DEAR MISS MANNERS: Every morning, I come into work and the woman in the next office says, "Good morning," and I say, "Good morning," back. Actually, I'm just not in the mood for good mornings in the morning but I don't want to be rude. So, OK, I'm not a very friendly person first thing in the morning. I admit it.
Does this ever reach a point where this woman risks being just a tad rude, or at least passive-aggressive, by continuing to say, "Good morning"? I never say, "Good morning" first, and she must have noticed that.
GENTLE READER: Let's see if Miss Manners understands you correctly:
You say "good morning" to a colleague who says "good morning" to you because you do not want to be rude, but you find this too much of a burden. So you want Miss Manners to declare that it is rude to greet someone who never shows the courtesy of offering greetings.
Nice try. However, Miss Manners is not in the business of condemning the courteous or providing others with excuses for being discourteous.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: A former colleague who has remained a friend is getting married abroad next month. She has invited friends and family to a luncheon (about a five-hour drive away for some of us) to celebrate the marriage when she and her new husband return to the States after the wedding.
About a month after sending the invitations, the guests received a menu and a note explaining that because the new couple does not need any wedding presents, they have found a creative way for us to handle the gift issue. Guests have been requested to make selections from the menu and return them with a check for more than $80 per person to cover the cost of the food (beverages will be covered by the couple).
Some of us were quite surprised at this, especially since we thought we were being invited as guests (which I always believed meant not paying for one's own food).
Is this an acceptable creative solution, or is it as "tacky" as it appears at first glance?
Does it matter that the new husband is quite wealthy, and neither he nor the bride have to work ? Does it matter that they will spend six months in the United States and six months in one of their European abodes or traveling the globe? Does it matter that it's her second marriage, and his third?
What, if any, are our obligations as friends, some of whom do not have the means to spend on travel and an extravagant meal?
GENTLE READER: To send her a warm letter wishing her well on her marriage and expressing regret that you will not be able to attend the luncheon.
Miss Manners hastens to say that this couple's financial resources and plans to spend money on themselves is not your business. What is, is that they have made you a business offer that sounds like a poor bargain -- your time and money in exchange for the privilege of congratulating them -- and which any sensible person would decline.