Etiquette 101

Dear Emily Post,

I was wondering if you could clear up some questions I have regarding etiquette. You see, I’m wondering if people are becoming more rude, or if I’m just completely out of touch with current standards. So, could you please tell me when it became socially acceptable to:

ask me how much I pay for things. Anything – car, house, rug, purse, gym membership. Why is it so important for people to know what I pay?

ask how much someone inherited from a family death. Yes, my dear friend Mary has actually been asked lately the amount of her inheritance.

include where a bride/mom-to-be is registered with the invitation. It used to be that a guest asked where the bride/mom was registered instead of having it assumed she was to bring a gift to the shower.

send email thank you notes. This, in my world, will never take the place of a handwritten note. Never.

to assume that since I don’t have a full-time job I have nothing to do all day. I can assure you, I have many things to do and my time is just as valuable as every one else’s.

have personal conversations on your cell phone in public then give me dirty looks when I repeatedly say “excuse me” to get past you. Same for conversing on the cell phone while checking out at the store or at the bank.

ask personal questions about a doctor’s visit then give details about it. I really don’t need to know all about your last exam.

I understand there are exceptions to all of this. My friends and I can talk about all these things without it seeming rude. However, I still send thank you notes to my friends and family for gifts. That’s just something that my mother ingrained in my head as a child. Thanks, mom!

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Etiquette 101

  1. What about buying a new car or house? I mean, most of the pricing for cars are available on the web and your house purchase is public record, but it’s still rude to discuss someone’s large financial transaction, right? What it really comes down to is the person asking is jealous or wants to feel superior to you be delighting in your inability to get a good bargain. It’s like buying a good tool and someone telling you “Why didn’t you just get that at Wal-Mart?”. When said that way, it calls into question your judgement and intelligence. If they had asked instead “What made you want to buy the HighQuality Tool?” You could educate them instead of justify your spending.

  2. What I’m trying to say is that I think it’s rude to ask how much someone pays for something. Sure, information about houses and cars is readily available via the Internet so go ahead and research if you want. Just don’t ask me the question. If someone questions why I pay for quality items, such as tools, I’m happy to tell them why I feel certain things are worth investing in. I guess it just comes down to my feeling that excessive nosiness is rude and annoying. That’s different than a casual conversation about quality items.

  3. Carrie

    May I add…asking someone what their salary is? Oh yes.. I have gotten this many times. My one friend claims that while it was unacceptable for our parents generation to survey eachothers salaries, it is perfectly fine for our generation to discuss it because we need to “know what the market is” or something to that effect. Keep in mind, we are not in the same or even related fields.
    She then asked me what Mick made and when I responded that it was private, she began throwing out figures expecting me to respond with a “higher, or lower.” Obnoxious!

  4. I agree, Carrie! Obnoxious! In Steve’s family, they always discussed salaries and never understood why we wouldn’t reveal ours. Um, maybe because it’s none of their damned business.

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