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Home » Stories, True and Otherwise

25 And Over

Submitted by on January 17, 2005 – 9:35 AM218 Comments

If you have reached the age of 25, I have a bit of bad news for you, to wit: it is time, if you have not already done so, for you to emerge from your cocoon of post-adolescent dithering and self-absorption and join the rest of us in the world. Past the quarter-century mark, you see, certain actions, attitudes, and behaviors will simply no longer do, and while it might seem unpleasant to feign a maturity and solicitousness towards others that you may not genuinely feel, it is not only appreciated by others but necessary for your continued survival. Continuing to insist past that point that good manners, thoughtfulness, and grooming oppress you in some way is inappropriate and irritating.

Grow up.

And when I instruct you to grow up, I do not mean that you must read up on mortgage rates, put aside candy necklaces, or desist from substituting the word "poo" for crucial syllables of movie titles. Silliness is not only still permitted but actively encouraged. You must, however, stop viewing carelessness, tardiness, helplessness, or any other quality better suited to a child as either charming or somehow beyond your control. A certain grace period for the development of basic consideration and self-sufficiency is assumed, but once you have turned 25, the grace period is over, and starring in a film in your head in which you walk the earth alone is no longer considered a valid lifestyle choice, but rather grounds for exclusion from social occasions.

And now, for those of you who might have misplaced them, marching orders for everyone born before 1980.

1. Remember to write thank-you notes. If you do not know when a thank-you note is appropriate, consult an etiquette book — the older and more hidebound the book, the better. When in doubt, write one anyway; better to err on the side of formality. An email is not sufficient thanks for a physical gift. Purchase stationery and stamps, set aside five minutes, and express your gratitude in writing. Failure to do so implies that you don't care. This implication is a memorable one. Enough said.

2. Do not invite yourself to stay with friends when you travel anymore. Presumably you have a job, and the means to procure yourself a hotel. If so, do so. If not, stay home. Mentioning that you plan a visit to another city may lead to an invitation to stay with a friend or family member, which you may of course accept; assuming that "it's cool if you crash" is not. Wait for the invitation; if it is not forthcoming, this is what we call "a hint," and you should take it and make other arrangements.

3. Do not expect friends to help you move anymore. You may ask for help; you may not expect it, particularly if your move date is on a weekday. Your friends have jobs to go to, and you have accumulated a lot of heavy books by this point in your life. Hire a mover. If you cannot afford a mover, sell your books or put them in storage — or don't move, but one way or another, you will have to cope.

4. Develop a physical awareness of your surroundings. As children, we live in our own heads, bonking into things, gnawing on twigs, emitting random squawks because we don't know how to talk yet. Then, we enter nursery school. You, having graduated college or reached a similar age to that of the college graduate, need to learn to sense others and get out of their way. Walk single file. Don't blather loudly in public spaces. Give up your seat to those with disabilities or who are struggling with small children. Take your headphones off while interacting with clerks and passersby. Do not walk along and then stop suddenly. It is not just you on the street; account for that fact.

5. Be on time. The occasional public-transit snafu is forgivable, but consistent lateness is rude, annoying, and self-centered. If we didn't care when you showed up, we'd have said "any old time"; if we said seven, get there at seven or within fifteen minutes. Do not ditz that you "lost track of time" as though time somehow slipped its leash and ran into traffic. It shows a basic lack of respect for others; flakiness is not cute anymore, primarily because it never was. Buy a watch, wind it up, and wear it everywhere you go.

6. Have enough money. I do not mean "give up your scholarly dreams and join the world of corporate finance in order to keep up with the Joneses." I mean that you should not become that girl or boy who is always a few dollars short, can only cover exactly his or her meal but no tip, or "forgot" to go to the ATM. Go to the ATM first, don't order things you can't afford, and…

7. Know how to calculate the tip. Ten percent of the total; double it; done. You did not have to major in math to know how this works. You are not dumb, but your Barbie-math-is-hard flailing is agonizing and has outstayed its welcome. Ten percent times two. Learn it.

