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xahm

Asking for exceptions

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I'm curious how others handle this, especially teaching kids if and when it is acceptable to ask for exceptions to rules. My parents always taught us that it is rude to ask for special treatment, to the extent that they wouldn't dream of asking for broccoli to be substituted for fries if that wasn't explicitly allowed by the menu. I understand, of course, not wanting to be "that guy" who seems to think the world should bend to their whims, but I also realize that opportunities can be lost if, for example, you only have two years of experience so you don't apply for the perfect job requesting three years of experience, for example.

My six year old recently asked the librarian if she could sit in on her five year old brother's book club (we were going to be in the next room) as long as she sat quietly and watched. The librarian seemed happy to allow this, but I was a little uncomfortable and don't know if it was because of my upbringing or whether this was over the line. (For background, this was a group of five and six year olds, it wasn't full, and her brother liked the idea, but she is signed up for the six to nine year old group that meets a different day.)

How do you decide, and teach your kids to understand, when to ask for exceptions when to not?

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I think your six year old was reasonable. The librarian could say “no” and your daughter was within the targeted age range. 

I also don’t think it’s rude in a restaurant to ask about substitutions. I used to feel a bit like your parents but once I was exhausted and emotionally drained sitting in a chain restaurant. We had a super relaxed server and for whatever reason when he asked if I had any questions I asked, “can I just get a grilled cheese sandwich?”  His reply was along the lines that we wouldn’t be much of a restaurant if we couldn’t make a grilled cheese. Ever since then I haven’t been afraid to ask. 

I guess I would teach my kids to ask within reason and to be polite. If the answer is “no”, don’t argue.

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If we were invited to a friends house for a meal, I would tell my kids not to ask for something different than the food served. 

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4 minutes ago, Rachel said:

If we were invited to a friends house for a meal, I would tell my kids not to ask for something different than the food served. 

This is part of why I'm nervous about this. My husband was a picky eater and cringes when he remembers asking his friend's parents "can I just make a peanut butter sandwich instead?" at supper. At the time, he thought he was being polite by offering to do it himself. His family is much more likely to ignore deadlines and assume exceptions will be made. Remarkably, not only are people usually accommodating, they are often very happy to be so.

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Oooo similar dynamic in our house!

I don't mind asking for substitutions at restaurants. I mean, I am not asking them to give me an exception to the "customers must pay for what they order" rule, and ultimately that is the only rule they care about. 😄 

I would NEVER ask for something at someone else's house unless I absolutely couldn't eat or drink what they have. That does happen, because of my own food allergies, and I am deeply embarrassed when I can't ameliorate the situation on my own without saying something aloud to the hosts! I wouldn't do it just because I had a preference. OTOH, my husband wouldn't mind asking and he wouldn't mind  whether the answer was sure or nope. I'd feel like a bother either way. 

This is somewhat inborn as far as I can tell. Your daughter had a good instinct with the librarian! I don't think it's something you need to worry about with her. If she does something that shows bad manners, then have her correct it, but otherwise people just feel how they feel about these things. And at a certain point, you reach critical mass where everyone pretty much agrees. For example, no your five year old shouldn't be allowed to come to the teen-only homeschool event. Things like that pretty much sort themselves because so many people are in agreement about the rule-of-thumb. 

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My partner's family are the Great Exception Askers, and it is incredibly embarrassing. 

But they go way, way beyond asking for a grilled cheese sandwich or to join library story time (neither of which I think falls under or anywhere close to 'entitled exception').

My MIL does cringey things like call a restaurant from the car and 'ask' (I say ask but really it's more like 'demands') to have a drink brought out to her in the car. She truly believes service workers are actually servants.

(She also over explains. Like she will call a waitress over and explain the many reasons why she can't have X on her pizza and the cook needs to make it for her in this particular way. When all she needs to say is 'would it be possible for my pizza to be cooked thus ? Thank you.' Again, she believes that servants are naturally interested in her life. I find it unbearable. She brings the same attitude to anyone doing anything for her - so she doesn't consider the nurses treating my partner in hospital to be professionals - there is no deference - she treats them as people to enact her exceptions because she is the - idk - queen ?)

Actually, there's the nub of my discomfort - it's not that a polite request about whether or not an exception can be accommodated is problematic. It isn't. I don't tend to do it, but that's just anxious me. It's the assumption that the answer will be 'yes', and if it isn't, there will be further wheedling. 

I think the poster upthread who suggested that asking once, asking politely, and taking no for an answer graciously makes exception seeking largely unproblematic. 

 

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I am okay with substitutions at a restaurant, unless you're asking for bizarre or unreasonable substitutions that would be difficult to prepare.  And while it's okay to ask, you also have to be prepared to accept no for an answer. 

