Mrs. McVeigh's Manners
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Some foods don’t belong in the workplace

With downsizing and pay cuts, a lot of American workers are choosing to stay at the office during lunch, and sometimes they even eat at their desks.

Common sense should be used when thinking of what to pack in your lunch or what food is acceptable to bring into the workplace.

There are a lot of foods that have an odor when put in a microwave, one that can linger for the rest of the day. Ever have a coworker heat up liver and onions? If you have, you would definitely know. Glad someone in the office is eating healthy, but save that kind of dish for home.

Popcorn is a common afternoon snack around the office, but I would check with people close to the break room before popping it, to make sure it is OK with them.

Also be considerate about what foods you store in the refrigerator. Some smells dominate the refrigerator when you open it.

When sitting at your desk to eat lunch, especially at a cubicle, think about the kind of smell that your food may make. Fast food especially has a strong smell. The smell could make the person at the next desk nauseous, or may just annoy him for a variety of reasons.

We spend more time with coworkers than we do our own family, so try to be considerate of others and think about your food choices at work. It will make the workplace a lot happier —and better smelling.

Adult Only Wedding

 Dear Mrs. McVeigh,

I recently got married and addressed the invitations to adults only.  My husband and I wanted an adult reception, and tried to spread the word among family and friends that children should not attend.  To assure this, I hired a babysitter to play with the children in a room next door to the wedding and reception. I figured if someone was unable to leave their children at home at the last minute, or misunderstood our intentions, or were being stubborn, we were able to remedy the situation.


To my surprise I saw a guest start to walk through the door with his child.  I nicely stopped him and told him that we had childcare available, and he told me his daughter had never been to a wedding and he wanted her to experience one.  I feel like my wedding is my wedding, not a spectator show.  Am I being unreasonable in saying no children?



Dear Anonymous,

It is your big day, and you have every right to invite and include anyone who you choose.  When receiving an invitation, people need to notice exactly whom the invitation is addressed to.  If the invitation is just addressed to one person, and not to a significant other or the whole family, then the recipient does not have the right to invite other people.  If the recipient(s) of the invitation did not notice that their children were not invited, they should get the hint if the bride (or anyone in the wedding) stops them at the door and tells them about childcare in the next room. 

Social Media Invitation RSVPs

 Dear Mrs. McVeigh,

Is it proper to respond to an RSVP via e-mail or social network, such as Twitter or face book? Or should such esponses be made by a more personal method, such as a phone call, or returning an enclosed card? Or does it depend on the manner in which the original invitation was offered?

Bob Bartlebaugh


Dear Bob,

If you are emailed an invitation, or invited to something through a Social Network, such as face book or Twitter, then it is appropriate to respond through the method that the invitation was sent.  Personally, I have responded to an Evite or similar type of invitation before, and my response has not gone through.  The hostess then called me to ask me if I would please respond.  Since this has happened to me several times, I attempt to respond through the “Evite,” and then I follow up with an email to the host and confirm my answer.  

Mind your manners as a dinner guest

 Dear Mrs. McVeigh,

I had a dear friend join my husband and children for Christmas dinner this year. My friend said at least four times during the Christmas dinner "You slaved away all day long in the kitchen."  This friend has known me for 27 years and has been at my home before for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and knows I love to cook. I later asked her privately what she meant or what her point was, and she said, "If indeed I said that, well, you have my sympathy for cooking."
 How should someone respond to such unwelcome declarations of slavery and sympathy?

Thank you, 



Dear M.B.,

If you were ever in a situation that you are insulted when someone is a guest in your home, I would handle it exactly like you did. Questioning her in private on what she meant by her comment let’s her know your feelings are hurt, and she said something that is insulting to you.  An appropriate response to “…you have my sympathy for cooking” can be something like, “No need for the sympathy. I love to cook, and love to entertain, and do not feel like a slave at all.  It gives me great joy to make a great meal for my family and friends, especially on a holiday.”  This type of response should make it clear that you did not appreciate her comment, and hopefully will prevent her from saying something like this again.  If it is said with a smile then it will get the point across, but not blow up into an uncomfortable argument.


Here are some helpful tips when you are invited to dinner at someone’s house:

·      Do not come empty handed.  A bottle of wine or flowers in a vase are always welcome gifts.

·      Offer to help with any preparations, from setting the table to assisting with cooking.

·      Do not sit down at the table until your host invites you to.

·      Start eating after the hostess takes her first bite of the meal.

·      Honestly compliment the cook on some aspect of the meal after a few bites.

·      Thank the cook for dinner after the meal is finished.

·      Offer to help clear the table.

·      Follow up with a phone call or note the next day to say thank you.



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