You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Archive for October, 2010

Etiquette 101 and 102 at The Elder House

Magnolia School On Air Promo

Recently I had to visit a local county courthouse to file some business papers.  The lobby area was similar to your typical DMV office only less crowded and noticably cleaner.  I noticed a diverse group of people ranging from “excitedly happy photo-shooting about to get married” couples to construction workers, business associates and more.  I arrived as early as possible but not quite early enough so I had to stand in line for about 45 minutes.  I didn’t mind.  I always bring a book or magazine when I visit any government office!  Unfortunately, I could hardly hear myself think or absorb the written word because one of the  seated customers, who apparently had complete disregard for every person in the place including the staff, decided to show a video clip of her dancing grandchild boldly displayed from her cell phone!  The  music was turned up as loud as her Blackberry or whatever she had would allow and one could’t help but see the little dancing creature on the screen, because she kept holding it up and showing other members of the family on either side of her chair.

Now I didn’t mind so much that someone wanted to share in their grand-ternal joy, but after about 20 minutes of hearing this scratchy loud music and the incessant chatter of the performer,  I had to use all the grace I could muster to tune it out and count the minutes before my turn was next at the window.

Clearly it even disturbed the staff, who needed to concentrate on the various business licenses, marriage documents, and more that they were processing at the time.  I even told the service agent when I reached her window…”someone on your staff should make it clear that this is disturbing everyone and that cell phones should be used only outside the lobby area”; and while she seemed just as annoyed, apathy is the prevailing emotion of many government employees.

I think cell phone etiquette is at the top of the list for the most common display of ill-manners.