DEAR MISS MANNERS: Please help! I am not a professional photographer and I only own a point-and-click camera, but I seem to be the only person in the last several years who has taken a camera to parties, family gatherings, school plays, etc.
Afterward and sometimes during the event, I am asked to take pictures and "send" them to several people. Generally, I will receive phone call after phone call or constant emails inquiring about "my pictures."
I have replied that I will get the pictures to you, but be forewarned that it won't be anytime soon, as I am busy. I don't mind the occasional photo for a friend, but I do mind the request for 30 pictures from several people. What is a polite response?
GENTLE READER: You might point out to these people that that funny part of their cellular telephones that they never knew what to do with is a camera.
And although this is not the technology department, Miss Manners will point out to you that even if your camera is not digital, you can easily scan your pictures and email them to many people at once.
Not that you should have to do so. Favors may be politely refused: "Sorry, I just take them for my own files."
But really, that is only palatable if you have not created expectations by cajoling people into posing, jumping in the way of spectators, or, like the ubiquitous telephone-camera operators, snapping candid shots without the subjects' permission. Miss Manners fails to see how you would get pictures without doing at least one of these.
She is at least glad not to have to count you among those who commit all of these nuisances and then embarrass their friends by posting the results online for all to see.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My daughter graduated with her masters degree, sent out announcements and then informed me I am obligated to give a gift and pay for announcements. After paying for high school then college then a gift for a bachelor's degree then the entire wedding, when will this end?
GENTLE READER: When one of the following happens: You teach her not to present her mother with demands, or you learn to say no to her. Miss Manners doesn't have much hope for either at this stage.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Do bridesmaids buy wedding gifts?
GENTLE READER: You mean if they haven't been thoroughly cleaned out already by buying dresses they hate, giving showers to a standard dictated by the bride, participating in what now passes for ladylike entertainment, such as spa splurges and bar nights, and meeting the related expenses of travel?
Yes, Miss Manners is afraid so, although your present may be as modest as your means. The time to economize is earlier, by resisting extravagant demands or suggestions, preferably in league with the other bridesmaids.
And the response to an invitation to be a bridesmaid should always be, "I'm highly honored and I'd love to, but can you tell me, please, what it will involve?"