Monday, December 22, 2008

Grocery Store Do’s & Don’ts
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 31-32)
1. Follow express lane rules
2. New check-out lane, don’t dash to front
3. Return item to proper place
4. Bag your own stuff, if there is no bagger
5. Make your items accessible to cashier
6. Use Dividers
7. If you break an item let employee know
8. Treat your cashier respectfully
9. Take special care with large carts
10. Don’t block traffic in aisles
11. Don’t dash back for more items while in the checkout line.
12. Don’t push the items of other customers
13. Don’t put your $ on the conveyor belt
14. Don’t overuse cell phone in store
15. Don’t leave cart in parking space

Today’s Rudest Behaviors

Today’s Rudest Behaviors
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 39)

1. Telling ethnic or rude jokes
2. Using 4-letter words in public
3. Loud cell phone conversations in public
4. Treating service industry people without respect
5. Allowing your children to run wild
6. Road Rage, aggressive, unsafe driving
7. Abusing coaches, referees, or other players
8. Fouling sidewalks with spit, dog poop or trash
9. Charging thoughtlessly through crowds
10. Butting into checkout lines or parking spaces
11. Lighting up in a room full of non-smokers
12. Not giving up your seat for a needy person

Walking Etiquette

Walking Etiquette
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 21)

1. Be aware of others when pushing stroller, or pulling suitcase.
2. If you must, talk quietly on your cell
3. No sudden stopping, pull off to the side
4. No slow, meandering walking
5. Large groups should allow others to pass
6. Move to the side if you want to stop and chat
7. No Spitting!
8. No texting, pull off to the side.

Smart Shopping

Smart Shopping
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 31)

1. At the cash register, get your money out before you are rung up. It keeps the line moving.
2. Keep children under control!
3. Keep cell phone use to a minimum.
4. Never talk on cell phone when you are paying for a purchase, it is disrespectful to the cashier.

Restroom Etiquette

Restroom Etiquette
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 748)

1. Dispose of paper towels.
2. Wrap up and throw personal hygiene products in the trash
3. Wipe the washbasin clean of water, soap, etc
4. Don’t have conversations from a stall
5. In unisex bathroom, put the toilet seat down
6. Remove toilet seat protectors from seat when done.
7. Flush the toilet when done!

How to Say “No”

How to Say “No”
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 287)

People often feel uncomfortable saying “no” to requests. One of the bedrock principles of good manners is honesty
1. Accompany a “no” with a positive comment
2. Don’t hem and haw, just say “no”
3. Don’t open the door for future requests unless you welcome them. “I can’t help now but call me in the future…

Women’s Fashion Misdemeanors

Women’s Fashion Misdemeanors
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 59)

1. Clothing that is too tight, too short or too revealing for the occasion
2. Dandruff flakes on dark garments
3. Visible stocking seams on toes
4. Gaps in clothing that show underwear or private body parts
5. Too dressy shoes with casual outfit
6. Cocktail dresses during the day
7. Jingling, annoying jewelry
8. Torn Hems or linings that show

Family Etiquette

Family Etiquette
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 109)

1. Don’t drop by without calling, ask for last minute babysitting, or for money
2. Don’t criticize or gossip about family members.
3. Don’t tell embarrassing personal stories
4. Don’t be late
5. Don’t expect free business advice or goods
6. Offer/accept help at family gatherings
7. Don’t display poor table manners, interrupt or dominate the conversation
8. Discipline your children
9. Don’t boast about your children
10. Don’t insist children be at adult activities

Men’s Fashion Misdemeanors

Men’s Fashion Misdemeanors
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 55)

1. Poorly fitted clothes – too baggy/tight
2. Shoes in bad condition
3. Sandals with a suit
4. Socks worn with sandals
5. Socks that show when standing
6. Shins that show when sitting
7. Tie with a short-sleeved shirt
8. Too much jewelry
9. Dandruff flakes on garment
10. Underwear or buttocks showing

Annoying Behaviorq

Annoying Behaviors
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 171)

1. Gum Chewing – confined to private times; no popping, smacking, chewing with mouth open. Dispose of gum in wrapper, no under a table
2. Playing Loud Music – Cars, Home, leaking earphones
3. Whispering, telling secrets, giggling behind hands
4. Spitting – Disgusting and unsanitary. In kids, may be a sign they are chewing tobacco
5. Smoking – don’t smoke in another’s car or home, smoke in designate areas

