A Conversation for Modern Etiquette

Specific answers to the questions posed

Post 1

Hoovooloo

"How do you politely deal with street encounters, from beggars to charity collectors."

Always buy the Big Issue, even if I've already got one from another vendor that day - it's not the second one's problem that I passed the pitches in that order, and I can afford it.

Never give to people begging, for themselves or charities. I've done charity collecting - selling raffle tickets for a kidney research charity, first prize a new car - and I was pocketing 20% of the ticket price. Legally, I might add. So I do charity work through my workplace which funds, directly, a children's hospice, and I donate to cancer research.

"Prams: etiquette for users and bystanders."

Bystanders - if you're in Mothercare, BHS, M&S etc. take some care. If you're in HMV, Game, or any other cramped shop selling goods aimed solely at adults - kick them out of the way. Their parents had no business being so b****y antisocial as to bring the things into a shop like that when it's crowded, so give no quarter. It's their own fault for being irresponsible enough to breed in the first place. And don't worry about the kids, they're very resilient, and a bit of knocking about is character forming.

Users: it was YOUR decision to have a child. Don't use it to inconvenience everyone else. If you must drag your brat around the shops, keep it quiet, and don't take the pram into places where there is obviously not room for it.

And to the person who insulted my girlfriend in 1995 - she did not mean to cause your child a head injury. However, YOU were the one stupid enough to push your small child in an open buggy-pram across the fairway of a GOLF COURSE, and then had the nerve to get shirty when it got hit in the face with a stray golf ball from the next fairway along - a ball which, I might add, had bounced of the trunk of a tree. I'd describe it as unlucky, if the correct words weren't F**KING STUPID FOR BEING ON A GOLF COURSE WITH A BABY IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Prams. smiley - grr

"Mobile phones: location, location, location - volume, volume, volume."

Talk on a mobile phone as you would talk to someone standing next to you. If you are somewhere where it's appropriate to have a conversation with the person next to you, don't feel self-conscious on the phone.

If you're somewhere where you'd feel the need to whisper - don't even ANSWER your phone. Set it to silent, if you must leave it on. If you answer it at all, you'll have to talk, and you'll instantly look like a git.

Specifically in the cinema - during the adverts and even the trailers, by all means chat, rustle papers, talk on the phone if you like. But the SECOND the film starts - shut up. Turn the phone off. I paid to watch this movie, NOT listen to you. Or your child, for that matter....

"What place is there for modern chivalry in an age of 'equality' and sexual litigation?"

There's a place for modern chivalry only when it suits women.

The average gentleman can tell when it suits them by the simple method of reading their f**king minds.

"Interaction with the service industries - how often do you consider your relationship with bus drivers"

Buses are for poor people.

"restaurant staff"

Every time I'm in a restaurant. Been there, done that job, have every sympathy, except for fast food restaurant staff the third time they make a mistake with my order. First one's free, second one I'm annoyed, third one stand by.

"customer service providers and other people whose job it is to help you get what you want?"

Hmm. That depends on whether they're actually doing their job. If they're doing it, I'm sweetness and light and quite frankly a soft touch - I hate haggling, and if someone is obviously competent and doing their best I'll bend over backwards to help them and make all sorts of allowances for things which aren't their fault, or sometimes even which are.

If they're not doing their job... oh there's endless fun to be had making people wish you'd never walked into their shop, or if they're thinking rather more clearly, make them wish they'd actually bothered to serve you and got you the hell out of there instead of ignoring you, standing and chatting on the phone or simply walking away as you wait to be served.

Other modern etiquette:

It's not rude to read over the shoulder of someone who is reading a broadsheet newspaper. It IS rude to read over their shoulder if they're reading their medical test results. It is also rude to correct people's Excel formulas on their laptop over their shoulder on a train. (some people are SO ungrateful!)

It's rude to use the configureable infrared transmitter on your PalmPilot to turn up the volume on all the televisions in Dixons window to maximum - unless you've had bad service in that shop (see above).

If going on a winter sports holiday, it cuts down on the amount of thinking the reps have to do and avoids embarrassing faux pas, if you are considerate enough to get your eyebrow pierced and grow a goatee beard in advance if you intend snowboarding. The ladies can use stick on velcro ones for convenience. (don't want to tax those rep's brains too hard, they've got pub crawls to arrange...)

It is considered vulgar to brag about how fast your internet connection is. It is particularly frowned upon to use any sentence involving the phrase "fat pipe".

Nobody cares what your house is worth.

When seating a wedding, the bride's step-parents take precedence over the groom's step-parents, unless some of the groom's step-parents were previously married to some of the bride's step-parents, in which case your b****y selves out, why don't you?

H.


Specific answers to the questions posed

Post 2

Hoovooloo

last line should be "in which case sort your b****y selves out, why don't you?"

smiley - blush

H.


Specific answers to the questions posed

Post 3

Trout Montague

Plenty of material here for "Baiting Bigots For Fun" I see.