Asking for a substitution during a family dinner is not okay, because it's not a restaurant already making a wide variety of dishes. Unless you're asking for BBQ sauce instead of ketchup for your French fries or something equally easy swap out. 

The library example is just fine, IMO. I think it's always okay to ask in a situation like that. But just prepared for a no just in case.

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1 hour ago, xahm said:

I'm curious how others handle this, especially teaching kids if and when it is acceptable to ask for exceptions to rules. My parents always taught us that it is rude to ask for special treatment, to the extent that they wouldn't dream of asking for broccoli to be substituted for fries if that wasn't explicitly allowed by the menu. I understand, of course, not wanting to be "that guy" who seems to think the world should bend to their whims, but I also realize that opportunities can be lost if, for example, you only have two years of experience so you don't apply for the perfect job requesting three years of experience, for example.

My six year old recently asked the librarian if she could sit in on her five year old brother's book club (we were going to be in the next room) as long as she sat quietly and watched. The librarian seemed happy to allow this, but I was a little uncomfortable and don't know if it was because of my upbringing or whether this was over the line. (For background, this was a group of five and six year olds, it wasn't full, and her brother liked the idea, but she is signed up for the six to nine year old group that meets a different day.)

How do you decide, and teach your kids to understand, when to ask for exceptions when to not?

 

Not only was this a reasonable request imo, it might have made the librarian’s day extra nice that a kid wanted to sit in as it is a compliment to the librarian, in a sense,  that your Dd was interested. 

 

Asking if brocolli can can be substituted for fries is fine if the restaurant has broccoli on menu and if asked politely and so long as if they say no that’s accepted.   Asking for caviar to be substituted for fries is not acceptable because they aren’t reasonably expected to be similarly sides to a main dish.   

Asking a private person in their home to substitute broccoli for fries is not generally acceptable.  

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Asking for an exception is fine unless there has been an announced policy (like, restaurant puts on menu "absolutely no substitutions" or professor puts in syllabus "no late homework accepted".)

Not taking no for an answer and wheedling is not fine.

Asking for a substitution at a dinner at a home is fine if it's something easily available. A kid wanting just plain spaghetti without sauce, or a sandwich? Sure why not. 

Edited by regentrude
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I am an asker.....in reason.  I see no problem asking at a restaurant if I could substitute x for y (realizing there might be an "upcharge") or asking at fast food if it is OK if I order a kids meal, etc.  If the answer is no, I am OK with that and respond politely.

I see nothing wrong with your daughter asking to sit in a class at the library.  She was polite, asked beforehand and was OK with it if the answer was no.

Now, at a restaurant, if I ask for several items that are different, etc. then I tip accordingly as it is extra work for the server, etc.

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1 hour ago, xahm said:

This is part of why I'm nervous about this. My husband was a picky eater and cringes when he remembers asking his friend's parents "can I just make a peanut butter sandwich instead?" at supper. At the time, he thought he was being polite by offering to do it himself. His family is much more likely to ignore deadlines and assume exceptions will be made. Remarkably, not only are people usually accommodating, they are often very happy to be so.

If a child at asked this at my house, I would not be offended.  I would assume that’s how his parents had taught him to handle meals. I generally am aware of the preferences of people we have over and try my best to accommodate. 

I have a picky kid, if she was going to a new place I would make sure she isn’t going to the house starved. But I would coach her to eat what was served, or do her best. For instance she doesn’t care for spaghetti sauce. I would be ok with her saying, “no sauce please, may I have my sauce on the side, or just a taste please.”  I would be embarrassed if she asked for macaroni and cheese instead of spaghetti. She’s 9 though, not 3. 

Eta a peanut butter sandwich is a simple substitute that most people can easily and quickly make. 

Edited by Rachel
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I tried to teach them not to ask for exceptions that would cause extra work for other people, unless it was important (like a food allergy). Other than that, knock yourself out as long as you accept the answer graciously. The book club is a great example of when it's absolutely fine to ask, imo. If there was a reason it couldn't be done, such as lack of room or supplies, the staff member would have simply said so. 

Asking for substitutions in a restaurant is fine, they will tell you their policy (yes, or yes but it costs $2, or no). 

1 hour ago, xahm said:

My husband was a picky eater and cringes when he remembers asking his friend's parents "can I just make a peanut butter sandwich instead?" at supper. At the time, he thought he was being polite by offering to do it himself.  

