Have you heard the story about the boy who didn’t turn up to his friend’s snowboarding party? His parents found an invoice in a brown envelope in his school backpack demanding the fee of £15.98, which is about $25, for expenses incurred by the no show!
I’m sure both sides of the story are equally to blame and that the personal relations are a lot more complicated than the press story makes out.
To me this seems simple:
Was it a birthday party or a school trip?
If it was a birthday party, then the invitation should be given as a sign of friendship. You just don’t charge friends when you offer them hospitality. You may agree beforehand to to shares on an expensive venture.
If they are friends and they don’t turn up, first you show concern for their welfare, then you make the effort to understand and then forgive them. You may then make a mental note to call them day before the next party to make sure they are still coming.
Otherwise, this was not a party but a commercial trip organised by the parents of the birthday child, but they didn’t let their clients know they were being charged. That is dishonest. If not a cash fundraiser, they must have seen this party as a social or commercial investment in the people they were inviting. It was not about hospitality but gaining favour.
Favour is always gained by warm hospitality. But hospitality, given merely to gain favour, will never achieve its desired end.