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Another RSVP Complaint

Two situations:

We are running a cocktail reception at a local establishment for a woman is retiring from our company after 34 years of service. Emails were sent, clearly stating RSVP, with the additional notation that we really needed a head count by a certain date. It's 4 days past that date & we have yet to hear form roughly half of those to whom an email was sent. A follow up email was sent 5 days ago. Many of those who have yet to respond are executives or those in upper management. I am stunned that there is so little regard for what I consider to be a basic social practice. Just as an FYI, I would be considered to be in mid-upper management, so it's not like they are brushing the invite off as coming from "a peon" (before your get your knickers in a knot, I'm saying that sarcastically).

Second situation. My daughter & SIL are having their first big party in their new house. They are in their late 20's & this is a very big deal for them. Again, they used e-vites. My sister has 2 kids in their mid 20's, both in professional jobs. DD sent invites to them. Standard RSVP. She has heard nothing. On cousin was the Maid of Honor at her wedding. I made a remark to my sister & her reply way: Boy, did you get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning".

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  1. My guess is that in the first case, the invites were just lost in the work email shuffle. Work email accounts tend to get flooded, and once you get through reading and responding to the urgent/important stuff, you forget about the other things or simply don't have time to respond. I'd imagine that this is the most likely to occur with upper management. I wouldn't really see it as a lack of regard for basic social practice as much as email not necessarily being the best method of reaching everyone in a work environment.

    The issue can be the same with evites as well. I don't know what service they used, but many require you to register to RSVP, and others may just get plunked right into the spam folder. Some people spend all day at work and when they get home, really have no interest in personal emails. With my friends, I know that some of them are very polite and reliable, but email is simply not the way to get in touch with them for an event.

    1 Reply
    1. re: queencru

      "but email is simply not the way to get in touch with them for an event."

      I couldn't agree more, especially at work. Our office posts all invites in the common areas of the main office (kitchen, lounge, hallways) and if you don't RSVP to your dept head, you aren't expected to attend.

    2. "Peon" or not - "Execs" are "Execs". Take that as you will. With that said, if this is an after-work cocktail hour, many people hate to obligate themselves due to those pesky last minute meetings, phone calls, fires that arise, etc as corporate life doesn't always end at 5 pm.

      So, it may be best to do the simple walk-around to get a head count. Unfortunately, you'll probably get more responses along the line of "I'm going to try to make it", which still won't help in providing a head count to the restaurant/cocktail lounge.

      1. As an assistant to a Vice President of Business Operations I have been in a similar situation where invitations to a black tie launch of a non-profit organization have been sent via US mail, RSVP's cards (with stamped envelopes) requested by a certain date, follow up calls made to the invitees a day or two after the RSVP date to give "breathing room" and because organizer of said event didn't want to "pressure" the high power executives invited to the event. Pressure? Sad. I spent hours on the phone calling the assistants of the invited executives that had not responded. I am of the opinion that either you are available to attend or cannot, and respond accordingly. Most of the assistants I contacted were not very pleasant to deal with and reacted with my inquiry with a less that pleasant attitude as if I were wasting their time. Some of the execs that had declined the invite showed up to the event, and brought additional guests along (and made demands in seating changes -go figure) while others that had accepted no showed. Sad state of affairs.

        1 Reply
        1. re: OneJayneDoe

          I was just a little surprised. One of the things that we stress in our company, from the top down, is communicatioin and responsiveness. If someone is not sure if they will be able to attend, a note that says just that if fine. We are not such a large company that so many of these emails would get lost in the shuffle. I know most of these people fairly well, and the retiree is a Director with whom they have served on multiple committees.

          As to the cousin's evites? They were received and opened -- the evite service tracks that. My daughter was just hurt that her own cousins wouldn't have the courtesy to respond. I was more than a little surprised that my sister didn't think not resonding was any big deal and thought that I was a jerk for questioning it. Oh, and we have a very small family -- she's my only sibling and those are my only nieces/nephews. They are probably going through that several years post-college all-about me phase.

          Social graces are indeed a dying phenomenon. I'll go have a glass of whine and watch a re-run of Real HW of New Jersey.

        2. Sorry,
          "so little regard for basic social practice"
          Many don't consider email an acceptable mode of social invitations.....................

          I know that much of the business email I receive is in my spam filter, and I don't have time to sort the thousands of spam rec'd each week. Similarly youe evits and many replies may be lost in cyberspace..................
          *****************
          Regarding your sister's kids and their nonreplies to your daughter's invitation. You really had no buisiness asking your sister about the actions of her ADULT children. Your sister is not responsible for their actions. She may resent the unintended implication that they were not raised properly, or they would have replied.
          Your daughter is an adult and she should handle this on her own without mommy and auntie getting involved.

          I am 55 years old and greatly resent my mother in law always being the go between for invitation amongst my wife and her sisters. If my sister in law wants us to come for dinner on Sunday, then she should invite us, not have my MIL call and say dinner is 6PM at so and so's house.

          Yopung adults must learn to handle things on their own, and parents to let go. Your daughter should be able to voice her frustration of no replies to you, but she must handle it by herself. You are not the hostess of this party, this is her learning experience.

          2 Replies
            1. I am not a fan of evites, but respond to them as I would an invitation sent via the post (even postal invitations have an average 20% response rate; anyone who has gotten married in the past decade or so has had to deal with follow ups; I don't think it's right, but that is what we've had to deal with).

              As annoying as it is, make room for a small percentage of walk-ins, then enjoy yourselves and do your best to not show surprise when unresponsive guests (plus one) show up.