Question: If I buy a drink for a friend, is he obligated to leave the tip?

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Today’s question surrounds cocktail etiquitte. The asker wants to know if when buying drinks for a friend, if the friend is obligated to offer up the tip. Also, if said friend doesn’t, does the buyer have the right to be annoyed?

We advise that while it would be a lovely gesture for the friend to offer the tip, he isn’t obligated to do it. If he doesn’t, it’s of course a free country, but it was a gift to buy the drink, so you are obligated to absorb the cost of the tip and keep your annoyance to yourself. After all, you knew that was part of it when you bought the round. No matter what though, a hearty thank you is required and cheers to the buyer’s health.

This conversation does have us thinking that from now on, we’ll at least offer up tip money when given the gift of a delicious adult beverage.

What do you think? To offer tip or not to offer tip?

Cheers!
M

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Gossip girls

We have a confession to make to you today kind readers. We are absolutely the worst gossips on the planet here at Re-find. We aren’t proud of it, but alas it’s true. Thankfully, our affliction doesn’t cross over to telling things told to us in confidence, so your secret truly is safe with us. But we love to dish with friends about celebs and — we’re so sorry — regular folks in our orbit. Why are we confessing it? Because we are resolving to stop so much darned gossiping in 2011.

"Gossip" by Norman Rockwell

We blame it on being a reporter, but we know that’s just a convenient excuse. Gossip at its best is frivolous and at its worst, unkind and you know how much we dislike unkindness. That said, we came across this really funny quote about gossip while preparing for this blog entry:

“It’s perfectly monstrous the way people go about nowadays saying things against one, behind one’s back, that are absolutely and entirely true,” Oscar Wilde

We are shaking our heads at ourselves as we type!

Interestingly, studies over the past five years have yielded interesting results, such as that men gossip more than women and that gossip is only about 5 percent malicious, which you can read more about in a 2009 article from the N.Y. Daily News.

Are you a gossip? Would you, could you give it up? We promise, we won’t tell anyone.

Cheers!

M


To reply all, or not to reply all?

Today we offer a quick tip regarding e-mail etiquette. This post stems from a reader who requested that we post about when (and when not) to use reply all.

As a rule of thumb, just say no. Most of us already get more than enough e-mail we don’t need or want, so decide who needs to see the response, and reply only to that person or group. This is especially important when offering your two cents or witty response to a joke e-mail. One never knows who might be on that thread and who among them might be offended by your humor.

It’s a lot easier to forward your response after the fact to whomever you may have missed, than to try to un-send something you may not have wanted to share with everyone in your family/office/fantasy football league.

Cheers!
M

The etiquette of politics: oxymoron?

Some say one should never discuss religion or politics in mixed company. Or at the dinner table. Or on Facebook. Or with anyone you may actually ever want to remain on speaking terms. In some cases, we would agree, however there is a way to discuss these things without starting World War III with your uncle/friend/coworker/high school math teacher on Facebook — civility.

It seems many in our society are a bit hazy on the meaning of the word civility, so here is a little help from Merriam-Webster:

ci ● vil ● i ● ty
noun \sə-`vi-lə-tē\ 
Definition of CIVILITY
a : civilized conduct; especially courtesy, politeness b : a polite act or expression

Now that we are all on the same page, let’s discuss how to put this into thought and action with a few do’s and don’ts:

Do

Listen with an open mind and a closed mouth

Politely ask questions

Don’t

Interrupt

Attack

Name call

Ben Franklin used to employ the questions method when debating his foes. By imploring, almost playing the part of an uninformed seeker, you get to the heart of the other person’s knowledge on the subject at hand. In most cases, his or her background information is rather on the surface and after a few pointed questions, they will fizzle out or back down. As stated in “The Autobiography of Mark Twain”:

“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”

(We don’t advocate telling people their opinions aren’t worth a brass farthing, but we giggle when Mark Twain says it.)

Consider yourself warned that if you use Ben Franklin’s technique, as much as most people will falter when asked to fully develop their ideas and opinions, if the person knows their stuff — and you listen to the answers to your own questions — you might just learn something.

If all else fails and you are dealing with a truly warped and ill-informed ninny soul, change the subject.

Cheers!

M

Being kind on the run

Is it already Tuesday? Please forgive us for leaving you high-and-dry yesterday, but we are still running around like lunatics catching our breath from the whirlwind hold onto your hats fun working road trip to Mobile, Ala. for the LoDa Art Walk. Pardon the shameless self promotion, but click here if you’d like to see photos of the show.

As mentioned, we were in Mobile, Ala. for a few days for the art walk. While there, we also had a grueling refreshing walk of the exercise variety, in which we arose at the indecent  early bird hour of 6:45 a.m. The reason we bring this up is not only to pat ourselves on the back for keeping up our fitness regime, but also to relay that the other morning walkers, bikers, joggers and dog walkers — literally every single one of them — bid us a good morning or a quick hello upon passing.

