Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Coffee, Tea or Back Pain?

A few posts ago we talked about butts in our faces when traveling on airplanes. Just like passengers, flight attendants have their issues too.

The next time you board a plane with a big, lumpy bag and wonder why an attendant isn’t racing to stuff it into the overhead compartment, it has nothing to do with laziness. Most attendants aren’t insured for any injury that could result from heavy lifting. However, they will help a person who is obviously too small or frail to handle their bag.

Flight attendants call some carry on bags ‘drag on’ because of their size and weight. They suggest that you take out what you need during the flight before you get on the plane, this way you’re not holding up boarding while you fumble through your bag. (This also causes ‘butt-in-your-face’ syndrome.)

Don’t expect an attendant to thank you for pushing the button. While it’s not always possible and easy to move around the cabin, a visit to the galley is greatly appreciated, especially after they’ve just finished serving and taking a much needed break.

When offered a custom form to fill out some passengers get an odd surge of patriotism and exclaim, “But I’m an American!” Take it easy; even a Martian would have to fill out the form. Just say, ‘thank you’ and take it.

One flight attendant explained, “I’ve learned to be more patient. A lot of people don’t know how to travel because they don’t do much of it.” Even with all of his years of flying he never realized how difficult traveling with babies was until his niece had one. “I’m especially patient with parents.”

The next time you're flying high, take the high road all the way.

Thursday, May 21, 2009



Wednesday, May 13, 2009


On its way to becoming a verb, something funny happened to the French acronym RSVP that stands for, ‘Répondez vous s’il vous plaît.’ meaning ‘please respond’ - people stopped responding. And it’s not because they weren’t fluent in French.

A prominent hostess in San Francisco can’t believe how invitees think it’s enough to call and say, “I’m rsvping.” “What they’re saying is that they are responding,” she said. “That doesn’t tell me if they are attending or not.”

When someone invites you to a party or a wedding, rsvp isn’t on the invitation because it came with the printing deal. It’s on there so that you can let the hostess know if you are going to attend the event or not. Your response lets her know how much she’ll need to order or rent to make sure that guests are comfortable and well served.

Wedding invitations usually come with response cards and stamped envelopes. Yet, brides and wedding planners still have to call guests and ask if they’re coming. “Oh, I thought I had to send the card back only if I’m coming to the wedding,” one invited guest said to a planner.

“I couldn’t have made it easier,” explained the hostess in San Francisco now planning a bridal shower. “There was a designated phone number and an email address on the invitation. Half still haven’t responded.” Instead of making plans, she has to make phone calls to those who think they’ve responded and to those who haven’t at all.

The next time you receive the honor of an invitation, honor it. If you can’t make it, it’s all right to say so but not the day before. If you have pending plans, you can let your host know and give them an answer in a timely fashion. When there’s a stamped envelope, that means that there’s a required visit to a mail box in your near future. Whatever you do, don’t call and just say, “I’m rsvping.” That’s a real, non, non.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Poor Manners: The Proof is in the Pudding

“Here it is,” our hostess announced, “the banana pudding is ready.” She proudly put it on the table next to small bowls and spoons. Her guests started helping themselves. And help themselves they did. The pudding had a crunchy, toasted topping. Within three servings most of the topping was gone. What remained was a pale, picked over mess. Guests had dug in and on the way out skimmed over the top of the pudding stripping it of its crunchy touch. The father of one of the strippers, a ten-year-old boy, just watched almost admiringly while missing an opportunity to teach his son some manners.

It was a pitiful display of greed, selfishness and total inconsideration for other guests. We can imagine what these same culprits would do to a stringbean casserole and its crispy onion top layer! Would you trust your strawberry shortcake to them? We shudder to think what they would do if the pudding were instead a pecan pie.

There are picky eaters and then there are picky eaters. They pick with their fingers for the perfect strip of bacon. They shovel food from bowls or plates onto their plates instead of properly serving themselves by using the serving utensils to pick up and transport the food. They will ruin a dish of green peas and ham by picking out the ham to satisfy their vegetarian leanings while secretly enjoying the flavor of pork. And they will pick through a bowl of nuts looking for precious cashews. (When serving nuts there should always be a small spoon in the bowl.)

Don’t be the pig at a dinner party. Consider the number of people who still have to eat. Consider that just like you, they’ll probably want some of the topping too. Consider that just like you, they don’t like the idea of random fingers doing the walking through the food. If there’s one more serving of something left, look around, ask, “Is it all right for me to finish this?” No one’s going to say, ‘no’. You’re displaying courtesy and thoughtfulness and your hosts will probably urge you to take it.

Language, how well you speak it, can tell people who you are and where you came from. The same goes for manners. The proof was certainly in this pudding.