The place Was This Cash After I Made My Down Cost?

I have hosted and attended many bridal showers. I have noticed recently that hosts often ask attendees to pay a flat fee to cover the cost of food, drink, decorations, party favors, and so on. I would like to consider myself generous. I have no problem getting my food, drinks, or special activities covered, but I get annoyed at having to pay for things like party favors. Am I cheap or do the hosts have to incur costs?

K.

Traditionally, the maid of honor or all bridesmaids host (and pay!) The bridal shower. But I’ve also noticed the trend towards pay-to-play bridal showers, birthday parties, and other occasions where hosts ask attendees to take their share of the total cost. I can’t tell you why this happened. Maybe parties have gotten more luscious, hosts have gotten poorer, or online payments have become extremely easy.

I don’t think you’re cheap – and I’m sure I will receive several (very angry) letters from hosts asking guests to interfere. Perhaps the best way to think about it is that our culture is constantly changing, and so are its parties. Nobody forces hosts to spread the cost among guests, and invited guests can always decline invitations they don’t like. But for many, this particular ship has already sailed.

At least once a week someone steals my sandwich from the shared refrigerator in our office break room. I bring lunch to save money so it’s doubly annoying that I have to pay for two! What do you think of notes on refrigerator doors telling thieves not to do so?

HUNGRY

It can’t hurt, can it? If the person eating your sandwich is a die-hard thief, a note is likely to have little effect. But if this person does the wrong thing without thinking about it, perhaps clouded by laziness or hunger, your hint can help: “I’m hungry too! Please don’t steal my sandwich. “

If you need help with your uncomfortable situation, send a question to SocialQ@nytimes.com, Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on twitter.