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Blizzard Etiquette

by admin on January 26, 2015

Parts of the northeast US are getting slammed with a “historic” storm as I type so that got me thinking of “blizzard etiquette”. So, before all the New Yorkers, Pennsylvanians and Jersey ehellions lose their power for the next few days, here is your chance to tell the world what proper blizzard etiquette is and isn’t.

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Do Ya Want It?

by admin on January 26, 2015

In light of a recent entry entitled, “It’s The Thought That Count,” which paints the picture of a woman being asked if she has a certain kind of teapot to which she responds “No,” and is very much not looking forward to receiving said gift, I sort of ran into a similar situation just today. My mother-in-law was out shopping for my son (of her own accord, probably for Christmas) and asks me if my parents ride Harley motorcycles (they do) because she’s found a cute Harley Davidson vest for my son. I’m not sure how to respond at first because I don’t fancy putting my active 1.5 year old in fussier clothing like vests, turtle necks, button up shirts etc. I keep it very simple with my son because that’s what works for us. I know I would NEVER put my son in this vest and would probably promptly donate the item upon receiving it.

She asks again because she’s at the store, and I respond “I’d say no just because I would probably never put him in a Harley vest,” not said rudely at all, and she responds OK and that’s that. But I later asked my husband if it’s rude to deny a gift if someone outright asks you, “Do you want this?” What is the etiquette there? Is it OK to say no, and if so, should we give reason/justification? And I’m not talking about, “Hey do you want my old toaster?”, but more, “Hey I’m at the store, do you want me to buy you this such-in-such?” Thanks!  1121-14

I ask my adult kids  if they prefer a specific item I am considering buying as a gift.   I do it quite frequently, too, because as they have grown older, moved out of the house and married, I am less sure of their preferences and needs.   I ask  my new daughter-in-law more than others lately because I do not know her tastes very well and I don’t want to waste money buying something she will feel obligated to use when she would rather not.    But our gift giving tends to be more spontaneous and not secretive so our style of gifting easily supports this open and frank discussion regarding preferences.

And in regards to buying items for grandchildren, I always ask ahead of time because I do not assume to know what my children’s preferences are in rearing their kids.   I remember receiving what I considered to be prostitot clothing for my then 18 month old daughter years ago and refusing to use them so now that it is my turn to be grandmom, I don’t make that same mistake in assuming.

If someone pointedly asks you, “Would you like/want this?”, you are quite free to be honest and say, “Thank you for asking but I don’t need it/doesn’t fit my decor/it’s not my style/I have too many/I have enough/etc. Thank you for thinking of me.”

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Expectations Are Premeditated Resentments

by admin on January 22, 2015

My husband and I were comfortable financially. A dear friend hit hard times and we gave her some money. She did not ask but I knew it was needed. She cried and said we were lifesavers.

My husband lost his job a couple of years after that. We used our savings and credit cards up and just got by. My husband finally got a good job but we were deeply in debt and struggled to make our monthly payments.

My friend came into a large sum of money right at that point and they took a big vacation, and bought many luxury items. She knew we were struggling to make ends meet and while she sympathized, she never once offered to do for us what we had done for her.

We took steps to get our debt cleared up and are once again financially stable but I can hardly look at my friend these days. They live only a couple of blocks from us. We used to have coffee together almost every single day and got together a couple of times a month with our husbands for card nights but I have made enough excuses that she has stopped asking. We do still talk on the phone occasionally.

Do I let her know how hurt I am? 0119-15

The timing of this story submission coincides well with my intention to discuss the topic of expectations we all have in regards to our relationships with other people.   I had recently heard or read an interesting phase which I believe sums up the dangers of having expectations that people owe you something.

“Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

My mother used to say that we are not disappointed because we got too little but that we expected too much.   Oh, how true.   Expectations are unspoken contracts  we place on others and when they fail to live up to the demands of this contract, when our expectations are not met, we feel justified in resenting the other person for failing to live up to the expectations placed on them.

