Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


Main Page/Home

The Faux Pas Archives
Wedding Etiquette

Bridesmaids and Beastmen
Bridal Showers
Bridezillas and Groomonsters
Faux Pas of the Year
Gimme, Gimme, Gimme
Guests From Hell
Tacky Invitations
Wedding Rugrats
Just Plain Tacky
Tacky Toasts
Thank You Notes From Hell
Tacky Vendors
Wedding From Hell
Wicked Witches of the Wedding
Perfect Bride
Bridesmaid Dress Incinerator



Everyday Etiquette

Baby Showers
The Dating Game
Ooops! Foot in Mouth Disease
Funeral Etiquette
Gimme Hell
Holiday Hell
Just Plain Tacky
It's all Relatives
Every Day RugRats
Road Rage

Business Etiquette

Bad Business Etiquette
Merchants of Etiquette Hell
Bad Bosses

Faux Pas of the Year




Press Room/Contact


Just Plain Bad Business

Jan-Jun 2000 Archive
Jul-Dec 2000Archive
Oct-Dec 2000 Archive
2001-2002 Archive
Jan-Jun 2003 Archive
Jul- Dec 2003 Archive
Jan-Jun 2004 Archive
Jul-Dec 2004 Archive
Jan-Jun 2005 Archive
Jul-Dec 2005 Archive
2006 Archive
Jan-Jun 2007 Archive


I began interviewing for jobs about halfway into my last semester of college so I went on quite a few interviews.  Never have I been more blown away by the unprofessionalism I witnessed at last one I went on—thankfully I accepted a job from a previous interview!  It began with one man interviewing me who was then joined by another man and a woman.  During the interview, the door was closed, but people still proceeded to knock on it and come in to ask questions (not having to do with my interview) to the people interviewing me.  They all acted like this was normal.  Then, one of the men receives a cell phone call and answers it!!  He starts discussing how something is way past deadline and they need to get it done, gets off the phone and speaks to the others interviewers about this and then makes another phone call about it.  I understand deadlines and important things going on, presumably more important than my interview, but seriously!  If I can set aside time from my day to be interviewed I would expect the same respect and consideration from the interviewer.


When I was visiting a friend in NYC we went to have breakfast at a diner our first morning there.  I ordered an omelet that had a few different types of veggies in it, and when I got my meal it was an omelet so I assumed it was what I ordered.  A few bites in I realized it has sausage in it, which I like every now and then, but not in an omelet and not at that moment--not to mention it just wasn’t what I ordered.  I tell my friends I don’t think it’s right and they ask if I’ll eat it or if I want to tell our waitress so I can get what I ordered--I told them I didn’t want it and yes I wanted what I ordered.  When we call our waitress over she said, “yeah I know...” when I tell her it’s not right!  She was waiting to see if I noticed because she mixed up my meal with another customer’s.  She asked if I can just eat it and I tell her no, I’d like what I ordered if it isn’t too much trouble to which she replies, “Yes, it is.”  !  So first she admits she knew it was wrong and didn’t tell me and then she is tells me it is too much trouble to get me something else.  Nice.  I understand the mix up because it was really busy but I think that the right response would be, “we’re sorry is there anything else we can get you?”  She did end up comping me for my meal, but I really would have rathered actually eat!


Recently, a friend and I went to a Ralph Lauren outlet shop in Oxford, England. I found a lovely, cream colored skirt that was perfect for summer, and it was marked down drastically, so I just had to try it on. There was a line to get into the dressing room, and as I waited, the woman working the dressing room eyed me critically and said that the skirt would probably not fit and that I would have to put it on over my head. She went on to say that the skirt was not a big seller due to the fact that there was no elastic in the waistband.

I’m hardly fat and I was certainly not trying to get into something that was not my size. The way she went off on me made me more than a little self conscious, however, and I was very pleased, and made it a point to tell her when I walked out of the dressing room that no, I didn’t need to fit it over my head, and that yes, I would be taking it because it was absolutely perfect on me.

