Open Thread

by epi on June 6, 2012

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This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam June 6, 2012 at 10:44 am

I work in a public library. The front desk has a particular individual who is LOUD. She talks about patrons and employees freely at the desk. She is an older woman and she yells across the library and speaks so loudly that you can hear full names of patrons as well as employees. She complains about people, makes political comments and complains about our special needs employee. I am really reaching a limit but I am apprehensive about going into my boss b/c I dont’ want to seem like I am a complainer. I also have a hard time singling people out when I’m making a complaint. However, to use a blanket “The desk is loud and people are talking abotu patrons” won’t work b/c this employee will think it doesn’t mean her. What should I do?

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Winifred Rosenburg June 6, 2012 at 11:30 am

Talk to her first. You can say something like, “I don’t know if you realize it but you’re voice is quite loud. I heard you all the way in the back shelves. Can you please be careful to keep your voice down so those reading can concentrate?”

If this doesn’t work, you can tell your boss the same thing. Because you told her first and gave her an opportunity to fix the problem, doing so doesn’t make you a complainer.

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Chocobo June 6, 2012 at 11:52 am

That does sound like a serious issue, libraries are struggling enough without the help of unpleasant staff. You might consider issuing a general complaint to your boss with something like: “There have been some complaints that the front desk is too loud and have insulted the patrons, I thought perhaps you would want to know.” You can leave out the part that the complaint is your own. Given what you’ve said about this employee, you will not be alone in your sentiment.

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Jerry June 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm

You’ve got a great reason to talk to your supervisor. Given that this particular employee is (i) speaking about patrons, and (ii) complaining about the special needs employee, you can articulate a legitimate concern that (i) this employee is sabotaging the library’s mission by compromising patron privacy, and (ii) depending on what’s happening, this employee may trigger liability under the American’s with Disabilities Act. So long as you keep the conversation about what’s good for the library, you should have a receptive audience.

Good luck.

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Just Laura June 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm

In the same vein as what Jerry mentioned regarding ADA (since ADA compliance is what I do for a living these days), you might even be able to anonymously file an OCR complaint about the discrimination the person with disabilities is experiencing in the workplace. That may be all you need to do to handle this rude, unfeeling person.

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J June 6, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Ack! As someone who defends companies in government investigations, I would never call one on my employer if there was a more painless avenue available. Well, I might if I really hated the management!

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Just Laura June 6, 2012 at 10:13 pm

OCR doesn’t have to be painful. If fact, most of the time complaints are resolved with letters to the offending parties (company, university, state entity, etc.) with the party’s promising to resolve the issue (like mediation). Seldom is there a financial settlement involved.

J June 7, 2012 at 8:33 am

It’s the process that’s the punishment. If the problem can be resolved internally, why get the government involved?

Amy June 6, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Hey everyone,
I have a couple of wedding etiquette questions. I am in 2 upcoming weddings (craziness). The wedding that is first (August), is giving me the most problems. Things keep getting added to my expenses – they have decided to have a bridal shower, and a Jack and Jill, which (I know) is the same thing (I subtly tried to say that but it didn’t get picked up on). But this Jack and Jill, isn’t really like anything else I’ve heard or read about – tickets are being sold for it, and well we have to buy a ticket to go and bring a gift, there is also a raffle and baskets and door prizes. According to what the bride has stated, it’s to help raise money for the bride and groom and for family/friends that they couldn’t invite to the wedding. So, should I not be going, since I’m in the wedding? I find it all a bit much but maybe I’m wrong. I really can’t take another day off from both my jobs (with wrestling with two sets of wedding events). So the question about the Jack and Jill is basically for my own sanity – is it odd that they are having both parties and charging for it?
My second question is about a gift. I have known the bride since middle school and we’ve been close. I’ve already given $120 for a combo gift from the whole bridal party to send the couple on their honeymoon (they can’t afford it with paying for the wedding too). So will I be expected to get a gift off the registry too? I was planning on getting them something anyways that was more personal (not registry related).
Thank you so much in advance for your advice and help!

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Just Laura June 6, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Wow.
Amy, you are a generous person. I should have invited you to my wedding last year. ;)

“…tickets are being sold for it, and well we have to buy a ticket to go and bring a gift…it’s to help raise money for the bride and groom and for family/friends that they couldn’t invite to the wedding.”