8. Do not share the crazy dream you had last night with anyone but your mental wellness professional. Nobody cares. People who starred in the dream may care, but confine your synopsis to ten words or fewer.

9. Learn to walk in heels. Gentlemen, you are at your leisure. Ladies: If you wear heels, know how to operate them. Clomping along and placing your foot down flat with each step gives the appearance of a ten-year-old playing dress-up, but a pair of heels is like a bicycle — you need momentum to stay up. Come down on the heel and carry forward through the toe, using your regular stride. If you feel wobbly, keep practicing, or get a pair that's better suited to your style of walking. It isn't a once-a-year prom thing anymore for a lot of you, so please learn to walk in them.

10. Have at least one good dress-up outfit. A dress code, or suggested attire on an invitation, is not an instrument of The Man. Own one nice dress, or one reasonable suit, or one sharp pair of pants and chic sweater — something you can clean up nice in for a wedding or a semi-formal dinner. You don't have to like it, but if the invitation requests it, put it on. Every night can't be poker night. Which reminds me…

11. Do as invitations ask you. Don't bring a guest when no such courtesy is extended. Don't blow off an RSVP; it means "please respond," and you should. "Regrets only" means you only answer if you can't come. If the party starts at eight, show up at eight — not at seven-thirty so you can go a "better" party later, not at eleven when dinner is cold. Eight. Cocktail parties allow for leeway, of course, but pay attention and read instructions; your host furnished the details for a reason.

12. Know how. Know how to drive. Know how to read a map. Know how to get around. Know how to change a tire, or whom to call if you can't manage it, or how to get to a phone if you don't have a cell phone. We will happily bail you out, until it becomes apparent that it's what you always need. The possibility of a fingernail breaking or a hairstyle becoming compromised is not grounds for purposeful helplessness.

13. Don't use your friends. It's soulless. It's also obvious. If the only reason you continue to associate with a person is to borrow his or her car, might I remind you that you have now turned 25 and may rent your own.

14. Have something to talk about besides college or your job. College is over. The war stories have their amusements, but not over and over and not at every gathering. Get a library card, go to the movies, participate in the world. Working is not living. Be interested so that you can be interesting.

15. Give and receive favors graciously. If you have agreed to do a favor, you may not 1) remind the favoree ceaselessly about how great a pain it is for you, or 2) half-ass it because the favoree "owes you." It is a favor; it is not required, and if you cannot do it, say so. If you can do it, pretend that nobody is watching, do it as best you can, and let that be the end of it. Conversely, if you ask for a favor and the askee cannot do it, do not get snappish. You can manage.

16. Drinking until you throw up is no longer properly a point of pride. It happens to the best of us, but be properly ashamed the next day; work on your tolerance, or eat something first, but amateur hour ended several years ago.

17. Have a real trash receptacle, real Kleenex, and, if you smoke, a real ashtray. No loose bags on the floor; no using a roll of toilet paper; no plates or empty soda cans. You are not a fierce warrior nomad of the Fratty Bubelatty tribe. Buy a wastebasket and grown-up paper products.

18. Universal quiet hours do in fact apply to you. They are, generally, as follows — midnight to six AM on weekdays, 2 AM to 8 AM on weekends. Mine is a fairly generous interpretation, by the by, so bass practice should conclude, not start, at ten PM. Understand also that just because nobody has complained directly to you does not mean that a complaint is not justified, or pending. Further, get your speakers off the floor. Yes, "now." Yes, a rug is still "the floor."

19. Take care of yourself. If you are sick, visit a doctor. If you are sad, visit a shrink or talk to a friend. If you are unhappy in love, break up. If you are fed up with how you look, buy a new shirt or stop eating cheese. If you have a problem, try to fix it. Many problems are knotty and need a lot of talking through, or time to resolve, but after a few months of all complaining and no fixing, those around you will begin to wonder if you don't enjoy the problems for the attention they bring you. Venting is fine; inertia coupled with pouting is not. Bored? Read a magazine. Mad at someone? Say so — to them. Change is hard; that's too bad. Effort counts. Make one. Your mommy's shift is over.