I don’t really know what this woman’s game was, but it was not as though she was short of these skirts if she wanted to buy one for herself! She just picked on me from the second she saw me.



We all hate telemarketers, especially when the call during dinner soliciting for charity. There are so many good causes, but who can support them all? And how do you even know when they are legitimate?

However, I was a sucker and gave into one once, so of course I ended up with dozens of them calling me. I finally picked the few I liked and told everyone else that I'd picked my causes already and there was no room in my budget for any more. But one guy called and wore me down. I finally said, "Okay, I can spare $20". And he said, "How about we make that $30?"

And I said, "Nope. Now you get nothing. Goodbye". And I hung up.

So a note to telemarketers and people collecting for charity: if someone gives in and agrees to give you money, don't push your luck! Take what people are willing to give and leave it at that, or you might end up annoying them so much that they will retract their original offer.



My Church would have a major fundraising week every year to help raise needed funds to upkeep Church buildings, pay secretaries salaries, build new schools, fund shelters for victims of domestic abuse, run a food bank, etc. Everyone is given a pledge form and told that participation is not mandatory, and to just give what you feel you can. Also, installment plans are available if your budget is really tight but you still want to give.

Sounds fine, right? And it was until one year. My fiancé and I were paying for our own wedding, and I was just finishing college. We also don't believe in living together before marriage, so we were keeping to separate apartments until after the wedding. Needless to say, money was tight, but we felt that we should give something to help those less fortunate than ourselves and decided on how much we would give. Then a man got up at the end of Sunday service and said that everyone should give at least a certain amount (I think it was around $500). He said that there was NO EXCUSE for giving less. Exact quote. There were installment plans, so everyone HAD to pledge at least this much. He implied that we would be bad Christians if we didn't give this much money.

Was I ever ticked! You do not demand charity from people. Is it truly charity if you're prying it out of someone's hands? And it wasn't like we were all a bunch of rich people driving luxury cars and eating lobster for dinner every night. I was a poor starving student eating mac'n'cheese out of a box and taking public transit to try and make ends meet, not to mention the corners we were cutting on our wedding (bye, bye DJ and Church full of flowers!).

Because of that, I gave nothing. I was fully prepared to give what I could spare and go without for a while to help others out, but after being told that I HAD to give a certain amount made me decline the "honor".



I'm not sure whether this falls in to the bad bosses or just bad business practices....but here goes. My BF is from a city in Siberia, Russia, and his father still lives there.  One week Dad gets his paycheck from the company he works for and it is something like $100 short.  BF's mother insisted that he find out why there was money missing (Dad is pretty non-confrontational).  The explanation from his boss?  Somebody in the company's mother passed away, and they took "donations" from all the employees to pay for the funeral.  Nice. 



I stopped by a local sandwich shop, wanting my usual -- a six-inch turkey sub.   When I placed my order, the guy behind the counter stared at me.   "EWWW!" he said, in a tone he might normally have reserved for someone slopping peanut butter onto roast beef, and topping it with a few pickles. "That is SO gross! I don't know HOW you can eat that!"

I just stood there, dumbfounded. Never in my entire life had I experienced someone in food service *passing judgment on my order*. And it wasn't even like it was something unusual! Did this guy go around insulting all the customers who order turkey subs, or was I simply the lucky chosen one?



When my husband and I got married we adopted two sweet kittens from the local Humane Society. My husband, formerly not a cat lover, used to call Harmony and Melody his "girls".

Melody got sick very suddenly and died at the age of four of progeria or artificial rapid aging. People get that too but up until then I didn't know cats did.

The vet from hell came about with Harmony. Harmony was being treated by my regular vet but mostly it was just treatments to make her comfortable. Then one morning she couldn't move her back legs, and was crying in pain. It was a Sunday so my regular vet wasn't open. But nearby there is one of those 24 Emergency Vets so I bundled her up and took her there.