 

Eh, I wouldn't cringe. I know the norm used to be to gag down whatever was put on your plate, lol, but I think families who were hardcore about that would have simply told him no, everyone eats the same thing at our house. I would not have minded this at all. When we have a get-together, there's generally enough variety that everyone can find something they like. When a friend is just over for a meal, I try to always say, "I cooked ABC for dinner. If you don't care for that, please feel free to fix X, Y, or Z."

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I have a kid though who expects exceptions for everything. Due date is x? I’ll call the professor and see if I can have an extension. Final exam on x date? My friend is getting married and I want to hang out on the beach for an extra day or two so I’ll call and get the prof to reschedule. She expects exceptions so often that when they don’t happen she’s surprised and feels that others are being unreasonably inflexible. It doesn’t help that she naturally charming and many people go along with her requests for special treatment. 

As a teen certain leaders were annoyed with her because simple things that she was asked to do in a group became irritating. Following simple rules seemed frustrating for her because she thought she should be the exception. 

As long as your kids typically follow the rules and asking for exceptions is unusual, I wouldn’t Worry about it.

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2 hours ago, xahm said:

I'm curious how others handle this, especially teaching kids if and when it is acceptable to ask for exceptions to rules. My parents always taught us that it is rude to ask for special treatment, to the extent that they wouldn't dream of asking for broccoli to be substituted for fries if that wasn't explicitly allowed by the menu. I understand, of course, not wanting to be "that guy" who seems to think the world should bend to their whims, but I also realize that opportunities can be lost if, for example, you only have two years of experience so you don't apply for the perfect job requesting three years of experience, for example.

My six year old recently asked the librarian if she could sit in on her five year old brother's book club (we were going to be in the next room) as long as she sat quietly and watched. The librarian seemed happy to allow this, but I was a little uncomfortable and don't know if it was because of my upbringing or whether this was over the line. (For background, this was a group of five and six year olds, it wasn't full, and her brother liked the idea, but she is signed up for the six to nine year old group that meets a different day.)

How do you decide, and teach your kids to understand, when to ask for exceptions when to not?

I would probably not have allowed my dc to ask for the exception at the library, especially if she had another class for her age group. In fact, my children would have asked me first and not the librarian, and I would have said no. Sometimes the other siblings get to do things that they do not.

When we are guests at someone's home where we have never visited before, we would not not not ask for any exception to what was served. If the hostess asked ahead of time if we had special food likes or dislikes, I would tell her, but once we're there, we eat what we are served (we follow Miss Manners' recommendation for food that we just cannot tolerate: we play with it. Stir the food we don't like, take a bite of the food we do like, stir the food we don't like, take a bit of the food we do like.)

I don't mind substitutions at restaurants necessarily, although sometimes I wonder why someone would order that thing from the menu and then make all those substitutions. o_0

If a first-time young guest at my house asked for a peanut butter sandwich instead of the nice meal I had prepared and served (after I had asked the parents if there were any special needs/dislikes, etc.), I would be so sorry when I said that I regretted I couldn't do that. If the parent had warned me ahead of time that her dc was picky/allergic/whatever, then I would prepare a peanut butter sandwich (but even that can be problematic, such as the time I invited a long-time friend to visit me after I had moved to another part of the state, and she brought her obnoxious 10yo son, who almost ruined our trip to San Francisco with his behavior; I fixed tacos for dinner that night, the way I knew they liked them because I had eaten tacos at their house. He refused to eat them and asked for PBJ; I gritted my teeth and made one for him, and he said the jam was too sweet. Yeah. I told him life is hard and then you die. Also, I did not invite them back again.) 

Applying for a job that asks for three years' experience when you only have two is not the same thing. Sometimes employers want the kind of experience, or the quality of experience, or the personality/character.

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I think as long as you're considerate of why the rules might exist, and also consider whether or not your request creates extra work, a polite request is fine.  The person requesting does need to be able to take no for an answer.

In the case described in the OP, I would not even give it a second thought.  Your child was within the population for whom the activity was designed and there was capacity, he asked nicely and showed consideration.  Also, normally library folks are happier the more kids they serve (assuming it is within capacity).

I have always encouraged my kids to order what they want (at commercial establishments), and they do ask questions and sometimes request substitutions.  I am glad to see this, as I was one of those people who grew up afraid to ask anything - which helps nobody and actually creates inconvenience and waste.

Of course at someone's house, it's different.  It's worth giving an instruction before the visit to remind them that they say "thank you" and do their best to eat what is served (barring allergies etc.), or at least say nothing negative but quietly leave food on their plate if they can't eat it.  They can eat before or after the visit or, if asked (for a longer visit e.g. at the grandparents' house), discuss the next meal based on what is available and quick to prepare.  For kids too young to understand this, I'd do the talking for them.

