Life Advice



Don't Assume You'll Be Given Leftovers

Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin on

I grew up with an unwritten rule that you do not put anything out until the Friday after Thanksgiving. With holiday creep continually pushing retailers to put Halloween items out in August, I am appalled that my neighbors began setting up their Christmas decorations the first weekend of November.

I want to give them a friendly note to wait until a more appropriate time. At this point, I'm subjected to three months, versus two, of their display, and it encroaches on my Thanksgiving. Grrrrrr.

GENTLE READER: The thing to remember about neighbors is that they know where you live. Therefore, you should confine your growling to matters of greater consequence.

But yes, Miss Manners agrees that one holiday should be celebrated at a time.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: What is a polite response when a person acknowledges, and apologizes for, having caused a huge inconvenience?

My gut response was an honest but inappropriate, Yes, you DID delay the (human) pharmacy line for an additional 20 minutes and involve both clerks with your unending questions about cat laxatives. I am glad you acknowledge that. Don't do it again!

What I actually said was, No problem -- don't worry about it. But I didn't mean it: It was a problem, and I was plenty steamed.


I am sure there must be a way to acknowledge an apology without indicating that everything is hunky-dory, but I can't think of it without devolving into snark.

GENTLE READER: Surely there is enough snark around that it should be avoided. Miss Manners believes that the phrase you need is, I appreciate your apologizing.


(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)






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