DEAR MISS MANNERS: We accepted an invitation for a week’s vacation without cost in another couple’s condominium with them and one other couple. There wouldn’t have been any additional charges to our friends for us being there. We intended to fly there, while our friends intended to drive, which is why we provided them with six bottles of wine ($300 total) for all of us to enjoy while we were together.
At no time was it ever said or implied that the wine was a gift. We did, however, say that the wine was for all of us to drink while we were there as a “thank you” for the free lodging.
We got “cold feet” due to six adults being housed in a small condo, so we canceled. The hosts said our cancellation didn’t matter, that the wine should still go with them to the condo.
We politely declined. When they returned, they not too subtly wanted to keep the wine for themselves. We declined that “request” as well. What are Miss Manners’ thoughts?
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GENTLE READER: Well, they are not pretty. Not about you nor about your alleged friends in this unseemly tug of war.
You give yourself away when you speak of a supposed friend’s offer of hospitality as “free lodging.” Even the hotel industry now uses the more delicate terms “host” and “guest.”
As you have baldly stated, you accepted an invitation and then canceled because you decided that you didn’t like the pre-stated terms. You had sent what anyone would interpret as a present but are now declaring it was payment for services you no longer wanted.
Miss Manners would have preferred the scorned hosts to return your wine and cross you off their social list. But perhaps they were caught with no wine in the house, other guests on the way and themselves being badly in need of a drink.
Unwelcome need for a reminder
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a friend I see about once a month. I told her about an event she might be interested in. When I asked her about it, she said, “Remind me about that a week before.”
I was stunned. I never in a million years would ever ask anyone to remind me to do anything. Is she 2 years old? Does she not own a calendar? Either she’s lazy, rude, self-centered, inconsiderate or all of the above. What is your thought on this matter?
GENTLE READER: That your friend is not interested in this event, although she chose an unfortunate way of saying so.
Who should pay baby sitter?
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I want to know who should pay for a baby sitter: the single mother or the man who is taking her out?
I think the man should pay for the sitter, since he is the one who asked the mom out. Even if they have been together for a while, it should be his responsibility. What is the correct thing to do?
GENTLE READER: Is it his baby? If not, Miss Manners must invoke the rule that hosts are not charged for the expenses of guests who choose to accept their invitations.
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.
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