Open Thread

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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.


  1. Jane Gauthier

    Periodically my job requires overnights in hotels/motels with my boss. Of course we have separate rooms. Wondering who should be doing the tipping for housecleaning? It’s business and he takes care of everything. Never brought up the subject though and don’t want housekeeping to think I’m a cheapskate. Please help me.

    • Elizabeth

      Since tips for housekeeping are so small ($1-3 per night), you would indeed appear cheap asking your boss to pay for them. You can’t get a receipt for them, so neither you nor he would be able to reimbursed for them. Plus, the maid is cleaning up after you, your own personal mess. I think it should come from you, unless you have a petty cash source that you’re allowed to spend from.

  2. Jillian

    So I’ve got a bridesmaid dress etiquette question for you. I’m a bridesmaid in an upcoming wedding, and the bride cannot make up her mind about what bridesmaid dresses to choose. The first dress she decided on approximately 6 months before the dress ordering deadline that the salon told us. The salon told us any orders after that deadline would cost more, as they would be considered a rush order to ensure the dresses would get made in time.The bride never gave us instructions for how to order them so she could think about it a little longer and make sure it was the one she wanted. The second dress was picked approximately 3 months before the dress ordering deadline, but again, she was not 100% sure about colors, so she held off on giving us information to order them again. It is now almost 2 months past the deadline, and she has another shopping trip planned to look at bridesmaid dresses, so we still have not been given any information for dress ordering. I know that I am to pay for my bridesmaid dress, however, is it my responsibility to shoulder the added (and avoidable) cost of the rush fee, as it is a result of her indecision, and not due to a short engagement period, or due to other people’s delay in ordering?

    • Elizabeth

      Perhaps the best course of action would be to let the bride know that she should only shop for dresses that are available off-the-rack or are available to be ordered with little lead time, as you do not have the funds to pay for any rush order fees. She can either duly limit herself, or she will offer to pay the difference.

  3. Jody

    Jillian, that’s a tough one. My first reaction is that if any price increase is because of the bride’s delay in deciding, she should at least offer to pay the extra fees. Maybe you can ask her if she has decided definitively on the bridesmaid dresses, saying something like “unfortunately, I’m not sure that I can afford the rush fees the stores are charging.” Another idea might be to mentally “deduct” the store’s rush order fee from the gift you would have given the bride. I can definitely understand susch things being a budget-buster.

    Maybe somebody else here has a better idea.

    • Joanna

      Re: deducting the rush fee off her gift – Unfortunately, she’s not likely to put two and two together when it comes to something like this. IMO it’s best to say something outright, if you’re going to at all, because if you simply take it off the gift, it’s only going to cause her to think you’re being “cheap” for some mysterious reason, and likely to cause more issues.

  4. Mary-Esther

    Is there a polite way to refuse a gift? This is why I’m asking: When I was a child, I was told never to accept gifts, especially gifts of money, from people. These generous people apparently were on fixed budgets and presumably couldn’t afford to part with cash. But if they’ve actually handed over the money, how can a child reasonably refuse? Especially if it makes the gift-giver happy? What has bothered me all these years, is that my parents were watching and chastising me in front of the gift-giver! I hated being put in such a difficult position. I remember just dropping the money on the floor one time. Everyone laughed, but I was seething inside. It’s bothered me for years. What should I have done?

    • Elizabeth

      It is actually quite rude to refuse a gift. By refusing a gift of, for example, money, you’re actually saying that you know better than the giver whether they can afford it or not. Your parents’ teaching was wrong, and you could sense that as a child given how awkward a situation it created. People love to give and receive gifts, there’s no reason why you should not partake in such joys.

      • Joanna

        NEVER to accept gifts? Like, of ANY kind? I can understand money, but let’s say a guest came to your house and brought you a Barbie doll, you weren’t supposed to accept it? That’s…a little odd, IMO. I do agree with Elizabeth, that it’s rude to refuse a gift. In my understanding, it’s not up to the receiver to judge (or even truly know) what the giver’s financial circumstances are. For all anyone knows, the guy walking around in dirty, threadbare clothes could actually have a million dollars squirreled away (and we do hear about stories like this from time to time). Or maybe someone in truly reduced circumstances has decided, for whatever reason, that he or she will deny themselves something else this week in order to be able to give that gift, and if that’s what makes them happy, so be it.

  5. Haley

    I have an etiquette question. Is it okay to formally invite someone to your wedding, get confirmation that they are coming and then ask that they serve or bartend at it?

    • Elizabeth

      No, no it is not. That is what is called the “bait and switch.” You can decline the bartending gig by saying, “Oh, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be very good at it.” or “But then I wouldn’t get to enjoy your wedding! plus, you can’t afford my rates : ).”

      However, if you do get roped into bartending, you can give the happy couple a card and indicate that your gift to them was your hours of service.

      • Joanna

        Yes, you could…but IMO, if you’re asked to serve or bartend, then you are no longer a guest, but an employee. So there is no need to give a gift, but rather YOU should be paid.

    • Alicia

      Should you ask a guest to work at your wedding? Absolutely not!! Is it technically rude to ask something of someone that they can say no to? No. However they may feel pressured wrongly to say yes out of a misplaced sense of duty to help you or ask you are being unreasonable to mitigate the unreasonableness. So is it rude? Not exactly but it is thoughtless and inconsiderate which is close enough to being rude as to be highly ill advised.

    • Jody

      Haley, I agree with others that it’s not OK to formally invite somebody to a wedding and then ask them to work. The inviter should pick one — either the person is a guest or the person will be an employee. It’s quite rude to issue a formal invitation and then ask the person to work at the event.

  6. Jazzgirl205

    It is much better to hire someone to work a party, then say to them after an hour or 2, “Take a break, have some food, and socialize.” That’s what we do to the bands that we hire for our parties. It also gives the guests a few more interesting people to talk to.

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