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Etiquette Schmetiquette: ever wonder about _____?


Gifted Gourmet
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They were told that the boss would call and say, we'll be there in one hour for dinner. The wife was expected to throw together a nice evening.

How charming. Especially if the wife happens to be a working woman and possibly even, as are many of the spouses of executives that I know, a high-powered executive herself. And no, the ones I know don't have live-in private chefs either.

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They were told that the boss would call and say, we'll be there in one hour for dinner. The wife was expected to throw together a nice evening.

How charming. Especially if the wife happens to be a working woman and possibly even, as are many of the spouses of executives that I know, a high-powered executive herself. And no, the ones I know don't have live-in private chefs either.

As my friend's wife and I frequently pointed out to him in heated exchanges. But his comment was, "Well, fine, then they don't have to come to work here."

So whatcha gonna do.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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And another thing they did (where's Robyn, she's gonna love this) was warn the candidate that one of the 'tests' was an impromptu dinner party at their home.  They were told that the boss would call and say, we'll be there in one hour for dinner.  The wife was expected to throw together a nice evening.  The husband was supposed to still be escorting the high-profile guest.

Say it's 'silly' if you want, or say 'it shouldn't matter' if you want, but that's the way the business world works.

Is all I'm saying.

This happened to me many times when I was married to a corporate type back in the early 60s. I was expected to produce a complete dinner and entertain the "visiting firemen" and often their wives, with very little advance notice. Fortunately I learned to be prepared and always had things on hand that I could prepare on fairly short notice.

Since many of the guests were European or Brits, they did not expect dinner until fairly late, usually after 9:00 so, while it made for a long day for me, it was at least do-able.

After a few years of this I finally decided I was not cut out to be a corp-wife type, particularly after being hit on by one of the biggies who was really obnoxious and even hinted that my husband's job might depend on how "nice" I was to him. I suggested that he consider whether his behavior would stand scrutiny by HIS bosses and he backed off but I was not going to put up with that any longer. It was an amiciable divorce.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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As my friend's wife and I frequently pointed out to him in heated exchanges. But his comment was, "Well, fine, then they don't have to come to work here."

It's very old-fashioned, indeed. Thank God, here in CA, there are far fewer companies that operate this way anymore.

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Yes, and I had a friend that was highly placed in the corporate world (investment banker at a large international bank).  He told me that before they made a final decision to hire anyone at the senior management level, they took both the prospective new executive and his wife out to dinner. 

They were watching to see whether he or his wife had table manners that would embarrass the company, and just how they handled themselves in general in a social setting.  Among other things, they took note if either had more than one drink.

And another thing they did (where's Robyn, she's gonna love this) was warn the candidate that one of the 'tests' was an impromptu dinner party at their home.  They were told that the boss would call and say, we'll be there in one hour for dinner.  The wife was expected to throw together a nice evening.  The husband was supposed to still be escorting the high-profile guest.

The point was that many out-of-town high-level management staff, or large-account important customers (especially from foreign countries), would say something like, "I'd love to have dinner in a real American home."  Or, "I've been traveling all week, and would love a home-cooked meal...hint...hint."

Say it's 'silly' if you want, or say 'it shouldn't matter' if you want, but that's the way the business world works.

Is all I'm saying.

My, My, how 1950's. :raz::sad::laugh::laugh::laugh:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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As my friend's wife and I frequently pointed out to him in heated exchanges. But his comment was, "Well, fine, then they don't have to come to work here."

It's very old-fashioned, indeed. Thank God, here in CA, there are far fewer companies that operate this way anymore.

I think it may be more prevalent in really high-powered, top level sales positions. My friend the investment banker was brokering multimillion dollar (and more) deals. He seemed to think a nice impromptu dinner was not too much to ask. And his wife did seem pretty happy to enjoy the lifestyle his paycheck provided.

Seems like it's better if you know up front that it's part of the job description. And you either accept it or not.

But to get back to the topic, sloppy manners would not have helped to clinch the sale.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Speaking of manners and your corporate story: Is it considered poor manners to have more than one drink at a business dinner?

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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Speaking of manners and your corporate story:  Is it considered poor manners to have more than one drink at a business dinner?

Depends on the country. In a few places I've had business dinners (including Tokyo and Riyadh -- yes, you read that right), it's considered poor manners NOT to have more than one drink at a business dinner.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Speaking of manners and your corporate story:  Is it considered poor manners to have more than one drink at a business dinner?

According to my friend, whom I quizzed at some length about all of this, he said that having more than one drink at a dinner was not considered to be "bad manners." What they were trying to do was to be as certain as possible that they didn't hire anyone with a drinking problem. And, at these "screening" dinners, the management team, and their spouses usually did have a pre-dinner cocktail, and an additional glass or two of wine.