20. Rudeness is not a signifier of your importance. Rudeness is a signifier of itself, nothing more. We all have bad days; yours is not weightier than anyone else's, comparatively, and does not excuse displays of poor breeding. Be civil or be elsewhere.

January 17, 2005

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  • Mustafa says:

    I am half-way thru 25 and I haven't done half the things in the list. It's about time I do it all. Thank you.

  • Jared says:

    Most of this is really common sense (not all that common, ironically) or common decency (also frequently uncommon). It's simply an indication of breeding, save for those with a psychiatric disorder for which insight is not present.

    And may I add, the use of correct spelling and grammar in written/typed correspondence ought to be a priority for an individual, which would include being aware when you do not live in the USA.

  • I slightly disagree.

    There's no reason in the world why 18 year olds cannot be reared to be grown-ups upon reaching the age of majority. (or, if a Dartmouth study proves true), we ought to raise the age of majority to whatever age at which the brains are actually properly mature.

  • SpoiltChild says:

    Too bad for you. By the time I reach 25, post-adolescence will be considered normal up to *least* age 30, so I'll be able to stay in my so-called cocoon for quite a while longer thank you very much.

  • Thomas says:

    I don't like this post. Pretending to be someone you're not is not ok, and should certainly not be a mandatory rule of existence after any age. People make choices of how to behave and should be free to do so. Whether you socialize with them or not is your choice.

    This post looks like someone hoping he can enforce his own etiquette upon everyone else so that he can be more comfortable with his choice of lifestyle.

    (Some of these rules have nothing to do with age, but common sense. Tipping is necessary because your waitress needs to be paid. Other rules are common sense turned into a formality of the author's lifestyle choice. Thanking someone is nice (common sense), but can be done in a variety of ways, not necessarily through the format of thank-you notes)

  • Matt says:

    The brain is fully matured at around 22. In fact, it starts decaying at around the same time, so there's no physiological excuse.
    If you're not mature by 25, it's your fault. To rub my own ego slightly, I'm 20 and have been doing this since I joined the world of adults 3 years ago (ie. got a full time job and got my own place to live).
    None of this is difficult, and all it requires is a little empathy for those around you.

  • 25-Year-Old says:

    I disagree. I think most of these rules – if not all – express a minimum standard of etiquette that our society has generally agreed upon as a way of helping us get along with each other. Rejecting them is not "expressing your personality freely" – it's just plain rude.
    You're right that the author cannot force anyone to do this. In fact, I don't believe he's trying. If so, the post might have been phrased as laws that ought to be passed or community organization, not good advice.
    The only thing I agree with you on is that if someone chooses not to follow this good advice, then other members of society can and should ostracize the person. Perhaps not right away, but over time, their perpetual bad manners and immature behavior will lead them to that place.
    And THAT is what this advice is trying to avoid.

  • C says:

    Well, #7 just assumes that all service is good enough to warrant a 20% tip. And we know what happens when we assume…

  • princess smartyboots says:

    If anyone cooks a meal for you (including a blood relative), make an earnest attempt to help with the cleanup. Many will not want you to do the dishes, but few and far between are the cooks who do not appreciate your assistance in clearing, scraping and neatly stacking the dishes in the kitchen for easy clean-up after guests depart.

  • Scrawny says:

    regarding 4: Clumsiness is a trait that the clumsy have to learn to get used to. It is not that we're not physically aware, it's just that our brains and bodies don't coordinate in the same way that yours do.

  • clvngodess says:

    I like it. I think this is more about being aware of the world and how it operates, common courtesy, and the golden rule.

    It's not about getting old, forfeiting one's identity, etc.

    As one approaching 50, I have flagrantly refused to "get old, or grow up." Meaning that I do indulge the child within, look at the world with fresh eyes, and celebrate my being. However, as one approaching 50, I also recognize that as a human being, we live and behave in community. And this means that there are others who may be affected by my behaviors should I forget that I am not all there is.

