Originally created 01/02/00

Tardiness is never acceptable

Dear Carson: How should one handle a situation in which an appointment is for 1 p.m. and you are not even acknowledged for a half-hour? What should you do about it, and is there some protocol concerning such tardiness? -- Ignored & Waiting

Dear Ignored: The behavior you mentioned is rude, insulting and inconsiderate. Such people are sending giving the message that they value their time more than yours.

You didn't specify the nature of your appointment or how much you needed to see that person. If I were you I would first do a damage control assessment.

You have options:

Leave and tell the receptionist the wait was too long or that you had another appointment.

Ask how much longer the wait is likely to be.

Suggest rescheduling the appointment.

Wait 5 more minutes, then give your card to the receptionist and depart.

Dear Carson: My wife and I have three children under age 6.

Some relatives, parents in particular, consistently respond to an invitation to a social event or outing with, "We'll play it by ear."

This response usually follows an invitation to go to dinner, to visit a close friend, or even attempts to set up plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Is this type of response appropriate? It seems rude, and it makes planning events difficult and stressful because we never know until the last minute what their plans are going to be.

It also seems insulting. It is as if they are awaiting a better invitation. -- Angst in Atlanta

Dear Angst: The behavior you describe is inconsiderate as well as insulting.

Try giving your parents a deadline. Tell them that you need this time to make your own plans because should they choose not to come at the last minute your family is left high and dry.

If they do not give you an answer by the deadline, make other plans. Actions do speak louder than words, and sometimes we need to teach others how to treat us.

Dear Carson: When is the proper time to open small table gifts at a seated dinner -- as you are seated, after dinner or when? -- Sitting on the Horns of a Dilemma

Dear Dilemma: Open your table gift after everyone is seated and before food service begins.

Write to Ask Carson, The Augusta Chronicle, P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903-1928. Send e-mail to askcarson@aol.com. Carson Elliott's Web site is at www.theproperthing.com.


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