POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 16, 2012
Question: I'd like your thoughts on a conversation I overheard on a plane. A young woman was seated in front of me next to an older woman she didn't know. The younger woman was wearing a very cool outfit, including unusual over-the-knee boots. I'm by no means a fashionista myself, but they were obviously designer. At one point, the older woman started quizzing the younger one about the boots. Where did she get them? (Somewhere in New York.) Who made them? (Gucci.) How much did they cost? The young woman handled this rather well, I thought, by saying she had bought them at a sample sale last summer and couldn't remember. Isn't it rude to ask a stranger how much they paid for something?
Answer: It's rude to ask anyone how much he or she paid for something. I don't care if it's your best friend wearing the Gucci boots -- it's not polite to be nosy about her spending habits. I think the young woman in front of you handled her inquisitive seatmate perfectly. However, I have to say -- thigh-high boots on a plane? I pity whoever was behind her in the security line.
Q: I realize this is a stupid question, but I need to ask. If you stay in a hotel or take a cruise where housekeeping leaves towel animals for you, are you supposed to use the towels or not? My wife always puts the animals on the dresser or something because, in her words, "Someone took time to make them." But they're just towels, and I think it'd be better to use them rather than just leave them there -- after all, they're clean, and the hotel or cruise line is going to have to launder them anyway after our stay, so why not?
A: I wouldn't call it a stupid question, but it is the most amusing question I've received in a while. I'm with you. They're towels, they're clean and you might as well use them if the hotel's going to launder them anyway. Sure, someone spent time making a monkey or a swan out of them, but that same person spent time making your bed, too ... and I don't think anyone feels guilty about messing that up every night.
Email travel etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.