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In an industry that proclaims luxury and proper etiquette, manners seem to be missing.
During the past month, I have been witness to so many social faux pas committed by seemingly well-educated and well-heeled people that either forgot their manners or somewhere along the way of life were not taught basic social skills.
This very well could be my very first rant and rave column of 2011 that has more to do with daily life than the livery industry. However, I will attempt to keep it relative to the industry.
My absolute biggest pet peeve in life is people talking with food in their mouth. I don’t care who you are – you should have been taught this by the time you were five years old. At the recent ILCT Show, I had the opportunity over the course of a few days to dine with my industry peers. I was appalled at a handful of people that conducted conversations with a full load of food in their mouth. PLEASE! I don’t want to see what a roast beef sandwich looks like as it is being turned in to mulch. The same thing applies when you are talking on the phone. Have enough common sense to tell a caller that you are eating and will call back when you are finished eating or take a break from feeding your face while you conduct your phone business.
While we are talking about eating, let’s cover some other things. Use a napkin to wipe your fingers. Don’t pop them in your mouth and suck off the crumbs from the barbecue chips you just ate. There are basic things such as placing your napkin on your lap and keeping your elbows off the table that should be remembered. If you need something from across my plate, ask me and I will pass it to you. Don’t drip your coat sleeve in my plate as you reach across for the salt and pepper.
Smokers bring a whole new set of ill manners to a party. Now, being an occasional smoker myself, I pride myself about moving away from anyone that might be near me. I don’t ever blow smoke on other people. I wash my hands after smoking and put a breath mint in my mouth. If you are smoking and drinking coffee at the same time, a breath mint is a MUST for you! If you have some cologne or perfume, a little mist after smoking is a good idea. If you are a chauffeur, this advice is even more important since no one wants to get in your car and smell an ashtray. You may think you don’t stink but I guarantee you a non-smoking client smells you. Also, never, ever, ever let a client see you smoke. Go hide somewhere! Have a little pride.
Next there are phone manners and etiquette. I can excuse some things as me being anal but I prefer the phone to be answered with the business name followed by the name of the person answering the phone. Such as, “Limousine Scene, this is Jim, how may I help you?” This eliminates the morons of the world that ask the rude question, “Who is this?” I refuse to answer that and reply with, “Who is this calling?” or “Whom did you wish to speak to?” If you must place an inbound caller on hold, ask the caller, “Would you mind holding?” If not, take their name and number and call them back. In fact, you should offer that immediately if you know the caller will be on hold for more than three minutes. Sitting on hold is such an unproductive waste of my time. I would rather wait for a call back than listen to your cheesy country music playing on hold.
Before I get off my soap box, I will mention one more issue that bugs me and that is chewing gum. I am a gum chewer myself. However, I don’t want to see your gum. I don’t want to hear you smack your gum. I most certainly don’t want you to blow bubbles and pop your gum, especially if you are in my car or other confined space. It drives me insane to the point that I have pulled my car over and asked the person to either spit the gum out or get out of the car!
I hope that I have helped make the world just a little bit better place to live in by reminding you of your manners today.
— Jim Luff, LCT Contributing Editor
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