Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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Business Etiquette

1999 Archive

I recently left a company run by a wacko couple:

On business trips she would force 3-4 people (all women) to stay in the same room - without asking. On my first trade show trip I was horrified to find that my boss intended to share a bed with me. Nothing sexual, just incredibly cheap! I expressed my dismay and disapproval. She became angry and said she would order up a cot. Later that night, while I was in bed, she came into the room late and proceeded to get into bed with me! I didn't want to wake the other 2 people in the room, so I slept on the floor! She never asked me to go on a business trip again -- although several of the trips would have furthered my career. I wasn't a "team player".

She also hit me in the face with a sweater, after I asked her not to move the fan in my closed office.

The same company held Christmas parties every year for their employees. Employees were required to attend the midday luncheon and bring a gift. We were not paid for the time spent at the party, even though we were required to go, and it was held during business hours. I figure that between lost wages and the gift, their lousy luncheon was the most expensive meal I've ever had - by far. Did not go again.

  As a full time seasoned teacher working in a public school system in eastern NC, my wife has noted that while school teachers are not well paid for the service they provide this country, the more a person in this school system is paid, the more they "poor mouth" how under paid they are.

For instance; one very conspicuous senior principal who is one on the highest paid employee in the county school system repeatedly asks his staff how much they can afford to give him as a "present", where they will take him to lunch, if they will "donate" money for him to paid his auto repair bills, if the staff who live on or near a golf course will "search" for golf balls for him so he doesn't have to buy them Etc. You would think by his constant begging that he worked as a volunteer instead of a paid employee.

Example #2; At regular intervals, the staff of my wife's school has early morning TQM (Total Quality Management) "bonding" breakfasts supposedly to promote "team building", exchange of ideas, management interaction and knowledge and lastly camaraderie and sense of belonging. Each staff team is assigned responsibility for preparing and bringing in food items such as Eggs, Bacon, Breads and Sweetrolls, Fruits etc. it develops into quite a spread of food as most of the folks which regularly bring in their items are very generous. In fact, so generous that a sizable segment of the group no longer brings in anything at all. Now for the good part. This group, which no longer brings anything to the meeting/breakfast, is ALWAYS first in line, loads their plate(s) to overflowing (yes some use more than one plate) and scurry off for hidden sanctuaries to gorge themselves hidden from view. As if this is not obscene enough, they magically reappear, load up some more plates, cover them and as they run for the door, shout over there shoulder it would be ashamed to let the food go to waste so they'll take it home to Auntie, Uncle, Brother, Sister etc. (You get the picture). The horrendous thing is that the others who have provided the food or those still having a relaxed breakfast which fulfilling the tenets of the meeting, are not even finished BEFORE the sharks move in for the clean up.

I told her to eat before you go, do not bring food and do not eat! If asked why, she should say we didn't take the freeloaders to raise!

I really enjoyed the stories on your Etiquette from Hell page. I have a couple of recollections that always make me laugh when I think of them.

Many years ago I worked for a mid-sized real estate company. The president of the company was a horror -- making his secretary cry was a daily game for him. Anyway, one December the company hosted a holiday party. It took place on premises, on the "executive's floor." A catered lunch awaited as we reached this rarely seen executive haven. There were no decorations, no music, nothing to convey the holiday spirit at all. Everyone took a sandwich and a soda and stood around talking. The president of the company came out of his corner office, gathered his lunch, went back into his office, and slammed the door without a word to anyone. He stayed in his office for one hour. Then he reappeared and informed everyone that the party was over and that we should all get back to work. It was as if he couldn't wait for us to leave "his floor." (An interesting aside: every sandwich ordered for this "party" was on rye bread. Every last one. They must have gotten a special deal from the caterer.)

Just when you think you've seen everything!

I have been involved in showing dogs a long time. There is a young woman in the hobby that I have been acquainted with for several years, meaning I know who she is and would say "hello" and maybe make a comment about the weather if I ran into her.

