DEAR MISS MANNERS: At a restaurant, a waitress asked me three times if I wanted dessert. This is not the only time this has happened. One waitress asked me four times. I replied firmly but politely, "No, thank you," but I find myself sorely tempted to make a rude reply.
I know that they are trained to "up-sell" and, of course, the bigger the tab, the bigger the tip. Other than telling them off, or reporting to the manager, how does one get the point across that no means no?
GENTLE READER: When grocery store checkout clerks exhibit similar behavior, they presumably have no financial interest in your preferring paper over plastic.
Miss Manners suspects that these waitresses, having so often repeated that rote question to different patrons, may simply not have been listening. This does not excuse poor service, but it does lessen the severity of the infraction, negligence being more passive than coercing you to purchase something you do not want.
The correct response is, "No, thank you," "No, thank you," "No, thank you," and "Please give me the check."