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Questions From Nosy Salespeople

Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin on

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I run an online company and buy additional merchandise locally, one to three times a year. The money spent is at stores where there is an option to negotiate price.

I am having trouble because the salespeople, and even other customers, are always asking me why I'm buying so much and who it's for. If I tell them it's for my business, then they take offense that I am getting deals, but if I am vague, I get better pricing. I had one place tell me that wholesalers don't get deals.

I need to know how to respond respectfully to the intrusive questioning without a conversation about me reselling the items. I don't feel it's the salesperson's business what quantity I buy of anything, but there always seems to be a need for me to explain myself. How can I answer?

GENTLE READER: Common courtesy requires you to respond when someone speaks to you, but it does not require you to answer intrusive questions, nor does it require variety.

When asked who the items are for, you could answer, "I really like this item." When asked why you are buying so many, answer, "I'm stocking up."

If the person presses, do not be afraid to make the same answer -- with a slightly less friendly demeanor. Even businesspeople with such little business experience as to suggest that wholesalers should pay more will eventually get the idea.

While Miss Manners agrees that you have no obligation to share your plans, she reminds you that you are under a moral obligation not to ask the shopkeeper to reduce the price on the grounds that it is intended for your injured niece.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My friend is getting married and asked me to be her maid of honor. Of course, I accepted. She told me she was getting married privately in the fall, which sounded good to me.

She then clarified that she is getting married PRIVATELY-privately. No one is invited. No friends. No family. No wedding party. She might have a reception "sometime next year." (For this friend, "sometime" means "never.")

 

This is not COVID-related, as we have been socializing after our vaccinations. I respect her decision, even though I thought it odd. It's her wedding, after all.

What are my obligations as her maid of honor in these circumstances? Do I plan a bridal shower for guests who will not be invited to the main event? A bachelorette party? What is a wedding party without a wedding?

GENTLE READER: It requires a lot of smiling.

As you probably suspect, asking the bride what you can do might be inviting trouble. Miss Manners suggests that you thank her for asking you to be her maid of honor, and say you will be happy to stand up with her if she would like you to attend.

Surely if the bride is willing to dispense with the burden of other services that have come to be expected of wedding attendants, you should be, too. But as her friend, it would be charming of you to propose something you would be willing to do, such as throwing a party for the couple after the wedding trip.

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

Copyright 2022 Judith Martin

COPYRIGHT 2022 JUDITH MARTIN
 

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