I had heard she had fallen on hard times but, as I had moved to a different state, I hadn't seen her in over FIVE years. Last month I got a letter from her. In it she said her birthday was in November. She went on to ask that everyone please send her an early birthday present of at least $25.00 cash so she could go to a national dog show. If that wasn't bad enough, the letter wasn't even original. It was photocopied....including her signature.

Several years ago, before starting in my own business, I worked for a small to medium size weekly newspaper. We also did commercial printing. My employer had a temper second to none. On the flip side of the coin, he could be extremely fun to be around and a genuine "nice guy." I was the commercial printing and backshop supervisor. Our staff included approximately 18 to 22 people. Each year the bookkeeper issued at least 80 to 100 W2s. This should tell you something about the turnover. Most of those he fired or intimidated to quit were women, and I saw most of them leave the back crying. He'd yell, cuss, throw things, and then turn around and be a swell guy. The only reason I didn't quit before I did was the pay.

Anyway, to make a short story even longer, the "take the cake" category should involve the following incidents. We had a young, just out of high school, trainee. While working on our delivery pickup, he fell while replacing a battery, breaking several bones in his hand. When he returned from the emergency room, my boss informed him that someone with a broken hand was of no use to the company, and fired him. On the side I told the man of a good lawyer but he never pursued it. Now the real winner! We had this man, under educated, slow, non literate, but a hell of a good hand. He did what he was told, promptly, didn't complain, and was actually fun to be around. Well, anyway, I had him stapling books on a power stapler, and shit happens. He lost about a third of one finger in the machine. I took him to the emergency room, repairs, as best, were made and came back to work. We were greeted at the door with an extremely mad man. First, because I had to drive him to the hospital and back, missing work, Second, Clay (the employee) was incapable of working 100% (for minimum wage), and Third (get this), for making a mess on the stapler. Clay was fired.

A year later I quit and started my own printing business (20 years ago). The "boss". Well he lost his commercial printing accounts, the bank backed him against the wall, he sold out, and left town, with not much.Moral: What goes around comes around.

Love your web page!

I used to work for a photographer who ran her business out of her home. It   was a small home, and, while she did have a studio upstairs, we worked mainly   out of her dining room. The woman evidently did not have a lot of business   sense and occasionally did things that made me cringe. A few on my list?  She accepted business calls while in the bathroom. She would walk naked from the bathroom to her bedroom after a shower while I was entertaining clients.

Once, as I was trying to talk to a potential client about his wedding, she was in the kitchen cutting a friend's hair and yelling at the top of her  lungs at her kids. (It was an open set-up that allowed you to see from the  living room/waiting area into the kitchen)

The reason I finally quit however actually had to do with my own treatment as  a client. I had hired this photographer as my wedding photographer months  before I began to work for her. I knew in the beginning how extremely religious this woman was and I had no problems with it. My first day back on the job after my honeymoon, we rehashed my wedding. This is standard procedure and I was more than happy to comply in this case. I was struck dumb however when she looked me right in the eye and told me that during my
entire wedding and reception she felt the overwhelming presence of demons from Hell. (And let me tell you folks...she wasn't speaking metaphorically either! She claims to be able to "see" these demons.) She then proceeded to rip to shreds the personalities of my immediate family and cast aspersions on my close friends' characters. Is it any wonder that I no longer work there?

Thank you for taking the time to read my contributions to your website. I love going there and knowing that I'm not the only one who has had to deal with these throwbacks to the Tacky Age.

Several years ago I worked for a large nutritional supplement distributor. The owner was notoriously cheap and unprofessional, lacking boundaries between his personal and business life.

One day, a group of people from my department needed to have a meeting in the (very small) company conference room. Meetings in this room generally had to be brief, as it was the only conference room for a company of over 250 people, and it was frequently used to meet with important clients and vendors. Anyway, the table had a few papers scattered on it, as usual (the owner's personal stuff mixed in with work-related stuff). Out of curiosity, I picked up one of the papers and looked at it. It was a medical bill for his wife for $19, and clearly stated in the description of charges "PAP SMEAR." I just left it there.

Page Last Updated May 18, 2007