Dear Abby: In a recent column, your response to "Still Grieving," who inquired about acknowledgments for expressions of sympathy following a funeral, was unclear.
Did you really mean that proper etiquette demands that everyone who sent a sympathy card must be thanked?We have written thank-you notes to everyone who sent flowers, memorials, money and brought food, but are we expected to acknowledge cards expressing sympathy, too? Please answer in your column. Thank you.
- M.A.J. in West Salem, Wis.
Dear M.A.J.: Yes. I quote from "A Complete Guide to the New Manners for the '90s" by Letitia Baldrige: "After the sadness of the funeral period is over, when the main surviving members of the family feel strong enough to tackle the job, one of them should write a personal note of thanks to:
"- The relative or friend who served as director of all the proceedings.
"- The clergyperson who handled the services.
"- The honorary pallbearers and ushers.
"- The people who gave eulogies. (It is not necessary to write family members, but it is a nice touch to do so.)
"- Everyone who sent a telegram, condolence card, Mass card, condolence letter or flowers.
"- Everyone who gave a charitable contribution in memory of the deceased."
Dear Abby: Regarding the young woman you thought was treated too harshly when she was caught shoplifting because it was her first offense:
I saw an interesting irony in that situation. Twice in my life, I have walked out of a store with items for which I had not paid. Both times it was accidental, and nobody caught me. I had the merchandise in my hand - not hidden - and I fully intended to pay for it, but simply forgot to do so.
In both cases, I returned to the store immediately, told the cashier what I had done, apologized for my forgetfulness and paid for the merchandise.
I regret to say that in both cases, I was treated as though I were "stupid" for returning to pay for the merchandise.
- Disgusted in Boynton Beach, Fla.
Dear Disgusted: It's distressing that two salespeople, who should know how costly shoplifting is to retailers, should have so little respect for integrity.
In the long run, shoplifters cost the buying public billions of dollars annually. And guess who picks up the tab? You and I.
Dear Abby: Back in 1968, my husband, my parents and my in-laws were in San Francisco admiring the various treasures on display in Gump's - an incredible store that featured antique jewelry.
I was standing slightly apart from the main group when a saleswoman approached me and loudly exclaimed, "My, what interesting earrings you're wearing!" She bent closer, as if to admire my earrings more thoroughly - and then whispered, "Tell your husband his fly is unzipped."
I did - immediately. After my husband repaired his oversight, he thanked the lady for admiring my earrings.
I thought you'd get a chuckle out of this.
- Ada Silbey, Stuart, Fla.
Dear Ada Silbey: I got more than a chuckle - I got a face-saving solution for handling an embarrassing situation.
Thought for the day: "The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he had hoped to make it."
- Sir James Matthew Barrie
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