DEAR MISS MANNERS: Before my friend and I went on a vacation along with our wives, I had bought four tickets for Sea World in Atlanta at a discounted price online. As we were approaching the aquarium, I realized that I lost/misplaced those tickets. Ultimately, we had to buy another set at the entrance and everybody paid for their own.
Is it right for me to ask him for the money I paid for his share of the lost tickets? Or should I just let it go?
GENTLE READER: Miss Manners would not advise you to request reimbursement for tickets that you lost -- and then to go anywhere near a body of water with people to whom you suggested that.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: We occasionally invite friends to join us at nice dinners out. We always make clear that we are inviting them, which to us means that we will pick up the tab. We have recently had some friends decline because "that place is out of our price range."
How can we tell them that what we really want is the pleasure of their company at a place we think we would all enjoy, and that we would pay for everything, without allowing the least reflection on their means?
Should it make a difference to your advice that, generally speaking in our circle, dinner invitations tend to be more for dinner at each other's houses, whether for pizza or home-cooked, and we have, in some cases, more financial resources than our friends?
GENTLE READER: What makes the difference is that they entertain at home, and you do not. Income and menu have nothing to do with it. In social terms, that means that they have more resources than you.
Apparently, you do not make it clear enough that you intend to be the hosts when inviting them to a restaurant, which is usually the sort of outing where people pay for themselves. Miss Manners suggests emphasizing it by saying, "We had such a wonderful time at your house, and we'd like to reciprocate by taking you to dinner."
DEAR MISS MANNERS: While visiting friends this past summer, the warning sirens went off signaling that a tornado warning had been issued. The only response on the part of our friends was to turn on their laptop to check the weather report, which, of course, showed thunderstorms in the area.
When little, my husband watched from his basement window as his neighbor's roof blew away in a tornado. We have always responded to warning sirens by taking shelter in the proper place in our basement.
Our friends' response (or lack thereof) made us terribly nervous. I mentioned to them what had happened to my husband and that we always took shelter, but they just laughed and said nothing ever came over their place.
What is one to do in this situation? Do we avail ourselves of their basement whether invited to or not? Or do we remain polite and say a silent prayer?
GENTLE READER: Well, a supplication is needed, but it should be made aloud. "Please indulge us," you should plead with your hosts. "We have something of a history about tornadoes, and we will be quite emotional if we can't wait it out in your basement."
Miss Manners understands that your friends do not frighten easily, but the prospect of hysterical people bounding around on the good furniture ought to convince them of the wisdom of confining you where you are less likely to do harm.