Open Thread

by Daniel Post Senning on May 30, 2013

Welcome to the Etiquette Daily

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.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie May 30, 2013 at 10:32 am

I have a question about neighbourhood dogs relieving themselves… we just moved into our neighbourhood a year ago, and experiencing are summer here for the first season. As it turns out, the neighbours let their dogs run free (off leash) on the front lawns and a neighbour TWO doors down has been letting their small dogs (3) relieve themselves on our property. Considering we also have a dog (large breed) and we clean up after her every time she goes in our own backyard (never the front) I find this behaviour totally unacceptable. There were 6 piles on the side of our house today! What’s worse is getting out of our car and almost stepping in it. Ugh!

So my question… how do we nicely tell them to stay off our lawn and to pick up after their dogs right away without hurting the otherwise friendly neighbourhood relationship?

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Alicia May 30, 2013 at 10:45 am

Next time you see it you say something to the neighbor. I have said such things as “Oh would you like to have a baggy so that you can clean up after your dog” And the more blunt “Please try and get your dog to go somewhere that is not my lawn” Either of these is polite but firm.

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Jody May 30, 2013 at 11:24 am

Alicia’s advice is a good first step. Often a friendly neighbor-to-neighbor word will work. The neighbors may be so oblivious that they don’t realize it’s a problem.

The dogs are probably used to relieving themselves on your lawn and they think it’s “their” territory. Is there anything you can spray on your lawn that will not harm the dogs but will repel them? My condo’s lawn care company posts signs when they apply pesticides so that people keep pets off the grass. A similar sign might work for you, whether or not pesticides are actually sprayed.

If the neighbors won’t stop their dogs’ behavior, the next step might be to check with your homeowner’s association (if you have one) or local ordinances as to dog regulations. Hopefully your situation won’t get to this point, but if it does make sure you have proof (photos of the dogs, etc.) so that it’s not just one neighbor’s word against another. I’m a dog lover but I understand how frustrating your situation is.

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Marie May 30, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Thanks ladies! I think we might have to say something like that, but Jody, that’s a good idea, we’ll try the “Critter Ridder” which isn’t poison but a mix of things that animals really hate and you spread it on the lawn. Unfortunately lawn pesticides are banned in Ontario (you should see the dandelions), so a pesticide sign, although useful, wouldn’t be allowed.

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Alicia May 30, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Try Chilli powder a friend of mine who is a vet told me that it works wonders at keeping dogs away and I tried it and it worked

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Elizabeth May 30, 2013 at 3:05 pm

There are also signs that deal directly with the dog issue. Just google ‘no dog poop signs’, and you’ll have a plethora of ideas (and products) at your disposal. This would be another way to to discourage the use of your lawn without confronting your neighbor. However – I should say that 99% of dog owners know that it is terrible behavior to let your dog go on someone else’s lawn and not pick it up. That is to say: your neighbors are either extremely ignorant or they simply don’t care. If it’s the former, then a polite and direct conversation is likely your best bet. If it’s the latter, then sprays might work best.

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Jody June 1, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Marie, one of my local radio stations had a story this morning about this very situation. Besides the things all of us have mentioned here, they suggested a motion-sensitive sprinkler system that would shoot cold water on whatever is triggering it. It sounds quite elaborate, and I don’t know how realistic it is for most people, but I thought I’d mention it anyway.

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Gary May 30, 2013 at 11:06 pm

I’ve been invited to an “unofficial” work party hosted by one of my coworkers at his & his wife’s house this coming Saturday afternoon/evening. He and his wife are Mormon and do not drink, but e-mailed us and said “. . . we do not keep adult beverages around and probably will not have any — but feel free to bring some if you would like, and even better if you bring enough to share.”

So, would it be improper to bring beer or wine? If not, should I bring just enough for myself (and my guest) or should I “bring enough to share”?

