Dear Carson: I am writing on behalf of a two-table bridge club. The hostess gives $2 for high score and $1 for second place.
If the hostess is eligible for a prize, should she disqualify herself and give to the next highest? We will abide by your answer. -- Prize Places
Dear Prize: That depends on whether the hostess kept the same partner throughout. It would be a shame to penalize her partner.
If she switched partners and she was the only winner, I think it would be gracious of her to give the prize to the next highest.
Dear Carson: If a bride-to-be is registered at a nice store and we find that all the gifts on her list are very expensive, is it OK to buy a gift at a less expensive store?
I didn't know if it would be tacky and inappropriate to buy a gift other than at the store where she is registered. Personally, I think it is the thought that counts, but when it comes to social etiquette it might be a little more than just the thought. -- Uneducated About Etiquette
Dear UAE: It is up to you as to where you shop and what you purchase for a gift. There is no rule of etiquette that says you must adhere to the bride's wish list.
Dear Carson: I have just received my third invitation to a shower for the same bride. When is enough enough? How can we graciously refuse an invitation without being responsible for a gift? I say that one gift is enough. -- Angry and Broke
Dear Angry and Broke: It is a two-edged sword that the bride keeps including you on her shower invitation lists. On one hand it is a compliment to be asked, and on the other it is a financial burden. If you refuse the invitation, you are under no obligation to send a gift. If you attend it would be appropriate to give a less expensive gift, i.e. a couple of dish towels, satin coat hangers or a pack of recipe file cards.
Hi Carson: I am taking two women to dinner. One is my steady date, and the other is her friend. Whom do I seat first, my lady or my lady's friend? Both women are about the same age. -- Seating Sequence
Dear Sequence: Seat your steady date's friend first and then your steady. Bless you for still having the good manners to seat ladies and to be concerned about proper order.
Write to Ask Carson, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O.Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call INFOLINE at 442-4444 and press 4422. Carson's Web site is at www.theproperthing.com.