Miss Manners: The supermarket cashier’s advice got me in trouble with other shoppers

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a mom of four teenagers and so am at the grocery store quite frequently.

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The hardworking employees who try to balance the number of people in the lines often ask me to go to the express line even if I have a few too many items.

I have had to start telling them no, I will not, because so many people have been openly nasty to me about having too many items to qualify for the express line. It is even worse when people glare without saying anything.

No one should assume the worst about their fellow shoppers.

GENTLE READER: As you and Miss Manners both understand, the employee’s intent is to speed shoppers on their way by increasing efficiency. They are likely to be following instructions.

But Miss Manners agrees with you that the benefit is not worth the personal abuse. It is yet another example of how everyone loses when often-incorrect snap judgments take the place of good manners.

She would only add that there is no reason to be short with the employee: Be explicit that you are going to stay where you are because you have, in the past, been yelled at by fellow customers when you get in express lines with the wrong number of items.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Over the years, my husband and I have collected a nice variety of books, which we keep in several large bookcases in our small living room.

I refer to some of them regularly, as they are reference books. Others are old classics, some are books from my childhood, and one shelf is full of handwritten personal journals spanning the past 30 years.

When guests visit, sometimes they browse the shelves and leaf through our books.

Is this appropriate behavior? I would not presume to help myself uninvited to the books in someone else’s home, especially personal journals, except perhaps to look through coffee table books displayed or opened on a table.

GENTLE READER: The subject of what are reasonable boundaries for guests could fill several books, if not a whole house, but Miss Manners takes as a general precept that both host and guest are seeking to avoid embarrassment …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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