Miss Manners: Woman was offended by my grocery shopping question

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Dear Miss Manners: I was shopping at a local grocery store looking for Italian breadcrumbs. Searching the aisles, I couldn’t find them. I came across a lady who was also obviously looking for something, and I innocently asked her if she had seen the breadcrumbs.

His response floored me. She said, “Why? Because I’m a woman? My answer was, “No, because I make meatloaf.” » I took a boys’ cooking class in ninth grade and spent a lot of time in the kitchen during my 29-year career as a professional firefighter.

It doesn’t take much insulting people these days, right?

This one doesn’t even make sense. Did your withheld response show the lady how ridiculous she was?

An unfortunate side effect of the current emphasis on identity is that people generally assume theirs is under attack, even in obviously benign situations like this. But even if you don’t insult his sex, Miss Manners will take the opportunity to insult his manners.

Dear Miss Manners: My husband thinks that if I ask for something without saying “please” it’s inherently rude. Plus he will point it out and refuse to help me in any way until I say “please” even if I’m dealing with one or both of our little ones. He even does it in front of our extended families.

We both frequently ask our 3 year old to say “please” to teach her manners, and will refuse to give her a treat, etc. until she does. However, I find my husband’s habit very rude, especially when done in front of company. I feel like I’m being treated like a 3 year old.

I try to politely ask for help, but my husband thinks there’s no such thing as politely asking for something without specifically saying “please.”

By your own account, you are behaving worse than you would expect from a 3 year old.

Miss Manners would like to simplify your and your husband’s child-rearing efforts by reminding you that children pay attention to what their parents do, often at the expense of what their parents tell them to do.

Therefore, you should always accompany a request for “please”, not only to avoid undercutting your daughter and annoying your husband, but because it is the right thing to do.

And he should stop criticizing you in public, which, despite provocation, is not a good thing to do.

Dear Miss Manners: At what time does saying “Good afternoon” turn into “Good evening”?

At 6 p.m., sunset or every time you get up from your afternoon nap.

New Miss Manners columns are published Monday to Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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