So, if the prospective executive or spouse had more than one drink, it wasn't necessarily a 'show stopper,' but they'd take note. And watch to see if there were any other 'warning signs' of a problem with alcohol.

The bottom line was that many of these high-powered business deals were sealed in social settings....on the golf course, at the sports club, over dinner, preferably in the head of the international division's warm and gracious home.

This company didn't want to hire someone, either employee or spouse, who was unskilled in the social graces. They didn't want someone talking with their mouth full, or waving their fork with a chunk of steak on it to make a point, or getting drunk and putting the moves on an important client, or his/her spouse.

And that's just the way it is, according to them. And so you know it going in. You don't take a job digging ditches if you don't want to bend your back. You don't sign up for the military if you don't like long deployments.

And, you shouldn't aim for top-level management positions in the corporate world if your table manners suck. Or so it seems, anyway, if my friends are correct.

After all, a very large part of 'sales' is building relationships. And if you've got something to sell, I think it helps if you can make the other person believe you come from a similar background.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I occasionally find myself at a business meal with someone high up in my company. At these times I'm eternally grateful that my parents taught me enough manners that I don't have to think about what is correct or not. It's enough to focus on making witty conversation!

Otherwise, I agree that as long as you aren't grossing anyone out or rudely hogging all the food, the details are not that important.

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And another thing they did (where's Robyn, she's gonna love this) was warn the candidate that one of the 'tests' was an impromptu dinner party at their home.  They were told that the boss would call and say, we'll be there in one hour for dinner.  The wife was expected to throw together a nice evening.  The husband was supposed to still be escorting the high-profile guest.

The point was that many out-of-town high-level management staff, or large-account important customers (especially from foreign countries), would say something like, "I'd love to have dinner in a real American home."  Or, "I've been traveling all week, and would love a home-cooked meal...hint...hint."

Say it's 'silly' if you want, or say 'it shouldn't matter' if you want, but that's the way the business world works.

Is all I'm saying.

A real American home. Hmm, interesting. So I'm an American, but I guess my dinners of kalbi, rice and sides would be out of the question.

This talk of women slaving away so their man can succeed (before he divorces them and goes after the secretary) makes me respect Carly Fiorina even more. She made it to the top, and was smart enough to marry a guy who recognized and nurtured her potential. Go Carly!

I love cold Dinty Moore beef stew. It is like dog food! And I am like a dog.

--NeroW

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Speaking of manners and your corporate story:  Is it considered poor manners to have more than one drink at a business dinner?

Depends on the country. In a few places I've had business dinners (including Tokyo and Riyadh -- yes, you read that right), it's considered poor manners NOT to have more than one drink at a business dinner.

What were you drinking at a business dinner in Riyadh? Tea? :huh::hmmm:

For those of you who don't know, alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia, and as far as I've understood, the ban isn't widely flouted as in the US during Prohibition. Perhaps the analogy with cocaine in the US today may be more apt.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I agree it depends on the international context. In China it was considered an insult not to toast to a new contract or even our business relationship with the customers, several times. Ah the wonderful feeling of sickness after charming them into opening the letter of credit to our specs... :rolleyes:

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Sorry to say this, but these etiquette rules are just so... "white".

Remember the boring WASPy parents in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding?" These are the types of rules they would observe at the table, all the while talking softly about what went on last week at the country club.

I don't observe them. Our country is the melting pot, in which case, archaic etiquette rules about "continental dining" are thrown out the window.

I'll be polite, yes. But I'm not going to start tucking in my elbows and spooning my soup away from me, as I feel it makes me look like a douchebag.

Edited by stephenc (log)
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The point was that many out-of-town high-level management staff, or large-account important customers (especially from foreign countries), would say something like, "I'd love to have dinner in a real American home."

A real American home. Hmm, interesting. So I'm an American, but I guess my dinners of kalbi, rice and sides would be out of the question.

You know, you and I as Americans undoubtedly have a completely different picture of a typical "real American" home than does someone from a foreign country.

I've hosted many folks from other countries, and most of them think all of us eat steak and hamburgers and french fries every night. One night, I had invited eight Indonesian fighter pilots to my house. They showed up with bags of food and went immediately to the kitchen and set to work.

The food they made was great but, when I asked them why they were preparing their own food, they told me that they felt sure I was planning to prepare hamburgers for them, and they couldn't eat ham.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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The food they made was great but, when I asked them why they were preparing their own food, they told me that they felt sure I was planning to prepare hamburgers for them, and they couldn't eat ham.

That's funny. My mom still quizzes my DH about what his mom served him for dinner, and is always surprised when he tells her that they didn't just eat bread, meatloaf, steak, and salad.

