Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mind your manners tonight - New Year's Eve

No doubt, plenty of you will be socializing tonight, either at a bar, at a party, or taking in a movie and popcorn.

And no doubt, someone else (not you) will say something incorrect or just plain wrong. Heck, they may even commit a tiny social faux-pas, such as ordering a drink from a different waiter.

Your urge will be to correct them, either by explaining they have their facts wrong ("The 'h' in 'Thames' is silent") or that they broke a social taboo ("You don't order drinks from another waiter.").

Resist this urge. It's impolite to correct someone in public. If this is your mate/partner/significant other/sister/brother/mom/dad/you see where I'm going with this -- you may correct them privately, after the festivities. But do it in a lighthearted, loving way.

When is it okay to correct someone in public? If they're drunk, and insist on driving home. The right response is, "No, you're not, and I'm calling you a cab."

Have a fun, safe, polite New Year's Eve, everyone!

Cheers, and I'll see you in 2010.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

When the gift is a duplicate

So you open the shiny wrapping paper to reveal...the Rufus Wainwright CD that you already have. (Yes, I know, everyone's downloading music these days, and even The Most Evil Retailer shrunk its music space...bear with me for the sake of a story.)

Don't be a jerk -- now or any other time of the year. "I already have this," while true, is not the correct response.

Pick your poison -- say/do one or more of the following:

  • "Oh how nice! I love [name thing you already own]."
  • Keep it. One for the house, one for the summer house.
  • Donate it. Toys for Tots, Amvets or Howard Brown can certainly make good use of it.
  • Still in its original packaging? Perhaps you can exchange it for some other crap at some large retailer who's especially liberal with exchanges this time of year.
And always, always, follow up with a thank-you note. Not a text. No twitter. No email. No quick, verbal. A hand-written note.

After some time has passed, don't confess, "Oh, I already had that Rufus Wainwright CD. I exchanged it for Animal Collective." Keep mum.

Merry Christmas.