The Morning Call (Sunday)

Customer feeling invisible to line cutters, shop workers

- Judith Martin Miss Manners To send a question to the Miss Manners team, go to missmanner­ or write them c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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 neon green vests 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 passiveagg­ressive 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!”

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.

Gentle reader:

My son’s girlfriend’s family and friends frequently cut him off and redirect conversati­on back to themselves whenever he starts to contribute to the conversati­on at get-togethers.

Having seen this, I now understand why he usually stays home instead of going with her when she visits her family.

He is intelligen­t and well-spoken. It’s hard for a mother to watch.

He has helped his girlfriend achieve a level of stability neither she nor anyone in her family had ever known prior. He doesn’t expect much in return; he isn’t like that.

I worry that he is being taken advantage of, but

I’m staying out of it and trusting he will eventually figure it out on his own.

However, if I’m around the next time they cut him off in conversati­on, I’m tempted to say, “He let you finish talking. Is there a reason he shouldn’t be allowed to finish his sentence?”

Am I being a jerk?

Dear Miss Manners:

Gentle reader: Miss Manners can never be sure, of course, but being loyally indignant on behalf of your son certainly does not make you one.

The polite way to point out this mistreatme­nt is to announce (when the person who interrupte­d finishes speaking, of course), “Lance, I think you were about to say something?” And then to repeat this as necessary until they understand and desist.

Dear Miss Manners: I am an introvert and only go out when I want to do so. I feel that my time is my own, after retiring from a very demanding and responsibl­e position where I was constantly working with other people to solve their problems.

So when people knock on my door, I simply do not want to be bothered. I’m just curious: Is there anything wrong with ignoring it? I only have one person who drops by.

Gentle reader: Even young people in positions of little responsibi­lity (other than to make trouble) have Miss Manners’ blessing not to answer their front door — assuming, of course, it was not in response to a previously issued invitation, and that they refrain from making their presence too obvious by glaring through the curtains.

Dear Miss Manners: At what time does saying “Good afternoon” change to “Good evening”?

Gentle reader: At 6 p.m., sundown or whenever you arise from your afternoon nap.

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