DEAR MISS MANNERS: I frequently have guests over for cocktails, and usually serve the drinks with an appetizer or two. I always give my guests cloth cocktail napkins to use.
What I have been finding is that many of the younger guests dispose of their napkins in the garbage, rather than leaving them on their plates. (I don’t have the same issue of losing my dinner napkins; guests seem to understand those can be laundered and used again.)
I’m at a loss about what to do, since I don’t always catch the napkins going into the trash. Some of these napkins are quite expensive and are of a vintage where replacements are no longer available.
It seems to me it would be rude to announce to my guests that cloth napkins need not go in the garbage. That seems quite obvious to me. Do you have any suggestions on how to handle this matter?
GENTLE READER: Hide the garbage can. At least until after the cocktail hour. That way, at least your guests will have to go through you before unwittingly throwing away your linens.