Regular Doses of Common Sense™

High School Reunion Fell Victim to Payment Deadlines

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High School Reunion Fell Victim to Payment Deadlines

Even though it’s more than a year away, they’re already talking about my 30th high school reunion…and why we didn’t have a 25th.

Nothing reminds you how old you are quite like talk of a high school reunion.

My graduating class’s 30th reunion is due next year, but those I graduated with are already talking on Facebook about it.

And I’m already seeing a few comments about the fact that we had no 25th.

They was supposed to be a 25th reunion. It was on the calendar. But less than a month out, it was canceled.

Here’s what I’m pretty sure happened.

On June 9th of that year, a Facebook post went up listing the date for the big event as August 24th. That post then listed the following prices for tickets:

before June 15 – $25 per person
June 16-Aug 16 $30 per person
Aug 17- Aug 25 $35 per person

There was an obvious typo on that last date range: you wouldn’t pay for a ticket the day after the thing was over, would you? If you decided to buy that $35 ticket on August 25th, you were doubly out of luck: you were paying $10 more for the ticket and you’d already missed the reunion.

When someone asked about it, the response from a committee member was that they had to give the caterer a head count 10 days in advance.

Did you get that? Ten days in advance.

So right away, there was an obvious problem: if the caterer had to have a head count 10 days in advance, the deadline to buy tickets should have been at least 10 days ahead of the reunion date. Otherwise, you’d have had people buying tickets without the guarantee that there’d be any food.

Sure, caterers will sometimes arrange to provide a bit more food than the minimum just in case extras show up, but there’s usually an additional cost for that. But that’s why wedding invitations include a specific RSVP date that’s in advance of the actual wedding date. It doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t attend if you don’t RSVP by that date, but it does mean there’s a good chance you shouldn’t plan on eating at the reception.

In any case, the deadline listed should have been the date by which the caterer needed their number.

But then something unexpected happened.

On August 2nd, another Facebook post appeared. It read, in part:

The committee had to make this decision due to lack of paying numbers.

That was August 2nd, just about the midpoint of the middle range of dates for payments. What I’m pretty sure happened was that on August 1st, they had to pay for the venue and they hadn’t yet received enough payments for the tickets they were selling. I was actually planning on sending my check the very week the cancellation notice was posted.

If I been given a deadline of August 1st, they’d have had my payment by then. Since their initial post made it clear that I could buy tickets right up until the event, there was no sense of urgency about getting desperately-needed payments in.

So it wasn’t that my classmates weren’t interested in getting back together. It was that we weren’t sufficiently informed of what it’d take — from a money perspective — to make that happen.

I’m hoping for this next shindig down the road, they set better deadlines and make it clear when those checks are actually due.

How many high school reunions have you attended since you wore that cap and gown?

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