Behaving in Public

Behaving in Public
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 25)

1. Keep your voice to a reasonable level
2. Talk quietly on your cell phone
3. Keep your language clean
4. Don’t comb hair or put on lipstick
5. Chew gum unobtrusively
6. No passionate embraces, kissing or worse
7. Careful with that cigarette
8. Throw your trash in a can
9. Stand back at ATMs

Dog Walking Etiquette

Dog Walking Etiquette
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 22)

1. Leash should be no more than 6’
2. Pick up the poop
3. Ask before you let your dog greet another dog
4. Ask before you let your dog greet a child
5. Don’t assume everyone likes dogs

Airplane Etiquette

Airplane Etiquette
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 782)

1. Aisle Seat – Keep elbows and feet in
2. It is okay to gently wake someone if you need to get out of your seat
3. Offer to switch seats for someone who needs to get out often
4. Keep work materials from overflowing onto your neighbor
5. Don’t read your neighbors notes, etc.
6. Keep noise to a minimum, i.e. conversations, Ipods, kids.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ornament Exchange Party

I went to an ornament exchange party at a neighbors house this evening. Everyone brings a wrapped ornament and as people leave the party they take an ornament home. As I was getting ready to leave with a friend of mine, I saw two women, both of whom I know, systematically going through all the ornaments that were in gift bags and making derogatory comments about the ornaments they did not like (which was all of them). I reprimanded them for their intolerable behavior but they continued to ransack the gifts. They even showed them to me as if they were going to convert me to their way of thinking. One of the hostesses tried to stop them but to no avail.

Nothing would stop them. Interestingly, one ended up taking her own, wrapped gift home and the other took a box that she had not opened.

I was stunned at the complete lack of decorum.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

8th Day-Thanks to the lady on the train...

for being a gracious recipient of my card. She was having a long but not to loud conversation on her cell phone. I nicely handed her back a card. She got off the phone right away. I felt badly. I turned back and told her it was an experiment. She didn't think she was speaking loudly. It wasn't that so much but it was long. One of the cell phone never-evers is to keep cell phone conversations on public transportation to a minimum.

There was a close call on the train ride home...but the guy ended his call as I was about to give him the card.

While I was not giving out cards, I offered to help a woman get her suitcase on the train, picked up coffee for my art history professor, said hello to all the traffic control workers, and gave money to two homeless people (I dropped my glove and one lady called me back to let me know I lost my glove) and one charity. I let the people off the train before me, allowed my babysitter to go home early, let a clerk in a shop know that I had broken an item and was friendly to everyone I encountered today.

Dealing with Rudeness (Etiquette, p. 35-37)

Five kinds of Rudeness:

1. Aggressive Rudeness - designed to punish you for something you've done. Tailgating if a driver feels you've cut them off.

2. Casual Rudeness - Yakking loudly on a cell phone, blocking the sidewalk to chat.

3. Rudeness in Disguise - "Love that new haircut. You look so much better than before!"

4. Unwitting Rudeness - Poor table manners, talking loudly because of hearing loss.

5. Bottom-of-the-Barrel Behavior - obscenities in public, blowing your nose in anything but tissue or hankie, spitting on the sidewalk.

Art of Responding:

1. Don't take it personally. Offender may have had a bad day. Give the benefit of the doubt.

2. Size up your annoyances. Let things go.

3. Take responsibilities for your own actions. Did I do something to provoke the treatment.

4. Mentally count to ten. "Is it really worth blowing my stack over it?"

5. Use Humor. When someone says, "You look terrible." You could respond, "How kind of you to say so!"

If you must respond, try to use a nice tone. Instead of "Shut up" How about "Many of us are trying to read, would you mind lowering your voice? Thanks."

If you are rude whether inadvertently or on purpose, apologize and an explanation can soothe hurt feelings.

7th Day

I am revamping the way I am doing this piece for several reasons. Out in the burbs I am not finding as nearly as many transgressions as I thought I would. People often do things out of ignorance. I watched while a woman at Kohl's threw garbage into the bag recycling container. I pulled it out and threw it away myself. I am finding that I do not have cards that fit transgressions. A woman in the school pick-up line taking up two spaces.

