Customer Service Workers Can't Win: Part 837
DEAR MISS MANNERS: Please address the issue of customer service people who tell everyone to have a good one. At numerous stores and restaurants, upon leaving, I am told to have a good one. I am so tempted to say, A good what?
What happened to, Have a nice day?
GENTLE READER: It was smothered by a crowd of people loudly complaining that customer service people should not wish them a nice day if they did not really mean it.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My college roommate and I have remained friends for 20 years, despite living on opposite coasts. Each year, when I make a trip to visit family, I always make arrangements to see her while I'm nearby. This entails an additional two-hour trip each way, which I don't mind making because I'm on vacation while she is not.During my last visit, we planned an evening together, and she treated me to dinner out with her and her young daughter. Her husband did not join us -- he was attending a meeting of their homeowners' association, as they had an issue with a minor leak coming from the unit above them.
After dinner, I was invited back to the house for tea. My friend put her daughter to bed, and we were enjoying our first moments of adult conversation when her husband returned from the meeting. He demanded her attention to listen to his summary of the meeting and then review notes and paperwork.
Since we were all in the same room, I could discern there was nothing of an urgent nature that required my friend's immediate attention. After 40 minutes, I left, since my hosts showed no signs that our conversation might resume, and the hour was getting late.
Am I wrong to be peeved that I spent four hours traveling to have an already-brief visit cut short? Was there a way that I could have gently suggested their discussion could wait until after my departure?
GENTLE READER: In accepting a spouse, one also accepts their duties as host, for which reason your friend's husband's behavior was, as you say, rude. That does not, however, empower you to say so to either of them.
And Miss Manners, who is aware that there is a general misapprehension that etiquette requires every answer to be yes, wonders if something else is not going on. Your friend never visits you; she included in the evening plans a daughter young enough to require putting to bed; the husband absented himself over a plumbing matter; and the homeowners' association report continued until you left.
Are you confident that your friend is as eager to maintain the friendship as you are? Or is it possible that, rather than refuse an invitation, she -- and her husband, who is in a position to know -- are instead dropping ineffective hints that this was not a good night for a visit?
(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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