DEAR MISS MANNERS: I had an incident at a deli counter and I am wondering what would have been the appropriate way to handle it.
I parked my car in the deli’s lot and walked toward the building. As I was entering, a large pickup truck pulled up to the building — literally! He parked right on the sidewalk in front of the entrance!
I shook my head and silently entered the deli, then stood at the counter waiting to place my order. A minute later, the sidewalk parker came in and stood next to me. When the deli worker asked, “Can I help who’s next?,” the man — with no hesitation — began reciting his order!
He knew that I was there waiting first, but chose to ignore me and cut me in line. I was shocked! I didn’t know how to handle it, but by the time I sorted through my options in my head, I felt that the moment had passed.
And can you believe it happened to me again the next day at the grocery store?! Is it me? Should I start wearing a neon green vest and flashing lights when I am out and about so people know I’m there? Sheesh!
In the event this happens again, how should I handle it? I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill, and my father always taught me to pick my battles. I have been told that I can come off a bit snarky and passive-aggressive at times, and I think that was my concern in speaking up.
Is there a polite, nonconfrontational way to say, “Geez, guy. Wait your turn!”
GENTLE READER: Yes. It is: “Pardon me, but I believe I was waiting here first.”
Miss Manners recommends that, given your apparent proclivity toward prickliness, you rehearse this before getting into fights with truck drivers. Although, without your neon green vest, it sounds like you already have multiple occasions to practice.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My workplace restroom does not offer paper towels, so the only option to dry one’s hands is the very loud hand-dryer. When co-workers are chatting in the bathroom and I turn on the hand-dryer, they often turn and glare at me for interrupting.
I don’t think I am doing anything wrong, but I am not always sure of workplace norms. I personally don’t chat with others in the bathroom, as I think there is a time and a place, and a shared work restroom is not it.
Should I leave with wet hands to avoid preventing co-workers’ (usually non-work-related) conversations? Or go without washing?
GENTLE READER: Priority certainly goes to the person who is using the room for its intended purpose and function. And to keeping conditions sanitary in general.
Miss Manners is not saying that your co-workers should be banned from having a chat in the ladies’ room. But what you came to do takes precedence — and proper hygiene should not be suspended for toilet talk. Or rather, talk around the toilet.
Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, firstname.lastname@example.org; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.