Advice Columns

Bosses aren’t exempt from decency

DEAR MISS MANNERS: It has bugged me for years that none of my bosses has ever written a thank-you note for a Christmas gift, a wedding gift — or any gift, for that matter. They have not even acknowledged the receipt of any gifts verbally. Is there some business rule that I don’t know about where the wealthy or affluent or upper management don’t acknowledge gifts? I’m looking forward to an answer to this puzzling question. GENTLE READER:

Are you suggesting that the rich may be able to buy their way out of etiquette obligations the way people were once able to buy their way out of armies?

On the contrary. The amazing concept of noblesse oblige requires them to be even more considerate of those who are somewhat under their control.

Not in your office, apparently. But Miss Manners does wonder why you are giving Christmas presents to your bosses and attending their weddings (which would be the only reason for your giving a wedding present). These are not your friends; nor do they sound like friends worth having.

Declining a gesture DEAR MISS MANNERS: We had a sour encounter with a serving lady at a local restaurant on our very first visit. Since the store encouraged feedback, we addressed the situation by email. We received a reply from the area manager of the eatery chain, regretting the whole incident. He promised to take up the matter with the manager of the particular store. Meanwhile, he also asked for our mailing address to send over two free coupons as a gesture.
Can we accept this gesture? We are quite glad that the issue was tackled promptly and apologies rendered. But if we send just a thank-you email declining the offer, will it be like offending the gesture made? GENTLE READER:

By offering you the coupons, the restaurant is asking for a second chance to win your business. Miss Manners agrees that this is both good manners and good business, but you are not under any obligation to accept. However, since coupons cost the restaurant nothing until they are redeemed, you may simply accept the coupons and then place them in a desk drawer while you think it over, or give them away to family or friends.

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