    I would also like to add:
    Parents, you are the adult. Your job is to guide your children into the world safely, teach them and show them how life and society is. Your job is not to raise over indulged entitled brats who believe the rest of us owe them. Shit ain't like that.

    When you are in the grocery and your 4 year old starts making demands, this is not the time for you to start talking at them like they are 40. Give them a choice, either A or B. Or take control of the situation. This is what parents and adults do. Children need age appropriate structure. Not some mamby-pampy discussion that seeks their approval rating of how you are doing.

  • Matt SF says:

    I emailed this to a few of my 25+ friends. I particularly like tip #2… staying at my place is no longer a right, it's a privilege!

  • Jason Fisher says:

    I am so glad you wrote this. I wish I could force people to read and obey.

  • Bart says:

    I agree with almost everything here and I think the people who disagree, especially about issues with time and being considerate of others, need to grow up! :) I talked about this with a friend, cause we're constantly having issues with other people's inconsideration (it's not as OK to be late as they think it is!), and she had a good point about the "staying at a friend's house" thing.

    Sometimes part of the visit to a city is spending time with the friend and I would prefer them to stay with me so we don't loose out on time together in the morning and the eveninings, and there are friends I would expect to stay with me if they were coming from another city to see me (as opposed to an aquantaince coming here for other reasons). We also live in NYC where the hotel prices can be outrageous for someone coming from a small town.

  • toasterhands says:

    A good read.

    I've been writing thank you's for as long as I can remember and I'm not even allowed to drink yet!

  • Ragdoll says:

    This list is mostly bullshit, but #7 is spot on. All waiters and waitresses deserve a generous tip and that's 15% at a minimum.

    Shitty service? Talk to the manager. Tip 15%.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    The "staying with friends" item seems to incite the strongest reaction, so I should clarify — they're your friends. Stay with them; have them stay with you; I don't mean that everyone should meet in hotel lobbies like spies, that's ridiculous.

    I'm talking about presuming — announcing to people that you're coming to town, expecting them to hook you up. We all have friends from whom we can and should expect this, but my apartment is not big, and I work in it also. A couple nights, or an emergency, no problem, but I really can't have anyone underfoot for a week.

    That's me. Again, we're talking big courtesy picture here; if it's not a problem in your life, great. But some people do in fact have a problem distinguishing "it's cool" from "they're too nice to say no."

  • Sara says:

    Heels? Sorry if I was blessed with terribly wide feet that render finding any heels in my size that are fashion-forward impossible. I'm fine with my fancy flats. Does that make me a bad person?

    Otherwise, most of the items are generally spot-on.

  • Erica says:

    Where has this post been all my life?! Finally, someone has summed up all the things I've been saying for years. This link deserves to be forwarded many times over…and it shall.

    And to all those that disagree because they feel it's too imposing, consider for a moment how you'd feel if the tables were turned. If everyone in this world acted as though they were the only souls here, we'd be in a constant state of disagreement, anger and hate. I fear that some of the social tribulations we're experiencing currently are due to this very attitude of selfishness.

    It doesn't hurt anyone to have manners and to care about your fellow humans. In fact, you might be surprised how much it enriches your own life to extend that kind of thoughtfulness.

  • I liked the way you set up #4- (paraphrased) "when you were a child you were in your head and not aware of others, now as an adult be aware of others and how you can be sensitive to them- give up your seat to the elderly." When I read that I felt "I am a capable adult in the prime of my life- yes, I can totally sense others needs and I can choose to give simple things, like my seat. How nice is it to serve in that simple way!"

  • I love this article. I think this list nicely sums up some adult rules to live by, and the points are so accurate. And yet, for whatever reason, these lessons so often go unstated. Too bad, since (as other people have mentioned) common sense and common courtesy are unfortunate rarities. I think this list should be printed out and handed to college grads as they move on to the next stage of life; one last rules-of-life guide to get them on their way.

    Buy a new shirt or stop eating cheese. Love it!

  • Sankalp says:

    I used to think its only me whose thought paradigm is shifting. Although, I am just 23 now, I have started realizing most of the above things.