They took her back immediately but I sat in the waiting room for four hours pacing and bawling my eyes out. Finally the vet put me in a room and brought Harmony in.

When I explained Harmony's medical history to the vet she told me she had never heard of cats having progeria and when she told me I'd need $$ worth of additional tests I said it was time to let Harmony move on. Then as I'm still crying the vet tells me, "We don't do convenience euthanasia!"

Convenience?? What about waiting four hours and putting a beloved pet to sleep is convenient? Needless to say I'm never going back there.



I had just moved into a new apartment, and was dealing with all the usual hassle of getting things turned on and changed to my name, etc.; one of the companies I had to call was the cable company. So I scheduled an appointment, and they gave me the usual several-hour time frame and said that someone would be there between 9:00am and noon. I arranged to take half a vacation day from work so I could stay home and wait for them.

11:30am rolled around and no one had shown up or called, so I called the company, gave my name, and asked when they'd be arriving. The answer? "Oh, the technician who was scheduled to come to your place called in sick today." And they couldn't be bothered to call me and TELL me that so I wasn't sitting around home wasting valuable vacation time waiting? Presumably the sick call would have come in at or before 9am, wouldn't it? What annoyed me was not that the guy called in sick -- these things do happen -- but that the company didn't call to reschedule all his jobs as soon as he did.

Anyway, I rescheduled and wrote a nasty letter, but all they did was give me free installation when the guy finally did show up -- which didn't equal the value of the vacation hours that I had to take to wait for them (which ended up being a full day's worth of time). They didn't even apologize. The worst thing was, it's not like I could take my business elsewhere, as cable companies tend to have no competition...but that's another rant. (I have satellite TV now, btw. However, I couldn't get it then because my building didn't face the right way.)


A while ago, a well-known local pizza chain opened a new franchise very close to our house.  And when I say "very close", I mean that I could almost literally see their store from my front step.  That becomes important in a minute.   We decided to give them a try, so I called and placed a delivery order.  I was told that it would be at our house in approximately 40 minutes.  After an hour, I started to get a bit puzzled (and hungry), so I called them.  The person who answered assured me that the driver was on his way.    Another half-hour later, I called again, and I was told once again that he was on his way.  Finally, after a wait that totaled almost two hours, he arrived.  To his credit, he apologized, saying that he'd gotten lost on the way to our house.  (Oookay.)   Anyway, I was happy to see the food, and I asked how much it was.  "Forty-three dollars," he said.  I handed him forty-five dollars and said "Keep the change."  (It wasn't a very generous tip, but he WAS extremely late.)  He continued to stand there.  Confused, I asked "Was there anything else?"  "Uh, it's forty-eight dollars," he said awkwardly.  "You just told me forty-THREE dollars," I pointed out.  He checked the bill again.  "Oh, yeah.  Right."   We never ordered from there again!


I had just really started to show in my pregnancy, but was still in the stage of ‘is she or isn’t she?’ where it was a little difficult to tell if I was pregnant or gaining weight.  My husband and I decided to visit XXXXX  for lunch.  Right after we were seated, the waitress came to take our drink order.  She then said she would give us a few moments to look over the menu.  Then she turned and looked straight at me and said that they are now offering an Atkins Diet menu if I was interested.  If she had mentioned that to both of us, I may not have been so offended.  But the fact that she looked directly at me and told only myself, I was greatly upset.  I was in tears for the meal and would not let my husband leave a regular tip.  Looking back, I should have spoken to the manager, but at that time was too upset to even think about that. 



