Q. Hi, there! I have a situation that I hope you can help with. If I’m in the wrong, I’ll be more than happy to apologize. My daughter was recently invited to a friend’s birthday party. It was at the birthday girl’s home, and the mom was having a stuffed animal company (similar to Build-A-Bear) come in for take-home gifts for all of the those attending. I forgot to RSVP, which was on the invitation, but when I got there, the mom said the company hadn’t brought any extra animals. Naturally my daughter was very upset. I just think it’s unprofessional of a company to only bring the exact amount and no extra. My husband, though, said I should have let them know we were coming. Thoughts?
A. A request for a reply isn’t just a suggestion. When you receive an invitation, it is considered rude to not reply that you’re attending if you plan to, unless specifically asked to not, such as in the case of “regrets only.” The mom likely paid a per stuffed animal fee, which may be why there were no extras. I hope in the future you’ll give the person sending the invitation the courtesy of replying. In this case, yes, I do think a simple apology would go far.
Q. My husband and I have been invited to an upcoming wedding that we plan to attend. It’s in Dallas, which is 45 minutes from where we live. Is it assumed that kids under a certain age are invited, too? I’ve read your blog for a couple of years now, so I know the envelope dictates, but what about babies under the age of one? I have a three-month old, and I’m not comfortable leaving her with anyone. The wedding appears to be very formal, for what it’s worth.
A. Sorry. There are no age loopholes in this etiquette rule. If you are uncomfortable leaving your baby with anyone, you should decline the invitation. If they offer to make an exception after you decline, then it’s perfectly fine to bring your baby along.
Q. This is a random etiquette question that I haven’t ever seen Emily Post cover. I’m more simply curious than anything else. The dividers on the conveyor belt at stores like WalMart….if there is a person behind me, should I be the one to put it down? I always do, but I’m not sure if that’s presumptuous on my part or not.
A. I think any time you can be kind, be kind. In this case I would encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing. Sometimes it can be awkward for the person to lean over the belt to grab a divider if they aren’t close to the end, as it puts them leaning over your items. You have established a good habit!
Emily Glass started offering etiquette courses in 2015 after having a blog for a few years prior. She teaches Southern etiquette, and her goal is to help simplify etiquette to where it is easily understood, as she believes etiquette helps you feel comfortable in any situation. Classes are offered every fall and spring for students of all ages, including business etiquette courses. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit etiquettebyemily.com to get all of your etiquette questions answered! Etiquette isn’t for the elite; etiquette is for everyone.