Brendan Francis Newnam: Each week you send in your questions about how to behave and hear to answer them this week are the global ambassadors of politeness and propriety, Lizzie Post and Daniel Post Senning.
Rico Gagliano: Yay.
Brendan Francis Newnam: They are the great, great grandkids… you could have a bigger “Yay,” Rico, we’re excited!
Rico Gagliano: Yay!!! [Laughs.]
Lizzie Post: Yay!
Rico Gagliano: All right, they’re the great, great grandkids of manners maven Emily Post, and from the Vermont lair known as The Post Institute. They co-authored “Emily Post’s Etiquette, the 18th Edition,” they also co-host the podcast, “Awesome Etiquette.” Lizzie, Dan, I, for one, am excited you’re here. Welcome back.
Lizzie Post: Thank you!
Daniel Post Senning: Gentleman!
Lizzie Post: I like that we’re global ambassadors with a lair.
Rico Gagliano: Yeah, we were talking about this the other day. You know, when you’re in trouble in a foreign country, you’re supposed to contact an American embassy, right?
Lizzie Post: Totally.
Rico Gagliano: So, is the Post Institute a manners embassy? How does it work there? Can I just show up and have you guys solve an etiquette crisis right there on the doorstep?
Brendan Francis Newnam: Seek etiquette asylum?
Lizzie Post: No, you, you definitely cannot.
Rico Gagliano: Why not?
Lizzie Post: It’s actually one of those strange things that Dan and do I have to deal with, which is: where’s the cut off point to access you know?
Rico Gagliano: Yeah.
Lizzie Post: Brendan, where is that cut off point?
Brendan Francis Newnam: Oh, I’m sorry.
Lizzie Post: I’m just curious.
Brendan Francis Newnam: I think I crossed the boundary. Rico, I don’t know if I told you this, I made an emergency phone call to Lizzie.
Rico Gagliano: What was the question that you had for her that needed immediate adjudication?
Brendan Francis Newnam: I couldn’t attend a wedding last minute. And I had to send a note through the groom to my friend, and I didn’t know how to word it. And then I was like, “Lizzie! Lizzie! I have access to one of the most powerful etiquette people in the entire world!”
Lizzie Post: OK, but wait–
Daniel Post Senning: Put the brain trust on this one!
Lizzie Post: Wait, wait, wait, credit where credit was due, you did consult a friend first.
Brendan Francis Newnam: That’s right, I did.
Lizzie Post: And you’re friend was actually right.
Brendan Francis Newnam: It was our market place colleague, Noel King. And she was like, “You’re, you’re explaining in too much detail.” Basically, I was like, “I can’t go to the wedding,” and I explained why. And she’s like, “You don’t need to tell them why, just tell them you can’t go and you apologize.”
Lizzie Post: Bingo!
Rico Gagliano: All right, so next time we’re gonna have Noel King on to answer etiquette questions.
Lizzie Post: Yeah, she totally gets it.
Rico Gagliano: You just talked yourself out of a job Lizzie! [Lizzie and Dan laugh.] Listen, we actually have– our first question here is a wedding question, so why don’t we ask this to you.
“My wedding invitations are giving me feminist heartburn!”
Brendan Francis Newnam: This question comes from the bride to be Miss Wendy Darling:
“Dear Posts, my wedding invitations are giving me feminist heartburn! Our RSVP cards will be addressed to my parents as Mr. and Mrs. James Darling, given that women have their identities, shouldn’t they get their own names on the cards? The problem is, your website still lists only the Mr. and Mrs. James Darling format and it’s really hard to argue against the Post Institute. Can’t this be updated to reflect the century we live in?”
Rico Gagliano: Gosh! Personal attack and etiquette question!
Lizzie Post: Dear Wendy, I encourage you to buy our 18th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette, because it does have the updated forms of address!
Rico Gagliano: Well, we encourage you to update your website then, Lizzie!
Lizzie Post: We do, we need to update our website. But this is a question that we get all the time, and it’s an answer we’ve given many, many, many times, and that is that you always find out what the preference of the person whose name your going to be using is.
So you, Wendy, as you’re getting ready to do these invitations, need to call these people, get in touch with them, email. Find out, do they prefer using their husbands name? Which some women do. And I, being someone who talks to a lot of people about this, it’s 50/50 split.
Daniel Post Senning: There you are.
Lizzie Post: That’s your answer.
Rico Gagliano: Nice job, Wendy, you just got a whole bunch more work for yourself right before your wedding.
Brendan Francis Newnam: That’s right.
Lizzie Post: It did!
Daniel Post Senning: It’s true!
Rico Gagliano: That’ll teach you!
Daniel Post Senning: It’s a hard answer but it’s the right one.
Brendan Francis Newnam: All right, there ya go Miss Wendy Darling.
How to handle poor restaurant service before running to Yelp
Rico Gagliano: And here’s something from Katie in Kittery, Maine. I like that name of that town, and Katie, that’s a nice name too.
“When should you complain,” writes Katie, “to a manager at a restaurant and when should you let it roll off your back? I worked in a restaurant for many years and sometimes when I have awful service I don’t say a thing. My thinking is, I’m sure he/she had a bad night, and it wasn’t her fault. But sometimes I know it’s their fault and I still chicken out, when is the right time to say, ‘Can I see the manager please?'”
