Time For Exec's Assistant To Fix Printing Error
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been the executive assistant of a prominent person for the past 10 years. I take care of matters both within the executive's company and in his personal/family life, as is common at this level of my profession.
My question involves an error made by the executive's wife. She had personal stationery printed for the use of the family many years ago. Unfortunately, the address on the stationery reads, The Johnson's (name changed).
I cringe every time I see the misplaced apostrophe, and for 10 years I've been biting my tongue, not wanting to insult my boss's wife. We have a friendly, warm relationship developed over a decade, and she has given me many compliments about my knowledge of grammar.
Have I waited too long, or should I speak up so she has a chance to reprint the stationery correctly? I don't want her to be embarrassed when she sends correspondence to people who might notice the error, or have her mistake reflect poorly on my boss, or anyone in the family.
Should I send her a gift of reprinted stationery and not mention the error?
GENTLE READER: You are The Person Who Gets Things Done in this relationship, so Miss Manners advises you to take advantage of it.
Volunteer to arrange for the next printing of the stationery -- surely, after 10 years, it is time. Before you put in the order, send the wife a note explaining that you just realized that the apostrophe is in the wrong place and confirm that you, fortunately, caught it before it went to the printers. The implication that you initially missed the mistake will remove the sting. And you won't have to pay for the printing.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband's aunt recently passed away. Her obituary stated that there would be a graveside service. We arrived at the cemetery, and five minutes before the service was to start, an announcement was made that it would be held inside the mausoleum.
Given the number of people and the close placement of chairs, we decided not to go in. Had we known the service was to be indoors, we would not have gone in the first place.
Even so, we fear we were rude to leave. On the other hand, we live in an area where COVID is spiking, and we were just not willing to take the chance.
GENTLE READER: Your concern for your own safety is understandable, but thinking more about others would have solved your problem.
You could have stood outside by the open door and, when invited inside, explained that you wanted to make sure there is room for anyone who would not feel more secure staying outside.
Miss Manners can anticipate your next objection: that you will not be able to see or hear the service while standing outside. When you play cards, are you in the habit of showing your hand to anyone who asks? Being able to act as if you can hear and see what is going on -- even when you cannot -- is a basic life skill.
(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, email@example.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)
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