DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband is employed by a local professional sports franchise and, as part of his salary compensation, receives three tickets to each home game. When our immediate family will not be attending a game, we usually offer them to close friends or donate them to charity events.
Upon learning of my husband's profession, I am often asked, both by people I know fairly well and by some I have just met, to supply them with free tickets. There are varying degrees of rudeness in these requests. Some acquaintances say things such as "I'd like you to take me to a game sometime," and then there are those that have actually said, "I want some tickets," or "I want to meet the players."
My response so far has been to ignore the comment and change the subject. Many of the people who make these statements are neighbors and parents from my daughter's school. I would like to maintain a cordial atmosphere, but cannot come up with a better response without sounding rude myself.
GENTLE READER: While these people are indeed rude, you would be better off addressing the fact that they are also naive. If your husband worked for the national mint, would they assume that he had the perk of grabbing a few extra bills for his friends?
You can't quite say that, of course. Miss Manners advises a tone of earnest patience when you explain that your husband would have to pay for any extra tickets he obtained, the same as anyone else, and while you wish you had a sky box where you could entertain them, you have only your own family tickets. You could add that they should be sure to come and have a beer with you in the stands should you happen to be attending the same games. And in the same cheery tone, offer to alert them when the players meet the public at charitable events.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Because of my business I fly quite frequently, usually upgraded to first class. Even in first class, the food is usually mediocre and the service is almost non-existent. The reason I am writing you is because a wonderful exception to this happened last week and I didn't know what to do.
What happened was that the service was no less than amazing. The young man attending to first class was just exceptional. I felt like I could have been in one of New York's finest restaurants (except for the food part), and I thought about leaving a tip as one would do in a restaurant.
At that point I realized that I've never seen that done and thought possibly it was the wrong thing to do. I ended up not leaving a tip but I did thank him and told him what a fine job I thought he had done. Any thoughts on the tip part, or anything else I could have done? The service was really that good!
GENTLE READER: There is something as rare as good service nowadays -- customer appreciation. So while flight attendants are in a category of professionals who are never tipped, you can certainly reward them.
You had the right idea about writing a letter, but the wrong address. Instead of writing your praises to Miss Manners, you should be writing them to the airline in question and in any online venue in which customers report their usually hideous experiences.