Ex­er­cise kind­ness in re­view writ­ing

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Society - Ju­dith Martin Send ques­tions to Miss Man­ners at her web­site, miss­man­ners.com or email her at dearmiss­man­[email protected] gmail.com.

Dear Miss Man­ners: How do you write a fives­tar re­view about an aw­ful ex­pe­ri­ence?

Gen­tle Reader: Why would you want to? Or are you hop­ing that the re­view will be so bril­liant that it will be con­sid­ered fives­tar, even if the restau­rant it­self is ter­ri­ble?

Miss Man­ners is cer­tain that even in this cur­rent world, where ev­ery­thing is liked and rated, the crit­ics them­selves are gen­er­ally not — at least not un­til the rowdy and un­sa­vory com­ment sec­tion.

To avoid be­com­ing a vic­tim of that, she ad­vo­cates fair­ness. Can­dor is al­lowed; mean­ness is not. “Hy­giene does not seem to be a pri­or­ity at Cafe Bon Chance,” for ex­am­ple, is prefer­able to, “Our waiter doesn’t seem to have bathed since the Carter ad­min­is­tra­tion.”

Dear Miss Man­ners: Is it rea­son­able to ask vis­it­ing chil­dren to help mine clean up the toys that were taken out dur­ing a play date (es­pe­cially when it’s a big mess)?

Our nor­mal rule with our chil­dren is that toys must be put away be­fore tak­ing out oth­ers. I would like ei­ther to ask that child guests ob­serve this or to ask them to help clean up toys be­fore they leave. Play dates are valu­able, but is the price for them clean­ing up an over­whelm­ing mess our­selves?

Is this rea­son­able, or do we need to make a bet­ter ef­fort of mak­ing nu­mer­ous toys un­avail­able prior to play dates?

Gen­tle Reader: Guests are gen­er­ally ex­pected to clean up af­ter them­selves. But if yours are small and need to be co­erced into do­ing so — to the best of their abil­i­ties — Miss Man­ners will al­low en­cour­age­ment. Leave 15 min­utes be­fore the end of the play date to an­nounce, “OK, every­one, time to clean up! How many toys can you put away in 30 sec­onds? Wool­worth, you are in charge of mak­ing sure that ev­ery­thing goes in the right place. Ready? Go!”

Ex­pec­ta­tions can be low here, but telling Wool­worth that he is re­spon­si­ble for any ex­tra cleanup when his guests are gone might en­cour­age him to help with the co­er­cion.

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