  • ferretrick says:

    This isn't my favorite Sars essay, but its got to be in the top five. So awesome.

    I do love my boyfriend very much, but MY GOD do I wish he would learn #8. I rarely even remember my dreams, so I have little patience for listening to anybody else's. But with boyfriend-hints, subtle cues, trying to change the subject, and directly telling him I. DO. NOT. CARE. will not stop the LONG recitation. Then he asks me to interpret it for him. GAH.

    And can we add some rules to #3? Like Rule 3A, B, etc?
    3A) Your shit is to be fully packed and ready to load. Asking for help
    moving does not include packing your shit for you.
    3B) You are expected to provide refreshments of some kind, pizza
    and drinks at the bare minimum.
    3C) You are allowed to ask for help moving assuming you have
    normal things to move. If you have exceptionally large, heavy
    furniture, musical instruments like pianos, major appliances, or
    other items so large moving them poses a safety risk, you MUST
    hire professional movers.

  • kerry says:

    @Sara: I think not being physically able to walk in heels isn't what she's referring to, I doubt she's demanding that people with disabilities rush out and learn, I think she's probably just referring to those tiresome people who at the age of 30 still seem to find it a point of pride that they can't walk in heels, not realizing that the rest of us can and maybe don't appreciate that they're mildly insulting us.

  • Leigh says:

    Thomas, might I direct your attention (back) to the article: "while it might seem unpleasant to feign a maturity and solicitousness towards others that you may not genuinely feel, it is not only appreciated by others but necessary for your continued survival. Continuing to insist past that point that good manners, thoughtfulness, and grooming oppress you in some way is inappropriate and irritating.

    Grow up."

  • Chris says:

    I know some 30 and 40-year olds that need to read this.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @kerry: Yes and no. I don't care whether anyone wears heels or doesn't, per se. I care whether, if you do wear them, you can walk in them quickly enough that you don't impede pedestrian traffic in midtown at 6 PM. See also: walking and texting. Do it or don't, but if you do, do it without slowing down.

  • Kevin says:

    #21. Find the restraint to not forward this to all the assholes you know that haven't grown up.

  • Carlos D. says:

    I tend to disagree with chastising lifestyle lists that go viral (see the insipid RulesForMyUnbornSon) but I'll concede most of the points here. You're certainly not asking for anything insanely unreasonable (besides asking me to purchase my own stationary. Any other obsolete 20th century business models you want me to support? Perhaps I should subscribe to the newspaper?)

    And if you ever get a chance to present this list in a medium that isn't web-based, let me propose the following (less age-restrictive) title: "General Suggestions for Being a Well-Liked Adult."

  • Shane says:

    I turned twenty-five a month ago, and have been looking for a consolidated enumeration of some basic ideals I've been aspiring to. Thanks!

  • Sandman says:

    I don't understand how demonstrating empathy and consideration for the efforts, needs and feelings of others can be translated to "trying to be someone you're not."

  • kelly says:

    I think the heels rule is a little iffy – I wholeheartedly agree that if you're going to wear them, then for your own sake, do so properly. However, it's not necessarily fair they've been made into a standard. I wear them (I think, well) all the time, but can see the opposition's point. Should we also learn how to breathe nicely in a corset?

    Also, bailing on previously agreed-upon plans simply because. Things arise unexpectedly, so provide an apology accordingly if you're truly tied up, but a post-event "yeah, sorry, I ended up staying here" seems childish.

    Not responding to someone's greeting because of shyness? You're not shy anymore, it's called unfriendly.

    Excuse yourself and remember to say please, thank you and you're welcome. "No problem" in response to a thank you doesn't always make sense!

  • cmyers says:

    i love this post. there are way too many people in this world, including people my parents' age, that should read and learn from this…

    AND 25 is a pretty liberal age for this to apply. I would say that once one graduates from college, these things should be on one's mind. I guess 25 is a good age for complete compliance.