I'm sure most temp agencies work better than this one, but this one is the reason I refuse to use employment agencies.   I had just moved towns and was looking for a full time job. In the meantime I had gone to every employment agency in the town, with my resume, hoping for some temp work. (I should point out that I was on a working holiday visa at the time so most employers didn't even bother looking at my resume. Temp work was the best they would offer, but that's a whole other story)   This particular agency was part of a national chain so I thought they would know what they were doing. I went in to their office and asked if I could sign up for their temp service. It took me half an hour to fill in the paper work and perform all the necessary tests (which I aced), after which they assured me that they would be in contact if something came up.   Now I've heard that before, so

I decided to check their employment website for any vacancies (which they also recommended). After two weeks of searching and applying for positions on their website, I received an email from their local office, from the woman who took my paper work and did the tests.   The email:   I've noticed that you have been applying for positions on our website. Would you like to drop into our office and sign up for our temp services?   I rang them and told them that I had signed up with them two weeks ago, with the person who sent the email. (Not very politely I should add) I gave them the ID number they had written on my paperwork, and surprise surprise, they had no record of it.   Needless to say, I didn't hear from them again. And in an E-hell moment of my own, I went back to their website and applied for almost every job in my area, just to waste their time like they had wasted mine.


Tsk, tsk. Retaliatory rudeness is so not an Ehell approved method of dealing with other people's rude behavior.  See?  It's landed you in your own corner of Etiquette Hell. 


I had recently moved from the New England area to Utah. I am a big foodie, and it was a bit of an adjustment, especially where fish were involved. I was at a Red Lobster with my brother. The first indication of something amiss was the mistake of the waitress. We ordered an appetizer of some chicken strips. She brought chicken wings, and when we said we had not ordered chicken wings, she insisted we had. Never mind the fact that neither my brother nor myself had ever ordered chicken wings at any establishment ever (both having an aversion to bone-in chicken), and therefore were fairly certain of the accuracy of our order, it was not her place to challenge our order when it was disputed. Forgive my rudeness, but it seems that a customer should get the food they intended to order. I would have forgiven this mistake, even assumed it was my fault, had the next event not occurred. I had ordered a meal and requested clam chowder when asked "soup or salad?". The waitress asked after us shortly after the soup was served. Unfortunately, the soup was especially fishy. When I had the nerve to mention this, in hopes of saving future customers, the waitress wore an extremely disturbed face. I made the mistake of mentioning that perhaps my standards where a bit high, as I had just moved from New England, to which the waitress replied: "Well, you're not in New England anymore."

Now, perhaps I should mention that before I moved from New England, my job was as a waitress. Here I was, observing this woman performing the exact same job I had performed not a couple weeks ago, and I was astonished not only by her incompetence, but by her rudeness to her customers. I have never encountered a situation in which the waitress accused the patron of having too picky a taste. If I were her, I would have valued the customer's input, especially when expressed as politely as we tried to express it. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The waitress, I'm sure convinced we were out to get her, left her co-workers to wait on us the remainder of our meal, and we were not given any compensation for our trouble either for our misplaced appetizer order or our foul clam chowder. She was and remains the only waitress I have ever compensated less than generously. There are just some people who do not deserve a tip.


Last year my DH, our kids and I were visiting my hometown and took our kids and our 2 nieces out for the day, including lunch at a certain Chain Restaurant.   The kids were excited at a nice lunch out, but the food took FOREVER...I swear we left almost 2 hours after we got there and we would have left earlier but the wait staff kept telling us the food would be ready any minute.  Did I mention we had a toddler?   My husband told our waitress that he would like to discuss some compensation with the manager; he felt we should get some food comped or some gift certificates.  The waitress returned with $25 of "gift cards" saying oh, the manager felt really sorry for you, look how much he's giving you.  We were pretty annoyed as the delay cut into the fun we'd planned for the kids, but felt at least someone had tried to make up for it.

Fast forward several months...another branch of Chain Restaurant is in our area.  DH and I took 1 kid and decided to have lunch was a little bit of a splurge but we had $25 of gift cards, right?  Nope.  We gave the waiter the cards and the manager came by and pointed out in the fine print that one could only use ONE card at a given time and the cards expired  in a couple of months.  They were basically coupons, not gift cards.  He let us use 3 cards since there were three of us.  The guy probably thinks we're terrible customers because we were so mad, it was humiliation added to everything else, and I am not sure we conveyed that we were furious with the manager who gave us the cards six months ago not the manager at the table right now

Now when we visit the hometown, it's a big joke "Do you want to eat at Chain Restaurant?" "No, I have some nice creek water and tree bark I'll consume instead". 



