Recently he suggested I take a ‘rent holiday’ for a few months because I’ve got some other big bills to pay, which is a relief! However, it’s also his birthday in a month and I had been thinking about getting him a Kindle — which now won’t be that difficult to afford given the ‘no rent’ thing. What is the etiquette on how much to spend on a present for someone when they’ve just done you a financial favor?
What do you do if you’re afraid that you’re coming off as a condescending know-it-all at work? Should you try to act “dumber”? Karla Miller who runs @Work Advice at The Washington Post says know-it-alls shouldn’t act dumber—they should be “strategically generous”:
They ask questions instead of spitting out answers: What do you think? Does anyone have a different idea? What if we tried this instead?
They recognize that everyone has a contribution: Great point, and I’d like to build on that by adding … Let me defer to Eloise on that topic.
They dissent politely: I see where you’re coming from, but I think …
They acknowledge vulnerabilities: I sometimes struggle with expressing myself tactfully.
They apologize as needed: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be brusque.
They laugh at themselves: Whoops, I had a Sheldon Cooper moment there. Bazinga!
At a previous job, someone who built a reputation for being a know-it-all and interrupting colleagues at work was simply told, “Stop interrupting people while they’re in the middle of talking—it’s rude.” He apologized, and consciously made an effort to stop himself from correcting people while they were talking. It’s the thought that counts.
Simon Doonan, a writer, fashion commentator, and Barney’s window-dresser, notes in Slate that he has noticed more people picking their noses in public and wonders if “the topsy-turvy whirligig of contemporary life has clearly begun to erode modern manners.” He wonders if we should update our etiquette books with some amendments including, asking people about their money.
I am torn because while I object to the sexist way “bossy” is usually only lobbed at girl children, I do think it’s important for shitty kids to be called out on how annoying they are.
There was a fascinating article about the “booming market” of modern-day butler schools in — where else? — the Wall Street Journal last week.
Zagat put together a holiday tipping survey, and some of the responses are very interesting. At our fancy bar this weekend, a friend asked us how much to tip the coat check person, and we felt $2 would do it.
In the Times, Pete Wells (who you may recall for his viral review on Guy Fieri’s restaurant) adds to the tipping debate in a column about why he believes tipping is no longer effective. Wells talks to several chefs and restaurant owners in his column, but it would have been much better to get a wider range of perspectives from actual servers as well as the workers who bus tables and wash dishes.
In Guernica, Brian Blanchfield waxes poetic about housesitting for other people, describing the joys of doing it, and the times when it can all go wrong (like when the person you’re housesitting for comes home early and you’re asleep in her bed and everything is a mess).
Brendan’s post about getting fired from the food truck he worked at for tip-shaming a customer who placed a $170 order generated lots of discussion, one of them being (of course!), should you even tip when ordering from a food truck in the first place?