Specific answers to the questions posed

Post 4

Hoovooloo

smiley - winkeye


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Post 5

magoogy

you seem so angry.......

here's my points:

i must be really poor as i use the bus often!! u obviously think that puts you 'above' me - TWOLLOP!! im helping the pollution levels!! not that its a nice experience: whoever invented the buggy-buses need hanging - the 'parents' seem to think they can move ne1 so their designer buggies can park: disabled/blind/elderly? TOUGH!!

the majority of drivers are quite nice, but u do get a few miserable gits!!

AND why cant the drivers wait till elderly/disabled, etc are seated before racing away..

aaaaaarrrgh....... time for chill pill!!!!!


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Post 6

Beklet

Heh Heh. Prams - my sentiments exactly.


Please explain why, when you have ALL DAY to bimble around town, you insist on doing so at LUNCHTIME when people are trying to buy their lunch. Or crowding the supermarkets at 7pm when poor sods who have been at work all day need to buy food, shampoo, painkillers, etc.

I hate getting dirty looks from parents whose child has just run headlong around a corner and concussed itself on my trolley - KEEP THE WHINING BRAT UNDER CONTROL!!!!!


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Post 7

finnjim, THE Teacher, messing with peoples minds since 1997

I believe the expression muppet heading for a heart attack would apply here. Got some issues to resolve.


Specific answers to the questions posed

Post 8

magoogy

true!!

why dont peeps watch their kids ne more? ive 14yr twins who were never allowed out of garden till 9/10yrs and even then they were watched!! u see babies running amok, playing on roads, etc: no1 watching em!!

when i took my 'brats' shopping they were on 'reins' cos i didnt want them going off! they looked awful, but, at least they were safe!!

babies having babies - disgusting!! i was 19 when mine were born n still felt too young!!!


Specific answers to the questions posed

Post 9

sithkael

er....some of us working single moms don't have all day to "bimble" about town. Nor do we have the often have the option to leave the kids at home. While this does not excuse us from common courtesy (i.e. attempting not to block isles) I would have to say that we are no more guilty than the average person with a shopping cart. Indeed I find that shopping carts are a far greater cause of annoyance than kids in buggys. Off to one side people, and move when someone says excuse me.

As far as unattended children go--well my comments on that would be highly offensive to many.


Specific answers to the questions posed

Post 10

magoogy

when the children are well-behaved it makes no difference when u shop: nice kids r welcome netime newhere!


Specific answers to the questions posed

Post 11

Sho - employed again!

not only working single mums... working mums who have spouses who work anti-social hours have to get their shopping done some time, and I'm sick of the people telling me to my face to do it when they're not around!

but badly behaved children should be tied up!


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Post 12

Slarti-Babs (his younger prettier sister)

OH MY GOD!!!

I have so many issues to take up regarding the offensive comment's regarding buggy users made by people who are OBVIOUSLY not parents that I'm not even going to bother.


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Post 13

Annette

Anyone who has been a parent, babysat, had much younger brothers and sisters, etc. knows that kids can't be "kept under control". Most kids are pretty well behaved most of the time, but every kid has a couple days when they throw things, scream, and cry (and can't be shut up by anything short of a gag!) This doesn't mean that they're badly behaved in general or that thair parents raised them wrong. Parents still have responsibility, of course, but sometimes there's nothing they can do.
Furthermore, temper tantrums have a way of happening exactly when parents have five thousand shops that they have to visit and no one to watch the kids.
So please be a little bit nice to the parents of that kid who's running crazily up and down the aisles of the store, or screaming in the movie, or kicking your seat on the airplane. At least you don't have to try and calm them down, and you're not stuck with them 24/7!


Specific answers to the questions posed

Post 14

magoogy

i agree, but, what about the mother who's too busy [email protected] or just dont care!!


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Post 15

Hoovooloo

"Anyone who has been a parent, babysat, had much younger brothers and sisters, etc. knows that kids can't be "kept under control".!"

Nonsense. I see children under control every day. I see parents with enough consideration of others to take notice when their children are screaming the place down, or tearing apart public or private property, or just generally running amok. Such responsible adults restrain their children by whatever means necessary. Of course, if you have a child which, for whatever reason, perhaps because of your own weakness as a parent, is truly uncontrollable in public, it is within your power not to permit that child out in public until such time as it has learned to behave.

Alternatively, you can forget all concepts of consideration for others, and take your appalling whining brat out into a public place in the full and certain knowledge that you can't control it.

It's instructive to compare the situation with dog ownership. Take a dog out in public which you can't or won't control, and it will be taken from you and killed. I'm not suggesting the same sanction for owners of offensive children - I'm just suggesting they should realise that they've made a choice (i.e. to breed, and then to take the results of that out onto the street) and they should take personal responsibility for that choice.

"Most kids are pretty well behaved most of the time, but every kid has a couple days when they throw things, scream, and cry (and can't be shut up by anything short of a gag!)"

So don't take them out. Simple.

"This doesn't mean that they're badly behaved in general or that thair parents raised them wrong."

Didn't suggest it did.

"Parents still have responsibility, of course, but sometimes there's nothing they can do."