So, dear OP, you gave your friend a gift which had unseen and unknown strings attached to it.  Upon handing your friend money, you promptly placed a contract upon her that she was not aware of and when she failed to honor the terms of your expectations, you resented it.  Expectations are premeditated resentments because the bottom line, the harsh reality, is that people can, do and will let you down.   YOu set your friend up for failure because you assumed she would and should reciprocate in the exact same way should you ever have the same need some day.  In essence, you really didn’t give her a gift, you used her as a bank to store money with the expectation that your friend would return it some day when you needed it.   The problem is, she was not aware that your gift came with these expectations and now you resent her for not knowing the terms of your expectation.

You could talk with your friend to express to her how hurt you feel but what you will do is expose the fact that while she never asked for nor expected any money from you, you most certainly did have expectations that you not only deserved part of her good fortune but when she did not deliver what you felt she owed you, you resented her for not reading your mind. You won’t come out smelling of roses, OP.   I suggest changing your perspective and viewing your infusion of cash as a true gift and needed charity at a time when someone was needy and further, divest yourself of the expectation that this friend, or anyone for the matter, owes you money when you might be in similar circumstances.   You will be a happier person with no expectations that people owe you anything other than gratitude for the gifts you give.

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The Missed Party Invoice – Updated

by admin on January 20, 2015

Alex Nash, 5, was invited to a friend’s birthday party at a ski and snowboarding facility, according to the Plymouth Herald.

Alex’s parents responded to the invitation and indicated Alex would attend the party.

Alex’s parents later realized they already had other plans for that day and he did not attend the party. The boy’s father said he did not have contact information for the birthday boy’s mother to let her know Alex had changed his mind and would no longer be attending the party.

Several days later, Alex came home from school with an invoice from the birthday boy’s mother for a $24 “child’s party no show fee.”

So many questions left unanswered.  For starters,  how is it that the parents were able to rsvp to the invitation indicating Alex would be attending the party yet later claim to not have that same contact information to alert her of the changed plans?   And unless the school administration gave Mr. Nash the hostess’ address (something that would have *never* happened in the US), how did he know where she lived to go knock on her door to confront her about the invoice?  It seems to me that the means were there for the Nashes to get in touch with the birthday party hostess but were not utilized until it became necessary to take issue with the invoice.  Bottom line, Mr. Nash, if you rsvp in the affirmative that you or a child of yours will be attending a party, etiquette requires that you honor that rsvp unless you are on your deathbed.   Having replied that Alex would be in attendance at this ski and snowboarding party, you had an obligation to honor that rsvp to the best of your ability which, by the way, means you go the extra mile to inform the hostess ahead of time that you must rescind your rsvp.

However, Ms. Party Hostess, you are not off the hook either.   It appears you planned a birthday party that was quite expensive per guest. Anyone who has extended any kind of hospitality knows, from experience, that guests cannot be relied upon to either honor their rsvps or even bother to rsvp at all.   It’s one of the ubiquitous yet annoying aspects of entertaining these days.  However, as much as guests can annoy their kind hosts and hostesses to the point of aggravation, sending guests formal invoices for failing to show up is a guaranteed, one way, no layovers trip to Etiquette Hell.   What is next? Invoicing guests whose birthday gifts are not sufficiently expensive enough to offset the costs of the party?

The gracious host plans a party he/she can afford with no expectation that guests have any obligation to offset the cost of entertaining.   Emergencies happen and guests who you were expecting to arrive have suddenly bailed due to some unforeseen problem.   Sometimes evil guests bail simply because something better has come up.   If you cannot afford to absorb the cost of an unused meal or entertainment, you have no business planning parties that are clearly out of your league.

The answer is not to invoice the guest but rather strike them from all future guest lists thus leaving them scratching their heads and pondering why they never get invited anywhere.

Update:   Ms. Party Hostess has chimed in with her side of the story HERE.    My conclusions remain the same except that I note that the Nashes missed an opportunity to teach Alex a lesson in honoring his word when they allowed him to choose an outing with his grandparents instead of having the integrity to stay committed to his rsvp to a birthday party.

 

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A Very Expensive Pizza

January 19, 2015

A video of car dealership employees in Westport getting into a heated argument with a local pizza delivery man over $7 has led to Internet anger and a personal apology. The video, posted on Liveleak, begins with a delivery man returning $7 in cash to the dealership that he had thought was a tip. By […]

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Feel Good Friday – The Most Annoying People on the Plane starring Sir Patrick Stewart

January 16, 2015

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