I found myself in a random situation the other day. A situation that got me thinking about etiquette.
I had just done the school run and had about 20 minutes to kill before a dentist appointment. I decided to have a quick mooch around our local supermarket as I was child free and we needed milk.
Before entering the supermarket I stopped in the foyer to reply to an urgent email. It was whilst I was typing that I saw one of the mums from school trying to get my attention. I don’t know her well, I know her kids name, but not hers. She’s one of those nod and smile acquaintances. She doesn’t speak very much English, but she said to me, “You sit here?” I replied, “just for two minutes”. She then pointed to the her umbrella, (the largest umbrella I have even seen) put it on the floor, (still open) then pointed to me and said “you look” before disappearing into the shop.
From that exchange I assumed she had just asked me to look after her umbrella whilst she went into the shop. I also assumed she was just popping in to grab milk. Then I saw her get a trolley.
Err hold up, what just happened? Am I now stuck here making sure no one pinches her brolly whilst she does her weekly shop? Dilemma. Do I:
a) Sit her with the ginormous umbrella silently getting more and more irate that I am spending my rare child free hour babysitting a brolly, and knowing that when she returns I will just grit my teeth and smile and say “no problem”, because you know, I’m British.
b) Leave the giant umbrella in the foyer and go into the supermarket to get my milk, all the while feeling really guilty that I have left the ginormous umbrella alone, likely to be abducted, and she will return to find it missing, get really wet on the way home and I will have to avoid eye contact with her forever more.
I went with option B. I had a dentist appointment to get to!
The moral of my story here is that the correct brolly etiquette was not followed. Everyone knows that you NEVER enter a building with an open brolly due to the whole bad luck thing, and you clearly take your umbrella with you. Hang it on your trolley and walk round the supermarket with it dripping on your knees.
I also realised how irrationally angry it makes me when people don’t follow the same etiquette rules as me. So for my own sanity and to save my internal outrage here are my top 5 etiquette rules:
1 Supermarket Checkouts
So you’ve gone to the checkout manned by an actual person because you have you small people with you and can’t face another “unidentified item in the bagging area.” Incidentally those things should be programmed to recognise a toddler in the bagging area. It would make all of our lives so much easier.
Anyway you’ve placed your items on the conveyor and then you put the little plastic divider thingy at the end of your items, so the next customer can load their stuff onto the conveyor. Right? Except I always have to put the little plastic divider thingy at both ends of my shopping because I’m always behind someone who is to lazy, and has blatant disregard for the etiquette of the little plastic divider thingy.
This one is a minefield. Firstly when you are waiting for a lift and the doors open, let the people out BEFORE you step in. It’s common sense if not courtesy. But the one that really gets me is when I am in the lift going down a few floors and it stops before my destination. More people get in, who want to go in the opposite direction. They press the buttons incessantly for the floor they want, and huff loudly when the lift starts going down instead of up. Heads up people, before you get it the lift there are big illuminated arrows above it telling you what direction it is going in. Don’t get mad with me because I made the lift go down. I was here FIRST!
Again I follow the rule of let people out of a building before you enter. But if i’m holding the door open for you please grant me the common courtesy of saying thank-you. It’s manners. If I see someone with a pushchair trying to open a door and get through, I hold the door for them. It’s the nice thing to do.
There are two types of people in this world, ones that hold doors open for people, and ones that don’t. The ones that don’t will watch whilst you struggle to open the door and manoeuvre the buggy through at the same time. They watch, and in that moment just after you have used your arse to prop the door open whilst you swivel the buggy round, but just before you step away to let the door close, they use that moment to cut through the open door. The door being held open by your arse. The very same door they have just watched you battle through. And they don’t say thank-you.
4 Toilet Roll
This is not the correct toilet roll etiquette people…
I’m all for saving the planet and not being wasteful but that’s no good to no man or beast. Replace the god damn roll.
5 Service With A smile
Take pride in your job. A smile and a have a nice day whilst I handover my cash goes a long way and is far better than the obvious “I would rather be anywhere else but here” death stare you are currently giving me. Likewise don’t keep me waiting at the checkout whilst you chat to you work colleague about who snogged who last night.
On the flip side of that as a customer you should always give a company a chance to respond to your complaint and fix the situation before you publicly hang them on social media.
What broken etiquette rules wind you up the most?
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