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American companies find manners still matter
AP ^ | Jun 28, 2005 | Ellen Wulfhorst

Posted on 06/28/2005 12:16:13 PM PDT by phoenix_004

Business etiquette coach Barbara Pachter likes to tell the story of a financial executive who, dining with a potential client, licked his knife clean at the end of the meal.

"It was a $30 million dollar lick," she said at a recent etiquette seminar in Goshen, New York, referring to the value of the deal the executive lost by offending the potential customer.

Businesses are turning to etiquette training to boost their bottom line, according to the coaches who train employees on everything from shaking hands to buttering bread.

Simply put, better-behaved employees are more valuable than brutish oafs, they say.

"Etiquette is saying that it's really OK to be nice," said Peter Post, the great-grandson of etiquette's grand dame Emily Post and himself a writer and lecturer on business etiquette.

"We've had an attitude in this country that being nice was somehow counter-productive to good business, to being successful," he said, adding, "In fact, being nice is a way to be much more successful in business. It has real bottom-line, dollar value."

He's seen demand for etiquette training boom in recent years, he added.

"We've heard over and over from corporations who have employees with all these skills but can't let them take a client out to lunch," Post said. "I get calls every week."

In suburban New York, employees of Elant Inc., which runs health and housing facilities for the elderly, have been studying etiquette since the company decided to slash its advertising budget and send staff into the community to drum up business through word of mouth.

LOST ART

Sent out to join civic groups and meet people, employees soon complained they were uncomfortable networking and socializing, so the company turned to an etiquette coach, Elant Chief Executive Donna Case-McAleer said. "It's a lost art," she said. Elant employees recently attended a day-long seminar to hear Pachter answer an array of etiquette questions:

--What accessories do people notice first? Watches and pens.

--Where should empty foil butter wrappers go? Fold the foil wrappers in half and place them under the bread plate.

--How does one eat spaghetti at a business dinner? Don't even touch spaghetti; it's too messy.

--Should a man be told that his fly is open? Yes, people should be always informed of zipper failure.

Listening, Elant administrator Laurence LaDue said he was well aware of his own etiquette failings. "I don't speak up, I'm guilty of the 'ums,' and I'm a fidgeter," he said.

Jan Davis, new to Elant management, found herself practicing her handshake with some tips from the coach.

"I've never been in the corporate world before. I've got a lot I need to learn," she said.

In a telling development in the world of business etiquette, Post said he has just added a chapter on ethics to the business etiquette book he first published six years ago.

Not paying attention to ethics, he said, can be costly. Just look at Tyco International Ltd.'s Dennis Kozlowski, facing prison for stealing the company's money, he said. The former chief executive could have used a little etiquette, he said.

"We teach people to think before they act. My guess is he wasn't thinking. He was doing. But unfortunately we're responsible for our actions, and now he's responsible for his," Post said after a recent lecture in New York.

Experts say modern etiquette is different from just a few years ago. Women's roles have changed, families spend less time in such settings as sit-down meals, children of working parents often fend for themselves and television and movies glorify profanity and rough-and-tumble behavior. "If I asked my mother where she learned manners from, it was probably from Sunday dinner, and I don't think you find that today," said Susan Schulmerich, an Elant vice president. "In many ways, we're missing a lot in our informal society and loss or tradition."

BACK TO BASICS

Pachter said she often has to go back to basics. "I am amazed I have to tell people to say please and thank you," she said. "Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we stop using those words."

Listening to Post, businesswoman Dale Marcovitz said she wished her company, a huge retailer, would train employees.

"I'm from the old school and social graces, or the lack of, is what I notice the most, she said.

A study of people who experienced incivility at work, conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School, showed how costly it can be.

One in five said they worked less hard as a result of rudeness at work, and one in 10 spent less time at the office. Nearly half considered changing jobs, and more than 10 percent did so, the study found.

"It's more than just telling a person the rules," said Post. "Etiquette does have value for people. Etiquette makes you a successful person."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: companies; etiquette; manners; turass; workplace
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1 posted on 06/28/2005 12:16:14 PM PDT by phoenix_004
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To: Fierce Allegiance; Constitution Day; martin_fierro; Tijeras_Slim; Owl_Eagle
Should a man be told that his fly is open? Yes, people should be always informed of zipper failure.

Your flys are all open.

