Manners Matter

Dear Mary Pat,

I was traveling in the county and stopped at a restaurant for coffee. As I entered the only waitress was talking on a cell phone. The entire time I was there she talked on her phone as she waited on her customers. In fact, she was still talking when I left.

I thought this was extremely rude. What do you think?

Hello, Anyone Home?

Washington Island

Dear Hello, Anyone Home?,

Yes, I agree. This is rude. My guess is that this was an employee and not the owner of the business. The owner would hopefully know better than to make customers feel as though they are not important, which is exactly what happened here. My suggestion would be to write an email or place a phone call. If I had an employee who was putting her phone conversation before her customers, I would want to know.

Cell phones are a necessary evil. I myself am guilty of talking on mine quite a bit. Friends of mine say that it is permanently attached to my ear, which is an exaggeration I assure you. The point is, we are all busy, and we have to fit conversations in wherever we can. I am sometimes on the phone when I am in the grocery store (alright, more than sometimes), but I am aware of what is going on around me. I talk while I shop, and speak in a low voice so that I am not providing entertainment or an annoyance to fellow shoppers. I also try to finish my conversation before I take my items into the checkout line. If I can’t end the conversation (I have a family that is pretty chatty and hard to stop when on a roll), I will definitely acknowledge the store clerk to say hello and thank you, etc. (For those of you thinking that I have a double standard for myself, please read my bio. I am a very busy gal. It takes time brushing up on my language skills (7 of them, thank you very much), and I am always flying off to Europe at a moment’s notice to attend seminars and workshops. Being an international etiquette expert takes an inordinate amount of time.)

The waitress may be busy as well, however, she can’t spend the entire shift on her phone. That’s not why she is paid to be there.

Good luck,

Mary Pat