Dad Billed for Child's "No Show" at Birthday Party

How to lose friends and alienate kindergartners

Dad Billed for Child's "No Show" at Birthday Party

As a host, there's nothing more galling than a no-show. A mom in the UK is threatening to bring her pet peeve straight to small claims court after a five year-old guest failed to show up at her child's birthday party.

Imagine dad Derek Nash's surprise when he opened his son's backpack and found a "proper invoice" for fees incurred at a birthday party little Alex had never attended. The bill was for £15.95 ($29) for the abortive rental cost at a dry ski slope. The dad was later threatened with legal action if he refused to pay.

Stop The Loot Bag Insanity

Though Nash accepted the invitation, his son didn't attend the party due to a conflict (he was "double booked" for a visit with his grandparents). He claimed he didn't have contact details for the mom organizing the festivities, which not entirely believable since he accepted the invitation. 

Common courtesy was sorely lacking. Obviously Nash should have let the mom know that his son couldn't attend, even if it meant leaving a simple, apologetic note in his son's school bag addressed to the child in question.  

"I can understand that she's upset about losing money," said Nash. "The money isn't the issue, it's the way she went about trying to get the money from me. She didn't treat me like a human being, she treated me like a child and that I should do what she says."
Are You A Chronic Bailer Like This?

The bottom line: If you want to host an expensive birthday party for your child, by all means knock yourself out. Just don't expect other parents to foot the bill. It's not a fundraiser, after all; it's a private party. 
If the event is charged per head, then explicitly say so on the invitation and be clear about the cost implications. Somehow I doubt many kids will attend.

When I booked my son's last birthday, at a trampoline park, I didn't expect compensation from guests. I regarded the party itself as part of MY gift to my child. I had a maximum number of kids to cover, and a set number of loot bags. Would I have been upset if a kid failed to show up? Yes and no. I'm realistic. Kids can get sick at the drop of the hat. Having said that, RSVPing is a pretty simple concept, people, use it. 

You tell me: Should parents whose kids are 'no shows' be liable for party costs?

That "Fresh" Orange Juice Isn't as Fresh as You Think

Blowing the whistle on OJ

That "Fresh" Orange Juice Isn't as Fresh as You Think

Remember the commercial where a straw gets plugged into a juicy, ripe orange? Well, those supposedly premium orange juice brands are neither as fresh nor as natural as the ads would have us believe, yet they cost far more than concentrates.

The Bitter Truth About Fruit Juice

Our friends at CBC Marketplace and Radio-Canada's L'épicerie revealed that the "not from concentrate" brands—including Tropicana, Simply Orange, Oasis—are just as processed as their cheaper alternatives.

In fact, such premium OJ is processed to keep it from spoiling. Then it's stored for months, even up to a year, before it finds its way to your fridge. So much for freshly squeezed!

After processing, juice has lost much of its colour and flavour. The juice is then infused with flavour packs that inject the orange taste back into the juice. Though the flavour packs (made from orange oils and orange essence) aren't artificial, the addition isn't listed on labels. 

It's something Alissa Hamilton, OJ whistle blower and author of the book, Squeezed: What You Don’t Know About Orange Juice, thinks Canadian consumers deserve to know, especially given we pay quite the premium— $500m a year —on so-called premium juice. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency agrees with Hamilton, and wants manufacturers to list "added flavour" to their list of ingredients. 

Would You Eat This "Test Tube" Burger?

"There's definitely a disconnect with that trend that we're seeing, that people actually prefer the taste of a processed product, and yet they still want to believe that what they're buying and drinking is fresh," said Hamilton. "...what you're getting back in these flavour packs is an engineered product."

In the U.S., several class-action lawsuits have been filed against manufacturers for "deceptive practices" when marketing their juices as fresh and natural. If natural flavour is being reinstated, then are companies truly guilty of false advertising? Can we trust what's printed on a label anymore?

I admit it, I've been conned... For a long time I've been buying the more expensive, premium brands of OJ, and now I'm more inclined to juice my own citrus (assuming a fresh orange can be found in Canada in January).  

You tell me: Will you continue to buy 'fresh' orange juice?

Image Source: FreeImages.com


TV Viewers Outraged by Swedish Dancing Genitals Cartoon

Educational or TMI?

TV Viewers Outraged by Swedish Dancing Genitals Cartoon

Sweden is in the news today after its children's channel aired a video featuring dancing cartoon penises and vaginas. All in the name of educating youngsters aged between three and six about anatomy, of course.

Maybe They Were Hoping It Would Go Viral Like This Video

The clip may only be a minute long, but a minute is ample time to twist the knickers of a bunch of uptight adults. You need only cast a cursory glance at Barnkanalen's Facebook page to witness the reaction:

“What on earth? What the hell? Is this supposed to be educational?” wrote a user.

“I’ve always wondered how much drugs are being done in the children’s entertainment industry,” wrote another.

Ironically, the YouTube clip—which has now been seen some 3 million times—was initially set as "adult" content for users over 18, until it was later reassessed.

Oh Swedes; I admire your intrepid attitude to nudity and genital awareness! It's something we strive for here in the Americas, yet when it actually comes to saying the words "penis" and "vagina," we can't get over ourselves without giggles, titters, or mild embarrassment.

This Doll With A Penis Had Shoppers In A Tizzy

But let's be real here: preschoolers take more than a cursory interest in their bodies and bodily movements. And the songwriter - Johan Holmström - clearly knows his audience. His previous "hits" include: “Pee, Farting and Pooping,” “I Like Slime,” and “Molluscs in my Pants." 

To my mind, cute (but accurate) genital cartoons are a good first step in educating kids, and they set a platform for future discussion about sex and the mechanics of reproduction.

Rather this approach than pretending there is something shamefully taboo and embarrassing lurking between their legs... 

I think Sweden is on the right track; sadly, culturally, we may not be quite there yet.

What do you think of the video?

Image Source: YouTube