Dear Miss Manners: While traveling, my husband and I decided to stop for the night. I called a large, midpriced chain hotel. While talking, the clerk asked to put me on hold. It was a long while, but I figured she had to wait on someone at the counter.
A few minutes later, we got to the hotel. The same woman was at the desk. In the middle of our discussion, she excused herself and went to the back. It was, again, a very long wait, and when she finally came out, I asked if something was wrong.
"I'm sick," she said. I asked her if she meant her stomach. It was. I asked if it was contagious, and she said, "I hope not." I was horrified and pulled back from the counter, saying that I did not want to get sick. She said she understood and would ask her manager to wait on me, then went to the back again. I waited and waited and nobody came out. I guess she was vomiting again.
I told my husband that I just wanted to leave. He was very annoyed with me, but we left. He said I was terribly rude and had embarrassed him with the way I physically reacted.
My main concern was not catching whatever she had. Besides standing right in front of her, she would have been handling my credit card, the room keys, the pen and paperwork that I would also handle.
Was I rude? I just did not want to get sick. How else should I have handled the situation?
With at least a semblance of polite concern for the person who is actually sick, before becoming consumed with the remote likelihood of your own illness.
Dear Miss Manners: What does "elegant shades of white" mean for wedding attire?
That the bride is the highly unusual combination of dictatorial, yet willing to be upstaged.
Dear Miss Manners: If a gift is given, is it ever appropriate for the giver to tell the recipient that more time and effort went into the gift than would possibly meet the eye? ("Believe it or not, it took all day to find just the right one for you.")
On one hand, since it is the thought that counts, the recipient might want to know the amount of thought ("That was so nice of you!"). On the other hand, such disclosures may tarnish the gift and come off like crass fishing for thanks.
Even if there is direct inquiry ("How long did it take you to make it?"), is it permissible to respond directly, or is deflection ("Oh, it was no trouble, really") the preferred response?
“Oh, I had so much fun finding/ordering/whittling this present for you. I do hope that you enjoy it.” If asked for more detail, Miss Manners will allow you to indulge modestly. Indulge, not luxuriate.