DEAR MISS MANNERS: My neighborhood grocery store has recently begun featuring a guitar-playing singer during busier shopping times. His makeshift stage is just by the door, so one is in his field of vision upon entering and exiting the store, as well as while browsing the produce.
While the songs aren’t offensive, loud or bothersome in any way, I find the whole arrangement awkward and generally try to avoid eye contact. Am I being rude? How should one respond to a live entertainer when shopping for necessaries?
GENTLE READER: Placing a performer in such a situation is one of many thoughtless ideas that occur to modern employers with alarming regularity. Miss Manners’ sympathy is with the musician, whose predicament is worse than yours.
But as these people have agreed to do this -- and are presumably being paid -- your own responsibilities are limited to a brief acknowledgment in passing, and refraining from dumping mayonnaise on their instruments.