Dear Ann Landers: At an industry trade show, I met a nice, ringless, friendly saleswoman who works for another company a potential supplier for one of my companies. I wanted to ask her to have lunch with me one day, not just because she seemed nice but because it was good business. To pave the way, I sent her a small bouquet of flowers, timing it so that it would get to her office when she returned from the show.
The last time I checked, flowers were always welcome and, best of all, made it easy to reply to the sender with a warm “thank you” or a “thanks, but no thanks.” Am I out of date?
I never heard directly from this woman, but moments after the flowers were delivered, her boss sent me a curt fax. His message was “Your approach to one of my employees was out of line. Your sending flowers was entirely inappropriate. I have the responsibility to protect my employees. We would appreciate no further contact.”
Faxes to my office can be read by anyone who walks by the fax machine. Was it really necessary to mortify me and notify all my employees of his interpretation by faxing this to me? He could have sent me a personal letter, or even telephoned, if he thought my intentions were less than businesslike.
I have no idea whether the woman ever knew about the flowers or even saw them. Should I pretend it never happened if our paths cross again? Should I take her company’s name off our supplier list in order to avoid further contact? I don’t know how I’d explain that at a corporate meeting.
How can I let her know I meant no harm and possibly get to know the woman better? - San Diego
Dear San Diego: I find the boss’ reaction bizarre. I suggest you contact the woman and ask her what to make of the situation. There is the possibility that the boss has designs on her himself and resents any chance of competition. Check it out.
Dear Ann Landers: I have an 86-year-old uncle who hit a policeman’s squad car while driving. The policeman sent a form to the state of Ohio, ordering my uncle to retake his driving test.
After three attempts, the examiner tried to get “Uncle Bob” to wait six months to repeat the driving test. My uncle called the government offices and received a letter informing him that he could take the test four more times at seven-day intervals over a one-month period.
After two more failed attempts, I took Uncle Bob for his regularly scheduled doctor’s appointment. The first thing the doctor said was “Bob, it’s time for you to stop driving.” Uncle Bob was angry and refused. He threatened legal action if the doctor attempted to keep him from taking the test again.
So, in Ohio we have a guy who is 86, whose doctor feels it’s time to quit driving, and who has failed his driver’s test five times. Yet he is still attempting to hang on to his driving privileges. What do you think about this? - Springfield, Ohio
Dear Springfield: I think it’s outrageous. There is a great deal more to say on this subject of elderly, semicapacitated people driving cars, and I am going to let my angry readers speak to this in an upcoming column.
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