DEAR MISS MANNERS: Is it necessary for businesses to apologize for every little mistake or lack of product?
I see signs constantly that try to appease the public, such as: "There was an error in our ad, which stated X product at X price. The correct price is Y. We apologize for any inconvenience." Also, "We are out of free gift boxes. We apologize for any inconvenience."
Hey, if they are out, they are out. Should the "I'm sorry" sign always be needed?
GENTLE READER: Are you perhaps in retail? Miss Manners has not run into many customers who are offended by a company's apologizing for running a fraudulent advertisement or being unable to provide a promised service. Apologizing for mistakes is good manners and good business.
That said, Miss Manners is willing to dispense with the phrase, "We apologize for any inconvenience." It is safe to assume that when, for example, a three-hour flight delay is announced, no one found it convenient to have extra time to hang out at the airport.