DEAR MISS MANNERS: My boss received a beautiful bouquet of flowers for her birthday from a business vendor. As she was away on a vacation, and would be gone for another week, I sent her a photo and video of the bouquet and card so that they could be temporarily enjoyed, at least visually.
I was a bit stunned to get a call from her asking me to please call the florist, and ask if the flowers could be picked up and a new bouquet delivered upon her return, but I said “Of course.” So I called the local florist and they said they’d see what they could do.
Apparently the florist then called their client, the sender, to ask if they’d like to pay to send a second bouquet. Somebody bears the cost of a second bouquet.
It seems to me that a gracious person would have said, “Oh, those are beautiful; would someone in our office like to take them home and enjoy them?” Was her request a symptom of over-entitlement?
GENTLE READER: Alive as Miss Manners is to the rudeness of others, she cannot help noticing that there would be less rudeness if we did not go around expecting to find it. What your boss did was unexpected, but not rude.
What happened next created the mess, much like the actor who drops a prop that causes another actor to trip and fall into the lap of the gentleman in the front row.
Your boss’s hope that the flower shop would reschedule the delivery after it had occurred was absurdly optimistic. But she is the boss. Your call to the flower shop should have been: “My apologies. I realize this is unusual, but my boss is out of town. Would it be possible to reschedule the delivery?”
The word “reschedule” makes clear that you are asking the flower shop not to charge you a second time; the apology is an acknowledgment that, unless your company does an enormous amount of business with this particular florist, you can hardly expect them to comply.
The florist should then have responded: A. “I’m sorry, but we cannot reschedule after delivery has been made”; B. “We are happy to deliver a new bouquet next week, but we will have to charge for it”; or C. “Sure.”
None of this having happened, the sender should, after the florist’s call asking for more money, have called your boss (or yourself) to find out what was going on, at which point someone could have canceled -- or paid for -- the pending order. The point being that clarity and good will all around would have made unnecessary any question about the quality of your boss’s upbringing.