Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bill me? Sue you!

Alex's father Derek says he is "lost for words"

I didn't think that people in England, where manners and grace are much more kindly observed than over here in a country where oafs like Donald Trump set the pace, would be this way, but here you are reading about Derek Nash, from Torpoint, Cornwall, on the banks of the river Tamar, and how he got a bill for £15.95, which is almost a zillion in American bucks.

Derek is five years of age, so you have to figure, he didn't run up a bill for that much at the fish-and-chips shop or any other English attraction.  No, what happened was, his parents accepted an invitation for him to the Plymouth Ski Slope and Snowboard Centre last month for another little kid's birthday. But then, in one of those merry mixups that happen in every family since the Flintstones, the Nashes remembered that they had already planned to spend that day with their children's grandparents.

Details get murky here; the Nashes say they had no contact information to contact the family holding the party and that family says they did. So when Derek was not at the party, the others wrote out an invoice for the money they're out, and had a teacher put the bill in the boy's schoolbag. Derek's father thought the whole thing was a joke at first, but then when the other family started talking about dragging him into small claims court, he stopped laughing.

The other family has had no comment.

But of course, I have one. And it's this: I am sorry to see that what probably began as an American idiocy seems to be going global, this business of dragging the courts into petty matters once solved by neighbors talking things over down by the mailbox. It's a shame that we've become like that.

If you really have time and inclination to bill the parents of your kid's school chums for a party a kid missed, you are a true tightwad, and a rather shoddy person. And if you wish to dispute this in court, call my attorney, as soon as he's finished getting Bernie Madoff into work release.

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