“Invitations” and “Guests”

As a drinks writer, I receive a fair number of invitations to things like bar and restaurant openings, product launches and tastings. As a beverage enthusiast, on the other hand, I receive a fair number of “invitations,” like the one I just got from a food magazine to which I subscribe and from which I receive regular email updates.

The difference is that when I’m invited to an event, I’m not expected to bring along my wallet, only my palate and notebook. But when I’m “invited” to something, there’s usually a price tag attached, like the $20 I am expected to pay should I wish to attend the wine and cheese tasting I’ve just been “invited” to attend.

To me, this is right up there with the modern propensity of restaurants to refer to their patrons as “guests.” If I ask someone to be my guest, it means that if there is a charge, I’m going to pick it up, just as when I invite people to my home for dinner, I do not prepare a bill for them at the end of their meal. I dare say that the organizations that “invite” me to their events and the restaurants that consider me to be their “guest” think otherwise.

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