This Gift-Grubbing Birthday Invite Is Rude, But Is It Wrong?

by Emma Waverman
Originally Published: 

Kids’ birthdays are the source of a lot of the junk that seems to proliferate while you sleep. When you have three kids, it’s easy for the toys to get out of control. Your shelves are filled with unopened craft kits, books that have never been read, and baskets and baskets of unknown items. Kids these days are swimming in stuff, and it can drive any parent crazy.

So I understand wanting to limit what comes into your house. Now that my kids are older, they draw up very specific gift lists and then the grandparents go on their merry way and purchase exactly what is on the list. It makes the kids happier to get what they want, and the grandparents are pleased not to have to read anyone’s mind.

So I get the goal of this parent’s email, which has been called the “most demanding first birthday invitation ever.” She lists very specific gift ideas for her child’s birthday party. She wants a certain water table (because of the way it drains), a fill-in-the-blank Cheerios book and the Ikea tent and play tunnel. Those are good gifts with a lot of play value; we had variations on them all. I may even have that Cheerios book lying around somewhere.

So she is on the right path. The problem with the email—which has since gone viral thanks to Reddit and has been viewed more than four million times on Imgur—is that she is kind of rude about it. She wants receipts if the guests dare to go off the list:

“If you choose to get [name redacted] something that isn’t on this list, anytime regardless of birthdays or holidays, please be sure to always include a receipt going forward. When we return items without receipts, we only get about 50 percent of the value, so it is like throwing money away if you don’t include a receipt with the gifts. With formula costing us $80 a week, it is always nice to be able to return items that he doesn’t need to get formula instead.”

And woe to anyone who buys a personalized item that could be used out of the house, because she writes: “Clothing with names is the #1 thing that leads to kidnapping.” Well, her stats are completely wrong, but so be it.

She also isn’t a fan of books and lets people know that he has 32 books on the shelf and 25 in storage.

The email ends with: “By the way, a formal invite from [name redacted] will be arriving in your mailboxes soon…”

Clearly this mom is frustrated with the recipients of the email. We don’t know the backstory; maybe family members have been showering them with unusable items when they need money for formula. Who knows? Certainly not the critics on the Internet, who have been very critical of the “pushy parents.” One commenter on Reddit suggested going the passive-aggressive route and buying the 1-year-old personalized books with no receipt.

Now that this email has gone viral, I would not want to be a guest at that birthday party. It’s going to be very awkward.

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