There is ALWAYS something you can do. Saying "there's nothing you can do" is trying to escape your responsibility. BZZZZZZZZZT!

"Furthermore, temper tantrums have a way of happening exactly when parents have five thousand shops that they have to visit and no one to watch the kids."

Unlucky. You never HAVE to visit a shop, unless you are so disorganised or irresponsible that you have actually run out of food. If your child is behaving in a way which makes your presence appallingly unpleasant for everyone around you, that is YOUR problem, not theirs. Have some consideration for your fellow human beings and make other plans. And if you don't get to visit the shops you wanted to that day - blame your child, or yourself. Consider a badly behaving child as though it had measles - you wouldn't take a child with an infectious unsightly disease around a supermarket, would you?

"So please be a little bit nice to the parents of that kid who's running crazily up and down the aisles of the store, or screaming in the movie, or kicking your seat on the airplane."

Why? They are deliberately making my day worse. They are deliberately failing to take simple actions which would stop that happening.

Oh no - if there's a parent of a child doing any of those things anywhere near me, I shall be doing my level best to make their day more miserable than mine, count on it. And parents are SO easily upset...

"At least you don't have to try and calm them down, and you're not stuck with them 24/7!"

Being stuck with them 24/7 was YOUR choice. Don't come bleating to me about your lost sleep, your stress or your penury, YOU were the one who chose to breed in the first place. Don't expect any sympathy from other people more responsible and forward thinking than yourself.

H.


Specific answers to the questions posed

Post 16

Hoovooloo

Actually, I've been thinking on this further, and since I'm obviously in a minority, and since this is supposed to be a guide to real modern etiquette, perhaps the following is more appropriate:

"If you have a completely uncontrollable child, SHARE IT. Don't stay in, take it out to the shops and make sure as many people as possible get to enjoy its behaviour. Buy the biggest pram you can find, then take it into the smallest, most cramped shops in town. Don't restrict yourself to the shops for children's things - other adults enjoy nothing more than waiting for you to finish chatting on the phone before getting out of their way. If you must stop and chat, be sure and do it in the doorway of the shop. If you do it in one of the aisles, you'll only inconvenience the people in that aisle. Doing it in the doorway allows you to inconvenience everyone in the shop, and indeed plenty of people who aren't in the shop at all, but would be by now if you weren't so bleeding ignorant.

If you child is screaming - ignore it. It'll stop sooner or later. Possibly. And after all, you're used to it, so it doesn't bother you. And if it doesn't bother you, then it won't bother anyone else, will it?

If your child is destroying someone else's property, there are two socially acceptable courses of action:

1. say its name. Don't move, or make any attempt whatever to physically restrain it. That would affect its creativity. No, just say its name. Don't shout - you don't want to upset the little mite. Say it, then say it again, and keep saying it until either the child gets bored and starts destroying something else, or until someone comes over and punches you in the mouth.

2. shrug and smile and say in the wettest voice you can manage "well, sometimes you just can't control them".

If at any stage it is suggested to you that the child should be quiet, or that you should take some sort of action to control them beyond slight exercise of your vocal cords, then it is acceptable to immediately become indignant and start spouting about how many shops you absolutely HAVE to visit that day, the scandalous cost of baby sitters, your personal theories on child care, and indeed anything else it occurs to you to say. At no stage during this outburst should you accept any responsibility for the actions of yourself or your child. Remember, society owes you tolerance because you are providing it with a future, albeit a future of uncontrollable criminals, apparently.

Better?

H.


Specific answers to the questions posed

Post 17

EncyBass-: Not going to be around much next week, cos I've got a new job...

Hey- just thought I'd say that, as a single dad, I found some of the above comments....
Absolutely hilarious.smiley - laugh
It's true! Of course, when I've got my 15-month old son with me in town (because There's no-one available to babysit, etc...), there are times when he will start to cry, wanting food 'n' stuff. So I take him to somewhere that isn't full of people and sort him out. Simple.
It really annoys me when other pram-pushers use their prams as offensive weapons. I'm considering getting Ben-Hur style wheel-blades on mine.......
A word to all parents who GET IN THE WAY:
I know it's tough having a kid. But that isn't everyone else's fault. We've just got to make sure that when we're with our kids, we don't take up everyone else's space.
Remember before you had kids? How annoying was it then?


Specific answers to the questions posed

Post 18

Hoovooloo

THANK YOU!

smiley - cheers

Nice to know someone can restore my faith in humanity.

H.


Specific answers to the questions posed

Post 19

Slarti-Babs (his younger prettier sister)

I would absolutly love to be an eyewittnes on that awful day some time in the distant future, when the poor unfortunate child who has ended up with Hoovooloo as a parent, has a tantrum in the supermarket. Possibly then he will realise that toddlers are not dogs who can be trained toward resonable behaviour, and that even the most wonderfully behaved children have bad days, and sometimes those bad days are on the day you have to do the weekly shopping, or buy the kid shoes. And although it would give me great pleasure to see him squirm as some arrogant p***k tries to make it even worse with a vicious comment, for the sake of all children, I hope that day never comes.


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Post 20

Hoovooloo

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