For a child a birthday party is a source of great fun.
Typically there's loads of their friends there, some sort of game gets played and they get to enjoy plenty of free cake.
But for the parent organising the party it can be anything but fun – and depending on the type of event you're throwing, it can be pretty pricey.
One mum has decided to get back some of the money she's spent on her daughter's birthday bash, by charging the other children $20 (about £15) to attend it.
Understandably, her fellow parents are outraged by the decision and they've been talking about it behind her back.
One of the mum's close friends is conflicted about the whole thing and decided to take it up with an agony aunt.
Writing to the Boston Globe's Miss Conduct column, the worried woman from Ludlow, said: "I have a close friend who I adore.
"She is lovely and kind and a truly wonderful person. But every year, she charges people to come to her daughter's birthday party.
"If it is at a venue, the e-mail will say something along the lines of 'please bring $20 to cover the cost of your child'.
"If it is at her home, there will be an envelope or basket asking for 'donations'."
She added: "They're not poor. People talk about it behind her back. Should I say something?"
Robin Abrahams, the writer behind Miss Conduct, was quick to offer her some advice – and she didn't mince her words.
She replied: "Yes, oh yes. Don't tell her people are talking about her behind her back or say 'we all feel that way' – that kind of thing only makes people paranoid.
"But yes, speak up before her poor daughter has to, since sooner or later the girl will realise what her mother is up to and be humiliated.
"Keep your beliefs about finances to yourself, though. Unless you're her accountant, you don't really know how she's doing financially."
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