You never know what you might find while doing research. It’s like opening a plastic Easter egg that’s been left on the lawn. It might be full of candy. It might be full of ants. No way of knowing.

Recently I visited the fabulous National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in OKC – a must-see when you’re in town. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular – just wanting to enjoy the ambiance and get a field trip in for the kids – when I found an absolute Reese peanut butter cup in my Easter Egg.

Can you read it? It’s a printed invitation to a hanging. That’s right – not a form letter or a notice in the paper. This was printed and mailed to interested parties. I can only imagine.

Ma Ingalls – “Oh look, honey. We’re invited to attend the hanging at noon on Friday.”

Pa Ingalls – “Noon? I hope they serve real food this time. I hate it when they skimp on the refreshments.”

Ma Ingalls – “But what should I wear? Last hanging that Mary Parker wore a new jacket. We were so busy admiring it, we didn’t even notice when the trapdoor sprung.”

So I polled some friends about the strangest invitations they’d ever received. By far the most common experience was being invited to dinner, only to find out that they’d been lured into a sales presentation. Now, we all understand the fancy cookware, candles, and cosmetic parties. No one minds being invited, but, boy howdy, don’t obfuscate your objective. If you’re going to present a product, a multi-level marketing plan, or another life-changing “opportunity”, please tell people beforehand. Judging from the comments I received, ambush sales pitches rarely accomplish the results you seek.

Runner-ups included the following invitations: to co-dominate the world, to kill their boss in her next novel, to a child’s birthday party where only adults were invited, and to a marriage retreat where all the men slept in one building and the women slept in another.

The grand prize for weirdest invitation? I’ll let Anita tell you in her own words –

Carl and I (and our two dogs) were invited to a dog party. It was to be held outside around the pool and the guest speaker was to be a veterinarian who was going to discuss issues with your canine’s mental health. We thought that our two farm dogs would not likely fit in as they were already psychologically sound and thus we declined the invitation. : )

Fantastic! How about you? Have you been surprised by sales demonstrations disguised as hospitality? Have you found any quirky invitations in the mailbox? We’d love for you to share.

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