When I went to college, my parents helped me open an account at “Big Western Bank”.  This was a Custodial Account; my dad’s name was listed on it along with mine, and he could transfer money into it from home.  They did the same thing for my brother when he went to college.  Since the account had no service fees, I kept it after I was done with college and living on my own.

One day, I received a letter in the mail from BW Bank: “We have taken $125 from [my account number] to cover fees in [account I’ve never heard of]”.  What?  Whose account was this?  Was it my brother?  My parents had recently divorced; was there some kind of mix-up when they closed their joint account and opened separate ones?  No matter what it was, that $125 was not money I could afford to give up!

I called my dad.  He’d never heard of the account number.  He called the bank, and finally figured out the story:

When Dad was at the bank dealing with some financial things related to the divorce, the bank manager he was working with offered to open a new kind of account for him.  “You’ll love this account, I promise!”  Dad thanked the man, but declined.  Well, this manager refused to take ‘No’ for an answer.  He OPENED THE ACCOUNT ANYWAY, in my dad’s name, without ever informing my dad!  Since Dad didn’t know about the account, obviously no money was ever put into it.  Over time, fees had started to accumulate for the account, and the bank eventually took them out of another account with my dad’s name on it – mine!

Well, Dad was livid!  He told the bank in no uncertain terms that he had never authorized that account, he would not be paying any fees, they were never to withdraw money from my or my brother’s accounts again, and to refund my money immediately.  I believe the bank manager was fired for the stunt he pulled, and I have since closed that account and opened one that’s solely in my name.


I had Pre-Op Admissions Testing at a local hospital a week before I was scheduled for major surgery there.  I woke up late, so I grabbed the first shirt I saw - which happened to be one that I got at the labor union I work for.  It said ORGANIZE! in big letters and had our union logo on it.

About halfway through the day, I had an appointment with the head nurse to discuss my surgery and what to expect.  My mother and I got on the elevator with several other people, including a security guard.

When Mom and I got off the elevator at the hospital, the guard followed us.

Guard: "Excuse me, are you Union?

Me, a bit confused: “Yes …”

Her: “It's illegal for Union reps to be at this hospital."

Me: "I work as an admin assistant for a union, not a rep. I'm a patient here."

Her (suspiciously): "What room are you in?"

Me: "I'm here for pre-admissions testing. I don't have a room yet."

Her (condescendingly): "Well, let's just see what room you're going to be in."

Me: "We can ask, but my surgery's not for a week. I doubt they've scheduled me in a room yet. You're welcome to come with me to my 1:00 appointment if you don't believe me." (It was now 1:05.)

Her: "Well, we can walk down that way."  (Though she doesn’t move.)

Me: "I assure you, I'm not a rep! This is my mother; she can vouch for me.  You can call my office if you want.  Here's my order for lab work."

She spent about 5 minutes looking at my lab orders before she finally believed that I was there legitimately and stopped hassling me. (I was ready to give her my entire folder of information if that hadn't been enough.) I was certain she was about to kick me out of the hospital.  She treated me like a criminal and made me feel like my rights had been somehow violated.

If I'd been thinking clearly at the time, I'd have asked her if she would have even looked at me twice if I didn't have the shirt on, then pointed out that it would be pretty stupid of me to wear the shirt if I was trying to infiltrate the hospital.  But I was so rattled by her that it didn’t occur to me.

I did tell the head nurse what happened, and wrote a letter detailing the incident to the head of security.  To their credit, they did send me a letter wherein they apologized profusely.  The nurse told me later that she asked the guard about it, and the guard just muttered something about a “non-incident”.