Let me get this straight – they are charging guests for the privilege of bringing gifts? And the proceeds are in the name of people who aren’t invited? That is… odd.
I am always curious about people who plan parties they cannot afford, and vacations that they expect their friends and family to fund. Then I wonder where I can find these nice people to finance a second sports car for me…
If you are truly close to the bride, you need to take her aside and have a heart-to-heart with her. A lady never charges her guests for the opportunity to spend time with her. There is a different term for those who do that. Perhaps she is under stress, and didn’t even realize her error. However, if she refuses to listen, I don’t see a problem with your bowing out of the second shower. You mention you can’t take off from work too much – use that as your excuse (but don’t mention the other wedding since that was YOUR decision to be a part of both, and not the bride’s fault). I wish you luck in this.

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Elizabeth June 7, 2012 at 9:02 am

I think the Jack and Jill party is being thrown so that people they couldn’t invite to the wedding can be invited to something. This is truly shameless! It breaks so many rules and is so offensive, one doesn’t even know where to begin. Even the link to the explanation of the Jack and Jill still made is sound like a party that someone throws FOR the couple, not BY the couple. UGH.

In any case: Amy, is sounds like you have a lot of demands both on your time and your finances, and I think it is perfectly fine to draw the line somewhere. I think you should plan to go to the regular shower and just send your heartfelt regrets for the Jack and Jill. If the bride presses, simply tell her the truth – that you can’t afford to go!

Also – you are never obliged to buy from the registry.

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Just Laura June 7, 2012 at 9:10 am

Ah, I see what you mean about inviting people to this party that aren’t invited to the wedding. I’m glad we have so many different views and methods of understanding on this site; it really adds clarity to many issues.

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R. June 7, 2012 at 6:36 am

A Jack & Jill party as you’re describing might be a local custom. Here’s a link with a bit more info — http://www.torontobrides.com/questions/answer52.php. So while it might go against the etiquette books, it may be a local wedding custom. If you google it, there’s info online and I recall reading about this in another advice column too. I believe you don’t have to go if you can’t make it but typically, the bridal party does attend. And it tends to be in the evening, so go after work for a while if possible?

AFAIK, if you’ve contributed to a group gift, you don’t need to give a separate gift. It’s fine that your gift is for their honeymoon. I’ve never given a separate gift (aside from a much smaller, personal token) when I’ve contributed to a group gift.

Hope this helps.

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Alicia June 7, 2012 at 9:15 am

If it was a local tradition for the bride then wouldn;t it be something that her friend since she was a kid would be familiar with? Yes is some small canadian towns this is common but even there it is not a requirement. I would decline if it meant taking time off work and attend if easy for me to do so. I would not bring a gift or be willing to contribute to the Jack and Jill. You do not have to participate is hostessing or paying for the event in any way. I would not give more then a tolken above the group gift.
You sound like a nice friend buty it is acceptable to say No on occasion. Good luck.

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Nina June 7, 2012 at 11:26 am

Hi All,

Alicia is right–a community dance held as a fundraiser is quite common in small rural communities in Canada (like the one I’m from). These are popular and respectable events in certain communities. But a few notes on that:
a) the bridal party throws it as a gift to the bride and groom; the couple doesn’t throw it for themselves though of course they might help out
b) there are no gifts involved. The gift you give is paying for your ticket.
c) the communities where these are common support these parties–in fact, there’s often not a lot going on so folks are grateful to have a fun event to go to on a Friday night. Even strangers often attend if they see a note in the newspaper about it. Everyone is used to going to everyone else’s Stag and Doe (what we called’em) and expect that the favour will be returned for their own. On the other hand, I live in a big city now and would be shocked if anyone threw one here–it’s simply not appropriate in a place where the custom is unfamiliar, and people don’t already support it. If I were invited to a city Stag and Doe, I wouldn’t attend; but if I were invited to one “back home,” I probably would if I could.

I hope that clarifies a few details about this sort of party–it really can be fine if it’s done right. But that sounds like not the case at all with Amy’s friend. She should just treat it like any other invitation and say it sounds like fun but, sorry, she has other plans.

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Winifred Rosenburg June 7, 2012 at 10:40 am

I agree with what has been said so far and would like to add something. With regard to the two showers (you are right, they are really both showers) having multiple showers is sometimes acceptable depending on how it’s done. It’s okay if there are different guest lists, meaning no one should be invited to both except the bridal party (which does not mean that the bridal party is obligated to go to both by the way). I’d also like to note that the bride shouldn’t be throwing herself showers. (I’m not sure if that’s the case here, but it sounds like it might be.)

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Just Laura June 7, 2012 at 9:08 am

Oh, absolutely! But if this person hasn’t been censored already for discriminatory behavior (as well as simple bullying), then perhaps management is looking the other way.

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