Madejalook. ;)

2 posted on 06/28/2005 12:20:51 PM PDT by TheBigB (Why yes, I -do- rock! Thanks for noticing!)
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To: phoenix_004
Business etiquette coach Barbara Pachter likes to tell the story of a financial executive who, dining with a potential client, licked his knife clean at the end of the meal. "It was a $30 million dollar lick," she said at a recent etiquette seminar in Goshen, New York, referring to the value of the deal the executive lost by offending the potential customer.

Sounds like an urban legend to me.

3 posted on 06/28/2005 12:21:41 PM PDT by Maceman (The Qur'an is Qur'ap.)
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To: phoenix_004
Heh... I remember the verbal haranguing in Portuguese that I got from a taxi cab driver in Rio de Janiero after I gave him the "OK" sign


4 posted on 06/28/2005 12:22:29 PM PDT by So Cal Rocket (Proud Member: Internet Pajama Wearers for Truth)
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To: TheBigB
Your flys are all open.

Thanks for your helpful frankness. Since one good turn deserves another, I suppose I should be equally frank and tell you that your spelling sucks.

5 posted on 06/28/2005 12:23:05 PM PDT by Maceman (The Qur'an is Qur'ap.)
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To: TheBigB

Whenever my wife points out my zipper failures I try to be polite saying "thanks for noticing".


6 posted on 06/28/2005 12:26:37 PM PDT by Jack of all Trades
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To: phoenix_004
--Should a man be told that his fly is open? Yes, people should be always informed of zipper failure.

There are some who consider that to be a zipper success instead of a failure.


7 posted on 06/28/2005 12:28:08 PM PDT by KarlInOhio (Bork should have had Kennedy's USSC seat and Kelo v. New London would have gone the other way.)
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To: phoenix_004

We do fine dining etiquette at family Feasts, on the holidays when everyone is visiting.

At least one meal, and sometimes more, are done with all the forks, knives, spoons, plates, bowls, glasses, napkins, cups and saucers formal dinner setting...it's fun, the kids help set the table and ask about everything fromt the chargers to the butter knives on the bread plates to the fish forks to the dessert spoons, etc.

The only thing we haven't done is the palate-cleansing sherbet between courses...

My grandkids get a kick out of it all...when we put the gold lame tablecloth out and the limoge china, the silver and crystal, light everything with candles...they range in age from 5 to 11...

I told them that when they have this mastered, they can eat dinner at the White House and not have to worry about which freaking fork to use!


8 posted on 06/28/2005 12:29:14 PM PDT by Judith Anne (Thank you St. Jude for favors granted.)
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To: So Cal Rocket

And be careful flashing the "V for victory" sign in Great Britain: palms out is OK, but palms in is offensive. (I think I got that right...)


9 posted on 06/28/2005 12:30:36 PM PDT by LibFreeOrDie (L'chaim!)
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To: Maceman
I did consider "flies", but decided that that particular spelling of the plural was too closely connected with any of the numerous two-winged insects of the order Diptera, especially any of the family Muscidae, which includes the housefly. That, in turn, would have rendered the joke much less effective. IMHO.
10 posted on 06/28/2005 12:30:38 PM PDT by TheBigB (Why yes, I -do- rock! Thanks for noticing!)
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To: TheBigB

Phew, thanks, That could have been embarrassing.


11 posted on 06/28/2005 12:30:54 PM PDT by Fierce Allegiance (This is not your granddaddy's America)
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To: Maceman
Sounds like an urban legend to me.

Not if he were having dinner with a European.

12 posted on 06/28/2005 12:31:27 PM PDT by Sam the Sham
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To: Maceman

BTW, your flie is open.


13 posted on 06/28/2005 12:31:41 PM PDT by TheBigB (Why yes, I -do- rock! Thanks for noticing!)
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To: TheBigB

Well, you dropped some of your lunch on your shirt!

:P


14 posted on 06/28/2005 12:34:10 PM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: Judith Anne
While reading your whole post, I swear I could hear the chamber music right up until worry about which freaking fork to use! where it abruptly changed to a Ted Nugent sound check.
15 posted on 06/28/2005 12:35:15 PM PDT by Fierce Allegiance (This is not your granddaddy's America)
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To: phoenix_004

Which reminds me... can any FReepers from Australia tell me if this is true: Turning your glass upside down at the dinner table is a challenge to a fight to the person across the table from you.

I'm guessing Urban Legend, but just to be on the safe side, if I didn't want wine for dinner, I moved my wine glass far away from me, rather than turn it upside down.


