Open Thread

by epi on February 8, 2012

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This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Country Girl February 8, 2012 at 3:08 pm

We were so fortunate to have a lovely couple in my hometown volunteer the gorgeous park-like property behind their house for my fiance and I to marry this summer so that we are able to include all of our beloved friends and family. The only issue I am currently having is how am I to word this location on the invitations?

For the venue name, which traditionally goes above the address, do I need to write “Miller’s Home” or “Miller’s Backyard” or instead can I write “Under the night sky” or leave it as simply the address? Does anyone have another suggestion?

(Sidenotes: No one on my guest list necessarily knows this couple, so adding their name won’t make the location any more familiar to guests. Also this couple is extremely humble so I don’t think they would have any problem if their name wasn’t on the invitation. I have also thanked them on my wedding website, which gives additional directions to the property.)

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Alicia February 8, 2012 at 3:26 pm

How about ” On the lawn of 123 Smith street, Sometown, State”
It tells people 1. Where 2. That they will be on grass(aka no spikey heels) 3. That it is outside (aka dress to weather)
Millers house does not convey anything unless they know the Millers.

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Elizabeth February 9, 2012 at 3:02 am

I think you could take some creative license with it – “the Miller Green” or “Miller’s Gardens” has a nice ring to it, followed of course by the address. You could even have a sign made for the day of the party.

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Country Girl February 9, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Good ideas, thank you!

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Becki February 8, 2012 at 8:53 pm

When attending a joint birthday party for children, is it inappropriate to bring a gift only for the child you know? My nephew had a birthday party last weekend and unbeknownst to me it was a joint party with his cousin on the other side of the family. I got an email invitation and it didn’t mention that it was a joint party. My brother-in-law mentioned it to my husband but I didn’t find out until afterwards. We only brought a gift for our nephew and not his cousin. Most of the other guests we friends or family of both children and brought gifts for both of them. In the future, if they have a joint party, do I bring a gift for my nephew’s cousin even though I don’t know her?

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Alicia February 9, 2012 at 9:45 am

I’m a twin so I had a ton of joint birthday parties growing up. We have even done so as adults. Bring a card or ballon for the kid you do not know if it is a kid. If adults just wish teh person you do not know Happy birthday

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VINCENT February 8, 2012 at 8:55 pm

RECENTLY HAD A SURPRISE BIRTHDAY FOR A VERY CLOSE FAMILY MEMBER. WHO SHOULD SEND THE THANK YOU CARDS, ME THE SPONSOR AND PAYEE OF THE PARTY OR THE GUEST OF HONOR???????

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Just Laura February 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Vincent,
In the world of the internet, it is considered impolite to use all-caps, as it is the typing equivalent of yelling, and it’s unnecessary to yell here. The caps-lock key is usually located to the left of the letter A on your keyboard. Please adjust.
How delightful of you to throw a surprise birthday party for your family member! Recipients of gifts are the ones who write thank-you notes, since they are the thankful ones. Your family member should have thanked you (a note too would be nice, but I don’t think necessary if the verbal thanks was effusive). If your family member received gifts from the other guests, then the family member needs to thank them as well. If anyone brought you a gift, I hope you thanked them in-person.

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Jerry February 8, 2012 at 10:44 pm

It’s also much harder to read the all caps.

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Jerry February 8, 2012 at 10:42 pm

What’s the deal with wait staff asking “how are we doing tonight . . .do we need any more time with the menu?” Last I checked, my wife and I were going out to dinner . . . the waitress was not part of the party.

Normally I respond something like “My wife and I are fine, how are you?” [with a smile] or “My wife and I need some more time with the menu . . . what about you?” But sometimes this person just doesn’t get it. This is quickly becoming one of my pet peeves. Any way around this without resorting to a direct “hey, you’re not a part of the party”? Because no good can come from that.

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Elizabeth February 9, 2012 at 3:00 am

It could be that the waitress knows that your disposition will soon be hers – if you’re grumpy, chances are she’ll bear the brunt of it!

But in all seriousness, it is an annoying tick. However, I think it is harmless, and it might have to do with the slightly harsh sound of saying “you” to people you don’t know. We don’t have two versions of “you” in English, but in French and German, you use a special “you” with strangers or people of higher status.

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Zakafury February 9, 2012 at 11:57 am

That sounds like a folksy affectation. I agree it’s annoying. It also conjures up the image of chain restaurants that serve complimentary all-you-can-eat popcorn and require employees to wear flair. I don’t think it’s worth stressing over the service at places like that. At a really nice restaurant, I would find it surprising and very off-putting.

“How are we doing tonight?” could easily be (mis)interpreted as a question from the staff. You could say, “The wait for a table was half as long as they told us, so you’re doing alright so far.”

“//You// could give //us// more time with the menu, yes;” might prevent the offender from thinking you’re making an awkward joke, although it’s also likely to blow right past her.

If my server wanted to know if we would like dessert, I’d ask if he was planning to sit with us, and then I’d let him chip in a little for the tip.

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Pam February 9, 2012 at 5:44 pm

This phrase never would have fazed me. If this is what causes people stress you are quite lucky. If I had to sit next to this person at work everyday then maybe I could understand, but just place your order and don’t teach the waitress a lesson.

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Jerry February 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Pam: You’re right, I am very lucky. But I am interested in keeping the waitress from engaging the the verbal equivalent of consistent pen tapping without having her spit in my food. Do you have any suggestions?

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Paul February 8, 2012 at 11:21 pm

The young lady who has begun babysitting our 3 year old son asked to take him to a carnival event at her church. We were happy to say yes. However, do we need to offer to pay babysitting rates for this? We are not opposed, just new! : )

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Elizabeth February 9, 2012 at 2:55 am

When your babysitter asked if she could take him, she was likely not trying to drum up extra business and probably does not expect to be paid. However, she will get your toddler out of your hair for a couple of hours, allowing you and your wife some luxurious time alone. You should offer to pay her, she’ll demur, but you should insist. This will only increase the fondness she obviously has for your family, and what could be better than a loyal and trusted babysitter?

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Elizabeth February 9, 2012 at 2:57 am

Also, you should give her money to cover whatever costs your son may incur, such as admission fees or money for food. This could be the guise under which you do pay her. If the admission is $5 and he might eat $5 worth of food, you could give her $40. It’s obviously extra, but you can say it’s “just in case.”

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