  • eb says:

    This article is great. Basically if your 25 and you haven't got a clue on how to act like an adult yet, here are a few tips. I get tired of my friends living like they're 17.

    Thank You.

    #16 part 2: party is no longer used as a verb.

  • Bria says:

    I don't understand what's iffy about the heels rule. "Ladies: If you wear heels, know how to operate them." That's not a proclamation that all women need to wear heels. Sars's point (if I may be so bold) is that one must learn competence in the heel-wearing arena before wearing them in public, lest you look like a little girl playing dress-up. I would also add that if you can't walk in a given pair of heels without keeping your knees bent the whole time, the heels are too tall.

    I swear, 3/4 of the issues people are taking with the list are a function of not having given the whole post a close read.

  • 52 Faces says:

    lol Reminds me of my boyfriend's oft-used saying about people who don't have their sh*t together (and there are many of those out here in L.A.), "S/he's a grown-ass wo/man!"

    Kelly – love it – the bailing thing, again so L.A.

    And I especially appreciate your third point. I immediately disliked my best friend's boyfriend because he simply ignores you when you say hello to him. My best friend's brilliant defense is, "He does that to everybody!" Nice. Really well socialized guy you got there.

  • alivicwil says:

    kelly – I think if you're going to choose to wear a corset, you need to be able to breathe properly in it. Don't be huffing and puffing and wheezing and whinging "OMG, I can hardly breathe in this thing!"

    Same with heels. If you choose to wear them, don't be stumbling around, grabbing hold of me as you walk, or making me wait at the corner for you, complaining "Ugh! I can never walk in these things!"

    I'm 5"4. I choose to wear heels to work most of the time. I have 2.5' heels (with a tiny base) on today… I will have playground duty on the school oval – and I will stride purposefully through the mud and, if need be, I'll run across the quad in them to break up a fight. If I can't do those things, I should be wearing flats.

  • Lucubratrix says:

    Everything on this list is true. What it boils down to is that adults need to realize they're not the only (or the most important) people in the world, and should act accordingly. Of course, at heart I'm actually 75 years old and am chasing those little whippersnappers off my lawn, so there you go.

  • VJ says:

    The place where I come from, #16 alone is enogh to differentiate between boys and men. :)
    Loved this post.

  • Molly Britt says:

    You are my soul sister-love this post! I'm linking to it on my site now : )

  • La BellaDonna says:

    For our friends from other countries, and the people who are just learning about eating out:

    Tip your waitstaff in sit-down restaurants in America, whether it's an IHOP (International House of Pancakes) or a five-star restaurant. It's not only as Cole, above said (minimum wage for service employees is just over half of the standard minimum wage, and they live off your "generosity"); the Internal Revenue Service will tax the waitstaff AS IF you have tipped them. Yes: even if you don't tip the waitstaff in the U.S., the waitstaff will have to pay taxes on those non-existent "tips." The IRS has its own idea of what the waitstaff will earn in tips, and the IRS expects its cut. So if you eat out in the U.S., tip the waitstaff, even if you don't ordinarily do it back home. You are not back home, and this is part of the different cultural experience you wanted. Travel safely.

  • nathan says:

    This list is a combination of arbitrary rules that fetishize rules for rules' sake (emailing a thank you note makes you a jerk! keeping a dirty room might as well make you a serial killer!) and obvious generalizations ("if you're sick, see a doctor," "don't show up to a formal event in casual clothing," "tip waiters," "if you have a problem, fix it!" Ya think? Who DOESN'T do these things?). I suggest the author tone down the self-righteousness and lack of respect for the reader's intelligence so that his or her otherwise valid, if uninspired, arguments can come through more effectively.

    The concept of "manners" is a social construct used to distinguish and "otherize" social classes and cultures. It is based on the premise that MY social class observes a particular, stylized mode of behavior that proves that WE are more civilized and considerate that those brutes from OTHER social classes and cultures. Kindness for others can be expressed in many other ways than the 20 rules (more like commandments) presented here.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    @nathan: "Ya think? Who DOESN'T do these things?"

