Parkland Press

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Respectfully Yours: Don’t look a gift certificate in the mouth

Friday, January 17, 2020 by JACQUELYN YOUST Special to The Press in Focus

Dear Jacquelyn,

My husband and I received a gift certificate to an expensive restaurant. The amount covers one meal. Is it rude to give a gift certificate that requires spending money?

Dear Reader,

It’s likely the gift-giver was excited and wanted to give you something extra special without having thought it all the way through.

Perhaps the person was trying to give the best possible gift and felt this particular dining experience would be more meaningful than some other random restaurant.

I don’t feel this was intentionally rude. A budget constraint was most likely the key factor in determining the amount.

The person’s budget didn’t allow for the gift certificate to cover the cost of the entire dining experience for two. It’s a sweet thought that the gift-giver wanted you to experience a really good restaurant dinner at a place they knew you would not usually be able to go to.

If this fancy restaurant is not in your budget allowance, save the gift certificate. Visit the restaurant for a special occasion later in the year.

The most formal answer is: A gift that requires any additional money to be spent in order to enjoy it is not ideal. The nitty-gritty details of etiquette guidelines would be to include the companion’s meal.

The takeaway: Etiquette is an understanding of social skill guidelines such as who to gift and when, while manners come from a place of pure kindness. Good manners always trump etiquette.

We should not question and complain about presents we receive. When you receive a thoughtful gift, be appreciative and express gratitude.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved © 2020 Jacquelyn Youst