DEAR MISS MANNERS: Last night, when I was shopping in a nationally known, chain-type drugstore in my neighborhood, I noticed three different signs that contained misspellings.
These were the kind of signs that are input by someone into a computer, and then are generated by the computer into a professional-looking typed sign. They were very large and noticeable signs.
When I saw the first misspelled sign, I mentioned it to a young lady who was working in one of the nearby aisles, and she and I both laughed about it. Later, when two more came to my attention, I started feeling like it wasn't that funny.
I work as a proofreader and editor, and it disappoints me to see so many mistakes regarding the English language. Would it be rude to call the store and mention the mistakes to the manager, in a polite way, of course? Part of me believes that I would be remiss if I did not bring the matter to someone's attention.
GENTLE READER: The desire to lead the entire world to correctness is an urge with which Miss Manners has the greatest sympathy. Even if leads to proofreading your drugstore.
But neither of us can run around insulting people, which is what an amazing number of people do when they detect errors, little thinking that they are committing worse errors in so doing.
This applies to correcting individuals, however, not institutions. So you may inform those in authority to act (which the salesperson you approached probably was not) on mistakes of which you sympathetically know they would want to be aware.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is accommodating a single woman into a group of several couples enough of a headache to make the couples not want to make the effort, and, if so, why?
I have been a female member of such a group for the past 16 years. For the first half, I was married, but for most of the second half, I have been single. At first, I was an active participant in most group activities, but over the past three or four years, my status has slowly wound down to that of "fifth wheel."
I now see my old friends at an occasional holiday party or dinner at one of the houses, or one-on-one lunches with the wives once or twice a year. While this has been happening, due to slips of tongues and e-mail comments, I am forced to learn of a fair number of group get-togethers that I had not known about or been a part of.
I promise that the only reason I can imagine that I have been separated from the main group activities is my single status, and frankly, since these people were such good friends for so long, I am puzzled. What does Miss Manners suggest for a lady who finds herself disheartened and exhausted trying to figure out what she should do about this situation?
GENTLE READER: For reasons ranging from cruel thoughtlessness to nasty suspicions, it is not uncommon for couples to drop someone who becomes single.
But it can also happen out of excess compassion. The gentlemen refuse to allow the single lady to contribute to the expenses of outing, and then get tired of paying for her. Or the ladies feel they should find her a date for the evening and can't.
In any case, doing something about it is preferable to brooding. Miss Manners recommends your putting aside hurt feelings and issuing invitations and excursion suggestions to these people until they resume the habit of including you.