16 posted on 06/28/2005 12:35:36 PM PDT by So Cal Rocket (Proud Member: Internet Pajama Wearers for Truth)
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To: Constitution Day

DAMN! You get me with that one all the time, CD!


17 posted on 06/28/2005 12:36:15 PM PDT by TheBigB (Why yes, I -do- rock! Thanks for noticing!)
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To: TheBigB

I say. Do try to be more careful, old boy.


18 posted on 06/28/2005 12:36:39 PM PDT by Constitution Day
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To: phoenix_004
Jan Davis, new to Elant management, found herself practicing her handshake with some tips from the coach.

I've noticed that a lot of men have trouble shaking a woman's hand correctly. Please do not feel the need to shatter every bone in my hand with your vice-like, crushing grip, but don't handle my hand like it's a delicate rose petal either. (I'm sure neither applies to any male Freepers, so don't roast me!) :-)
19 posted on 06/28/2005 12:37:08 PM PDT by CO Gal (Liberals should be seen, but not heard..)
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To: Fierce Allegiance

Dinner music is always welcome. Something from Jeff Beck, maybe.


20 posted on 06/28/2005 12:37:28 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Fierce Allegiance
While reading your whole post, I swear I could hear the chamber music right up until worry about which freaking fork to use! where it abruptly changed to a Ted Nugent sound check.

Eclectic can be a GOOD thing. ;-D But you were right on about the chamber music in the background. The grandkids even bring a set of dress-up clothes for these "family feasts."

21 posted on 06/28/2005 12:40:40 PM PDT by Judith Anne (Thank you St. Jude for favors granted.)
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To: So Cal Rocket

Traditionally the person who doesn't want wine simply tossed the unused wine glass against the wall as a subtle signal to the waiter.


22 posted on 06/28/2005 12:41:47 PM PDT by Eagle Eye (Some day we may have to choose whether we'll be a criminal or a collaborator.)
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To: TheBigB; Jersey Republican Biker Chick

Owl_Eagle

(If what I just wrote makes you sad or angry,

 it was probably sarcasm)

23 posted on 06/28/2005 12:42:37 PM PDT by South Hawthorne (In Memory of my Dear Friend Henry Lee II)
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To: Eagle Eye

No, silly, they turn it upside down. It's after the toast that they throw it against the wall. ;-D


24 posted on 06/28/2005 12:43:13 PM PDT by Judith Anne (Thank you St. Jude for favors granted.)
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To: Owl_Eagle

You are having too much fun with this aren't you?


25 posted on 06/28/2005 12:43:54 PM PDT by Jersey Republican Biker Chick (People too weak to follow their own dreams, will always find a way to discourage yours.)
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To: phoenix_004
--Where should empty foil butter wrappers go? Fold the foil wrappers in half and place them under the bread plate.

This should be clarified-- Place the wrappers under the rim of the bread plate or the meal plate. Do not lift up the plates and put trash under them.

26 posted on 06/28/2005 12:46:34 PM PDT by Between the Lines (We are enabled to see the Lord at work if our eyes and our hearts are open." - George W. Bush)
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To: phoenix_004
"--Where should empty foil butter wrappers go? Fold the foil wrappers in half and place them under the bread plate."

I guess she sweeps her dirt under the carpet, too!
I would be VERY suspicious of anyone that dealt with their butter wraps in this way..

What the hell is wrong with folding them up and leaving them on the edge of some appropriate saucer or plate?

Sticking them under the bread plate is both messy and devious....

Semper Fi

27 posted on 06/28/2005 12:47:16 PM PDT by river rat (You may turn the other cheek, but I prefer to look into my enemy's vacant dead eyes.)
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To: Between the Lines

If I could get my kids to just put them down rather than pat them on their sisters head, that would be a victory.


28 posted on 06/28/2005 12:48:09 PM PDT by Fierce Allegiance (This is not your granddaddy's America)
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To: Judith Anne

Silly you, they only serve toast at breakfast!


