Q. This summer I was staying at a resort with a pool and lounge area. There were several chairs to choose from and the policy was first-come, first-serve. Two chairs stood out above the others. They came with the best view and had a canopy covering them. The first day I went to the pool shortly after it opened and I saw two unused, folded resort towels on the chairs, So I took another chair. Hours later, the party arrived to use the chairs. I found out later they came early to reserve the chairs by putting towels on them knowing they would not actually be using them until much later. I felt that was very unfair so the next day when I arrived early again and saw the towels on the chairs, I waited a length of time and then removed the towels and used the chairs for me and my friend. An hour later the same man from the day before arrived and we had a civil yet emphatic argument during which he chastised me for taking the chairs he reserved. Were his actions proper etiquette? Were mine? Thinking now in hindsight I perhaps should have spoken to the pool attendant first.
A. How unfortunate for others when some individuals don’t “play by the rules” for whatever reason and think they deserve preferential treatment. It was very inconsiderate and rude of this gentleman to reserve the lounge chairs at the pool hours before he intended to actually use them. Yes, in hindsight, it would have been better for you to discuss the subject with the pool attendant to reconfirm the policy of reserving lounge chairs and ask him or her to either remove the towels and/or discuss the subject with the gentleman so that you would not have had to get involved in what resulted in a very uncomfortable discussion/situation with the rule breaker.
Q. Our friends had purchased tickets for a recent ballgame and then had to go out of town. They called us and offered the tickets to us. We were delighted to have the opportunity to accept them and go to the game. When I went to pick up the tickets at their house, I offered to pay for them, but they refused to allow me to pay for the tickets. They were expensive seats and I feel a little guilty for not insisting I pay for them. It was a great game. I am going to write them a thank you note, but should I include a check for the price of the tickets?
A. A thank you note is very appropriate, but it is not necessary for you to include a check. You offered to pay for the tickets and the offer was rejected; therefore, obviously your friends are indeed friends and just wanted you to have the tickets and enjoy the game.
Q. We recently learned that the husband of a dear friend passed away while we were out of town and therefore did not call his wife, send flowers or attend the wake or the funeral. We feel terrible. We usually go out to dinner with them every couple of months and catch up on things. It was my/our turn to call and set the date and the place but when I called, she seemed very “distant” and then told me she was very disappointed we had not “come to the funeral” or even called her. I apologized several times and explained why. I’m not sure I made her feel any better. What should I/we do?
A. You cannot help what happened; however, it is never too late to send a sympathy card, a note or flowers. Staying in touch with her in the months to come will be very important. If at all possible, go see her and spend time with her. If she is willing to go out to lunch, take her. If she is not ready for a visit or lunch, then sending periodic notes and cards and calling her will let her know how much you care.
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