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Are Moms Really Charging For Playdates? We Investigated Because, Umm What?

We lost it on charging to sit on a couch.

I don’t know how to begin talking about this so I’m just going to come out and say it: apparently, there are people out there charging for playdates. As in, “Your child had two juice boxes, a serving of goldfish, and used a quarter of a container of bubbles: please send me $12.” Perhaps you’ve seen these videos pop up on your feed. If you haven’t, well, I’m sorry to ruin your peace, but this is happening and we need to discuss it.

This trend appears to have originated in April on Instagram.

We here at Romper have seen these kinds of videos on multiple accounts on social media, including @itsgoodbyetwenties on Instagram and on TikTok with @shay.nanigans87.

Back in April, Brianna Weimer (aka @itsgoodbyetwenties) took to Instagram to share the “rudest” response she received after sending another mom a Venmo request for $36 after a playdate for “food and supplies.” The running tab included snacks, drinks, pumps of soap (he used three, she counted), and a “cleanup” fee for when the child spilled some juice.

Another account recently shared a similar story and revived the fervor over the idea.

“Can we normalize sending the other family money for playdates,” @shay.nanigans87 begins. She goes on to explain that her daughter had a friend, Jamie, come over recently. After the playdate, says @shay.nanigans, she sent over a thank you text to Jamie’s mom along with a Venmo request for “expenses” totaling $15. “Because I can’t keep doing these playdates if they’re so expensive.” The itemized list included snacks, “wear and tear” on the couch ($1), and even trips to the bathroom.

Commenters were baffled and livid.

“Your kid will have no friends because of you,” says one commenter to Weimer.

“Babe, if you can’t afford to have guests over, just say that. This isn’t a good look,” agrees another.

“I’d send you the $15 then never speak to you again,” a TikTok user told @shay.nanigans87.

“Are you genuinely OK?” asks another.

These two videos have garnered almost 30,000 comments as of press time, and I couldn’t find a single comment among them that agreed with the stance. I’m guessing that you are reading this article because the idea of charging a child’s family for things like electricity and “wear and tear” is so absolutely bonkers you had to see what was going on. Because you would never do such a thing! Who does that?

Fortunately, no one.

Both posts are fake.

This isn’t a trend and even the people saying they’re doing it aren’t doing it. And, truly, thank goodness because if I lived in a world where anyone, anywhere, was charging children to use soap I would turn into a nuanced Batman villain on the spot.

But both Weimer and @shay.nanigans87 have copped to the satirical nature of these posts. Weimar even tagged the video #satire, but her pitch-perfect influencer voice really sold the concept, which she puts to good use throughout her content. (I thought her video poking fun at Stanley cup snack trays was particularly inspired and chaotically funny.)

And @shay.nanigans87? She is laughing all the way to the bank. Literally. In a recent video, she howls in delight that her admitted ragebait has earned her money, and not simply via monetizing her content on TikTok. She alleges that, a number of people have Venmoed cashed to “Malissa,” the other mom whose Venmo is screenshotted in @shay.nanigans87’s video.

“What if that is a fake account that I set up in a different name that goes to my Venmo account,” she tittered. “A lesson in ragebait! …Ragebait is not a joke. A joke is meant to make you laugh. Ragebait is more filed under fake news, so it’s there for engagement and you have to make money off of it or it’s not even worth it, it’s just stupid and you’re just there for the drama.”

While she expected to make money from TikTok, she did not expect direct payments from well-meaning if huffy folks who were that furious over the idea of charging for a playdate.

Honestly? Hats off to these two.

As far as ragebait goes, this one is among the more innocuous examples. No one got hurt and some of us got to feel smug for a little while (“I would never let a baby go hungry in my house.”) And honestly, it’s pretty good satire in that it touches on a lot of things that are key to American culture right now, especially, Millennial American culture: the social nuances of playdates in general, the rise of Venmo, momfluencers being kooky, and using pop-psych terms like “normalize” on social media (often before saying something absolutely chaotic), and even the entertainment value in sharing screenshots of text messages. It all came together to create something just this side of believability to great effect.

So if you found yourself flabbergasted and angered by this “trend,” well, that was the idea. Fortunately, you’re not alone.