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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

You Get More Flies With Honey: Dealing with Bad Business Etiquette

I'm pretty sure that most adults can recount at least one childhood memory of being bullied by another child. In today's culture there is a huge movement to work against childhood bullying, but what happens when the bully is an adult? Yesterday I read a story posted on Facebook that was by a woman who was a witness to an adult bully. This post has gone viral, and has even gotten the attention of the mainstream media.

Vanessa Hunt was visiting M Spa in Portage, Michigan over the weekend, and watched a mother of a 2 1/2 year old boy try to hold her son in her lap for a haircut that he was not thrilled to be getting. As a mother, Vanessa sympathized with the woman holding her crying son, because she remembers having the same experience with her own son. Unfortunately, what should have been a brief haircut quickly turned into a public confrontation that literally makes my stomach turn! The owner of M Spa, Michelle Mott, decided to publicly berate and humiliate the mother for her sons crying, causing the mother to tearfully apologize over and over for her son's behavior, and trying to unsuccessfully explain that her son has autism.

Having several children with special needs in my family, and in the families of close friends, this story hits close to home. I am an advocate for children with special needs, but I am also an advocate for teaching children manners and how to behave appropriately in public. However, this is harder to teach to children with special needs, and even harder with toddlers. It is up to adults to learn how to appropriately handle toddlers and children with special needs. And if you own/manage a business that does business with children, special needs or not, you must find a way to work with them that is best for the child, their parents, other customers, and staff members. Michelle Mott chose to ignore this basic rule of business etiquette, forcing the mother to have her son's haircut finished out on the front lawn, and making other customers extremely uncomfortable with her rant.

Currently, Michelle Mott is neither taking accountability for her unethical behavior nor offering a public apology. Instead she has sent her attorney to make a public statement claiming Ms. Mott's actions were appropriate because this was a "safety issue". Regardless of the reasons for her actions, the way she handled the situation was anything but "appropriate" and has led to a public boycott of M Spa that currently has just under 10,000 supporters on Facebook.  There you will read many stories from past M Spa customers that have had similar experiences, and this past weekend isn't the first time she has brought a customer to tears!

Furthermore, a recent "roundtable" discussion of this story on HLN has brought up another related issue.

One of the hosts states this is a "private matter" and whatever happened to "mind your own business". This could very easily have been, and should have been, handled privately, but it became a matter of public opinion when Michelle Mott conducted her rant in front of other patrons and staff. Furthermore, it is the mindset of "mind your own business" that encourages inappropriate behavior and bullying. Well done HLN host! Not only have you have showed the world that you are an uninformed participate of the discussion, but your "mind your own business" statement has shown you to be an advocate for bullying!

The concept of "children should be seen and not heard" is not only archaic, but unreasonable. As a society we should be supportive of parents with small children. Children should be raised to be respectful, and well-mannered, but sometimes they may need a bit more consideration, especially with special needs. Adults should lead by example by being respectful, and well mannered, especially when working in a field that involves customer service. Practicing good business etiquette will also help your business flourish and grow. A good quote to remember is: "You get more flies with honey than vinegar".

What are your thoughts on this situation?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Oldies But Besties!

Holiday weekends are always a fun time to spend with friends and family. Some people will have a barbecue, some have a pot luck, and some take the time to just relax. My favorite holiday weekends are the ones I get to spend with "My Girls" where the only rules of etiquette are "Just Have Fun!"

These are the girls that have been in my life for more years than not. They are the ones that were there through first childhood crushes and high school drama, fun weddings and devastating funerals, having babies and family feuds, breakups and breakouts, late night gossip sessions and late night phone calls. They're the ones who have shared a lifetime of memories with me and will always be there. Truer friends you will never find than these! These are "My Girls" and they are my family.

Dawn, Me, and Jodie. BFF's from the old neighborhood, and besties 'till the end!

Jodie, Connie, Dawn, and Me. Celebrating Dawn's 22nd Birthday

Crystal, Michele, and Me hanging out at a family birthday party

Crystal, Me, Jodie, and Patty. Just having fun like we always do when we are together!

Michele helping me move last summer. Because that's what friends are for. :) 

Dawn and I started a yearly tradition of meeting at 4 am on the first day of school every year. My bedroom window was about 12 feet away from her back door, and we would wake up super early just to chat away "Back to School" jitters.

Some inside jokes are meant to last forever... Even to the point of finding funny signs to help us remember a good time and a great laugh!

Michele and Jodie. I love this picture of them!

Me and Jodie having fun celebrating her husband's 40th birthday in April

Best friends are hard to find, but lifelong best friends are treasure so few people can say they have. I am one of the lucky ones! I love each and every memory we share, and look forward to the many memories we will make in the years to come!

What is your favorite thing to do on Holiday Weekends?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Double Dip or Finger Lick!

I recently ran across this funny little infographic.

Image Source From: Loveinfographics.com

The most interesting thing to me about this survey is that it is focused on an etiquette taboo like double dipping, yet it was conducted by the restaurant known for it's "finger licking good" food. It's a bit of an etiquette oxymoron, but brings up an equally grotesque habit... licking your fingers, or utensils, and then touching food others may eat.

It's very easy to get distracting preparing, cooking, or setting up food, get a little on your fingers, lick them, then continue without washing your hands. It's also a bad habit to taste test a dish and then continue to use the same utensil after it leaves your mouth. Let's not even start on the topic of hand feeding food to a pet then return to your cooking without washing! I suppose if your immediate family is accustomed to these practices then no one will complain, but please reserve these practices to the privacy of your immediate family, and spare your invited guests!

Aside from the "YUCK" factor of double dipping and finger licking, proper cooking and "eating etiquette" (which I'm defining as something different than dining etiquette) prevents the spread of germs. No one wants to go home from a dinner party and wake up with a bad cold, or food poisoning. Please remember to wash your hands, use separate utensils, and set out small plates and ramekins to allow guests their own portions of dipping sauce.

What is your biggest eating etiquette complaint?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Domestic Accomplishment!

Last week my mother flew in to Michigan for a quick visit. Upon hearing of her upcoming visit I instantly thought now is my opportunity to have her teach me how to accomplish the most dreaded and elusive domestic chore that continues to plague women in every generation... How to fold a fitted sheet!

I know, there are instructional videos on youtube, and I even read Martha Stewarts step by step instructions on how to fold a fitted sheet, but I always end up confused, frustrated, and still left with a lumpy, ill folded, fitted sheet in my neatly folded linen closet. I guess I learn best when taught in person. 

Well, I washed a load of sheets today and was once again faced with the daunting challenge of folding a fitted sheet. I reached into my brain, and pulled up the image of my mother patiently and slowly showing me how to fold each corner into the other and guess what happened next?!

I DID IT!!!!

I even think the top fitted sheet folded nicer than the bottom flat sheet. All thanks go to my wonderful mother for teaching me how!

We never think to ask how to do things when we are younger. It isn't until we are well into adulthood, and realize the importance of a certain domestic skill, art, craft, or even family recipe, that we begin to realize we really wish we would have asked a long time ago. Too many precious things are lost if we wait too long. My advice for today, dear readers, is set aside a day, or even a few hours, to visit with a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, and ask them to teach something only they know how to do. Not only will you acquire a new skill but you will have fond memories of the learning process as well. 

What skill do you wish to learn from a friend or family member? Do you currently have a skill that has been passed down to you?