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Alicia May 30, 2013 at 11:55 pm

You are fine to bring beer or wine bt bring enough to share a little a bottle of wine or a six pack of beer is enough. That said if the hosts do not drink I would keep drinking to a minimum or not at all and I would probably skip drinking at this work event hosted by non drinking hosts.

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Joanna May 31, 2013 at 10:09 am

I agree with Alicia – although the hosts are being gracious in permitting what they themselves do not indulge in, you should definitely return the favor by being courteous to their feelings/beliefs. I too would likely not drink anything alcoholic in their home. I’m sure no one will die without having a beer over the course of a few hours :-)

Also, another thing to consider – who are the other guests? Will there be other Mormons attending? That should probably be your guideline as to whether or not you bring alcohol.

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Jody May 31, 2013 at 6:12 am

How gracious of your hosts to allow guests to bring adult beverages even when they don’t drink. Since they said guests should feel free to bring something, I’d say it’s definitely appropriate to bring a bottle if you want to imbibe. One bottle of wine should be plenty, or one six-pack of beer, but keep in mind that it likely will end up being shared rather than being a community bottle. You could keep a discreet eye on your supply so that when you leave, if there is some left, you can offer to take the leftovers with you.

I’m Mormon and I follow “house rules” when attending a party. If I’m at somebody else’s house, I drink what’s on offer — most, if not all, hosts will offer a nonalcoholic alternative beverage. If I’m hosting, and I allow guests to bring alcohol even though I’m not serving any, I don’t expect them to avoid drinking entirely (I just want them to practice moderation).

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Lainey June 1, 2013 at 11:09 am

I have a question about having a “dutch treat” dinner party after a courthouse wedding. My fiance and I are getting married at the courthouse with only our witnesses present. This will be the second wedding for each of us, so we had planned not to have a huge celebration, but now we are thinking that we would like to plan a dinner for anyone who would like to come. We are trying to figure out if it would be appropriate to ask people to come celebrate with us, and how to indicate that everyone would pay their own way. We want to make it clear that we would not like any gifts, just the gift of their presence. Also, we would like to provide dessert. Any suggestions?

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Jody June 1, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Lainey — congratulations on your wedding. Unfortunately, I don’t think you can host a celebration but ask people fo pay their own way. Since you’d like to provide dessert, why don’t you just host a dessert reception? If people ask what you’d like as gifts, that would be the appropriate time to say “oh we don’t want gifts, we just want to see you there.”

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Kasey June 1, 2013 at 9:30 pm

So, I have a question regarding the etiquette of wait staff. Twice now I have been at different restaurants where they have brought tasters of a beverage (the first was two white wines between which I could not decide and in the second instance the waiter brought out two similar beers when I had not like my first selection) and then once I had decided which one I preferred the wait staff had tried to remove the taster.

Perhaps it is knowing that they will just toss the remnant of the small pour I received as a taster that compels me to drink it. Or, especially for wine whose flavors develop over time, I do like to finish my taster even if I have decided to order something else. I feel offended when the wait staff just whisks away the taster I am still working on. I am I out of place to want them to leave it until its done?

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Just Laura June 3, 2013 at 3:20 pm

How interesting. My husband owns a bar, and when guests request a taste of beer, the taster is left in front of the customer for a while. If after several minutes the customer has not returned to the taster, the bartenders will remove it. I’ve yet to see a bartender take away the taster as soon as the customer has decided upon a different beverage. It is a very casual atmosphere, though.
Still, I’ve eaten at many a table-cloth restaurant, and I’ve not had waitstaff remove the taster immediately. In their defense, however, the waitstaff may believe that you do not enjoy that selection, and wish to have it removed.

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Erika July 10, 2013 at 11:32 am

The town or area you are from may play a role in this. Depending on what the liquor laws are, it could dictate the behavior of the restaraunt. For example, in Massachusetts, no free alcohol of any kind can be served. I can’t in good conscious even give a taster to a customer. Maybe those laws are similar? Or I’d agree with the above commenter that if you chose the other drink, then it’s implied you don’t like that particular taster.

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