Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Miss Mannerly:Dealing with Unwanted Guests

Dear Miss Mannerly:

Recently, social obligations forced me to entertain a foreign head of state and his wife on short notice. Through no fault of my own, my entire state department was busy and I couldn't find my social secretary. I was all on my own.

At the very last minute, I found out that this couple had brought me some gifts. They even brought gifts for my children. To make matters worse, the gifts were very unusual and pricey. I was completely unprepared for this extravagance, especially from a mere prime minister of the world's first industrialized country.

One of my aides quickly rummaged through the closet and came up with a basket of DVDs for the couple. Everyone likes Hollywood movies, right? And regifting is good for the environment. My wife couldn't find her social secretary either, so my aide had to call the White House gift shop to get a couple of toy models of my favorite 'copter for this couple's kids.

Now we are being called tacky cheapskates, and we have done everything--I mean everything--to show that we aren't cheapskates.

My wife says this couple are trying to pull off some snobby colonialist power play and we should send the gifts back to show them that we don't need their help! But I say they are just trying to suck up to us and we should keep the gifts. What do you think?

Dear Gentle Person:

A little thoughtful exchange of gifts between people who would like to become friends is a charming custom. Miss Mannerly suggests keeping a few little treasures tucked away for just such an occasion, such as some Steuben crystal, antique prints and posters, or even, for the head of state who happens to be a technology buff, the very latest in Teleprompter software.

1 comment:

  1. Funny. Great link, by the way. Obama was too tired? Geez...