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How Bad Etiquette Can Cost You

Emily emailed in the following tip:

I have always believed that etiquette is for everyone… not just the elite. Etiquette, to me, is the culmination of advanced societal norms. It helps you feel comfortable in any situation, and, even more importantly, it helps you help others feel comfortable, as well.

Many people erroneously assume you must be wealthy to use etiquette — but this is completely wrong. Yes, etiquette does have strong ties to money, but probably not in the ways you might expect.

In my opinion, BAD etiquette can actually cost you money! Here’s how…

1. You may get into debt trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Etiquette helps you be a respectful, polite person — it doesn’t mean you need to pay to have all of your clothes monogrammed or that you need a full pattern of silverware in order to properly entertain guests. By thinking of etiquette as appearances instead of authenticity, many people assume they can’t “afford” etiquette.

2. You may not get the job.

I guarantee that if you and another candidate are equally qualified for a certain job but they show good business etiquette and you don’t, they’ll get the job every time. I’ve witnessed this many times. As an employee, we are the face of a company to the public and a business always wants to show the best.

3. You may lose repeat business.

Even if you get the job and “work your way up,” knowing proper etiquette and how to treat people will take you far in life.

One of the top complaints I get from business customers is when employees respond with “no problem” to a “thank you.” I know, I know, it sounds small. However, Chick-fil-a is well known for responding with “my pleasure.”

The little things really make a difference, and etiquette is something that can take you from good to great.

I hope you see that etiquette is truly for everyone and see how, aside from having a more polite society, there are plenty of benefits from utilizing etiquette in our everyday world.

Emily Glass is the wife of Garrett and mom to Katherine and Grant. She blogs at Etiquette By Emily and is a compliance officer of a local bank and mayor for the town where she and her family live.

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17 Comments

  • Kacey Batterton says:

    This is great, Emily. I’m so proud of you, friend! Thanks for this insight on etiquette and finances connection. Who better to speak on that but you?!

  • Dana says:

    What a terrific article! Etiquette really is sooo important. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  • Miranda says:

    Emily, I enjoyed your post. You are right! Etiquette is so important when it comes to securing a job! When I teach a class to teens I try to always mention that good manners goes a long way.

  • Rebecca says:

    I have seen many people remark how chick Fila has their employees say my pleasure, but aside from being different, how is that more polite than saying you’re welcome or no problem? I’d rather have a response to “thank you” than none at all. i just don’t see how “no problem” is not polite. Can someone explain why it isn’t?

    • Emily says:

      I have a long post about it on my blog, but in short, you are implying that the person was potentially an imposition or problem to you. It can also be interpreted to mean that you only did whatever it was because it wasn’t a problem at that time and not because you were being truly considerate. It’s blowing off a thank you, essentially. Also, it’s a negative response, which adds to why it can be received poorly. Thank you for reading! I try to explain not only the etiquette of something but also the ‘why’ behind it.

  • Whoa! Didn’t realize about the “no problem” response. I use it white often. Guess it’s time to change my response.

  • Jen says:

    Interesting. I’ve never thought less of someone for responding to a thank you with “no problem.” When speaking Spanish, the response to a “gracias” is most always “de nada” (its nothing).

    • Emily says:

      Cultures greatly vary in their etiquette. I remember being blown away during a study abroad program to China when I was told tipping was considered an insult. Of course quite the opposite is true in the USA. Thank you for reading!

  • Jackie says:

    Thanks for sharing! I work in a professional setting. This is definitely something I should read up on. I have used no problem as a response at different times. Good to know that I shouldn’t be using it.

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