Friday, October 21, 2011

Answer Me!

I don't want to sound sexist, but I have a new pet peeve and the guilty parties on this one tend to be male. I've informally polled my Grace posse, and the testimony is overwhelming.

Here's the scenario:

Grace: "Grant, I'm heading out to the store, I'll be back in an hour." or "Grant, while you're in the kitchen, will you please give the soup a stir?" or "Grant, the lottery called, we won ten million dollars."

Grant: " " [The empty quotes indicate total silence.]

Grace: "Grant? Grant?" [Volume increasing] "Grant? Did you hear me???" and I have officially become Estelle Costanza.

All I ask is a response. I don't even care much what it is. Any of the following is acceptable, in decreasing order of preference:

"That's wonderful, Grace. Be sure to buy yourself some new shoes today."
"Ok, Grace"
"Copy that."
"10-4 Good Buddy"
"Sorry, that doesn't work for me."
"No can do."
"No &*^%$ way."

But the absolute silence puts us Graces in the unenviable position of ascertaining whether our message was received. If there is truly an auditory complication (loud music, hearing loss, eccentric neighbor's ill-timed chemical explosion) then Grant is not at fault; Graces simply repeat the statement at a slightly higher volume when the sonic boom ends and await a courteous (or at least spoken) answer. But if there is not a legitimate reason for the lack of response, and the silence continues, it is absolutely Gruntish to force Grace to transform, unwillingly, to the Untamed Shrew.

So answer us, guys. It saves time, trouble, and aggravation.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Get Well Gifts

In the last week, it seems like every time I turn around someone's kid has been injured. Friend's son sustained concussion playing football. Niece needed 34 stitches as a result of a go cart accident (no point in debating the wisdom of placing a 9 year old in the driver's seat of a used and questionably operational vehicle and pointing her downhill; what's done is done). Another friend's son severed a tendon and required hand surgery. In cases such as these, the Graces among us do our best to provide aid, comfort and amusement.

Here are some Gracely Tips....

1. Send the kid a gift--preferably something that will amuse him in his convalescence; books, puzzles, arts and crafts, solitaire games, a DVD (though not for the concussed; they are supposed to avoid too much brain stimulation--consider a hat for the injured head, a fun pillow on which to lay it, a very calming audiobook or cd). Clearly they will need to occupy their time in ways that do not involve their normal activity. Things that do so are invaluable to them, their spirits, and their parents (who are doubtless riddled with worry, wracked with guilt, and stressed with the effort of taking care of the injured party) .

2. Deliver food--this can be a full dinner for the family, a lunch for the mom and/or the invalid, a small packet of treats for the child.

3. Provide respite--offer to drive carpool for the mom, take siblings for a playdate, cover 'snack day' at preschool, or sit with the ailing kid for an hour or 2 so mom can run some errands.

And for heaven's sake, let's be careful out there. Accidents happen, (believe me, I know) and kids are resilient, but let's prevent them from becoming.....

Monday, October 03, 2011

That's the Ticket!

As this post is about tickets, I couldn't resist....

With fall upon us, there is a lot of chatter about tickets. Most cultural entities--orchestras, museums, theaters and dance companies launch their seasons at this time of year; baseball is starting the playoffs, football season is in full swing, and basketball is just around the corner. As most of these require tickets, and few attendees go solo, there is serious potential for etiquette breaches in the ticket realm.

One ticket conundrum that has recently been brought to my attention by a Grantly Friend involves the use of 'comped' tickets. For the purposes of this anecdote, I will refer to him as 'GF', though this is not his real name. In GF's profession, he is frequently offered free tickets to cultural events, which he then, as a Grant, shares with his friends if he is unable (or unwilling, as in the case of many performance art shows) to use them.

In general this is a lovely scenario in which everyone is happy. GF does a good turn for an Opera Loving Friend by giving him costly and hard to procure tickets. OLF is thrilled with the opportunity to enjoy his passion at virtually no cost. GF is overjoyed to avoid a night at the opera, far preferring a baseball game. The Opera Company is glad to spread its wealth to influential GF and to avoid the shame of an empty seat. Win win win.

But here's the rub: if OLF accepts the tickets and does not use them, everybody loses. GF has egg on face because his seats are empty, plus he feels badly that the Opera Company has forgone cost of the tickets by not selling then. OLF has wasted the tickets which might have easily been offered to another OLF. Moral of the story: if you accept tickets (whether the giver has paid for them or not) be sure to use them. It may well be that the OLF was less invested since he knew the tickets were comped, but this is irrelevant. If you won't be parking your bootie in the seat, make sure someone does. Let the original ticket holder know that the tickets are up for grabs asap so there is a chance he can regift them and save face for everyone.

Here are some additional guidelines....

  • If you are invited to a concert, game, or play as a date, you should not be expected to reimburse the ticket costs. [If that is the general formula of your current significant other, you may want to rethink your choice.] It would, however, be Gracious to pony up for refreshments or other incidentals during the evening.
  • If you are invited by a friend, colleague or other non romantic peer, and their intentions on the costs are not clear, offer to pay for the ticket. In general, the 'inviter' covers the ticket costs but playoff games are steep, times are tough, and you don't want to presume. If he doesn't accept your offer to pay, great, but be double sure that you kick in for other costs--food/drink/parking, etc.
  • The best way to avoid confusion, and I'm talking now to the 'inviters', is to be clear at the outset.
  • If you want to treat, say: "Dan, I have two tickets to the National League Division Series tomorrow. Want to come? It's on me." or "Susan, would you like to come with me to the Museum's opening of the Degas exhibit as my guest?"
  • If you don't plan to pay for everyone, say: "Dan, I bought two tix to tomorrow's game; they were $87 each, do you want to come? No pressure; I won't have trouble selling the spare, but I know you're a huge fan and it should be a great game." or "Susan, the Degas exhibit opens next week. Tix are $25. Shall I get us a pair? We can settle up later." Once you mention the price, it should be abundantly clear that you are not planning to cover costs.
Have you had any ticket snafus yet this season?