A week later, as I was recovering from my surgery, my mom saw the guard.  She had to really fight to resist the temptation to invite the guard up to my hospital room to see my scar!


I took a 5-day business trip to Washington DC and stayed at the “No Point” Hotel. When I checked in on Tuesday, I gave them two credit cards: my company’s American Express card to charge the room and taxes to, and my personal MasterCard (a bank card) for room service and other incidentals. I had no intention of using my personal card, but I was required to give it to them.  I made it VERY clear which card was for what. I also confirmed that I was booked until Sunday.

(You can see where this is going already, can't you?)

When I got back from dinner Thursday night, my keycard didn't work in the lock. I went down to the front desk, where they informed me that I had checked out that morning. Imagine my surprise! So visions of camping out in the lobby for the next 3 days danced in my head while they fixed the error. I got a breakfast voucher for the inconvenience. (I gave it to my co-worker who was on the trip with me. He said the food was terrible.) At the time, I figured it was 10 minutes out of my day and no big deal.


Sunday morning, I awoke to find my bill had been slipped under my door. Luckily, I read such bills carefully - they'd charged my MasterCard for one night's stay when they accidentally checked me out! That's $143.56!  And since it's a bank card, the money comes out of my account immediately.  I don’t earn very much, and I needed that money to help cover my rent!

Not only were they wholly unapologetic, they implied it was my fault for not saying anything Thursday - never mind that I would have hollered about it loud and clear if I'd KNOWN about it Thursday! Since it was now three days later, they said, they couldn't simply credit the money back to my card because the receipts had gone to Accounting already. And since it was a Sunday, nobody from Accounting was there. I had to call them Monday to get it straightened out.

It took several days of phone calls from me before they credited the money back to my account.  Lord knows why I never complained to their corporate office, but I intend to never patronize that hotel chain again.  I have never received such shoddy service from front desk staff.


I'm a receptionist and, as you can imagine, have caught on to telemarketers and their tricks of the trade. However annoying they are I still try to be civil, they are just trying to do their job after all. So when they call I make my answer firm and short so they can go on to the next phone number on their call list. I can tell many stories but one that sticks out to me is a gentleman who called from an office supplies chain. He was obviously local, sounded mature and spoke well. He must have got ticked off when I told him (politely but firmly) "No thank you" and hung up though because he rang me back and said that he didn't catch my name. I said "I didn't tell you, why do you need it?" He went on about how he'd need it so he can contact us in the future when we're looking for another supplier. So I told him if I could get his number I'll keep it and call him if the need arises. He then he got all uppity and said "I don't think you'll do that" and hung up on me. I was taken aback as many telemarketers are all too happy to settle for this.

The silly thing is, I have a habit of writing down names and company names as they're introducing themselves when I answer. So I already had his details and easily found contact numbers and email addresses to his business. I wont do anything about it though. I'm mostly just chuffed that I outsmarted him (being a lowly 22 year old receptionist and him being a thirty-something-sounding salesperson).


I have been going through the archives and I read the story about the "Housewarming Party" that turned out to be an Amway pitch and it just made me think of a story my fiancé told me a few months ago.    My fiancé does tech support and runs his own business, kind of like the Geek Squad except it is just him.  Many shops in his city advertise for him, some of them for a monthly fee.  Well, one of the shop owners told him to come to a dinner party he was having and my fiancé (bless his heart) felt obliged because of the help he had given him with the advertising.   Of course, it turned out to be an Amway pitch.   My fiancé told me that all of the food there had been prepared using Amway cookware and the man wouldn't leave him alone until he bought something, so he bought a toothbrush/toothpaste thing. My fiancé was thoroughly irritated and I think he may have even stopped advertising with that man.   I know this story doesn't seem to be anything special so far, but my fiancé is Chinese and this all took place in Shanghai, China.   I guess now it is international.    



Page Last Updated September 15, 2008