I have found once again, that my actions are very powerful. I was in Hobby Lobby when a man broke a lamp while carry a Christmas tree. He stood there looking lost. I went over and said, "Lets move all of these pieces to the side." He responded "OK, and then I walk away?" I said, "No, you need to let the store know that it is broken." He said, "OK." and went and got a store employee.

Because I don't always have cards that fit the breech, I am creating new cards that look like this:

I am creating new cards.

Just a Gentle Reminder...
Etiquette Cards

on one side and this quote on the other:

Why Etiquette Matters
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 6)

Grounded as it is in timeless principles, etiquette enables us to face whatever the future may bring with strength of character and integrity. This ever-adaptive code of behavior also allow us to be flexible enough to respect those whose beliefs and traditions differ from our own. Civility and courtesy (in essence, the outward expressions of human decency) are the proverbial glue that holds society together—qualities that are more important than ever in today’s complex and changing world.

I can write the person's transgressions on the front side. I feel these cards are a little more positive and informative and allow for more flexibility.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

6th Day

Not a good day. Housebound again with a sick child...Did get a phone call from the pediatrician, to inform me that I will not be able to get the flu booster shot for my youngest child. Under age 9 they get 2 shots 4 weeks apart. Apparently they did not hold back doses for those needing the booster. She also suggested that had I come in earlier in the season, this wouldn't have happened. Normally I would have been critical of this, they gave away the shots with a disregard to the other patients and then put the spin that he probably didn't need it anyway. I normally "shoot the messenger" and anyone in the area when I am annoyed about things like this. But I politely asked the nurse, "Are you making a lot of these phone calls," she replied "yes." I told her I would not give her a hard time.

No cards on day #6.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

5th Day as the Etiquette Spokeswoman

I put on my gear yesterday and headed out into the world with my sick child. We stopped at the post office, where I offered to help a postal clerk find a new babysitter. Her babysitter quit with no notice (breech of etiquette - I would send her a card if I knew where she was!) and now she is jumping through hoops to get her kindergarten age child taken care of so she and her husband can get to work. I wasn't even tempted to give her the Family Etiquette card which states "Don't ask family for unreasonable babysitting services." She is in dire straits.

We headed from there to the grocery store, with my card showing 15 transgressions that can occur there. Nothing. Midwesterners are a gracious crowd! From there we headed my son's doctor appointment. We were left waiting in the examining room for 20 minutes. Normally I would have complained, "My time is valuable too!" "Why didn't you tell me you had a medical emergency, I would have understood!" But the nurse informed us at the start, that the doctor had an exam and we might want to read a book, (Code for: you'll be waiting awhile). When the doctor arrived she was very friendly, took time with us, so it turned out to be a nice experience. After that, we went to Blockbuster, where the clerk kindly showed us where Ben Ten and Scooby Doo were kept. No breeches here!

We went home.

Today's another day!

Monday, December 8, 2008

4th Day

I was housebound with a sick child all day. But I did dress the part even though I did not leave the house...Was able to correct the kids on a few points. My 13 year old nearly knocked me out of the way as I was on my way to the powder room...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

3rd Day

I went shopping, no opportunities. I went to yoga, without my cards. Two women from the previous spin class continued to chat 5 minutes into the yoga class. I was contemplating what to do when they stopped. I realized that, even without cards, I could nicely approach the women and say, "Perhaps you didn't realize that the yoga class started, would you mind finishing your chat outside the studio?" Live and learn.

I have realized that in all situations there is a nice, gentle way to handle breechers of etiquette!

Friday, December 5, 2008

2nd Day

I did not give out any cards on the ride into the city. I've noticed that people are better behaved on the way into the city in the mornings. I was able to give some Just Gentle Reminder cards to classmates, mostly for bad language. I also left a couple of cards in the ladies bathroom; one stall was left a disgusting mess.

As I was riding the train home, I noticed a woman with leaky earphones. I went over with a card, pointed out her transgression. She handed me back the card and continued to listen to loud music. Proper etiquette dictates that I leave the situation alone, which I did.

I went to the movies this evening. Everyone at the theater was on good behavior.

To the girl in Lagrange with the Loud Music...

Thanks for graciously accepting my first Just A Gentle Reminder Card. You are the first person to be part of a social experiment on the effect of good manners on society. I hope you have a great weekend!

