Tuesday turnaround

Happy Tuesday readers! Today, we decided to turn things around and ask you about your top etiquette pet peeves. From people eating with their mouths open and oversharing to bad hygiene and bad FB habits, let’s gab about what makes you gasp. For example, people who drink too much and behave badly. Exhibit A:  

Image courtesy AMC Mad Men

Mad Men’s Don Draper is smart, charming, elegant and mysterious, but we all know when he drinks too much, he is a naughty boy. OK, he’s bad with or without the booze, but you get our meaning.

So, post your comments here, on Facebook or Twitter or shoot us an e-mail at charmfinder@gmail.com and tell us what offends you or what society could do to re-find its style, sophistication and respectability.

Cheers!

M

Snakes on a plane

With fed-up flight attendant Steven Slater making headlines for what some view as the greatest job exit in recent history, we thought it was high time to discuss a few airline travel do’s and don’ts (for the record, we think there was probably a more, shall we say refined, way for Mr. Slater to quit his job, but that’s fodder for another day).

We hope that these simple tips will prevent future in-flight meltdowns from the many men and women who keep us hydrated, answer our questions, calm our fears of flying and deal every day with what must certainly be some of the worst behavior on the ground or in the not-so-friendly skies.

 Do

1. Dress for the occasion: There was a time when travelers were expected to show up donning snappy suits and well-coordinated dresses. Like so:   

Courtesy of the Culinary Arts Museum

It was all so very civilized. And get a load of all of that food! No peanuts for Mr. and Mrs. Pennebacker, that’s for sure.

While it’s doubtful that the airline passengers of today (and the flight attendants for that matter, because to be honest we aren’t too fond of the Applebee’s employee, khaki-pants-and golf-shirt look for our in-flight professionals) will go back to the days of suiting up, we encourage those traveling both for business and pleasure to put a little effort into your attire. Perhaps it shouldn’t be so, but when we dress with class, we are treated with class. And who knows, you may even get a free upgrade to first class for looking so snazzy!

2. Read the carry-on rules for your carrier. Yes, it’s sometimes like reading a legal document, but when you play by the rules, the process goes much smoother and faster for everyone. If you know your bag is too big for the overhead bin, just check it.

3. Learn and observe the etiquette and , ahem, hygiene conventions for the city, state or country in which you are traveling.

4. Be kind. We’re all in this thing together, so let’s play nice with our fellow passengers and our flight attendants.

 Don’t

 1. Be demanding.

 2. Be loud.

 3. Drink too much, because even though those bottles are tiny and cute, they pack a punch!

 4. Bother the person seated next to you if he or she is reading, wearing headphones or working on a laptop. These are time-honored, universal signs for “I’d like to be left alone, thank you.”

Now, fasten your seatbelts, enjoy the flight and give your flight attendant a break by behaving like a civilized, adult human being and not like a hyena.   

 Cheers!

M

Speak up about speakerphones

Yesterday a reader posted the following on the Re-find Facebook page:

“Please post some proper speakerphone etiquette. I would always like to be asked for my permission before someone (who obviously cannot give me their full attention) puts me on speaker.”

The quick response we gave is that one should always let the other party know when they are on speakerphone, especially if others are in the room.

To expand on that a bit, if you are in the middle of another task, rather than put the other party on speakerphone, ask if you can call them back when you are able to give them your full attention. This will make them feel more appreciated during the later conversation and will allow you to focus on the task at hand. Just don’t forget to call back.

In our experience, most people don’t like to be on speakerphone at all, so avoid it when possible, unless you are including someone else in the room on the call — with the knowledge and permission of the person on the other end of the line, as mentioned.

Another occasion that gets the Re-find speakerphone hall pass is if you or the other party uses hearing aids, because the hearing device can produce feedback when it’s against a phone. This one is close to our hearts, because the speakerphone option has allowed us to have much better — and quieter — conversations with dear old Dad.

Finally, if you need to go hands-free in order to perform a task that must be completed during the phone conversation, you may ask, “Is it OK if I put you on speakerphone for a minute, so you can walk me through the process of defusing the bomb?”

So, to recap, 99 percent of the time, it’s better to forgo the awkward speakerphone business and just tell your friend, parent, the guy from Verizon offering you an upgraded plan, child, neighbor or whomever, that you will call them back in a minute, after you’ve finished changing that diaper; strength training; tweeting; watering the plants at the office; driving; or whatever it is that you do instead of listening intently to the person on the other end of the iPhone. 

