Thursday, March 05, 2009

There's Nothing Common About Courtesy

by Dick Mac

We all have an opinion about what's right and what's wrong, what's tasteful versus tasteless. Some people believe that establishing a society that benefits the wealthiest is morally superior to a society that spends its money helping those at the bottom. It's all so much opinion.

Etiquette has been one of the systems used to prevent us all from crippling one another as we use doorways, and take our seats. A simple piece of etiquette that always works is: "ladies first" when a more than one person is making their way through a doorway (like onto an elevator). It keeps things orderly and nobody has to guess who goes first. I will always subscribe to it, even when a faux-feminist in an office building feigns offense.

It's just a logic thing, ma'am, not a fairer sex thing.

One of my pet peeves is the commuter with luggage. I don't mean the traveller with luggage, I understand why a traveller has luggage. I'm talking about the person who is going to work and has three bags, every day. What are you carrying with you? Good etiquette should inform us that a single bag is sufficient for getting back and forth between home and office, during rush hour.

Thousands of writers have written about etiquette over the years, and a new article discusses Party Poopers, Nickel & Dimin’, The Line-Up, The ME Show, Baby Biz, Mobile Madness, Smokes, The Pee & Flee, Stealing, Belly Baring, Spitting, and Honking. I am guilty of one of these. How many do you suffer (or make us suffer) with:

The Worst (And Most Common) Etiquette Mistakes

Party Poopers When you receive an invitation to a dinner or party--whether by Evite, voicemail, or casual email--RESPOND. Yeah, that’s what that little “RSVP” thing means. Everyone knows it, yet it’s amazing how many don’t respond. Even for weddings! Planning a party or event requires a lot of work, so do the host a simple favor and let them know if you're coming or not.

Nickel & Dimin’ How annoying is it when you go to dinner with four or more people, the check finally arrives, and one of your meal companions begins to divvy up the check down to the last penny? Sure, we get that Sally had a shrimp salad, and Janet had two iced teas, while Beth only had water, and you ordered a slice of peach pie (a la mode, which is extra). The point is, if you go out to dinner with a group, be prepared to split the bill more or less evenly. If there's an outstanding cost differential, fine, estimate it and be done with it. The person who spends twenty minutes dividing the bill to the dime comes off as a cheapskate –- and kills the festive mood.

The Line-Up Lines are a fact of life. At the post office, the supermarket, just about everywhere these days. For starters, moaners who huff and gripe about standing in a line of three people for all of five minutes are tops on our list. Get over yourself -- if you don’t have a few minutes to wait to buy that loaf of bread, then pick it up another time. Another thing: Don’t show your impatience by creeping up so close to the person in front of you that they can feel your breath. Crowding those around you will not get you to the front any faster, so give them some space. Finally, cutting in line or trying to ignore the fact that there IS a line –- stop it! Everyone’s time is valuable. Continue reading here . . .

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