Daniel Post Senning: This is a, a proportionality of response kind of question here. I say it really depends on your ability to deliver that piece of information well. If you can do it in a way that’s not gonna cause conflict every time you do it. If you’re — as a former server — able to offer that legitimate and honest feedback to somebody who it’s appropriate to offer it to, there’s no reason not to. But definitely when you bring up things that have gone wrong, be prepared for that not to be received so well. So you, you might decide to moderate that reaction–
Lizzie Post: Dan’s first sentence was, was it’s proportional. OK, so they were a little late with your drink, you don’t need to be up in arms about it.
Daniel Post Senning: And, all the way to the end of where you would be uncomfortable leaving a tip of 15 to 20 percent, then you have to talk to management.
Lizzie Post: Yeah.
Daniel Post Senning: So that’s the other end of that scale. On the one end is the do nothing, bite your tongue. On the other end is, you know, “I’m not even comfortable tipping for this service,” but that means that you need to be having that discussion.
Brendan Francis Newnam: But, I was thinking that what Katie could do, if you wake up the next day and it’s still upset you, then you send a note.
Daniel Post Senning: Brilliant, feedback cards…
Lizzie Post: Give a call.
Daniel Post Senning: …Comment reply cards.
Lizzie Post: You know, one thought though, before you take to, to any of the services that allow you to rate, you know, public places and, and their service, customer service. First, try calling the restaurant or the bar.
Rico Gagliano: No [laughs]! Go straight to Yelp and rant!
Daniel Post Senning: Whip up a few of your friends…
Rico Gagliano: Nothing makes you look cooler than writing a whiny, ill-considered yelp review.
Brendan Francis Newnam: All right, Katie in Kittery, we gave you I think five options. So choose whichever one and if you don’t like our advice, we don’t wanna hear about it.
Rico Gagliano: Yeah, please, there’s no Yelp for public radio.
How much should you spend on gifts for twins?
Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah! There’s no Yelp for us. Our next question comes from Sarah she writes from Iowa City, Iowa:
“If you’re going to a baby shower for twins, do you spend twice as much as you normally would?”
Lizzie Post: I think your budget is your budget, and so… [laughs] poor twins and triplets man. We had some triplets that worked on the same floor as our building. They were like, “We’re always splitting stuff, it’s not fair!” I think-
Brendan Francis Newnam: Did they say that all at once? I just imagine them saying like a chorus [laughs].
Rico Gagliano: “It’s never fair!” In a rhythm.
Lizzie Post: Your budget always dictates what your’re able to spend. The fact of the matter is, these babies are gonna have their parties at the same time for all the different things you’re gonna celebrate with them. That might mean that you can’t spend as much on them at once. That being said, they are two separate babies, don’t make them split one onesie.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Yeah, buy a twosie.
How to stealthily exit a group text
Rico Gagliano: Here is something from one of our favorite listeners, his name is Ziggis from Brooklyn, and Ziggis writes, this is a good one:
“Can you set the record straight on group text etiquette?”
Brendan Francis Newnam: Ohh, good question.
Rico Gagliano: “I think at some point everyone’s been grouped into a group text we don’t want to be a part of,” says Ziggis, “and there wasn’t much we could do about it. So please, lay out the do’s and dont’s of group texting so at least we can point to this show and say, ‘Dude, not cool, see?'”
Daniel Post Senning: It’s tricky, backing out of a conversation like that. I’d look for who started it.
Lizzie Post: Oh, dude, you know what I look for?
Daniel Post Senning: What?
Lizzie Post: Go — well, OK I have an iPhone, you go to the “Do Not Disturb” or “Leave this group text.” You can shut off the notifications from this group text message. You can do it, I, in your settings, or I think from the message itself there’s an option somewhere up there. For real.
Brendan Francis Newnam: Savvy tech answer from Lizzie Post.
Lizzie Post: Ha!
Brendan Francis Newnam: All right, but that’s the tech answer, what’s the etiquette part of it?
Daniel Post Senning: Well, I, you could go back another step to try and nip it in the bud. Stop the whole thing before it begins. Whoever it is that’s initiating these texts and roping you in, talk to them offline and ask them not to do that.
Lizzie Post: Sometimes they’re useful though.
Rico Gagliano: Yeah, you can’t say, “From now on never include me in a group text.” You might wanna be in a group text.
Daniel Post Senning: But you might say, “You know, these texts that come each week, or this particular group that-”
Lizzie Post: Oh, yeah, if it’s regular-
Daniel Post Senning: “I’d rather not be a part of it.” It’s like removing yourself from an email list. You talk to the organizer and ask that they not include you.
Lizzie Post: Yeah, usually you get the buy in to be a part of something like that. But if it’s just your group of friends that does it, which I’m imagining what Ziggis is dealing with-
Daniel Post Senning: That’s what makes it a little trickier ’cause it’s hard in the middle of that conversation to say, you know, “I’m just not interested.”
Rico Gagliano: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Lizzie Post: But, that is, I have seen that happen though. I think it’s OK to say, “Hey guys I’m hopping off this group text. Hit me up when you come up with a decision.”
Rico Gagliano: I’m looking right now at a group text that I’m part of and I do not see this mechanism you-
Lizzie Post: All right, hang on I’m grabbin’ the purse. Hold on, we’re gonna figure this out.
Rico Gagliano: We’re gonna post a how-to link on our website. How about we say that. [Ed note: here’s how!]
Daniel Post Senning: A screen shot of the settings screen.
Lizzie Post: I know, right?
Brendan Francis Newnam: All right, well you know what, that’s a good time to moot this conversation [everyone laughs]. Lizzie and Dan, thank you for teaching Rico about the smart phone, and telling our audience how to behave.
Lizzie Post: Oh, it’s so much fun guys.
Daniel Post Senning: Gentlemen, you’re most welcome!