Edited by Hest88 (log)
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Speaking of manners and your corporate story:  Is it considered poor manners to have more than one drink at a business dinner?

Depends on the country. In a few places I've had business dinners (including Tokyo and Riyadh -- yes, you read that right), it's considered poor manners NOT to have more than one drink at a business dinner.

What were you drinking at a business dinner in Riyadh? Tea? :huh::hmmm:

For those of you who don't know, alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia, and as far as I've understood, the ban isn't widely flouted as in the US during Prohibition. Perhaps the analogy with cocaine in the US today may be more apt.

Many business meals in Saudi Arabia take place at people's homes, where there are usually large areas designed in houses to allow for social functions around meals. And virtually every meal I had at homes in Riyadh included plenty of alcohol that had been obtained on the black market. Never had, or was offered, a drop in restaurants.

As my friend used to say, some of the most astonishing wine cellars in the world lurk below the sands of the Arabian desert.....

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Many business meals in Saudi Arabia take place at people's homes...

And there you go....we're right back in 'people's homes' with someone responsible for doing the entertaining.

After all, that's considered to be the highest of compliments in most cultures. Including our own.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Amazing, Chris. Sounds like you could write an interesting article about your experiences with contraband hooch in Arabia.

Edited by Pan (log)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Going back to the fork/knife switching hands issue, I recall reading (I don't even remember when or where) that one of the tricks the Nazis used in France and other occupied regions to discover Americans being hidden away was to listen at doors at dinnertime. The Europeans usually didn't clatter their forks and knives onto the plates while switching hands, but Americans did. Hearing a lot of extra fork and knife noise and no conversation since there was often a language barrier? Bust down the door and see what's going on.

I have no idea of the validity of this, but it makes sense, somewhat, in my mind. The noises at dinner would be an unconcious thing, that just might set someone up to be identified as an American.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Going back to the fork/knife switching hands issue, I recall reading (I don't even remember when or where) that one of the tricks the Nazis used in France and other occupied regions to discover Americans being hidden away was to listen at doors at dinnertime. The Europeans usually didn't clatter their forks and knives onto the plates while switching hands, but Americans did. Hearing a lot of extra fork and knife noise and no conversation since there was often a language barrier? Bust down the door and see what's going on.

I have no idea of the validity of this, but it makes sense, somewhat, in my mind. The noises at dinner would be an unconcious thing, that just might set someone up to be identified as an American.

It's a very easy way to identify American diners in French cafes and restaurants. Not necessarily holding the fork but the combination of the fork hold and the cutting, placing and switching. It is particularly American.

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Speaking of manners and your corporate story:  Is it considered poor manners to have more than one drink at a business dinner?

Depends on the country. In a few places I've had business dinners (including Tokyo and Riyadh -- yes, you read that right), it's considered poor manners NOT to have more than one drink at a business dinner.

What were you drinking at a business dinner in Riyadh? Tea? :huh::hmmm:

For those of you who don't know, alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia, and as far as I've understood, the ban isn't widely flouted as in the US during Prohibition. Perhaps the analogy with cocaine in the US today may be more apt.

Many business meals in Saudi Arabia take place at people's homes, where there are usually large areas designed in houses to allow for social functions around meals. And virtually every meal I had at homes in Riyadh included plenty of alcohol that had been obtained on the black market. Never had, or was offered, a drop in restaurants.

As my friend used to say, some of the most astonishing wine cellars in the world lurk below the sands of the Arabian desert.....

Sorry to continue the off-topicness, but Chris speaks the truth. My dad says its the only place where, when visiting people's houses, he wasn't asked what he would like to drink, but rather what brand he would like to drink.

On topic: I always thought my table manners were of the solid continental sort, but I clearly wouldn't pass muster in France. Bread placement? Ugh. No wonder they all look so unhappy.

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Amazing, Chris. Sounds like you could write an interesting article about your experiences with contraband hooch in Arabia.

You got it -- but in a new thread called "International Drink and Ritual." Hope it's interesting to y'all!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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perfect for this thread! :laugh:

A Few Rules 

Do not play with the table utensils or crumble the bread.

Do not put your elbows on the table, or sit too far back, or lounge

Do not talk loud or boisterously

Be cheerful in conduct or conversation

Never, if possible, cough or sneeze at the table.

Never tilt back your chair while at the table, or at any other time.

Do not talk when the mouth is full

Never make a noise while eating

Do not open the mouth while chewing, but keep the lips closed. It is not necessary to show people how you masticate your food.

Never indicate that you notice anything unpleasant in the food.

The last is positively archaic ... now one calls a lawyer! :hmmm:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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