Giving modern manners the boot

ShoesIf you’re anything like me, keeping your kids in clothes and shoes that are reasonably priced, decent quality, semi clean and will fit them for longer than a single wear is one of life’s ongoing challenges. So when I read the story of a mother in Britain sending her friend an email after a play-date, ordering her to pay almost $540 so she could replace her daughter’s boots that were marked with a pen, I almost fainted.  I may have been feeling faint from jealousy, because as a grown woman, I’ve yet to own a pair of boots worth the better part of $1000.

I’m not sure I could ever justify spending $540 on a pair of kids shoes. Perhaps its because there is a real chance that my youngest would throw one out of the car window while travelling 100km down the highway or because my middle child would wear them  to jump in muddy puddles (thank you Peppa Pig) or because my eldest would flat out refuse to wear them unless they went with her bikini. And this is all before the growth spurt fairy comes and sprinkles their magic dust.

I’m not entirely sure the mother of the expensive boot-wearing child has the firmest grasp on reality: she only dresses her child in designer clothes, has 60 other pairs of shoes for her daughter, and as a fashion designer created a dress out of pubic hair.  So when she threatened the other mother with taking the issue further if she failed to pay for the boots – I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if she did.  But let’s put the cost of the child’s boots aside… what about the etiquette issue?

Where do you stand on replacing destroyed items of clothing for your kids?

I don’t get too worked up if one of my girls come home covered in paint, tomato sauce on their dress, zinc on their shirt or a mark on their shoes, but then again, none of their garments are approaching the $600 mark!  For the very reason that kids will be kids and half the fun of growing up and playing with your friends is getting a completely grubby. This also reminds me of the story where a father was sent an invoice of approximately $30, as his son did not end up attending a friend’s birthday party to which he had RSVPed.

While I completely understand how the hosts would be annoyed and disappointed to be out of pocket for food and entertainment for a child they were expecting, am I naïve to consider this one of the risks you take when holding any sort of party? The goal posts of modern etiquette seem to be moving at a pace it is hard for any of us to keep up with, so where do you stand on the invoicing trend we’ve seen in these two scenarios?



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