Miss Manners: I asked for this one favor, and the price was steep

Judith Martin

DEAR MISS MANNERS: At a sporting event that was part of an acquaintance’s birthday celebration, I met her husband for the first time. Later, while I was surveying with dismay the long lines for food, I noticed that he was halfway through one of the lines. I was ecstatic at my good fortune!

I asked if he would purchase food for me and gave him a $20 bill. He returned and presented me with a plain hot dog (bun and hot dog only), which I estimate would have left a reasonable amount of change even at ballpark prices. He made no mention of the change, which I thought was a bit odd. I didn’t press the matter, but was left with an uneasy feeling.

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Was I out of line to request the favor of such a new acquaintance? I did not specify whether I expected change or offer to buy him an item as part of the transaction.

Was it rude of me to request the favor without offering him the option to use the change toward his own purchase? Was it my responsibility to inquire about the change when he returned and presented me with my very plain hot dog?

GENTLE READER: Even an old acquaintance would have trouble juggling an additional order of food, let alone stopping to slather ketchup, mustard and relish on it.

You could have offered to pay for the rest, if for no other reason than that figuring out change from different sources was likely to stall an already harried exchange –and irritate the people behind him. It is also possible that he intended to give you change, but forgot.

Miss Manners suggests that you let it go, next time saying, “I hope that it did not cause you problems — and please don’t bother about the change.” Thereby you get credit for the outcome, while also giving him a chance to remedy the situation if he so chooses.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I purchased our dream home after many years of hard work and sacrifices. Our home, built 15 years ago, is contemporary and modern in style, set on a scenic hill with a small lake across the way.

Many guests are happy and intrigued by its openness, exquisite style and location. But when family members visit and tour, we often hear: “This is not what I expected …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle


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