Miss Manners: The diamond earrings my boyfriend bought are likely fake


Dear Miss Manners: My boyfriend gave me a pair of diamond earrings for Christmas. They are substantial in size. He also bought diamond jewelry for his daughters and mother.

Upon closer inspection, I saw that the earrings are set in silver, and I am quite sure they are not real diamonds. He is convinced that they are. That is the issue: He spent quite a bit of money, thinking he was buying diamonds.

I will wear them, regardless. But I feel bad knowing he has likely been scammed. I don’t want to tell him, but at the same time, I hate to see him waste so much money on something he was fooled into believing was genuine.

Have you never heard the adage, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth?”

Yes, you could have the jewelry appraised, find out how much the gentleman paid for it, and, if there is a great disparity, tell him that he was made a fool of.

Miss Manners fails to see what this would accomplish, aside from discouraging him from trying again to please you with presents.

Dear Miss Manners: I’m a small-business owner who has worked his tail off for the last 20 years to build a successful business. I have 20 employees, of whom five are full time.

This Christmas, I gave cash bonuses ranging from $100 to $1,500 to my staff, with a handwritten note expressing my gratitude and thanking them for being a part of our team.

Of the 20, two of them sent me lovely thank-you notes, and one said “thank you” when I spoke with them over the phone. The other 17: silence.

I’m the kind of employer who never stops saying “thank you.” I’m old-fashioned that way. But somehow, someone getting $400, $750 or even $1,500 can’t even acknowledge receiving the gift, let alone thank me for it.

It felt good to me to give these gifts and I realize I should never expect thanks. But really, is this what we’ve become as a society? I am rethinking the gifts for next year if people will simply expect them. If that is how they feel, then it will become “profit-sharing” with a strict formula for compensation.

Is thanks too much to expect? The two written notes I got really warmed my heart.

Nobody advocates giving written thanks more than Miss Manners does. This time of year, she is exhausted from battling those who claim that the pure joy of giving should make it unnecessary to know if a present was received, let alone appreciated.

And those two employees were wise: It is always a good idea to warm your boss’s heart.

Nevertheless, she must point out that bonuses are not gifts. Even if not strictly mandated, they are, in fact, compensation for work — presumably a reward for work well done. This is profit-sharing, in the sense that people who contribute to the profits are given a share of them.

Now, if your nephew has failed to acknowledge the computer you gave him, Miss Manners is only too ready to denounce him.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on washingtonpost.com/advice. You can send questions to Miss Manners at her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.