Q: I work on the editorial staff of a national magazine. I usually have busy, hectic days, and I always appreciate the chance to unwind and relax somewhat during my lunch hour. I usually bring a sack lunch and enjoy it and a book (I mean to say that I read the book, of course) at my desk.
What irks me are the inconsiderate people who make business calls during the lunch hour. I have had calls that took up a good part of my greatly needed lunch hour from people who could easily have postponed the call for another hour or so.
In fact, I have never received a call during lunch that could not have been postponed.
When I make business calls, I always take the trouble to consider what time it is at the receiver's end of the line. Even with my busy day, this has never hampered my plans or deadlines. I think it's only a matter of common courtesy.
Is it asking too much for people to be a little more considerate? They can call me at any other time of day -- but that lunch hour is sacred!
A: Personally, Miss Manners has never had a business call at any hour that could not have been postponed, most of them indefinitely. She has been working her little heart out to persuade people that letters are more effective than calls, and tries to make a point of vacationing only in places that shut down from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. because they recognize the need for a full lunch hour, including a nap.
Unfortunately, this country is not one of those. Not only do people do business all day, but those who do consider lunch sacred have not come to an agreement on what time lunchtime is. Noon? 1 p.m? Miss Manners knows an industry where people come in at 10 a.m. but keep the morning sacred in order to make lunch dates; eat from 12:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., and don't feel like doing business in the afternoon.
She is not suggesting that you are of that sort. She only wants to make the point that your hope of training others to your particular habits is hopeless.
However, your problem is not. You need merely train yourself to refrain from answering the telephone during lunch. After all, if you had gone out, the call would have gone unanswered, and the world would probably have gone around just as fast.