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Miss Manners: I got a colonoscopy on Halloween. Doctors wore costumes.

Dear Miss Manners: I got a colonoscopy on Halloween. Most of the staff were in full costume, including the doctors. Think skintight red dresses with Superman capes, Spider-Man bodysuits, etc. I am totally okay seeing adults dressed in costume at their Halloween parties for kids, but at a surgery center?

It seems off-putting for everyone to don a costume when I am having a procedure. I am not a Debbie Downer, and yes, it is Halloween, but is this the place for it? There were also nurses with Halloween theme scrubs, pumpkin earrings, and devil-horn or cat-ear headbands. Those options seem more appropriate. Do I need to lighten up or do you agree this is the place and time to maintain professionalism?

Eeeewww! Scary! Miss Manners refers to the possible outcome of a colonoscopy, which she would think scary enough. Perhaps the high jinks were intended to distract patients from worry. Personally, she would prefer the medical worry. Surely if ever detached professionalism is needed, it is when one is in the position required for a colonoscopy. It is not the way you want to present yourself to jokesters.

Dear Miss Manners: I was in the grocery store produce department and witnessed a woman sampling cherries before she selected a bag for purchase. I was repulsed because I wondered how many other people sampled without paying.

Any other shoppers who followed would not have received the same amount of fruit for the price (the cherries were sold by the bag and not the pound), and they would risk whatever germs that woman was carrying. I did not say anything but tried to select another bag farther into the display. Should I have said something? She was stealing from both the store and the other shoppers.

“See something, say something” does not require you to say something to the perpetrator. Miss Manners reminds you the person with whom to speak, if you chose to, would be someone in authority, like the store manager. No good ever comes of grocery shoppers trying to shame one another, no matter how well deserved. In keeping with the general irritability of the populace, grocery stores have become areas of contention, and everyone is armed with ramming carts. So please stop confronting one another.

Dear Miss Manners: Is it okay to sit down at a cocktail party? To sit in a chair, on a couch or at a table to eat?

Yes. Miss Manners would go so far as to say that it is not okay to give a cocktail party where there is no place for the infirm, the weary and the over-cocktailed to sit down.

Dear Miss Manners: So many people get Veterans Day and Memorial Day mixed up. What is an easy way to help the confused?

Alphabetically? Memorial Day comes first, in May. Veterans Day is in November. (This requires one to forget that Veterans Day used to be called Armistice Day. So Miss Manners has just added to the confusion.) Anyway, she would prefer that you memorize the meaning of the days in question: “Memorial,” meaning in memory of those who lost their lives. “Veterans,” who are among us, in gratitude for their having protected us.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday on You can send questions to Miss Manners at You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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