DEAR MISS MANNERS: A wedding celebration I was to attend was called off at the last minute. I cannot fault anyone for canceling the nuptials if the bride or groom did not want to get married. But my mother told me, years ago, that good manners dictate that the gifts for a canceled wedding be returned. I was waiting to see how this would be handled.
I soon got an email from the store at which the bride was registered. It stated: ”We are in the process of getting all gifts back from the bride, but we have been asked by the bride’s mother to give all purchasers a store credit. You can call us the next time you need a gift for anyone ... We can access any major department store registry and typically save you 20 percent from the department store prices on most major brands. We also have over 50,000 items on our own website.”
I’m not sure how I should react to this information, but I do know I am offended. Is this an acceptable way to return a gift? I feel that the mother preempted my decision about what to do with the returned present, but maybe I should just be thankful that I am receiving something back. After all, the bride could have kept all the gifts.
GENTLE READER: It hardly seems better that they are, instead, being held on consignment. Perhaps with the notion that it would be convenient for all, this woman has forced her guests into the unpleasant position of having to ask permission for what is rightfully theirs.
If you have the gumption to do so, Miss Manners will allow you to politely decline the offer, saying, “I appreciate the discount, but if you do not mind, I think that we will go through the trouble of returning the silver water filter ourselves.”