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What We Can Learn From Sarah Bryan And #Shoegate

Invoicing your friends when they're annoying. Genius.

13/01/2017 9:07 AM AEDT | Updated 13/01/2017 9:07 AM AEDT
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Fashion designer Sarah Bryan faced enormous backlash after sending an invoice to her daughter's friend's mother after her daughter returned from a playdate with scuffed and marked shoes.

I'm super excited to bring you the most brilliant idea to make extra money in 2017. If you have annoying friends and children like I do, you will make a bloody fortune.

Enterprising fashion designer Sarah Louise Bryan sent a £325 (approximately $533) invoice to her daughter's friend's mother for designer boots her daughter wore and 'damaged' on a play date under that woman's supervision. She held the mother responsible for allowing the shoe carnage -- scuffed soles and a black mark on one toe -- to occur while the girls played.

Unsurprisingly, Bryan has been faced with enormous backlash, for everything from buying expensive shoes for her three-year-old, to invoicing for their basic 'wear and tear'. She has been accused of being a terrible parent, and the internet has gone into sympathy meltdown for her daughter.

All I can think of is what a genius this woman is, and also, how lucky she must be.

That's not my reaction. All I can think of is what a genius this woman is, and also, how lucky she must be. But before I give you some financial inspiration for 2017, let me start with a little judgement, because well, I'm human after all.

Bryan must have one lucky life if she has the capacity to worry about her child's shoes getting damaged and can think to pack a spare pair for her to wear outside. I'm a little confused as to why she didn't just make her daughter wear the spare pair of shoes in the first place, but hey, I just let my son walk out the door in a t-shirt he insisted on pulling out of the dirty laundry basket (because he promised his friend they'd wear Port Power tops today), so I guess my standards are pretty low.

what a doll ❤

A photo posted by Sarah Louise Bryan (@itssarahbryan) on

It also occurred to me that Bryan's daughter must be so popular and have so many friends that she doesn't have to worry about maintaining cordial relationships with their parents. What a relief that must be. There are certainly some parents in my son's class that I've wanted to slap for being a-holes, but for my son's sake, I just stand there and listen to them, then stuff my face with something calorific on the way home to stop my screams. But not Bryan -- she DGAF about pick-up-time politics. Now that's freedom.

Looking at the gorgeous boots in question, it's obvious that Bryan's family must have so much disposable income that they can afford shoes more expensive than those that most adults wear. What a nice place to be in for them. But I just bought an unnecessary mascara for the sole reason that it had the Star Wars logo on it, so I'm not really one to talk about wasting money.

back to school 😍 #cutie #girl #model #minimodel #fashion #dress

A photo posted by Sarah Louise Bryan (@itssarahbryan) on

I envy this woman's courage to stand up for what she wants and ask for it -- I definitely don't do that enough in my life. And although Bryan has now accepted that she acted irrationally in sending the invoice, she has not apologised for her personal choices, such as the purchase of the boots, or how she is raising her daughter. I definitely do too much apologising about both of those things.

While I do admire the badassery of Bryan's moves, I also feel sadness that she doesn't realise how lucky she is. That her reaction to the imperfect shoes overshadowed whatever fun her daughter had while scuffing them up.

It's a good lesson for all of us to choose our battles more wisely.

I want to say to her: these are the good times, girlfriend, when you and your kids are healthy, and you're financially secure. Enjoy it. Concentrate on the good stuff and let go of the normal crap, like kids not caring about their new shoes. That happens in life. It's a good lesson for all of us to choose our battles more wisely.

We should thank Bryan for reminding us of that, and also because her idea is a veritable stroke of genius. Forget about having awkward conversations like the law says you must when people annoy you, simply invoice your friends for their offences and your losses. Here are some examples of common, everyday behaviours (such as shoe scuffing) that you could invoice them for:

  • Time spent reading unfunny memes they've sent you: $20.
  • When they recommend something on Netflix that turns out to be crap: $50 for your time, and $10 for the wasted data downloading it.
  • Time they spent asking the waiter if something can be gluten-free while your table's entire order is held up: $200.
  • 20 minutes waiting in the pub for your late friends, meaning you could have called the babysitter 15 minutes later: $5.
  • The unreturned socks they borrowed at your place when you made them remove their shoes when it was 15 degrees but you'd just vacuumed: $6.

And why stop at just friends? Why not invoice your children for their infractions?

  • The wine you're forced to drink daily at precisely 11am during the school holidays: $1000.
  • The internet usage to buy silence during the school holidays: $500.
  • Time spent watching The Secret Life of Pets: they owe you for life.

As my friend (who I owe a pair of socks to) pointed out, why didn't Bryan invoice her own daughter? It's a brilliant idea, that could save you thousands in future gifts.

Happy invoicing. Don't forget to include GST for your time creating the invoice.

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