29 posted on 06/28/2005 12:49:36 PM PDT by Eagle Eye (Some day we may have to choose whether we'll be a criminal or a collaborator.)
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To: TheBigB

I cannot find any good "open drosophila" pics. :(


30 posted on 06/28/2005 12:53:55 PM PDT by Fierce Allegiance (This is not your granddaddy's America)
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To: Fierce Allegiance

www.insexxx.com


31 posted on 06/28/2005 12:55:29 PM PDT by TheBigB (Why yes, I -do- rock! Thanks for noticing!)
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To: TheBigB
DISCLAIMER: not a real website

(as far as I know :)

32 posted on 06/28/2005 12:56:10 PM PDT by TheBigB (Why yes, I -do- rock! Thanks for noticing!)
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To: Eagle Eye

It really is to laugh, isn't it? And we do have fun with all the rules and such, but the oooohs and aaaaahs when the table is set, the candles are lit, and the room sparkles like a dream are very gratifying.

I don't actually have a dishwasher, although I have a two-door ice and water dispensing fridge, and a nice glasstop stove, so we all end up doing every little tiny dish afterward...

This past year, DIL in the spirit of things, got me individual salt and peppers for each place setting, although I do have salt bowls with tiny spoons...


33 posted on 06/28/2005 12:57:50 PM PDT by Judith Anne (Thank you St. Jude for favors granted.)
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To: phoenix_004
"It was a $30 million dollar lick," she said at a recent etiquette seminar in Goshen, New York, referring to the value of the deal the executive lost by offending the potential customer.

B.S. Who really believes someone is going to go to the next highest bidder because of a half second of "bad manners"?

34 posted on 06/28/2005 12:59:02 PM PDT by Mark was here (My tag line was about to be censored.)
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To: Owl_Eagle

What in the heck????


35 posted on 06/28/2005 1:01:06 PM PDT by Steelerfan
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To: Between the Lines

I have to admit, I read it the way you warn about in your last sentence and thought it was really odd advice.


36 posted on 06/28/2005 1:02:09 PM PDT by Steelerfan
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To: Mrs Mark

I sent a $4 million casing deal to a very slightly higher priced supplier because one vendor really stank like he ate turdburgers and rolled in a black mud swamp when he came to visit me. At least he never came to see me after that.

I will beleive it could happen.


37 posted on 06/28/2005 1:02:35 PM PDT by Fierce Allegiance (This is not your granddaddy's America)
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To: phoenix_004
..dining with a potential client, licked his knife clean at the end of the meal.

I eat my peas with honey;
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
but it keeps them on my knife.

re: ..what to do with used butter foils.

I roll mine up in a ball and 'flick' them across the dining area, aiming for the snootty blonde with the costume jewelry.

38 posted on 06/28/2005 1:03:37 PM PDT by SGCOS
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To: Judith Anne

Actually my wife and I used to teach Christian Etty-kit to our cohorts and children using our china and crystal. We were normally able to use the example of an ill mannered friend as one to not emulate if one cared to be always welcomed as a guest.



They got the point and I've always been able to take the kids (grown and older teens now) out without worrying about manners. In fact, they normally received compliments from other diners.

These dinners usually go very well until I loudly pass gas.

My advice to toss the glass was my attempt to start a culture war. Not nice, but nice is sooooo boring.


39 posted on 06/28/2005 1:04:57 PM PDT by Eagle Eye (Some day we may have to choose whether we'll be a criminal or a collaborator.)
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To: phoenix_004; All
I have refused business to an American company before when they sent a sales rep to visit me who made a point of letting me know he was a homosexual. I ened up giving the business to an Australian company.

It was quite a disgusting series of events actually. I was advising on the project locally and one of the Americans made of point of telling me he was gay and asked where he could meet other gays in town - I was a bit shocked and just said that I had no idea.

It was a US5 million dollar project and the US company based out of Boston was actually going to get the project until the last minute.

We went to the hotel to meet the guys and the doorman told us that one of "our friends" he was up in the room the night before with two gay boys he had picked up somewhere.

I met later with two of the directors and the CEO and then advised them accordingly.

The project was awarded to the Australians - The company in Boston never knew the reason why. Sad.

An American Expat in Southeast Asia

40 posted on 06/28/2005 1:07:54 PM PDT by expatguy (http://laotze.blogspot.com/)
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To: river rat

I do believe they get wadded up and tossed at the jerk wearing his hat a the dinner table. But that's just me.


41 posted on 06/28/2005 1:09:08 PM PDT by Coastie ("You have to go out. You don't have to come back"- Old USCG motto.)
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To: Eagle Eye

Silly you!

We just have fun with it. Actually, I look forward to it this weekend, when everyone will be here for the annual family reunion.