Edited by SKL
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To answer the question of how we teach our kids - mainly it is by example when they are little and we talk for them (and for ourselves).  But sometimes you might need to give advance instruction as with the visit situation.

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7 minutes ago, Ellie said:

 

If a first-time young guest at my house asked for a peanut butter sandwich instead of the nice meal I had prepared and served (after I had asked the parents if there were any special needs/dislikes, etc.), I would be so sorry when I said that I regretted I couldn't do that. If the parent had warned me ahead of time that her dc was picky/allergic/whatever, then I would prepare a peanut butter sandwich (but even that can be problematic, such as the time I invited a long-time friend to visit me after I had moved to another part of the state, and she brought her obnoxious 10yo son, who almost ruined our trip to San Francisco with his behavior; I fixed tacos for dinner that night, the way I knew they liked them because I had eaten tacos at their house. He refused to eat them and asked for PBJ; I gritted my teeth and made one for him, and he said the jam was too sweet. Yeah. I told him life is hard and then you die. Also, I did not invite them back again.) 

Yeah, that would have irritated me to no end. I enjoy cooking and I enjoy cooking for other people. And I must have just been raised with the mentality that if someone hands you free food they lovingly prepared, you sit down and eat it. (Allergies and major food aversions aside) I served an LDS mission in another country and we ate one meal in a church member's home almost every day. Some of it was not good at all. But it was always the best they had to give us. I can choke down almost anything with a smile after 18 months of that. 

In my home my kids aren't allowed to say something is gross. They can say "this is not my favorite" and they don't have to finish it or ask for more, but by golly they are going to be polite even for their mother. 😅

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Yeah, I would be shocked if my kid asked for a pbj when served something cooked in someone else's house.  I don't love it at home either, and I have let them know that, although I stop short of stuffing my cooking down their throats, LOL.

What I could imagine my kids doing is saying "no thank you, I'm fine," which may or may not be OK depending on the situation.  Again, that is when the mom decides whether she needs to speak for the kid (and give him a look).

Edited by SKL
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9 minutes ago, DesertBlossom said:

Yeah, that would have irritated me to no end. I enjoy cooking and I enjoy cooking for other people. And I must have just been raised with the mentality that if someone hands you free food they lovingly prepared, you sit down and eat it. (Allergies and major food aversions aside) I served an LDS mission in another country and we ate one meal in a church member's home almost every day. Some of it was not good at all. But it was always the best they had to give us. I can choke down almost anything with a smile after 18 months of that. 

In my home my kids aren't allowed to say something is gross. They can say "this is not my favorite" and they don't have to finish it or ask for more, but by golly they are going to be polite even for their mother. 😅

I went to a Baptist church in Russia while I lived there, and many of the members were significantly poor, especially by American standards. They were gracious and invited me to after church lunches and occasionally into their homes, and sometimes the food was delicious and sometimes it was less so. Really soupy mashed potatoes with cut-up hot dogs mixed in, topped with ketchup was a memorable meal. I had to get good at eating the right amount. If I accidentally cleaned my plate, seconds were generally forced upon me, but neither did I want to be seen as disliking or wasting the food.

My husband's pickiness was very strong, and still is although now it is tempered by the rationality of an adult, and he doesn't feel hunger in the same way most people do, so he would have starved as a child under the "old school rules." Because of this, I try hard not to make food a battle ground for our kids, but I'm also trying hard to instill manners and an understanding that typically, food is emotional for the preparer as well as the eater, and due consideration should be given to both.

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I think everyone gave great advice.  None of this stuff is universal...and shouldn’t destroy relationships. I remember,her a distant cousin of mine coming to a kids gathering....and one child saying ‘Scarlett’s mom, there is nothing here I like’.  Rubbed my mom so wrong and to this day those two have a very contentious relationship. 

My son is fairly picky IMO.  But he muddles through with the manners I taught him.  The goal is to be kind, gracious, polite, accommodating. 

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59 minutes ago, xahm said:

Because of this, I try hard not to make food a battle ground for our kids, but I'm also trying hard to instill manners and an understanding that typically, food is emotional for the preparer as well as the eater, and due consideration should be given to both.

I don't want it to be a battleground either. I've never forced my kids to eat anything or finish their plates. If something I cooked left several kids hungry I make a pre-dinner snack without telling them it was a replacement for dinner. 😅 And obviously the younger the kid, the more lenient I am. (Though my youngest 2 are the best eaters, I think thanks to example) 

I just think when it comes to food other people prepare,  you have to explicitly teach sensitivity. Kids have a tendency to blurt things out without realizing how it might hurt feelings. If you get bad food from a restaurant, politely explain and ask for a replacement.  If you get it from a home, you had better deal with it or come up with a very discreet way of avoiding that food without making the preparer feel bad about it.

