DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received an electronic invitation from a friend of mine to attend an open house. The party is to promote and sell a book she has recently had published.
She states that copies of her book will be available for signing and purchase at the party. She has also stated that light snacks will be available -- however, should we want a drink, we may bring a cooler of our own beverages.
None of this particularly bothered me until I scrolled down the invitation and saw a button that said, “Send a gift.” Yes, I did click on it just to see what it said, and all the gifts listed were gift cards to a large online retailer.
Am I truly expected to send a gift card to her? I am very appalled! I will be buying her book and eating a few potato chips, while being offered zero liquids to wash down those chips, yet I am supposed to give her a gift. Surely, this cannot be the norm these days. Or is it?
GENTLE READER: Sadly, practicing extortion schemes on friends has become common. Miss Manners is surprised that this person did not ask you to contribute to a travel fund to enable her to rest up from the labor of writing her book.
Such vulgarity is assisted by electronic invitations that automatically add nudging for a present. But whether your hostess put that in herself or failed to catch it, she has already indicated that she is no more willing to offer you drinks than a bookstore might be. And stores are not offered presents.