DEAR ABBY: I have been somewhat taken aback by two retirement party invitations I received lately. Both require an "entrance fee" of $15 to $20. I have never heard of or experienced something like this before. When I retired from teaching 10 years ago, I held my own retirement party at my home. I supplied the food and beverages and requested "no gifts, please."
Is there a new custom that requires people to pay an admission price to a party? If someone pays to go to the party, is he/she also expected to bring a gift? Honestly, I'm a little put off being asked to pay to celebrate my friends' retirements. Should I be, or is this an appropriate request? -- WONDERING IN OHIO
DEAR WONDERING: I don't blame you for feeling put off. I don't know who is supposedly giving the parties for your friends, but if you're being asked to pay for your food and beverages, it appears that no host is. If you pay to attend these parties, your presence should be your gift. And if you choose not to go, I wouldn't blame you.