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I think it comes down to the fine line of advocating for yourself and putting others out, right?  It's fine to advocate for yourself (like asking to sit in on a book club).  It's not okay to demand that others cede to all your requests, and to learn when it is appropriate.  When someone does a favor for you or gives you a gift, it's not the time to ask for substitutions or personal preference on how their actions should be done.  When someone provides a service, it's fine to ask when it is within the realms of the service provided.

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I think it’s fine to ask in situations that don’t really inconvenience anybody, as long as you can take no for an answer without getting upset. 

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Ellie asked why someone asks for changes in a restaurant dish.  Well, I can't eat spicy food (having Sjogren's leaves me with barely any saliva and what is mildly hot to others is excruciatingly painful to me).  So when we are at a restaurant that likes to pepper things up, I have to get stuff without the peppers.  (No, I do not go to Mexican or Tex Mex restaurants but others do that too.)  So I ask for a hamburger without chipotle sauce or steak without pepper sauce or anything similar.  I have not had anyone ever refuse me or even question me.  

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I think some exceptions are fine.  I grew up in a family too polite to ever ask for exceptions.  My dh grew up in a family that was always very bold about asking for exceptions in certain circumstances, but also polite about it as well.  But I think everyone probably has some different ideas of what is okay and what isn't.  In a restaurant, I'd have no problem politely asking for an exception.  They can tell me no, and that's fine.  When we're checking into a hotel, my dh always asks for a free upgrade.  I used to get so embarrassed when he did that!  But about 1/4 of the time, they tell him okay!  I would have said no to my child who wanted to sit in on her brother's book club though, because I'd look upon that as a special event for her brother.

I wouldn't want my child to ask for special exception food requests when guests at someone's house unless it's something they're allergic to or would make them sick.  On the other hand, if a young guest asked that of me in my home, I'd go with it.  I do want to be a gracious guest, but I want to be a gracious host as well.

I think there are a lot of subtle etiquette type things that you can't always teach ahead of time.   I think one of the best ways for kids to learn the subtle stuff is by simply observing their parents.

 

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I'm of the type that will ask if the situation seems to warrant it (substitution in a restaurant meal or to have them leave something off) but DH is the type to just suck everything up.

My kids, as a whole, are the types to try very hard not to inconvenience anyone. (My friends marvel, sometimes openly questioning my parenting, that my kids will turn down sweets/ice cream when they are offered it from friend's parents.) They are trying to be polite and sometimes go overboard. We parents continue to model and talk about each episode and what is the proper way to act. Sometimes DH and I differ.

All the situations given in the OP would be fine for me except I probably wouldn't apply for a job requiring 3 yrs experience if I only had 2. So, YMMV. :ph34r:

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Re the library situation... 

It sounds as though your daughter asked the librarian to sit in on brother’s book club without consulting you.  It sounds innocent enough, but after the librarian granted permission, I would’ve felt silly saying “No, dear.  We’re going to wait for him over here.”  I’m one who feels caught off guard in those scenarios, and I’ll go along for lack of a solid reason in the moment.  However, in this case, I think it’s important that a young child knows to ask mom first as a matter of order.

This reminds me of all the times wait Staff has brought DS another soft drink, or asked him if he’d like another ___.  Because his answer is always “Yes!”  He now looks at us and asks if it’s ok, but oh how quickly he learned to work that system.  Lol! 

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30 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

 

All the situations given in the OP would be fine for me except I probably wouldn't apply for a job requiring 3 yrs experience if I only had 2. So, YMMV. :ph34r:

They say that this is specifically one reason why men get better jobs than women.  A man will go ahead and apply, even if he doesn’t have exactly all the qualifications, but only close enough.  A woman will read the qualifications and say, “Oh, I have only two years and not three...” and won’t apply.

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2 minutes ago, Garga said:

They say that this is specifically one reason why men get better jobs than women.  A man will go ahead and apply, even if he doesn’t have exactly all the qualifications, but only close enough.  A woman will read the qualifications and say, “Oh, I have only two years and not three...” and won’t apply.

I was thinking similar.  Think from the perspective of the person who wrote the job ad.  They are just trying to come up with a baseline of experience.  However, your 3 years of experience might be comparable to my 2 years experience plus x trade certification, or the fact that my experience was higher level, or so many other things.  Also it may be that everyone who applied with 3+ years of experience turned out to have other issues.  As long as you're honest on your resume / application, and your background isn't completely ridiculous, let the recruiters decide if you're worth interviewing.  🙂

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34 minutes ago, Doodlebug said:

Re the library situation... 

