Posts Tagged ‘Philip Galanes’

Service of Discomfort to Correct a Situation or Person

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

In a recent “Social Q’s” column in the Sunday Style section of The New York Times, reader D.H. shared a problem with Philip Galanes: She’d given a longtime manicurist a $50 instead of a $20 by mistake. She didn’t “want her to think I want the money back,” D.H. wrote, “But I also don’t want her to think the huge tips will continue (almost twice the cost of the manicure). What should I do?”

Galanes’ advice was sage: “Say: ‘Doris, I realize I gave you a $50 tip last time. I hadn’t intended to, but I’m delighted I did in light of your many years of excellent manicures.’ Otherwise, you will be on pins and needles every time you get your nails done, afraid that your ordinary (but still generous) tip is signifying some unspoken complaint.”

I agree.

This situation is a first cousin to someone calling you by the wrong name and how the situation exacerbates when you let the misnomer continue especially if they introduce you to others. I’ve heard it happen quite often to my husband Homer. Some people call him Horace. And although I don’t recall what name folks have given me, the discomfort in correcting them when what they’ve said is nowhere near Jeanne makes me squirm the longer I let it go.

I find it hard to speak up even when I know that not doing so will make things worse in future. Does correcting people under these circumstances bother you? It’s not like advising a client, which I don’t find nearly as hard to do. How do you push yourself to do the smart thing?

Service of Who Pays When Something Breaks at Home

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Smashed wine glass

Erica Martell brought one of Philip Galanes’ “Social Q’s” columns to my attention. It involved Sandy’s boyfriend who’d inadvertently broken a bride’s expensive wedding gift wineglass at a dinner the new couple prepared shortly after the nuptials.

Sandy explained to Galanes: “He [the boyfriend] may have said, ‘Let me replace it.’ But my cousin didn’t respond; she was sweeping up the glass. Yesterday, I received an email from her with a little note and a receipt for a new wineglass. Tacky?”

Galanes thought if the receipt came with a gracious note, i.e. “How kind of you to offer to replace the wineglass. We’ve never owned such a fancy set before,” it would not be in bad taste as opposed to “Invoice attached, butterfingers.” And, observed the New York Times columnist, Sandy’s boyfriend apparently did offer to pay. [Remember, Sandy wrote he may have offered to replace the glass.]

Red wine spillRecently someone broke one of a pair of china cups a loved one had given me. [She threw it out so I gather it was in smithereens.] I still can’t look at its partner without wincing and it’s not replaceable. I wouldn’t in a million years suggest the person try. She felt badly. Breakable things break.

Over years, one guest burned a cigarette hole in upholstery and another broke a Sheraton chair’s back by tipping against the wall on the chairs back legs. Nobody offered to pay and I didn’t expect them to. It’s the cost of having guests and living with upholstered furniture and antiques. If red wine spills on a favorite tablecloth I should have served white wine–so it’s my fault. [With today’s spot removers, so far I’ve done a great job in getting out the stains.]

Do you think that the bride should have presented an invoice for the wineglass and that the guest should pay? Has someone accidentally broken or ruined anything of yours? Then what happened?

 Broken china cup

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