I work in retail myself and I abhor the empty glee and how exhausting it can be on a long shift. So I guess it’s not unwelcome to give the cashier a quiet reprieve.
I also look around instead of looking at their work, because no one wants to feel like they are being observed or judged. In addition, I am an introvert and quite shy, so quiet cash registers also benefit me. Is this rude?
Short chat between client and clerk can be charming or pushy, depending on the people and what is being said. Many regular customers like to be recognized with a few kind words where they shop.
Unfortunately, some companies have discovered this and have forced talks. It is obvious when this is scripted or required from strangers. Current clichés like “What are you planning for the rest of the day?” are curious and annoying.
So Miss Manners agrees that your restriction to minimal polite comments can be as much of a relief to the cashier as it is to you.
Dear Ms Manners: Is it ever okay to use bad etiquette on purpose?
When my sister married someone who already had a child, I did my best to take the child with me on vacation and to remember her birthday. I sent her many gifts, but never got a thank you or even a confirmation that she had received them.
Now that she is an adult, I have sent her wedding gifts (I live very far away and did not attend the event) and still have never received a thank you note. I have now received an invitation to her wedding, even though I told my sister not to invite me because I knew I couldn’t attend. Space is limited, so I guessed the bride would rather invite someone she knows.
Out of obligation, I went to the marriage registry website and there was not a single gift that cost less than $350. I decided I wouldn’t spend that much money on someone who never bothered to acknowledge or thank me for a gift I once gave her. In fact, I decided I wouldn’t send a gift at all.
I know it’s rude, but I don’t care anymore. Can this behavior of mine be justified?
Although she will never endure bad etiquette (aka rudeness), Miss Manners can save you from buying another present for your niece, who is clearly not grateful to receive them.
You will be amazed to learn that, contrary to almost universal belief, a wedding invitation is not a bill. Gifts are voluntary, although it’s thought that if you care enough about the couple to attend the wedding, you’ll want to send them a reminder.
Understandably you don’t. So don’t.
New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday at washingtonpost.com/advice. You can ask questions to Ms Manners on her website, missmanns.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.