It sounds as though your daughter asked the librarian to sit in on brother’s book club without consulting you.  It sounds innocent enough, but after the librarian granted permission, I would’ve felt silly saying “No, dear.  We’re going to wait for him over here.”  I’m one who feels caught off guard in those scenarios, and I’ll go along for lack of a solid reason in the moment.  However, in this case, I think it’s important that a young child knows to ask mom first as a matter of order.

This reminds me of all the times wait Staff has brought DS another soft drink, or asked him if he’d like another ___.  Because his answer is always “Yes!”  He now looks at us and asks if it’s ok, but oh how quickly he learned to work that system.  Lol! 

Good point about asking Mom first.  Though I would have no problem interrupting my 6yo and apologizing for her if I didn't want her doing xyz.

One of my kids is pretty good at advocating for herself, and sometimes people think she should shush up when I think she's doing nothing wrong.  For example, last week on vacation we were all hot in the taxi - it needed A/C and the driver wasn't putting it on.  My kid (sitting in row 3 of the van) piped up "can you please turn on the air conditioning?"  The aunties sitting in row 2 shushed her.  I'm still not sure what was wrong about a rider in a taxi politely requesting A/C.  Is it a rule that if you're under 5' tall you keep your mouth shut?

 

Edited by SKL
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I think it's more okay to ask for an exception when you're a paying customer than when you're a guest. But even that has a line where it becomes rude. And when someone is a close friend and you're their guest I think it almost becomes the other way - it would be rude not to advocate for what you want with family and close friends. Because when you don't say what you'd like, they don't know and I've seen too many situations where people seem to think everyone is a mind reader. But again, it can cross a line to entitlement.

I really identify with the picky eating thing. As a child I went hungry often. I mean, when you only eat a few things, there's no level of exceptions that you can ask for on the menu if people take you out for a cuisine you've barely heard of or a restaurant with limited options. It was especially the worst when I was forced to order food. Having to stare at something you're not going to touch while everyone else eats and repeatedly say, "I'm just not hungry," is the worst. 

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3 hours ago, DesertBlossom said:

 I served an LDS mission in another country and we ate one meal in a church member's home almost every day. Some of it was not good at all. But it was always the best they had to give us.  

 

To me, that's very different than my kid having a friend over when supper is ready. Like worlds apart. 

1 hour ago, RootAnn said:

 All the situations given in the OP would be fine for me except I probably wouldn't apply for a job requiring 3 yrs experience if I only had 2. So, YMMV. :ph34r:

 

As someone who has been on hiring committees, I assure you there is no problem with doing this. Heck, if you want to try and convince me via cover letter that you're a great candidate with NO experience, go right ahead. Never tell yourself no! 

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31 minutes ago, SKL said:

Is it a rule that if you're under 5' tall you keep your mouth shut?

 

 

My done-growing kids certainly hope not 😂 

But yes, many people actually do think young people are acting rude or too big for their britches when they make perfectly reasonable requests such as this.  I hope she gave her aunties some serious side-eye for shushing her. 

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If it doesn't put the other person out too much, I don't see asking for an exception as a big deal.

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31 minutes ago, katilac said:

 

To me, that's very different than my kid having a friend over when supper is ready. Like worlds apart. 

 

 

I guess I don't see it that way. We have the missionaries serving in our area over for dinner now and then. I always ask before they come if they have allergies or preferences or strong dislikes because I want to make something they will enjoy. But because LDS missionaries all over the world eat in church member's homes regularly, I am sure they often get served things they don't like, even in middle-class American homes. 

If you're okay with your kids asking for something besides what you cooked, I don't think there's anything wrong with it.  I don't let my kids do it though. So if a child's friend came over for dinner and it was already prepared, I wouldn't turn myself into a short order cook. Unless, of course, dinner is a variety of leftovers or I'm letting the kids fend for themselves and make whatever they want. :)

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I ask all the time.  I have less than zero problem with asking as long as it's done politely and the person asking understands that the answer might be "no"

I just signed up m 8yr old for a lecture at our library that was for "ages 14 and up".  I did ask and was told that my child would be 100% welcomed bc librarian knows my kids and knows that he would sit quietly and listen.

I ask for substitutions at restaurants all the time

I ask for discounts in any and all businesses.

I ask my boss to switch my work days when I need it.

Bottom  line - I ask for what I want. Again, if done with tact and politely I don't see a problem.

That being said - I see people ask for things I would never dream of asking for.  Like presents!  I cringe every time when I see "in lieu  of my bday presents/wedding present, send $$$ here".  Ummm, no!  THAT'S the kind of stuff you don't ask for.

