WE are becoming a nation of rude, foul-mouthed, ungrateful and impatient slobs, says a poll.
Good manners such as saying please and thank you, sending greeting cards and offering someone a seat are out, while finger – snapping in restaurants and swearing are on the rise.
How about you? Are you an uncouth oaf or a knight of politeness?
Try our quiz and see what etiquette expert Grant Harrold – Prince Charles’s former right-hand man, from theroyalbutler.co.uk etiquette school – thinks of your manners.
1. YOUR lonely aunt sends you a pricey, tasteful cashmere scarf for Christmas. What do you do?
A. Write her a lovely thank-you card updating her on all your news.
B. Send her a text and hope one of the nurses in her home will read it to her.
C. Ask your mum to say thanks next time they meet.
D. Take an Instagram selfie to show your luxurious new scarf before going out with your mates.
2. YOU are in a taxi queue and it looks like rain is about to ruin your blow-dry ahead of a date. A kindly old man offers to let you go ahead. Do you?
A. Politely refuse and tell him that if it’s meant to be, then your date will wait.
B. Offer to share the taxi if he is going your way.
C. Yell “Thanks, Gramps” and jump aboard.
D. Push past him, knocking him into a puddle, and shout your destination to the taxi driver without a backwards glance. Surely bridge club can wait?
3. YOU have a banging hangover and need a double espresso before work. The cheerful barista quickly hands you the perfect brew. What do you do?
A. Look them in the eye, offer your heartfelt thanks and drop 50p in the tip jar.
B. Look them in the eye, but make do with a quick “Thanks, mate”.
C. Grab your coffee and grunt something that might be “Thanks”.
D. Grab the coffee, down the burning liquid and yell “Hit me again!” slapping another fiver on the counter before exiting abruptly.
4. YOU’VE been queuing to check in at the airport for 30 minutes behind a single mother and three noisy children. A check-in assistant appears and opens a new desk but the mum doesn’t see. What do you do?
A. Tap the flustered woman on the shoulder and point out the smiling check-in assistant beckoning her over.
B. Shout “You’re next!” loudly in the woman’s ear.
C. Pretend you think the assistant means you and run around the family.
D. Rush towards the check-in woman, hoping that you are getting a different flight from the harassed mother and her kids.
5. YOU are on a train and reaching the heart-pounding end of your new book. Two stops from home, a heavily pregnant woman gets on. Do you?
A. Realise there are no empty seats and graciously offer yours.
B. Realise there are no empty seats and ask someone else to give up theirs.
C. Sink down in your seat and hide your face behind your book – after all, you might not have seen her, even though she’s huge.
D. Look at her but don’t offer your seat. If she wants it, she’ll have to ask.
6. YOU are in a cafe, telling a friend a hilarious story which involves a sex act and the C-word. A grandmother comes in with her young grandchild. What do you do?
A. Stop talking – your X-rated story will still be hilarious when the old woman and her impressionable infant have moved out of earshot.
B. Lower your voice but continue with your X-rated story.
C. Ignore the old woman and child and continue with gusto – neither of them should know what that word means.
D. Talk more loudly to put them off sitting nearby.
7. YOU have finally persuaded your pal to try your favourite restaurant. However, the staff are having a bad day. Do you?
A. Apologise to your pal, pick up the bill and tell them they can choose the restaurant next time.
B. Grumble loudly but don’t actually complain.
C. Complain and try to get some money off the bill.
D. Snap your fingers while loudly tutting until someone comes. After all, they’re lucky that you haven’t walked out.
8. IT’S your loving mother’s birthday and you haven’t sent a card. What do you do?
A. Run to your local M&S in your lunch break and grab a card, some flowers and a gift card to take around after work.
B. Post a random card you find in your desk and blame the Royal Mail.
C. Write her a message on Facebook, selecting a pink heart background so it looks like you really care.
D. Forget about it. She’ll love you, no matter what.
How did you do?
WELL done, your manners are impeccable. Go to the Palace at once and join the Royal Family. It is no less than you deserve and you are ready to take your place with your equals.
NOT bad. You are ready to cross the threshold of a five-star hotel without being turned away, but maybe not yet ready to be wined and dined without embarrassing yourself or others.
OH dear. You are veering perilously into oaf territory. Avoid any formal occasions, stay home, close the doors and don’t admit visitors until you have polished your manners.
YOU need urgent help. Book into an etiquette school at once, before you offend everyone you know – and plenty you don’t. Don’t leave until you see the light – of how to be polite.
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