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Do you have money manners?

When it comes to money matters, manners matter. (Try saying that six times.) Even in these crass, crude, contempo times, there's a code concerning cash-based encounters -- defy it to your own social and professional detriment.

How fabulous are you at finessing financially-tinged sticky situations? You are cordially invited to take this test.

  1. You're at a fancy restaurant, and maybe it's because the other person's paying, or maybe it's because your eyes are bigger than your stomach (excuse the repugnant image) -- but there are mounds of delectables left on your plate, and you can't manage another morsel. Is it OK to ask for a ''doggy bag''?

    Only if you have a doggy. The name's the tip-off, right?
  2. OK, we're in that restaurant again. Because it's still somewhat nontraditional, women who treat men to a nice romantic dinner should:

    Make it clear to the man that he will owe her more than a peck on the cheek at evening's end (turn those tables all the way!)
    Tell the waiter, before he brings the check.
  3. Who should pick up the tab for a date?

    The short answer? The man.
    Generally speaking, the person doing the asking.
  4. You and Samantha used to be swell friends. Then she took up with what's-his-name and moved halfway across the country. Long-distance friendships can be hard to maintain, and now an entire year has slip-slided away since you and Sam made contact. Suddenly, you get a wedding invitation from her. You can't go, but should you send a gift?

    No, even married couples lose any financial obligations to each other after they split. In fact, Sam's got some nerve sending you an invite, putting you on the spot like that.
    Yes, though it may not be much more than a token.
  5. Here comes Clarice the Collector. Someone in the office having a birthday? Clarice passes the hat. Getting married? Ditto. Pregnant? Fuhgeddaboudit. It's gotten to the point where if someone adopts a pet gerbil, Clarice comes calling to each cubicle, with her hand out. You've had it, so you decide to:

    Pay up in pennies -- that'll learn her!
    In the immortal words of Madonna: Express yourself. If you can't get through to Clarice, you'll go to a Higher Authority.
  6. Every weekend, Harold hitches a ride with you to a beachy retreat. Whenever you pass a tollbooth, Harold whistles a happy tune, as you dig deep. When you tank up, Harold strikes a pose, as you fish for your wallet. Basta with this, already. You plan to ask the Witless One:

    ''Do you want to split the tolls -- or would you rather I take care of that and you get the gas bills?''
    ''What exactly is your problem with chipping in toward expenses?'' The clueless need to be confronted head-on.
  7. At the end of your very pleasant $20 cab ride, you realize you have exactly ... $20, so after paying the fare, you offer:

    A heartfelt wish your driver have a good day, evening, weekend -- whatever's appropriate.
    An explanation of your predicament, and a request the driver pull up to the nearest ATM.
  8. Congratulations -- you and Pat (yes, the androgynous Saturday Night Live character) are finally getting hitched. Despite the fact that you and P are about 50 years old now and have been living together for, oh, 20 years -- but who's counting -- you're planning a fairly large and formal wedding. Problem is, being nearly 50 and living together for 20 years (who's counting), you have all the blenders and vases you need. Would it be OK to somehow signal ''cash only'' gifts on your invites?

    Sure, considering the circumstances.
  9. ''So, I hear you got a nice raise,'' your sweet-but-snoopy next-door neighbor Sue yoo-hoos to you. ''What are they paying you now?'' You:

    Sigh heavily and say, ''Still not nearly enough. Say, the begonias are coming in nicely, eh what?''
    ''Isn't that awfully personal?''
  10. You send a lovely crystal-vase wedding present clear across the country to Cousin Claude and his wife, Clorene. Three months after you still have no thank-you note from Claude and company. You know the package was addressed properly, and you additionally had your return address on it. Now what?

    You write off Claude and Clorene as clods. You're not going to turn yourself into one by calling the couple and quizzing them about the crystal.
    You get on the horn to Claude and Clorene to suss out the situation.
If this quiz entertained and enlightened a wee bit, we are gratified to have been of service. Please, no gratuities.

-- Posted: Aug. 22, 2001


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