Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Email and Text Never Die.

File this one under a "business" and "personal" etiquette lesson:

1. Watch what you say in electronic communication.

2. If you have something important to communicate (such as "You're fired," "You piss me off," "No, I'm not giving you your money," "I'm dumping you," etc.) do it in person -- not via email or text.

Emails and text messages can and will come back to haunt you. From an etiquette perspective, communicating important or (worse yet) hurtful or angry messages via electronic media is just downright disrespectful. There is a person on the receiving end.

It's appalling that there have been firings and breakups via text message.

And, leaving good manners out of it for a minute, should the receiver ever need to circle back to you, say, in court, you wouldn't want these nasty missives shown to the judge, now would you? This happens all the time on The People's Court and the myriad court shows out there.

Now, for those of you who have some sort of legal bent, such as, "at my job we have to document everything," that's fine, as long as it's done professionally and without attack. But those personal messages? Communicate in person.

I once received a nasty email telling me how "miserable every aspect" of my wedding was, and how the letter-sender "was sorry she had to sit through it." Don't worry, EB has never forgotten this person -- and will never extend kindness to her, either. And yep, the email still exists.

So, today's lesson:

1. When you have something important to communicate, do it in person.
2. If you must document your communication, be polite and leave the negativity out of it.
3. Email and text messages never die.

Got it? Good.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Some Tips For When Plane Goes Bye-Bye

Special thanks to JR for suggesting today's topic.

As a long-time business traveler, Etiquette Bitch has some tips for airline travel. If implemented, these suggestions will keep you from pissing off your fellow passengers, and make for a smoother, friendlier ride for everyone. These guidelines apply 24/7/365; ie, they are not seasonal.

  1. Cover your mouth. When you're on a plane, you're sharing trapped, recirculated air with 200 other people. Sneeze? Cough? Cover your mouth. (best way: sneeze or cough into your elbow. I know, you don't want your germs on your precious hands) Your fellow travelers don't want your effing germs. We have clients and families to visit; please don't spread your sickness.

  2. Even if you think "it's nothing" or "I just have allergies," cover your damn mouth.

  3. Teach your children to do #1 and #2.

  4. No taking off your shoes. We don't care if your feet swell or it's more comfortable. Cover your feet. We don't need (nor want to) smell your podiatric aroma. If you must, then please please for the love of god carry a pair of slipper socks with you and use 'em.

    And for the love of god, please don't do this while waiting :

    Yecch. We don't want to smell your feet on the airplane, or in the terminal, stinky.

One time, sitting in my usual aisle seat, the guy behind me not only took off his shoes, but then put his foot up on my armrest. I had to do a few bumps and comments to get him to move his feet. Disgusting. Funnier still, when a business writer asked me for stories of yucky air travel, I shared the above with her. Her email came back, "Oh, well, I've done that before." Yeah, I guess that's 'cause you're a rude bitch.

Any other travel rudeness you've experienced? Email me: etiquetteb@gmail.com

Friday, May 9, 2008

What does your living room look like?

What pisses you off the most when you go to the movies?

The outlandish prices of tickets and snacks? The insane length and amount of trailers you must endure? The tortuous commercials? (I paid to come to a movie, and now you're advertising to me?)

Or is it the boors in the theater who think that a movie theater is their own fucking living room? (Note: this may be you.I know, you think you're an angel at the Landmark; you're not. Please keep reading.) They talk throughout the movie, never daring to lower their voices to a minimal whisper, and/or talk incessantly.

The respectful thing to do when watching any performance-- live or filmed -- is to keep quiet. There's nothing wrong with an occasional, softly-whispered "What did he say?" But other than that, folks of all ages, keep the chatter to a bare, bare, minimum. Non-existent is best.

And I do say "folks of all ages" because, kind of like the creeps you see on "Dateline: To Catch A Predator," you can't classify these loud morons. They come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. My two worst:

  1. A Thursday night 2 summers ago, "Little Miss Sunshine," Landmark Century Cinema. You figure a weekday night crowd will be more tolerable than a Friday or Saturday night. You think wrong.

    Seated to my right was an elderly couple, as old as my grandparents. This was the generation that had manners, right? "The Greatest Generation," as Tom Brokaw would say. Well, from my 101 minute experience, these two were The Rudest Generation.

    They talked through the whole damn movie in what I would call the "water cooler voice." Not quiet at all. And what's worse, the husband was a "predictor." He would announce his guess on what would happen next to the whole audience.
    (Spoiler Alert--Plot Points of "LMS" coming up)
    For instance:

    • "Oh, he's going to take the moped and go to Albuquerque."
    • "She's going to ask him about the suicide."
    • "They're going to sneak the body out the window."

    Their yakking was only compounded by the moment when everything comes together in the movie, and Gramma and Grampa Rude decided to open their plastic grocery bag and debate over which 100-calorie snack pack they should eat.

  2. During that awful turd that Judd Apatow dropped, "Movie About Fat, Ugly, Abusive Asshole who Knocks Up Lame Chick, and Yet She Loves Him," Davis Theater, god knows when.

    Forgettable movie, unforgettable assholes seated next to me. Said assholes were a couple in their late 20s- mid30s. Every moment on the screen was punctuated by one Rude Lovebird sharing thoughts with the other Rude Lovebird, who would then continue stream of consciousness. Example:

    Girl: [stoner character walks into frame] "That guy looks just like Dave!"
    Guy: "I know!" [they giggle to each other] "Wouldn't it be funny if Dave wore shorts like that?"
    Girl: "I know, we should ask him if he's seen this movie."
    [2 seconds of silence pass, then:]
    Guy: "Hey, should we call Dave and go out tomorrow?"
    Girl: "Yeah, maybe, but we should see if Darcy wants to go with us?"
    Guy: "Yeah, that would be cool."
    Etiquette Bitch [leaning over and touching Rude Girl's arm]:
    "I'm sorry, please stop talking."

    Girl made a snotty face, but it sure as hell shut them up for the rest of that turd. Granted, it was a sucky movie, but I paid to hear the movie, not your rude ass yap away all night.

    A movie theater -- hell, any public venue -- is not your living room. Look at your living room some time--and note how it does not resemble a movie theater. When you're in your living room, yak away.

    Are you in a movie theater? Is it dark? Is a movie playing on the screen? If "yes" to any, shut the fuck up.