Open Thread

by epi on January 25, 2012

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara January 25, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I buried my Mom on January 12. Found out on face book that a dear friend that I hadn’t seen in a decade was approached on the day of the funeral by my niece to sell her on selling (Pyramid) jewelry under her. Then contacted her 3 days after the funeral on my friends wall of facebook to contact her regarding this Christian jewelry company and selling it.

As I am of course grieving this infuriates me. My niece is 30 years old. She never asked me how I was doing while my mom and her grandmother was dying of cancer. To put it mildly I’m not surprised she did this. It is typical of her, but I think this is an all time low for anyone to do.

Also, an interesting factor, I sell jewelry (my own line) for the past 12 years and I have never infringed on her friends about jewelry, much less capitalize on a grandmothers funeral to make money.

Advise please. Also am I over reacting because I am completely beside myself over this.

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Ashleigh January 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Were your friend and niece acquaintances beforehand? If so, its possible that they were having a conversation about what they have been up to lately, your niece mentioned that she was selling jewelry and your friend showed interest in her endeavors. If this is the case, I don’t see anything too bad with it. At the last funeral I went to, there were members of the family and other friends that hadn’t connected in a while so there was of course some chatting. While it is obviously a very sad and somber occasion, people will end up making small-talk and catching up.

If your niece and friend were not friends, or the conversation did not come up innocently (ie your niece attacked your friend with her sales pitch) then there really is no excuse for her awful behavior. I would definitely agree with Alicia – bring this up with your sibling and also your niece. Her tacky behavior needs to be pointed out and correct immediately.

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Country Girl January 25, 2012 at 2:55 pm

We typically tend to over react, as you said, and get more upset with people we already have an issue with. I gather from your saying that niece didn’t ask you how you were doing, that you already harbor some hurt or angry feelings that will naturally escalate anything that she does in your mind. (And presumably you asked how she was doing before getting upset, as this is her relative also.)

Though you personally weren’t present for the conversation that took place, there seem to be a couple of real possibilities to what actually happened that day. 1) Niece inappropriately was going from person to person with handouts, soliciting grieving guests to take part in her endeavor or 2) The topic simply came up in conversation. “That necklace you’re wearing is beautiful.” “Oh thank you, it’s actually from a line I sell. I’d be happy to get you some information if you are interested. It’s a great company.”

If you have not been approached by other attendants with similar stories, then I would venture to say that most likely the situation closer resembled the latter possibility. I know it is difficult, but (unless you have proof that she was openly soliciting other guests) I would let this go. Letting it go will spare you from what is sure to be an involved argument and more hurt feelings and anger in an already a very difficult time for your family.

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Alicia January 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm

So sorry about your loss of your mom.
Yes it is tacky in the extreme to try and sell people stuff at a funeral. Youe neice stepped way over bounds. I would even as a 30 year old first talk to her parent that is your sibling. Then I would talk to your neice and tell her how hurtful this behavior has been to you.
I would also apologize to your friend that your neice behaved so poorly.

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Jody January 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm

This was definitely inappropriate behavior on your niece’s part. Since she is an adult, I think you should talk to her first. Afterwards you can tell your sibling what happened and how you handled it. Your sibling might not be aware of this behavior.
My condolences on losing your mother; I recently lost mine and know how much it hurts.

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Leslie January 25, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Is there a polite way (or at least a less-confrontational way) of telling a coworker that her perfume is over-powering in an open office? I manage a small group of employees, several of which have complained to me about the smell of a nearby co-worker’s perfume. I do not supervise the offending employee, but have spoken to her superviser, who is a friend of mine. Her superviser seems disinclined to do anything, because she can’t think of a good way to tell another person who thinks she smells lovely that she is causing an office revolt. To complicate matters, I’m far enough removed from the perfume wearer, that I don’t actually have an issue, aside from my own employees complaining to me.

I’m lost as to what to do. Should anyone speak with the perfume wearer? If so, whom? Once that’s determined, what is a good way to handle the matter? I was thinking maybe saying something like “Mary, would you mind re-applying your perfume in the restroom the ventilation system is distributing it on our area?” I don’t know…something that doesn’t suggest that she smells bad, but might get her to tone it down. (I don’t know if the re-applying is the problem or not, honestly. She might just smell that way from the moment she walks in the door.)

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Just Laura January 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm

I have heard it presented like this, “Mary, I know you weren’t already aware, but we’ve got an employee with allergies, and your perfume seems to be a trigger. Would you please wear less in the future?”

I’ve always had good fortune to work for companies with perfume policies already included in employee handbooks (If it can be detected from 5 feet away, it is too strong), or in small firms where others could come right out and tell the perfume wearer that they went a bit heavy that day. If Mary has a good friend in the department, perhaps s/he could be the person to tell her. Otherwise, I suggest that the supervisor be the one to do it. If I were wearing too much perfume, I would want to know.

You may also find this previous EPI question/answer about coworkers and their perfume to be helpful.

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Winifred Rosenburg January 25, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I’ve heard of some workplaces banning perfumes and colognes altogether. The reason is when many people wearing different scents are working in close proximity the scents can combine in an unpleasant way, making it distracting. Maybe you can convince a supervisor to send out a notice to everyone instituting this policy (or if you think that’s going too far saying to wear less perfume/cologne). This way it will be presented as though it is a widespread problem and no one person’s fault.

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Catarina January 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I have been invited to a bat mitzvah. It happens to be for my boss’s granddaughter. I am unable to attend this affair. I would like to send a monetary gift but do not know how much would be an appropriate amount. My boss is the owner of a very high end jewelry business and is extremely successful. My husband said I do not need to send a gift at all but I don’t feel right about that. All of my co-workers who are not going either are asking the same question. Please help!! I would greatly appreciate what is proper etiquette in this type of a situation. PS. I could send a fun gift for a 13 yr old girl instead of giving money. Any suggestions would be great. Thank you.

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Zakafury January 26, 2012 at 10:49 am

I think I would send $36. Multiples of eighteen are traditional Bar and Bat Mitzvah gifts because of the numerological value of the Hebrew word for Life.

Larger gifts would certainly be common for a child in a wealthy family, but since you have never met this girl I think you should give modestly. I do not feel that the wealth of your boss is of any real importance in this decision.

I take it from your tone that you have a good relationship with your boss, and you do not feel strong-armed into sending a gift. I agree with your husband; you do not need send any more than regrets. If it were my boss, I would also want to give a gift. I would also be sure to ask about it afterward, giving the proud grandparent a chance to brag a bit.

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