As I ventured out in the guise of Ms. Manners, I actually started to become her. I put my cart back in the cart holder at Home Depot and Costco. I was friendly to all of the store employees. Their faces lit up when I said hello. I realized that I don't often say hello unless I am approached first...It was interesting.

Being all dooded up really makes a difference in how people treat you. You feel better and therefore act more confident and in my case friendlier and people respond to that. It makes me think that it would be an interesting piece to put yourself in the same situation over and over, dressed and acting differently and see how people respond...

Anyway, I gave out one card to a girl at a stop light blasting her music. I just handed it to her but realized I should have been polite..."May I give you my card?" This is not something I can be aggressive about. Anything I've read about good manners states that one should avoid confrontation when on can, take the higher road, so to speak. I will only give out the cards when someone is so in breech as to make others around them uncomfortable. I have found that being the person with impeccable (sans the giving out of etiquette cards) manners is very powerful in itself.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Etiquette Cards

If you've received one of these cards, you've been in breech of a rule of etiquette. This is a social experiment to see if good manners can make the world a happier and safer place. This is just one example of the cards that I will be handing out over the course of the next week. I will also be living my life in the realm of good manners (my only breech, hopefully, is the handing out of the cards!)

Just A

Cell Phone Never-Evers
(Emily Post’s Etiquette, p. 307)

1. Never talk too loudly in public
2. Never leave the ringer on in quiet places
3. Don’t chat if you are with someone
4. Keep calls to a minimum on public transportation or in public areas
5. Don’t use offensive language
(This can include I love yous and my kid is brilliant comments)

Bedrock Principles of Etiquette:

Respect-recognizing the value of other human beings and yourself

Honesty-behaving ethical but avoiding hurting others

Consideration-thoughtfulness and kindness; putting others at ease

Graciousness-handling situations with aplomb and flexibility

Deference-recognizing a person's experience and accomplishments, i.e. using respectful forms of address, standing when an older person enters a room, etc. (p. 3-4 of Emily Post's Etiquette)

All of the etiquette tips printed on these cards were taken from the 17th edition of Emily Post's Etiquette.

Misconceptions about etiquette and the need for it abound, which makes it necessary to list four things etiquette is not:

A set of rigid rules - it is a prescribed way of behaving to make others feel comfortable

Something for the wealthy or well-born
- it is a code of behavior for people from all walks of life. Everyone's life can be enhanced by good manners

A thing of the past - although things are more casual today, the bedrock principles still apply

Snobbishness - a.k.a. pretentiousness - a person who looks down on others shows himself not as superior but small-the kind of person who's anything but respectful and considerate. ( p. 5 of Etiquette)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Shouting on Mobiles is Still Most Annoying Trait

cell_booth.jpg According to a new survey, speaking too loudly on mobile phones remains the most irritating thing about people using them in public. Cellular News reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe Modern Mobile Manners survey reveals that more than half of those questioned found loud talking more annoying than ringtones or even taking calls while at the dinner table.

Nearly two thirds of those researched ignored calls from people when they saw who it was that was calling – with more than 80% lying about it afterwards. And more than three quarters regularly answered calls while having a meal with friends and colleagues – despite 60% of those same individuals thinking this was a sign of bad manners.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Related: - Businesses putting lid on cellphone chatterboxes
emily | 6:23 PM | permalink

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Op-Ed Contributor
All Apologies

The New York Times

Published: November 10, 2008

I SOMETIMES find strangers’ manners so lacking that I have started engaging in an odd kind of activism. I call it reverse etiquette: I supply the apology that they should be giving me.

When the ebullient young woman behind the cash register at the grocery store dropped my apple on the ground, she smiled nervously, picked it up and put it in my bag, but said nothing. So I offered, in a neutral tone of voice, “Oh, I’m sorry.” This did not elicit the remorse I hoped it would — she simply grimace-smiled and said, “That’s O.K.” So I added, “Sorry about that — I really didn’t mean for you to drop that.” At which she stared off into the mid-distance as if receiving instructions from outer space.

A few weeks later, the skinny, 20-something gentleman manning the cash register at the pizzeria told me, “I can’t break a 20.” So I asked, “Would you mind terribly if I went next door and got change?” He said, “That’s fine.” When I returned, no thanks or apology forthcoming from him, I said in a flat, non-sarcastic voice, “So sorry — I hope I didn’t keep you waiting?” Confused, he shook his head no. “I forget stuff sometimes,” I said — a cue that went unmet.

