Blake’s Advice Column
My son was married last month. Before the wedding, he asked me if I would contribute financially to the reception. I offered to pay for the drinks, and he and his fiancee seemed appreciative. A few days before the wedding, my son informed me that the total cost of the beverage bill came to nearly $3,000. I wrote a check for that amount. My son’s bride told my wife that there would be some extra charges, so I telephoned the accountant at the hotel to get the exact amount. The accountant informed me that there were no extra charges, and the total bar bill was less than half the amount I had contributed. My son refused to discuss the matter, so I sent the invoice from the hotel to him and his wife two weeks ago. Since then, there has been total silence on their end, and it looks like a cold relationship is developing. My wife says I should forget about the extra $1700, since they probably needed the money for other expenses. I maintain there’s an ethical issue here that shouldn’t be swept under the rug. What do you think?
From Little Rock, Arkansas
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What your son did was dishonest and disrespectful. In my view, you really have only one option, which is, deal with your son like the lowdown thief that he is, and then con the con man. Ok, consider one of these suggestions. If his car ever needs some expensive auto maintenance, tell him you have a friend that owes you a favor that will fix his vehicle for next to nothing. And when your son hands you the car keys, go sell his car, and anything you get over $1700, you should keep and view it as punitive damages. Or how about planning a vacation for you and your wife and him and his wife. Tell him that the four of them can go on a worldwide cruise that will only cost $2000 per couple, which covers everything. After you get his credit card number, use it to pay for a fraction of the real cost for you and your wife. And be sure and wave to him and his wife as the ship pulls out, while they both angrily flash at you some vulgar hand gestures as they stand on the dock with all of their luggage. You can drive him to a store that sells some expensive items that you know appeals to him, and encourage him to pay cash for everything. When you drive him home, after he gets out of your car, rather than opening your trunk and letting him receive his items, speed off and head back to the store and tell them your idiot son changed his mind. But if you are a patient man, keep in mind about half of marriages won’t last. If he tells you in the distant future that he and his wife are divorcing, tell him he needs legal advice. Encourage him to give you $1700 and you know exactly who to contact. When he gives you the money, inform him that the money he handed you, is his debt for the drinks at his wedding. And if he asks you who were you planning to contact, tell him your wife, informing her that you finally got the money back from her lying, worthless, roguish son. I hope this helps.