DEAR MISS MANNERS: How would one go about staying polite when leaving an unpleasant situation, such as involuntarily receiving something unwanted or bad news?
If I am pulled over for having a tail light out and receive a ticket, I don't want to say "Thank you" or "Have a nice day" -- because really, who wants a ticket? -- but I'd still want to be respectful and polite.
GENTLE READER: How about "I'm very sorry, officer, and I assure you it won't happen again"? Miss Manners promises you that this is more effective than "Why aren't you out catching real criminals?"