Overwhelming Offers : What to do when people bother you to buy things

Q. There is a new health store in the entrance hallway of the mall at which I am employed. Every single time I or anybody else walks by, there is an employee out front offering a free massage sample. On my way into work, I tell them I have to go to work, but they ask again as I leave. It’s annoying and I don’t think I should have to dread walking through the door for fear of being harassed. Parking at another entrance isn’t an option because of night closings and the outside doors being locked.

What can I tell them, or should I complain to mall management? It’s literally every single time.

A. Introduce yourself and explain to those employees that you work in the mall and really do not need a free massage sample. So since you will see them twice a day, you would prefer if they would not offer you samples. If they persist, discuss this problem with the health samples. If they persist, discuss this problem with the health store manager. If the situation doesn’t improve, report it to the mall management.

Congradulations : How to announce a graduation but not ask for gifts

Q. I would like to send out college graduation announcement expressing that a gift is not necessary. how would you say ‘congratulations but no gift’ in the proper way?

A. A graduation announcement does not obligate the recipient to send you a gift – it is simply a great way to share your huge accomplishment and wonderful news. Some may send a gift, others will send a card, and still others will do nothing at all, but no recipient is required to send a gift.

Therefore, do not say ‘no gifts’ on your announcement. You may use the word of mouth method to let family and close friends know that you really do not want gifts. However, if you do receive them, accept them graciously and send a note in reply.

What’s the Deal With Meals? : Is it appropriate to order for your date?

Q. When I take my significant other out to dinner at a restaurant, I believe it is proper for her to tell me her choice from the menu and for me to order for her when the waiter arrives. She believes I am a controlling, sexist Neanderthal. Who is correct?

A. According to the Post Survey, three out of five women do not want men to order a meal for them at a restaurant. So you need to be absolutely sure how the person you are with feels about this issue before going ahead and ordering for her. Yours is the case where the rule itself matters not at all. What really matters is the confidence and courtesy you show by knowing how the other person wishes to be treated, and treating her accordingly.

The Plus One Problem : How to let someone know they can’t bring a guest

Q. My girlfriend invited a couple only to her daughters batmitzvah. They RSVP’d including their child. (who was not invited) How should she reply? Should she make a phone call and say I’m sorry only the two of you are invited, or should she send something in writing? I thought it was a good question, so I told her I would ask you.

A. It is understood that only those names appearing on the invitation/envelope are those invited to a party. Should someone say their children are coming, you should feel comfortable calling them to say that although their child (children) is/are adorable and you would love to include him/her/them, space just doesn’t permit and to make an exception for one family and not others would only cause hurt feelings ? but you hope she and her husband/date/fiance will be able to come even though the children can’t be included. That is pretty direct and clear, without being offensive.

Caterer Commission : How much do you tip a caterer?

Q. We are throwing a baby shower that we are having catered. What is the proper amount to tip the caterer?

A. You tip about 18 to 20% of the cost to be divided among the wait staff, if you are having the caterer serve. You are not expected to tip the caterer or business owner, although you may if you wish. In this case, you don’t use a percentage but consider his efforts, cooperation, creativity, etc. and your satisfaction and tip him accordingly, anywhere from $25 to $50, making it clear that that is for him. You can also give him the tip money for the staff and ask him to disperse it rather than trying to find all the workers and tip them individually.