How did I get here? I’d feel like a marm or a scold if I told a stranger that he has bad manners; so instead I wage a campaign of subtle remonstrance. That this subtle remonstrance was, in its initial forays at least, mostly lost on my interlocutors did not faze me: being able to sublimate my irritation was its own reward.

But I like to think that in some instances my behavior, by causing others to wonder what I’m going on about, may help to carry out etiquette’s mandate: to promote empathy. It’s my distinct hope that the person who is apologized to when she drops my apple is a person who will have an epiphany the next time someone drops her apple.

And yet, placated though I am by the realization that I am providing others with gentle, time-released lessons, sometimes the angry little man inside me wants more. Much more. To wit, an apology.

So I have become more explicit in my acts of reverse etiquette. The other day I apologized to a tall, bearded man who slammed his duffel into me at Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street. Then I told him, “I’m saying what you should be saying.” He responded, in toto, “Oh, right.”

Though this response could not be described as “blanket-like,” it nevertheless gave me enough ground to see that I was on the right track. I realized that I just need to be even more explicit with people. So the other day, when a stroller-pushing mother semi-vigorously bumped into me at Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street — this corner is apparently the Bermuda Triangle of manners — I expressed remorse, and added, “No one says I’m sorry anymore, so I do it for them.”


“My idea is that if I say I’m sorry, then at least the words have been released into the universe.”

She stared at me with equal parts irritation and faint horror, as if I had just asked her to attend a three-hour lecture on the history of the leotard.

I continued: “The apology gets said, even if it’s not by the right person. It makes me feel better. And maybe you’ll know what to say next time.”

“Wow,” she said. (The tickets for the leotard lecture were $200, or $500 at the door.)

And then, finally, came the words I have longed these many months to hear: “I’ll think about it.”

Henry Alford is the author of the forthcoming “How to Live.”
More Articles in Opinion » A version of this article appeared in print on November 10, 2008, on page A29 of the New York edition.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Manners Keep the World Civilized

Chris Lowrey

Manners are more important than simply not repulsing the person next to you when you eat. They are a part of a larger picture and come around like a carousel when passed on. When you pass on good manners, a helping hand will come your way when you’re down. When bad manners are passed on, it will come around to slap you back down when you think you’re invincible on your pedestal.

If we stop teaching our children manners, our society will be in a heap of trouble! Practicing manners leads to caring about others which in turns makes this world a better place to live. Teaching manners is the front line of kindness.

Have you ever had a stranger pick up something you dropped? They were taught manners which led them to be kind to you. Holding the door for the next person, giving up your seat in the waiting area of the restaurant for an elderly person, helping your neighbors search for their lost pet, pitching in when your coworker is having a bad day, donating to a worthy cause, supporting our troops regardless of your position on the war, serving at a food line for the homeless and hungry, forgiving even when we can’t forget, these are acts of kindness beyond resting the napkin on your lap while you eat. Practicing manners is exhibiting kindness. If we gradually become a world of people who have not been taught to care about how their actions can make others feel, as a society, we slide down a slope that will be most unpleasant when we hit bottom.

Manners are very much a part of our world. It is the gift of compassion that we can generously share, regardless of wealth. Manners are the heart and soul of the human race.

Even when you’re having a cloudy day and the thought of doing something for someone else is exhausting, (we have all been there), think about doing it for yourself. I was once told that there is no such thing as a selfless act, and I still have not been able to prove that wrong. Even when the kind generated for someone else, there is always a feeling of satisfaction and pride when you help others, thereby benefiting yourself. When all is said and done, the person you helped walks away pleased and you feel better about yourself. It’s a win-win result.

How is the best way to teach manners? By example! Of course with young children, words are required but more often than not, children will use their eyes much more often than their minds. Show them how good it feels to ‘do unto others as you would have other do unto you.’ Take some fresh baked cookies to the elderly person down the street, remember to say thank you to the waitress who serves the meal, give the stressed out mom in the grocery store a gentle smile that says you have been there, make a get well card for the friend in the hospital, or cut some fresh flowers for a random nursing home. Whatever you do, give some kindness direct from your heart.

There is not much difference between acts of kindness and manners. They are entwined into the core of humanity. Strengthen the ties that connect us and teach manners by both words and actions. Add to the glory of the human race.