September 19, 2007 EditionAlso in this issue...
Common courtesies of public placesLinda Lou Moore
Whether you are on your way to a sporting event, the movies, a rock concert, a museum, the theater, ballet or symphony there are common courtesies that can make your life easier and easier for others.
You have just arrived at an unfamiliar stadium for a sporting event or at a theater for a play. You need to find your seat.
(A) Wander aimlessly?
(B) Ask an usher for assistance?
(C) Sit in the best seat that you can find and hope no one makes you move?
If you answered B, you have mastered the first "do" of common courtesies of public places.
- DO try to arrive early or at least on time. Nothing spoils the game like climbing over others and obstructing the view of the opening play.
- DO say "excuse me" when walking down the narrow aisle and climbing over others to find your seat. Say "thank you" when someone rises to let you in your seat.
- DO stand during the National Anthem. If the Anthem is presented instrumentally, you may sing or remain silent, but do not talk.
- DON'T sing along with a vocal performance unless invited to do so by the public address announcer. Men remove their hats out of respect.
- DON'T be rude to the fan's of the opposing team. Not only is this bad form, but it can escalate into a confrontation.
- DON'T spill your food or beverage on those around you. Eating, drinking and cheering at the same time can make for a messy situation.
- DO remember to sit down after standing and cheering. You know the feeling of not being able to see a play and shouting "down in front."
- DO be considerate of the fans around you. Constantly leaving and returning to your seat is distracting to those seated around you. Patience wears thin after repeated interruptions. Children unaccompanied by parents have a wonderful time going back and forth to the concession stand and visiting with friends seated elsewhere. It's fun to see lots of schoolmates; however, climbing over adults numerous times during a game is disruptive to the other spectators.
- DO walk out when the game is over. Pushing or shoving is irritating and can be dangerous to those around you.
- DO be aware of others safety.
- DO be a good winner. Shake hands with the loser. Compliment the opposing player.
- DON'T be a sore loser. Give the winner a firm handshake and a compliment.
- DON'T belabor your mistakes or blame others.
- DON'T move about after the movie has started. This is distracting to others.
- DO try to go to the concession stand before the movie begins. Getting up and going back and forth to your seat after the movie has started can be annoying to those around you.
- DON'T use the floor as a trash can.
- DON'T disturb others watching the movie by talking loudly to your date or to your friends.
- DON'T put your heads together ("two heads are better than one" does not apply in this situation) while watching the movie. The person sitting behind you may have difficulty seeing the screen. In many older movie theaters that do not have stadium seating this is a problem.
- DON'T kick the seat in front of you. The person sitting in front of you may not find this amusing.
- DON'T let children who are crying or fidgety ruin the movie for those around them. Take them to the lobby or to an area where they will be more comfortable. Everyone will thank you for it!
- DON'T use your cell phone while watching the movie. If you need to talk to someone go to the lobby or an area where you will not disturb others. Some theaters ask you not to use your cell phone for text messages while viewing the movie. If you need to communicate with others, go to an area in the lobby where you can talk or text.
- DO open and hold the door, if you are able, for the next person.
- DO say "thank you" when someone holds the door for you.
- DO stay together if you are going in a group. If you leave the group, let them know where you are going.
- DO decide where to meet after the performance if your seats are not together.
- DON'T be surprised if you are escorted out of the concert, by a security guard, if you have thrown anything on stage.
- DON'T try to get on the stage. Security frowns on this.
- DO remember that the guards are there for your protection.
"Look but don't touch" is the theme in most traditional art galleries and museums.
- DON'T touch the works of art.
- DON'T walk up and stand in front of others who are looking at a work of art. Wait until they move.
- DON'T speak in a loud voice.
- All of these traditional museum DON'TS sound like you won't have a good time, but by following them it ensures that you will.
Attending a live performance of the theater, ballet or symphony is an exciting event. Following these do's and don'ts will help make the occasion a memorable one.
- DO arrive early. By getting there before the curtain rises you will have time to visit, be guided to your seat, read the program and get comfortable.
- DON'T be late. If you have arrived after the performance has begun you may have to wait to be seated or until an usher guides you to your seat. You may even have to wait until the end of the first scene before you are allowed to be seated.
- DO turn off your cell phone.
- DO be aware of the acoustics in the theater or symphony hall. Your voice will carry.
- DON'T talk during the performance.
- DO say "excuse me" if you walk in front of someone to get to your seat and remember to say "thank you" when someone stands up or moves to let you be seated.
- DO wait until the intermission or until the performance is over, before you leave. Leaving during the performance can be distracting to those around you.
Linda Lou Moore is trained and certified by the Protocol School of Washington. She offers customized individual and group etiquette programs for children, teens and adults. She may be reached at P.O. Box 145 in Paragould, 72450 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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