up the liquor, and was surprised to find that both bottles of brandy were missing. The bartenders told me that they had not been emptied by the guests. The manager of the facility, which has excellent surveillance cameras, pulled the video of the bar area, and it showed that one of my dearest friends had taken both bottles. How do I – or should I – address this with my now soon-to-beformer “friend”?
Gentle Reader: Commercial establishments routinely, and often understandably, install surveillance equipment, sometimes to protect their patrons and always to protect themselves. But your spying on your friends – even your guilty ones – is not polite.
How, then, to correct the problem without admitting your own, lesser, transgression? Your first option is to admit the knowledge, but obfuscate how you came by it. “The establishment tells me you saved the brandies for me. Thank you so much! When can I come by to pick them up?”
Being more confrontational, this approach is more likely to go wrong, particularly if your friend has already disposed of the incriminating evidence. A gentler approach is to talk fondly of the party to your friend at the next social event, mentioning that your only disappointment was that the bartender told you that someone helped themselves to the bottles that you were hoping to share with your guests. This is unlikely to get your brandy back, but it may ruin the thief’s day.