Wow.

It was such an unexpected treat and such a gentile way to start the day, we almost completely forgot about having risen so early in the middle of the night morning. We may even conduct an experiment to see if Texans are that friendly in the early hours. Maybe.

Cheers!

M

Wealth and prepdom: If you’ve got it, don’t flaunt it

Today marks the release of “True Prep,” by Lisa Birnbach and Chip Kidd, which is the long-awaiting follow-up to “The Official Preppy Handbook,” (well-worn copies of which many of you likely still cherish own).

Our copy of the book arrived a few days ago and we spent all weekend pouring through it. The section devoted to etiquette is delightful, as expected, and it reinforces our beliefs that a thank you card is always appropriate, overt displays of wealth are TTFW and when in doubt, proceed with restraint (a more detailed post on the etiquette portion to come).

Meanwhile, further reinforcing our beliefs on the latter was David Brooks’ column in today’s New York Times, entitled, “The Gospel of Wealth.” Here is an excerpt:

“The United States once had a Gospel of Wealth: a code of restraint shaped by everybody from Jonathan Edwards to Benjamin Franklin to Andrew Carnegie. The code was designed to help the nation cope with its own affluence. It eroded, and over the next few years, it will be redefined.”

We sincerely hope Mr. Brooks is correct in his predictions and that if anything good can come of America’s financial woes, it might be that we get over the compulsion to show and tell anyone and everyone how much money we have or want them to think we have in our bank accounts.

In other “True Prep” news, Birnbach launched the book with an appearance on the Today show this morning and amid a media blitz. Visit the Preppy Princess blog for an excellent synopsis of all things “True Prep,” and Birnbach, including a links list of the Today show segment and myriad articles about the book.  Note that you can order a copy of the book, $13.95 (as of the date of this post), through the Preppy Princess online store by clicking here

Enjoy the rest of your Tuesday and stay tuned for a giveaway of “True Prep,” after we finish taking notes!

Cheers!

M

Do you have questions for “True Prep” author Lisa Birnbach and designer Chip Kidd?

Happy Friday everyone! Some of us are gearing up for the three-day Labor Day weekend and the rest of us are doing our best to keep the grumbling to a minimum, because we have to work. Either way, we hope you find a way to enjoy yourself.

We apologize for abandoning you several days this week, but as you may have seen on Facebook and Twitter, we’ve been hatching plans for the coming months.  

On Oct. 18, join us in Austin, Texas for the Texas Book Festival, where we’ll be moderating the author session for “True Prep.”

Written by Lisa Birnbach and designer Chip Kidd, this new book is a sequel to “The Official Preppy Handbook,” or the book that launched a million pairs of Sperry Top-Sider’s, and will let us in on what Muffy has been up to all these years. We’ll be interviewing Birnbach and Kidd during the session, so if you have questions you’d like for us to ask, shoot them to us here, via Facebook, Twitter or at charmfinder@gmail.com. We hope to see you at the festival!

We’ll have more on the book as soon as we get it into our hot little hands (we are awaiting it from the publisher). Preppies know a little something about manners and we are looking forward to reminding ourselves of the proper etiquette for sailing, cocktail hour and volunteering at Mummy’s favorite charity.

Until then, have a great weekend!

Cheers!

M

In celebration of Women’s Equality Day

Today is Women’s Equality Day, so we are making but a quick post referring you to our post last week about women’s suffrage (which includes links to the Women’s League of Voters). You see, Aug. 18 commemorated Tennessee becoming the 36th and deciding state to ratify the 19th amendment, which would give women the right to vote.

On Aug. 26, 1920,  the Nineteenth Amendment became law, granting women their right to vote in the fall elections, including in the Presidential election. So today, Aug. 26, we celebrate women’s equality. Yay women! 

Now, don’t forget to exercise your right to vote. Oh and don’t forget that just because you work, play and vote with the big boys, doesn’t mean you can stop behaving like a lady.

Cheers!

M

Watch your (expletive) language: Part II

Recently, radio talk show hostess Dr. Laura said something that got her into a lot of hot water. Whether or not you like Dr. Laura, her show, her politics or anything else about her, this situation has again brought to the forefront the weight and power of our words.

The circa 1930s British politician Pearl Strachan Hurd is quoted as saying, “Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.” 

As a rule of thumb, there are certain derogatory words and phrases we should never, ever say, no matter our intentions. These words are shocking and hurtful. These words carry with them the horrific history and pain felt by generations. These words are inappropriate and no good can come of their use. These words should be striken from your vocabulary.  Like this:

Image courtesy WriteForBlogs

A filthy, insensitive mouth isn’t classy. Re-find your grace, elegance and eloquence. And a thesaurus.

Cheers!

M

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