    Enough people, apparently. Thus the list.

    "The concept of "manners" is a social construct used to distinguish and "otherize" social classes and cultures."

    And the dismissal of manners as divisive bigotry, using snotty diction picked up in Sociology 201, reads as a convenient excuse not to observe rules that inconvenience you.

  • Thomas says:


    I don't think that our society needs etiquette, of any kind. Certainly not the author's kind. What our society needs is for people to have common sense, to be kind and considerate of others. Etiquette was meant to be an unspoken agreement on how to express these virtues. I feel that it has been sidetracked quite a lot, and is now a goal unto itself.

    Let me stress my example again: The reason for people to send thank you notes, is to show that they are thankful. That's the essence of sending the note. If you can satisfy the essence in any other way, what's the point in sticking with a formality?

  • ferretrick says:

    @Thomas, because you can send an e-mail in less than a minute. It does not demonstrate real thankfulness or caring. Buying actual decent notepaper, addressing an envelope, and putting a stamp on it, shows that you put a proportiante level of time, care, and effort into your thank you to the amount of time, care, and effort the person made in purchasing the gift or doing the favor. Real simple.

    "I don't think that our society needs etiquette, of any kind."

    Its because we have etiquette that its not proper for me to tell you how fucking stupid that comment is. :)


    "The concept of "manners" is a social construct used to distinguish and "otherize" social classes and cultures."

    See above comment and subsitute the word manners for etiquette.

  • nathan says:

    @Sarah "And the dismissal of manners as divisive bigotry, using snotty diction picked up in Sociology 201, reads as a convenient excuse not to observe rules that inconvenience you."

    hmm, I'd think refraining from personal attacks and engaging arguments on their merits would be one of the hallmarks of proper etiquette. I guess that doesn't matter as long as you're wearing a suit and replying to RSVPs properly.

  • Bunger says:

    I nice reminder of the core of what's wrong with our society. The reason we are in our economic conditions. If you don't understand, you probably send the IRS a thank you note too.

  • Ryan O. says:

    Speakers off the floor? Does this only apply to apartment dwellers with downstairs neighbors? My speakers came with rubberized feet for hard floors and spikes for carpet. Am I missing something in this comment?

  • Shanchan says:

    Thomas- My brother never sends thank you notes, or emails, or makes phone calls after I send a gift. I wonder if he feels he has "satisfied the essence" of saying thank you in some other way, perhaps by mentioning to our mother that his son doesn't like t-shirts with pictures on them. While I sit on the other side of the country wondering if he has even received my gifts. Thank you notes are an easy, standard way of saying thanks- if he sent them, there would be no confusion.

  • M says:

    For those concerned with tipping:

    In years past 10% was the appropriate base tip rate with 15% for excellent service. And then it changed to 15% being the base rate with 20% for excellent service. Regardless of your opinion of the service, 20% is the appropriate base tip amount. When you dine at a restaurant, the amount you pay, pays for your food, not for your service. In most (if not all, I apologize for not knowing the laws of all states) states, the waitstaff's minimum wage is anywhere from $2-$3 an hour. The Federal minimum wage for all other jobs is $7 and hour, and that's not even a living wage. If your waitstaff brought you your food and your drinks, then you should pay him/her for their service. You did not have to get up to get your food or drink refills, as in say a Fast Food restaurant.

    Now, I am not suggesting that a rude server who does not refill your drinks, or serves you cold food requires a 20% tip. Similarly, if service is very slow, it is understandable to diminish the tip slightly (However, this is tricky because the slowness may not be the server's fault, the hostesses may be doing a poor job of rotational seating, the bar may be backed up on drinks, the kitchen may be down a line cook, so be considerate and aware of the situation at hand. Does the server have a six table section that is full?)

    If you cannot afford to pay for the service of the waitstaff, then don't eat out, or get it to go. Order what you can afford, knowing full well that a 20% tip should be included.

    Despite what you may think, serving is a difficult job. So show your gratitude that someone served you throughout dinner so that you could enjoy a meal where you didn't have to work.

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