebook.
This caused an Internet flare-up! Who’s right? The couple, for “no-showing” with no explanation? The bride and groom room for expecting them to pay for the uneaten food? What about the friend who posted the bill to the Internet? Just deserts for the bride and groom?
The actions showed a lack of manners, which translated into embarrassment for everyone. The bride and groom issued a public apology and rescinded the bill. Everyone lost this game.
How do you handle such a situation? Try courtesy, allowing the comfort and welfare of others to drive your game plan. Had the bride and groom, the guests and friend acted courteously, the outcome would never have hit the news! Below are a few insights:
- The Guests. The morning of the wedding was probably not the time to deliver the no-show news to the bride or groom. However, this probably left them scratching their heads at the sight of the two empty seats. Did the guests find something better to do? Did something catastrophic happen? A call that morning to a family member, bridesmaid or even the reception facility would have circumvented all of this. That said, it is impossible to understand why the no -shows did not call after the wedding to apologize.
- The Bride and Groom: The bride and groom could have assumed these family members ran into an insurmountable obstacle and feel terrible that they could not make it. They could have called the couple instead of invoicing them. In that case they may have caused no-shows to blush, but lessened the risk of a family rift.
- The guests should have kept this matter to themselves and the bride and groom. Sending the invoice to the 3rd party resulted in a public display of embarrassment for all of them!
- In bringing this private matter into the public arena via Facebook, the friend stepped beyond all bounds of courtesy and good taste. Everyone, including she, must have (or should have) cringed with humiliation!
I can only speculate about the damage these actions inflicted on the family relationships. What is the take-away? If someone pitches you a rude-ball and you throw another one back to even the score, everyone is going to lose. Particularly when it’s family!