When you are done with your chores, pour yourself a lovely glass of wine or coffee, sit down in a comfortable chair and return the call — no speaker phone required. Doesn’t that sound a lot more pleasant?

Cheers!

M

Reader question: Re-finding the tea ceremony

A good friend and very lady like individual recently inquired:

“When ordering hot tea, do you leave the tea bag in your cup or can you/should you put it on the side of your cup? I don’t like my tea to steep to a point that it’s too strong, so I pull it out. But then, I had extra water, so I put it back in and poured more water to create more tea.”

To answer her question we said:

If the cup is already filled with hot water, put the bag in right away (pointers for it served with a pot and a bag below). Allow it to steep for about five minutes or less, depending on your preferred strength. Remove the bag with your spoon and hold it over the cup to drain it and then lay the bag to rest on your saucer. If the tea is served in a mug without a saucer, ask for a small dish. If the server brings a pot of hot water, drop the tea bag in and wait for it to steep. Leave the bag in the pot after you’ve poured your cup. 

Tea should be fun and relaxing, so most importantly, enjoy it. That said, two more quick “don’ts”:

Don’t wind the string around the bag while it’s on your spoon and squeeze it.

Don’t pick up the bag by its string and shake it.

As usual, we wouldn’t deny you any of the above while in the privacy of  your own home, but do refrain while at the restaurant, tea room or in someone else’s living room.

Cheers!

M

Love in an elevator

It seems we all have our etiquette pet peeves. At Re-find, the top peeve is when we are trying to exit an elevator, but the boarding passengers push inside, instead of allowing us to disembark.

Even if you are in a hurry, just step aside and let your fellow riders clear the door. The same goes for entering and exiting a building or room. Ironically, coming and going would go a lot faster if we all observed this one little courtesy.

Cheers!

M

We’ve come a long way Baby!: Smoking part II

It comes as no surprise that smoking etiquette is a hot-button issue. During a recent conversation with smoking and non-smoking Re-finders, we discussed gender-specific smoking manners. One smoker mentioned that her biggest smoking pet peeve is when women walk on the street while puffing away on a cigarette or engage in activities with one hanging out of her mouth.

We agree, this is not a pretty picture.

In addition to being unattractive, it’s also a good way to burn yourself or an innocent bystander. So quite frankly, men should avoid this behavior too. But let’s face it, for some reason, a man doesn’t look quite as bad with a cig hanging out of his mouth as a woman.

Ladies, we’re sure you are thinking there is a double standard at work here, but we prefer to look at it as more of a higher standard. Perhaps if we do little things in public, such as foregoing belching contests and saving the Marlboro Man look for the privacy of our own patios, as icing on the cake, our male counterparts may treat us the way we deserve to be treated — with respect.

Cheers!

M

Welcoming the (child) strangers

A friend today posed the question:

“Is it appropriate? You are having a party in your backyard. You have a bounce house and kid food for the children. Kids who are strangers, let themselves in, join in the play, ask for food, drink, the restroom. You do not know these children, they do not live in your neighborhood, and you did not prepare enough kid food for several extra children.”

We chimed in that in terms of etiquette, no it was not appropriate for the children to crash the party, but what small child wouldn’t follow the siren call of a bounce house and kid bites? Can you imagine the looks on their faces had they been turned away? We say, let the little beasts into the party and if they get out of hand, politely show them the gate.

Another person mentioned the potential liablity if one of the children got hurt. Unless the parents of the invited children signed a liablity waiver, the potential for being sued is present whether or not guests are invited, so again, we say the more the merrier.

In a perfect world, the children would have been taught by their parents that it’s a no-no to show up uninvited to a party, but alas we do not live in a perfect world. Look on the bright side, the children — invited and uninvited — will learn abut the kindness of strangers, sharing and giving. And who knows, maybe your little darlings will make a lifelong friend out of one of the pintsized party crashers.

What do you think? Share your thoughts, concerns or similar experiences.

Cheers!
M

No phone zone

At Re-find, we love our cell phones. Like most people, we don’t leave home without it and we are often either chatting or texting.

That said, there s a time and a place for phone use. We recommend declaring certain areas phone free zones. For example, the theater, the dining table and the car if you are driving.

The first and second are simple courtesy, the third is a safety issue. Too many accidents are happening these days because of chatting or texting while driving. There is no conversation or text worth hurting yourself or someone else.

Let’s all take the Oprah No Phone Zone pledge to make the car a phone free zone.

Cheers!

M