42 posted on 06/28/2005 1:09:32 PM PDT by Judith Anne (Thank you St. Jude for favors granted.)
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To: phoenix_004
Don't know if the story about blowing a $30 million deal is true, but I know of a potential relationship that was killed by bad table manners.

I was at a restaurant Happy Hour with my wife the other evening, next to a table of three very loud and obnoxious young women and one young man, who probably all worked together, and it reminded me of a date I had in college. I took this girl out to dinner, and everything was going fine until the food arrived, whereupon she dived in facefirst and started scarfing it like a Teamster. I swear, she even licked the plate and burped afterward. I was so grossed out, I never asked her out again. I'd really liked her up until that point, but I couldn't face the thought of seeing that hog-slopping demonstration at every meal for the rest of my life.

It made me want to tell that story to the girls in the restaurant, who seemed to think that their obnoxious antics (shrieking with open-mouthed laughter while chewing food, etc.) were really amusing the guy at their table, who looked to me as if he wanted to flee. I know the feeling, pal.

43 posted on 06/28/2005 1:11:31 PM PDT by HHFi
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To: phoenix_004
Should a man be told that his fly is open?

OK, by popular demand, here it is:

A guy walks into a bar, orders a beer, and notices a piano in the corner. He asks the bartender if it is OK to play a tune.

The bartender says, OK, but if you're no good, I'll have to ask you to stop.

Theu guy sits down and plays the most beautiful song the bartender ever heard.

The bartender says, "Hey buddy, what was the name of that tune? It's beautiful."

The guy says, "Oh, it's one I wrote. It's called, 'I love you so #9!!%$**& much I can't hardly ^%(**#@^.'"

He then plays a tune more beautiful than the first. When asked its name he says, "That one is called, 'You're so #(*&%#$!)_ gorgeous that my &)$%@#& #)*(&*%$%@ hurts.'"

So then he goes to the bathroom. He forgets to zip up. The bartender says, "Hey buddy. Do you know you forgot to zip your fly and your &*&^#$ is hanging out?"

The guy says, "Know it? I WROTE IT!"

44 posted on 06/28/2005 1:24:22 PM PDT by HIDEK6
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To: phoenix_004

When I was growing up, a copy of Emily Post was de rigueur in our house. Thank goodness, and I love my parents for that. The lessons in it have never failed me.


45 posted on 06/28/2005 1:29:27 PM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: Mrs Mark
B.S. Who really believes someone is going to go to the next highest bidder because of a half second of "bad manners"?

I agree. The only thing worse that losing a client that is that obsessed with table manors is winning that client.

How long before some crazy "outrageous offense" of some sort happens to ruin it later. Life is too short for that.

Treat people nicely and show them respect. That should be enough for business. Elaborate mating rituals are for Romance.

46 posted on 06/28/2005 1:37:18 PM PDT by edeal
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To: phoenix_004

But, the only problem growing up with Emily Post is that those who didn’t/don’t, or the like, view good manners as a personal weakness. I had to learn as an adult to get into the gutter with these ##@%% and show them I was/am capable of a good ugly scrap on their level.


47 posted on 06/28/2005 1:38:35 PM PDT by Gatún(CraigIsaMangoTreeLawyer)
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To: phoenix_004

"Don't even touch spaghetti; it's too messy."

Or fried chicken or ribs. Basically anything you can't eat simply with a knife, fork, and spoon. If the salad leaves are too big, cut them with a knife.


48 posted on 06/28/2005 1:44:25 PM PDT by jwh_Denver ("I did the man a favor by hitting him with a baseball bat" Evel Knievel)
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To: Maceman

"Sounds like an urban legend to me."

Maybe so but I think you're missing the point. If I were a salesman and we went to dinner together and I ate like a friggin pig would you want to do business with me? I represent myself and my company and if you think about it, maybe that's the kind of service you'll get from me and my company. Would you want to do business with me? If on the other hand you ate like a pig I would not do anything to make you feel uncomfortable.


49 posted on 06/28/2005 2:03:55 PM PDT by jwh_Denver ("I did the man a favor by hitting him with a baseball bat" Evel Knievel)
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To: expatguy
I would say that you didn't deny them business because they were gay. You did it because of their inappropriate behavior.

If they had asked where to score some hookers, then taken the girls up to their room......I suspect your reaction would have been the same. Mine would have, I'm sure.

50 posted on 06/28/2005 2:06:12 PM PDT by wbill
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