Archive for July, 2009

Etiquette: A Guide… [Part One]

July 10, 2009

et⋅i⋅quette [et-i-kit, -ket]

1. conventional requirements as to social behavior; proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion.
2. a prescribed or accepted code of usage in matters of ceremony, as at a court or in official or other formal observances.
3. the code of ethical behavior regarding professional practice or action among the members of a profession in their dealings with each other: medical etiquette.
When you come to traffic lights in order to cross a road, the general unwritten rule is that if there is a small child also waiting to cross, you must not do so until the green man has put in an appearance. Even if there is no oncoming traffic, you must stand there until that little scamp shows his light-up face.
Bearing this in mind, this rule may be breached if a car is heading towards the crossing at a stupidly fast speed even as the lights turn red. If this occurs, you have permission to take one for the team and jump out in front of the car, getting hit, just to prove a point.

Granny etiquette dictates that if someone is talking about their grandmother and subsequently is using their word for grandmother, out of respect to both them and the lady in question, you must adopt this name, even if it goes against anything you’ve ever stood for. Especially if their granny/gran/nan/grandma has just died.

An example of Grandmother etiquette not in play…


A: Sorry I wasn’t here on Monday, my Granny died.
B: Your Nan? Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.
A: Granny, yeah. It was for the best though, she was in a lot of pain.
B: Oh… Well, I supposed that makes it a bit easier then… Were you close to your Nan?
A: My Granny? Yeah, but she lived quite far away so I didn’t get to see her as much as I’d have liked.
B: That’s always a tragic thing, but I’m sure your Nan would have liked to have visited more…
A: My Granny, yeah…
As A Customer
When in a shop, you must always remember that you are not better than the person serving you. Unless they’re obviously being rude to you, they’ll just be doing their job, so treat them pleasantly… you don’t even have to go that far, just don’t treat them unpleasantly. If you go to the till and you’re listening to music with headphones on, either remove one or both from your ears to make it at least appear like you think you’re not dealing with a robot. The same applies for being on your mobile. Wait until you’re finished on the phone and then go to pay for things. Otherwise you’ll miss important questions such as “Do you need a bag?” or “Have you got anything smaller?”

Another thing it’s wise to do is to actually physically hand the person behind the till your money when paying. There is not much more irritating to the humble shopkeeper than a customer who will place a bank-note in front of themselves and expect said sales assistant to reach over to retrieve it as if they’re dancing like the lower-than-you class scum you believe them to be. Dance, shop-slave, dance for your recommended retail price!

On The Buses

Bus etiquette is often discussed. The two main rules of the bus used to be to always let people off before you get on and to never take up two seats by sitting on the chair nearest the aisle when the one by the window is free. Recently, with the rising population of children with phones, a new unspoken rule has been added: everybody must hate the kids at the back of the bus who blare out, usually terrible, music from their phones.
It’s a given that if an old person turns up at the bus stop to wait after you, you let them board the vehicle before you. This is true, right? You’re not a monster. However, the way this scenario is due to pan out is: You wait at the bus stop > Elderly person comes along > Bus arrives > Elderly person glances at you expectantly > You say, “On you go…” > They thank you and get on the bus > You follow – End of exchange. EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS, yet there are still some old people who will completely miss out the expectant glance, the wait to be invited to board first and the “thank you” and will just get on the bus before you. This must be stopped. They must learn. It’s not always a bad thing to rugby tackle a pensioner, even if they are someone’s grandmother/granny/gran/nan/grandma.

COVER YOUR MOUTH! No, we all know that, so what follows is for those who aren’t coughing. If  someone has the nerve to suddenly and involuntarily expel air from their lungs in your presence, don’t shoot them dirty looks, don’t roll your eyes and don’t hit them in the face.  The clue is in the word ‘involuntarily’.
This rule, however, does not always apply in exams. If you’re sitting an important exam, it is guaranteed that there will be someone there with a hideous cold who will be spluttering away in the corner. They will be offered a glass of water, but this will not help much. The stress of exams experienced may provide a valid excuse for you to gain permission to tut about them after the exam is over. Also, you can blame them if you fail.