Q. I have just returned from a "swish" restaurant where a friend entertained six of us for luncheon. The waiter gave us the huge, elegant menus, and after we had perused them, he announced the specials. He didn't, however, mention the prices. Now did I do wrong? I quietly asked how much the soft-shelled crabs were. Out of consideration for my hostess, I didn't wish to order anything astronomically high.
A. Miss Manners can hardly think A. of anything sillier than a commercial establishment's offering items for sale without telling how much they cost -- unless it is customers who go along with it. She hopes that more and more sensible people will get into the habit of stopping waiters, as they begin these recitals, to say, "Please mention the prices, as well."
Your particular case was a difficult one, because even if the hostess wanted to know how much the meal would set her back, she would have refrained from asking so as not to discourage guests from getting whatever they wanted. Your inquiry was well meant, but that, too, called attention to the question of the hostess' bill. It would have been more graceful simply to say, as if to the company at large, "I hate it when restaurants read menu supplements without prices."