Q: I sent out an electronic invitation for a casual dinner party. To my horror, Evite, the invitation site, added a link (it was an advertisement attached to the invitation) to be clicked, saying “Send a gift immediately.”
I can understand (although not approve of) gift information for something like a child’s birthday party, but I am mortified that my guests thought I was panhandling for gifts. I had to send out a second email saying “No gifts, please.”
Is there something more I should do to make amends for this?
A: The website you used has put you in an embarrassing position, but fortunately you owe the company no loyalty. Your situation would be trickier if your brother’s girlfriend had somehow added to an invitation of yours without your knowledge.
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Miss Manners suggests an email to your guests expressing your surprise and dismay at the company’s greedy link and explicitly disowning its action. She would also have you share your frustration with the company itself, explaining that it embarrassed you. Whether you want to reciprocate the embarrassment by exposing it on social media is up to you.
Although Miss Manners has little hope that an internet company will opt for good manners over profit, perhaps it could provide the host with a optional “request loot” checkbox, thus permitting clients a choice of whether or not to be rude.
Q: I make a great many handmade gifts: some simple, small items, some grand gestures to commemorate graduations, weddings and other special occasions.
My problem is when years later, 15 to 20 years even, people say something along the lines of, “Oh, I love the little embroidery bag you made me. I still get wonderful compliments on it, and many people have asked me about it.”
About 75 percent of the time, I have no memory of what I made them or why. I usually respond with a smile, a thank you and something such as, “I am so happy you enjoy it.”
It is true that I am happy to have brought joy into someone’s life. Most people are fine with that, but others probe a bit further, and it’s quite evident that I have no memory of what I made them.
I feel bad about this, but they are often offended if I tell them I am sorry I don’t remember the item clearly. Is there a better response? I feel as if I’m violating some rule of etiquette that says I need to remember every gift I’ve ever given.
A: It seems ungrateful for a gift recipient to be annoyed that the sender does not remember the gift 20 years later. What is important is, as you say, that the recipient enjoyed it.
It is also, Miss Manners notes, unfair, since the recipient has the gift in hand as an aide memoire. The person who does not accept your apology graciously is the one being rude, but in the interest of harmony, you could say, charmingly, that perhaps your memory is not what it once was. And indeed, you should endeavor to forget these entire encounters.
Judith Martin writes the Miss Manners column with help from her son, Nicholas Ivor Martin, and her daughter, Jacobina Martin. Send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, MissManners.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.