Miss Manners: Host with good attitude trumps bad guest manners

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I hosted a football watch party where I instructed guests to arrive at a certain time and that I would be providing food and beverages for everyone.

My sister and her family arrived two hours late and were upset to discover all the food was gone. I hurriedly offered to make more food, and she then proceeded to instruct me on what not to put in the dish because her children had various allergies.

Am I wrong to feel annoyed at her behavior? While I understand that as a hostess I should strive to make my guests feel as comfortable as possible, I felt her demands were unreasonable.

GENTLE READER: Did she also expect you to have recorded the game, so that you could show her whatever she missed?

Arriving two hours late, short of an emergency, and being visibly upset are, indeed, rude, although reminding you of the children’s allergies as you look for additional food is not unreasonable. But while your sister exhibited bad guest behavior, Miss Manners commends you for exhibiting good host behavior.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: As a frequent patron of casual dining and fast-food establishments, I often encounter a staff member who is cleaning, spraying or sweeping within inches of my table and my food.

I realize that these are not fine-dining restaurants, which offer ambience as well as a dining experience, and that their high customer turnover requires tables to be washed and spills to be cleaned. However, I find it extremely distasteful sharing my sandwich with a broom or spray rag.

Could Miss Manners suggest an appropriate comment that I may offer to the offending employee?

GENTLE READER: Thank the broom wielder for his efforts, and then ask if there is a section that has already been cleaned, in which you might finish your meal. If this does not work with the employee, repeat with the manager.


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