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4 hours ago, xahm said:

I went to a Baptist church in Russia while I lived there, and many of the members were significantly poor, especially by American standards. They were gracious and invited me to after church lunches and occasionally into their homes, and sometimes the food was delicious and sometimes it was less so. Really soupy mashed potatoes with cut-up hot dogs mixed in, topped with ketchup was a memorable meal. I had to get good at eating the right amount. If I accidentally cleaned my plate, seconds were generally forced upon me, but neither did I want to be seen as disliking or wasting the food.

My husband's pickiness was very strong, and still is although now it is tempered by the rationality of an adult, and he doesn't feel hunger in the same way most people do, so he would have starved as a child under the "old school rules." Because of this, I try hard not to make food a battle ground for our kids, but I'm also trying hard to instill manners and an understanding that typically, food is emotional for the preparer as well as the eater, and due consideration should be given to both.

I grew up on that and still love it. My oldest son made it for me for Mother's day last year.  Even my very American (burgers and apple pie) husband had a bit, without mixing it together though. 🙂

 

 

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2 minutes ago, SereneHome said:

I grew up on that and still love it. My oldest son made it for me for Mother's day last year.  Even my very American (burgers and apple pie) husband had a bit, without mixing it together though. 🙂

 

 

Good to know it is actually a "thing." I was worried that the store had been out of most things and that was what was left. I couldn't think of a polite way to ask "did you make this on purpose?"

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6 minutes ago, xahm said:

Good to know it is actually a "thing." I was worried that the store had been out of most things and that was what was left. I couldn't think of a polite way to ask "did you make this on purpose?"

Well, I don't know how it's there now, but when I was growing up, we didn't have most of the produce during the winter, but potatoes were plenty, so we would cook them every which way.  And hot dogs were fairly easy to get.  Much easier than actual chicken or beef.  Much cheaper too.

So, yeah, hot dogs and mashed potatoes were very much a thing 🙂

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I think of exceptions in the context of how much inconvenience it will be for the person being asked. 

Straightforward substitution at a restaurant? No problem, those are common and usually just means the server needing to hit an extra button in the machine.

Asking for something else to eat when a meal has already been prepared and everyone is sitting down to eat? Nope. That interrupts someone else’s meal.

Asking if my kid can take classes with others, when she is out of the stated age range? Yes, I ask. After all, the class is already on offer, and I’m not asking for anything special. I’m to the point (kid is X years old, has Z related experience with the material, can she participate?), and accept no if it’s the answer.

I teach my kid the same: this about the level of inconvenience to the person being asked. If it’s minimal, then ask. If it’s not minimal, then ask only if you feel it’s necessary. If it’s a notable amount of inconvenience, then don’t ask unless there’s something hugely important at stake.

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3 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

Ellie asked why someone asks for changes in a restaurant dish.  Well, I can't eat spicy food (having Sjogren's leaves me with barely any saliva and what is mildly hot to others is excruciatingly painful to me).  So when we are at a restaurant that likes to pepper things up, I have to get stuff without the peppers.  (No, I do not go to Mexican or Tex Mex restaurants but others do that too.)  So I ask for a hamburger without chipotle sauce or steak without pepper sauce or anything similar.  I have not had anyone ever refuse me or even question me.  

Oh, I know why people ask for changes. 🙂 I was wondering about people who make multiple changes, such that it isn't even the same thing when they finish. A friend used to do that. She changed every.single.thing that could possibly be changed on each and every thing she ordered, ever. I just thought that was strange. 🙂

But I understand things like not getting chipotle sauce or the pepper sauce. 🙂 

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Didn't read the other posts so my reply wouldn't be influenced, lol. But I used to be exactly like this! Taught my kids it was rude to ask for exceptions and we played by. all. the. rules. exactly. as. stated.

Their friends got to do all kinds of cool things because they'd either a) just DO them, or b) they would ask if they could have an exception.

I started to change my ways pretty quickly as I saw that people either a) gave those kids what they asked for, happily!) or b) said no, but the sky didn't fall on anyone's heads

We also used to hold 100% FIRM to ANY previous commitments. I've also eased up on that a ton as the kids grew up. We started prioritizing things - and sometimes... they have to back out of a previous commitment when an amazing opportunity opens up elsewhere. It just is how it is.

We've managed to not hurt anyone's feelings thus far, and the kids haven't been kicked out of anything thus far. 😄 But, they no longer have to sit politely and watch others just walk right in front of them and take what they want!! They've learned to prioritize what they want - and take the very direct steps to get exactly that.

