Open Thread

by epi on March 4, 2013

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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.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie March 4, 2013 at 11:42 am

Can I give one item of a pair for a shower gift and the other one of the pair as a wedding gift? It is expensive candlesticks. If it is not OK, is it ok to give expensive gift for shower and cheaper gift for wedding? It was only thing left that fit shower theme in registry, thus my dilemma.

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Scarlett March 4, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Julie – I wouldn’t split the pair. Generally, brides or couples shouldn’t register for any gift that is so expensive that one person could not afford to give it, and most definitely not for a shower. (The only exception to that may be when guests want to go in together on a gift from the group and want to give something bigger and more expensive.) You are not obligated to purchase from a registry at all, so you should feel free to give something of your choosing that fits your budget. If you still want to give both a shower gift and a wedding gift, I would save the candlesticks for the wedding and give something much less expensive for the shower. I’m sure that others on this board will weigh in with their advice. Best. – Scarlett

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Just Laura March 4, 2013 at 5:29 pm

I completely agree with Scarlett. Dividing an item typically of a set will appear odd (not rude, but strange). Buy off the registry for the shower – picture frames, a soy candle set, a nice serving platter (if you know her preferences), a bottle of wine to help with a wine collection, etc.

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Scarlett March 4, 2013 at 1:01 pm

I have an invitation dilemma. I’ve been invited to a bridal shower with a “regrets only” RSVP. It is several weeks away but I feel I should respond promptly. I have two problems: 1) I am in the job market out of state and may not be able to attend if I have to travel for an interview; and 2) I am the “on call” person at my part-time job, so I feel that if I AM in town and get asked to work, I need to oblige. I know the bride-to-be and her family would like me to be there if possible, but I also know it is not fair for me to be so non-committal. I honestly won’t know until the last minute whether or not I could actually attend. I appreciate any advice. Thank you.

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Elizabeth March 4, 2013 at 1:15 pm

If you have to travel for an interview, you will have at least some notice that this is the case. So, as long as you RSVP by the deadline (or, 10 days before the event or so), you should be fine. However, I think that you should either commit to going or not. If you RVSP in the affirmative, you should consider yourself no longer ‘on call’ that day. Traveling for a job interview is one thing, but you could (I assume) take the day off of work (or take your name off on the ‘on-call’ list) to be there. I mean, you can do so to travel, so you could also do so for an important event. I even think you could RSVP tentatively, and the shower hosts would be very understanding about your tentative ‘yes’ if you could still tell them some days in advance if you had to be traveling. But no one will appreciate an “I’ll be there as long as I don’t get called in to work (at a job I’m looking to leave)” because it signifies that the event is not important enough to you to make sure to be there.

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Scarlett March 4, 2013 at 2:58 pm

There was no date by which to RSVP, but I cannot give 10 days notice. I sometimes have a week’s notice for an interview, it involves flying cross-country, and the flights are not daily. So depending on what day of the week my interview is, I often have to leave days earlier than actually necessary just because of travel/ logistics. As for my p/t job, it is a small business. I have been there for many years (in addition to my full time job) and we are like family. They (as well as my f/t employer) have been very accommodating to me about the schedule, as they understand that my job search is part of our life plan to relocate. That is why right now I am functioning as a “fill-in” person – which is always on short notice and sometimes very last-minute, i.e. to cover an unexpected absence (“on-call” was probably not the best choice of words). Bottom line is that I feel I owe it to them to work whenever I possibly can. (I know you are thinking that I should probably just quit, but I’m not ready to let go just yet, and no one is forcing my hand on that decision.) I think I will just explain things to the hostess and hope she understands that I won’t be able to give a definitive answer until the actual week of the shower. Travel is the ultimate decider and of course, once I commit, I will be all in, so I’ll just tell my p/t manager that I can’t be available for that day. I didn’t mean to come across as nonchalant about the shower, i.e. that I would only attend as a last resort. It’s a bit more complicated than what it seemed from my original post.

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Winifred Rosenburg March 4, 2013 at 5:57 pm

I agree with Elizabeth that you owe them a solid yes or a solid no. However what you can do is call the hostess and say “I would like to come, but unfortunately I might have to work that day and won’t know until that day if I have work or not. I guess I’ll have to say no because I don’t want to leave you hanging and you probably need a headcount ahead of time.” At this point the hostess will either say “Thank you for letting me know. We’ll miss having you there.” or “We would still like you to come if you can.” If she says the former, she needs a solid headcount so you should plan on not attending. If she says the latter, let her know as soon as possible with a definite answer.

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Lady Antipode March 4, 2013 at 10:45 pm

Yes, telephone the hostess and explain the situation, including that you would rather say ‘no’ than not show up. See if they are able to accommodate this, and if not, send a nice card.

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Sydney Matthews March 4, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Should American diners eat their dessert like this…
“To eat dessert, break the dessert with the spoon, one bite at a time. Push the food with the fork into the spoon. Eat from the spoon. (Fork in left hand; spoon in right.)”, or is this mostly for Continental diners?

I’ve seen this resently and I’m not sure what to do.
Thank you

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Winifred Rosenburg March 4, 2013 at 4:27 pm

I’ve never heard of this. Generally you should use a spoon or a fork. If it makes sense for the dessert, you can even start with one and switch to the other, but you would never use both simultaneously. Perhaps it is a continental thing.

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Lady Antipode March 4, 2013 at 10:48 pm

This is perfectly acceptable in Australia, and far better than either chasing your food around the plate or bowl, or using your finger to assist the food onto the spoon.

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Catherine March 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm

This is also the polite way to eat dessert in New Zealand, although cake might be served just with a cake fork. Perhaps it stems from British practice?

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