DEAR MISS MANNERS: My youngest daughter is getting married in her fiance's folks' state, with them giving $2,000 toward the wedding expenses and my daughter and her fiance spending $5,000. She has a wonderful job, working for a national congressman, and her groom is a rising software salesman.
My husband and I are in our mid-70s and on a limited income. My daughter said the night she told me about the engagement, "Mom, all you have to do is come."
The trip will be relatively expensive, but I feel we should do something. Could you give me some ideas?
GENTLE READER: Having heard from countless brides demanding that their parents owe them expensive weddings, whether they can afford it or not, and from desperate parents who are cowed into agreeing, Miss Manners' ideas for you are
-- Cherish that daughter.
-- Have a glorious time at her wedding.
-- Tell her in-laws how beautiful everything is, and how grateful you are, not just for the wedding, but that your daughter has married into such a lovely family.
-- Give her and her bridegroom a present of something that has sentimental meaning to the family -- an old possession or photograph, for example -- because they will appreciate it.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: In the locale next to our business is a credit union whose ATM machine is very busy all the time. I can't understand why people line up in front of our store instead of in front of the bank to use the machine, even if the bank opens and closes earlier than we do. But this is bearable.
What frustrates us the most is that some of the people use our windows to write their deposit slips, leaving fingerprints and smudges all over. When I go outside and ask them nicely to please not use our windows to write, they become very upset and sometimes belligerent. I even offer to let them come inside and use our counter and enjoy the air-conditioner or heating, but they refuse and even get rude.
I would not dare go to someone's house and put my hands all over their windows. Why do they think it is acceptable to do it on someone's else property? I find it rude and very impolite. Because of the size of the windows, we have to pay to have them washed, and when someone comes right after and gets them dirty again, it is frustrating. What would be the best approach to make them understand that it is not acceptable?
GENTLE READER: As you already know, telling them doesn't make an impression. They don't even understand that your business and the bank are two different establishments, Miss Manners is afraid.
True, they don't just shove money at you and ask you to hold onto it until they need it. But the idea that although the bank has no place for them to write, the window is another business's property is never going to register. Miss Manners does not pretend to know anything about advertising or salesmanship, but if she were you, she would be handing out pieces of cardboard stiff enough to write on, and bearing information about where some of that money can be spent.