DEAR MISS MANNERS: I received an invitation to a friend’s milestone birthday celebration, where the birthday part is incidental to its being a charitable event consisting of a mock version of a popular game show. Guests are expected to pay to attend the event. The celebration will consist of serving an appropriately themed cake at the end of the event.
I am on a budget, and have specific charities to which I donate. I find this invitation distasteful, as it appears to be a minor form of extortion. Of course, I will gracefully decline and wish the celebrant well. Would you consider this invitation acceptable and/or in good taste?
GENTLE READER: What is an appropriately themed cake for such an event? A chocolate-frosted piggy bank?
You would not find Miss Manners at an adult birthday party playing games for money, no matter how worthy the charity. And she would not expect anyone else to do this, either.
Until celebrants understand that asking people to contribute funds to a charity so that they, themselves, can get the tax write-off is rude, graciously declining to do so is all that one can politely do.