Q: Kindly give me your positive views and solutions to the outrageous practice of charitable solicitations by telephone at night, often at mealtime.
These are good causes, but the abuse of privacy and crass telephone solicitation by absolute strangers has gone too far. My reaction has been to say I do not accept telephone solicitation and they should put any request in the mail. Perhaps they should be told that they should remove my name from the calling list and that any future call will end my support of the cause for all time.
It is time even for people of good will to tell some charities they have gone too far in aggressive, insensitive solicitation.
A: Miss Manners is sadly aware that hard-sell tactics, including attempts at embarrassing people as well as inconveniencing them, are now considered an indispensable part of fund-raising. People of good will who are unselfishly donating their own time will certainly argue that the effectiveness of such methods outweighs the unpleasantness.
And so these techniques will continue to be used, unless people such as yourself make it clear that they are counterproductive.
Miss Manners supports you in this. By all means, you have a right to control your time and to require that solicitations be made in writing.
May she, however, discourage you from penalizing the very idea of philanthropy because of this abuse? When you are announcing your intention of ending your support because of the rude tactics, she asks you to inform the annoying caller that you will donate the same amount of money to an equally worthy cause that has not so offended you.
Should you omit doing this and keep the money, you would merely be confirming the notion that no one gives without being bullied.
Q: We need a simple formula to define the dress code for a small office. Expressions such as "pants that are too tight," "revealing necklines" or "loud and garish colors" do not do the job at all. Nor does "proper attire," "good taste" or "businesslike clothing."
A: Request that all executives and employes who aspire to executive positions dress accordingly, while expressing understanding that people who are satisfied to spend their careers on the lower levels may consider it important to "express themselves" through their clothing, rather than their ideas.
Address your etiquette questions (in black or blue-black ink on white writing paper) to Miss Manners, in care of this newspaper.