(ok, I just peeked up at some previous replies - and no, my kids would never, ever ask for something else to eat at someone else's house or if someone else took them out to dinner and ordered for them UNLESS allergies for one of my kids was involved. But, they've all been around a wide variety of people from other cultures who eat all sorts of things we don't eat and have gotten to try some amazing dishes either at those peoples' homes, or while traveling with other families. If it's put in front of them, they're gonna eat it. Just the way they are. Not picky eaters.)

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Always ok to ask if it is not extra work for anyone. After all, they are not servants and it is not their obligation to go the extra mile on behalf of us. This is what I teach my child. I never ask for substitutes in restaurants, but, I ask them if they can accommodate my vegetarian diet habit before being seated- I have road tripped across the us and have asked this question in steak houses and bbq restaurants and been cheerfully served Mac and cheese and steamed broccoli and sautéed spinach etc! So, it is ok to ask if you absolutely cannot eat what is being served. It is also ok to politely write an email asking a prospective employer if they would consider your resume if you only have 2 years of experience instead of 3 as advertised. What is not ok is to ask for substitution of items on the menu when you can easily eat what is offered without any adverse effects. If I wanted to skip fries, I always tell the waiter that I don’t want the fries and I have been offered apples instead at diners many times. The children learn by watching and then listening to our explanations of why we do what we do.

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I'm pretty sure it's part of the job at any restaurant to at least try to accommodate reasonable substitutions.  So I don't consider it "extra work" if you order something on the menu and ask if you can have it with this or that adjustment.  For example, double the cajun sauce and sub the fries for mashed potatoes (assuming they sell mashed).

On the other hand, it is also not uncommon for the wait staff to tell us they can't give us something on the menu - they have run out of xyz or whatever.  So we adjust.  It works both ways.

 

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I'm one of those that was raised to never ask for exceptions.  I have mellowed over the years, but wish that leaders would be able hold the line better in some occasions.

Our local library had a teen tuesday activity. My girls loved it and enjoyed the big kids only aspect of it. It grew in popularity, and soon younger kids started asking to join.  My girls were irritated that all "the little kids ruined it" because the focus changed from the teens to the younger ones. 

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1 hour ago, jrn said:

I'm one of those that was raised to never ask for exceptions.  I have mellowed over the years, but wish that leaders would be able hold the line better in some occasions.

Our local library had a teen tuesday activity. My girls loved it and enjoyed the big kids only aspect of it. It grew in popularity, and soon younger kids started asking to join.  My girls were irritated that all "the little kids ruined it" because the focus changed from the teens to the younger ones. 

I can see this being a problem.  I wouldn't have any problem advocating for my kids and explaining that the lower age limit meant a change in dynamics that no longer worked for us, and that we'd really prefer a safe place for teens.  This happened at our library before.  They started accepting 12yos, and then 9-12yos...and then wondered why the teens stopped coming.  As soon as the teens explained they created a teen council to help put together ideas for activities just for that age level again.

I've advocated for my kid twice when he was younger than the posted age.  The first was an audition for kids.  He was literally a week shy of the posted age group, which meant if he was accepted he would be the correct age when the program began.  I emailed and explained, and asked if the age was a hard and fast limit, and if so, no worries, we'd do the next year.  (He was welcomed).  The second was a class that piqued his interest but he was a full year too young. In that case, I asked the coordinator to keep him in mind if she chose to do a younger class.  A few days before start she emailed that she had the room in the current class if he wanted to try it out that year.  I'm glad I asked both times because it really did open up opportunities for him.

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17 hours ago, xahm said:

I went to a Baptist church in Russia while I lived there, and many of the members were significantly poor, especially by American standards. They were gracious and invited me to after church lunches and occasionally into their homes, and sometimes the food was delicious and sometimes it was less so. Really soupy mashed potatoes with cut-up hot dogs mixed in, topped with ketchup was a memorable meal. I had to get good at eating the right amount. If I accidentally cleaned my plate, seconds were generally forced upon me, but neither did I want to be seen as disliking or wasting the food.

My husband's pickiness was very strong, and still is although now it is tempered by the rationality of an adult, and he doesn't feel hunger in the same way most people do, so he would have starved as a child under the "old school rules." Because of this, I try hard not to make food a battle ground for our kids, but I'm also trying hard to instill manners and an understanding that typically, food is emotional for the preparer as well as the eater, and due consideration should be given to both.

Good thoughts.  And I do think there are always exceptions to these types of subtle etiquette rules, which is why if I were the host and someone asked me for a substitute, I wouldn't question it at all.  I think in those situations the host needs to be gracious.  (If it's a young guest and the parent doesn't want their child to do that, then it's up to the parent to step in.)

(Also, that's sweet about leaving just the right amount of food on the plate!  Just enough to let them know you were no longer hungry.  :))

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