If I see a famous baseball player at the grocery store, can I just say, “Hi?”

Dear Manners: A Major League Baseball player has just moved to my neighborhood, and my friends have told me they’ve seen him at the grocery store, local restaurants, etc.

I would never interrupt anyone’s meal, but if we were examining vegetables in the produce section, would it be rude to say hello? I would never ask for an autograph or a selfie, but is it polite to ignore his presence?

Gentle reader: “Hi” might confuse the player and make him think he knows you. Anything more might prevent him from checking his vegetables properly.

When it comes to meeting celebrities, Miss Manners quietly advises, “I’m a huge fan,” before moving on. Done right, the player will be flattered – and relieved that they won’t have to ignore their products for long.

Dear Mrs. Manners: I have a relative who wears glasses to perform certain tasks. When not in use this one takes it and puts it around my house.

This is fine in most areas, but I draw the line at kitchen counters. I have repeatedly asked them not to put their glasses on the counter. They make fun of him and do him a lot anyway. This is unhealthy and disgusting, in my opinion. Am I overreacting?

Gentle reader: Unclear. Because Miss Manners has a hard time imagining how, exactly, this practice is unhealthy.

Regardless, it bothers you, so she suggests you try to solve the problem by giving your relative a lanyard for glasses for their next birthday or holiday. “You always seem to be misplacing, so I thought this might help ‘He’s Infinitely Better’ Please keep gross germs off the kitchen counter.”

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Dear Manners: While celebrating his recent birthday at a beautiful restaurant downtown, our server welcomed my husband, me, and our adult children with a bottle of wine. The server handed my husband a card and said the bottle was a gift for him, and that the card would tell us who it was (it turned out to be a business partner).

We’re not usually wine drinkers, but sometimes, I like a glass or two of a nice red. My husband wanted to return it or exchange it for a cocktail or something of equal value. I thought that would be rude and inappropriate, so I said I would be happy to drink some wine. The server opened the bottle and poured it for us.

My husband was unhappy that I did this, because he never drank alcohol and it was his birthday. I felt that asking for an exchange was a little beyond rude. What is the correct way to handle the situation?

Gentle reader: You could have asked the server to hold the bottle for you, telling him and the business partner who sent it that you wanted to enjoy it later, at home. Then your husband could have asked for something else with dinner.

Barring that, Miss Manners agrees, the only polite thing to do is to graciously drink some wine. Meanwhile, your husband should let go of his “But it’s my birthday!” Tantrums for a group of less than 5 years.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners on her website, www.missmanners.com; to her e-mail, [email protected]; or by postal mail to Miss Manners, Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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