Dear Annie: I was recently invited to attend a friend’s confirmation. Since I do not drive, my friend’s family offered to pick me up and take me home from the church. However, when the confirmation was over, the family drove to a nearby restaurant for brunch.
No one had mentioned to me that there would be a brunch afterward. I had only enough money for a cup of coffee and was very embarrassed. People kept asking me why I wasn’t eating, but I felt it would have been rude to say that I was caught by surprise and couldn’t pay for a meal. I’m sure someone would have offered to pay for me, but that would have been even more awkward.
I went home hungry, and the others went home perplexed. I think my friend should have told me about their plans instead of assuming I would know. Now, I never go anywhere without plenty of cash. I think people who issue invitations should make it clear what activities are included and who is expected to pay for what. In this particular situation, did I do the right thing? – Puzzled about Propriety
Dear Puzzled: Yes, although it also would have been OK to simply say that you left your wallet at home and would repay anyone who covered the cost. When someone else is providing transportation, it is helpful to know where you are going. If a meal is included, those expected to attend should be informed. However, most people assume others either have cash or a credit card with them at all times. As you have painfully learned.