Category Archives: Etiquette and manners

The Perplexing Ethics Of Shorts In Courts

Interestingly, the words aren't necessary. The tee shirt is enough.

Interestingly, the words aren’t necessary. The tee shirt is enough.

The New York Daily News thought it was newsworthy that a North Carolina judge objected to a man appearing in court for a hearing dressed in a tee shirt and shorts. “Why are you going to show up to court dressed like that based on these charges?” the judge asked. Not getting what she felt was an appropriate response, she postponed the hearing. The offense involved was a particularly horrific one:Matthew Deans, 28, of Wilmington, N.C.,was charged with two misdemeanor counts of death by vehicle and two other charges in connection with the crash. He is free on $10,000 bail while awaiting trial.

On May 23, Deans’ commercial box truck allegedly ploughed into the back of the car belonging to Hadley and Gentry Eddings,, who were stopped at a traffic light. The Eddings’ 2-year-old son was killed in the crash, and an infant delivered by emergency ceasarian section in the hours after the wreck died as well.

For reasons that are not germane to this post, I’ve been in court a lot lately. When I was taking criminal defense cases, I carefully monitored the in-court attire of my clients, emphasizing that it was crucial for them to display respect for the judge and the system, as well as appropriate appreciation of the seriousness of the offenses charged. Almost without exception, defendants appearing in court today are in casual, often sloppy attire. This shows the stupidity of those appearing, the incompetence of their attorneys, and irresponsible upbringing, schooling and socialization. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Education, Ethics Heroes, Etiquette and manners, Law & Law Enforcement, Race, U.S. Society

Ethics Quiz: A Minimum Wage Lecture Instead Of A Tip?

Diners and bar patrons in Seattle are apparently registering their displeasure over the city’s whopping minimum wage hike (to $15 an hour) by leaving this card instead of a tip:

why-i-dont-tip-in-seattle

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz:

Is this an ethical protest?

My view?  There are minimum wage employees in bars and restaurants, but waiters and bartenders often aren’t among them. In the case of the bartender who publicized this patron’s printed rant, we learn, he is not a beneficiary of the minimum wage increase, and his livelihood depends on tips.

A tip, as Ethics Alarms has stated before, should be based on quality of service. To withhold a tip from a server or bartender—which should be message about service—to register an objection regarding the city’s wage statutes is neither logical nor just. Among the card’s three options, the first is completely reasonable, the second is a necessary consequence of living in a democracy, and the third is just behaving like a jerk. I bet the guy that left this card kicks his dog after a bad day too.

___________________

Pointer: Fred

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Professions, Workplace

“Albuquerque Fire Chief Evaluating Training After Dispatcher Hung Up on Caller”? Why Yes, I Think That Would Be Prudent!

"No...now, see, Mr, Sanchez, this is NOT how we would like you to react with a 911 caller. Let's try it again..."

“No…now, see, Mr, Sanchez, this is NOT how we would like you to react with a 911 caller. Let’s try it again…”

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: watch out for touchy 911 dispatchers.

Seventeen-year-old Esperanza Quintero called 911 after her friend Jaydon Chavez-Silver was shot last month. She tried to stop Chavez-Silver’s bleeding and gave him CPR.

“I am keeping him alive!” Quintero is heard saying on the 911 call, which was answered by dispatcher Matthew Sanchez, a ten-year veteran of the Albuquerque Fire Department.

Sanchez asked, “Is he not breathing?”

The teen responded, “Barely!”

On the recording, she can be heard frantically encouraging Chavez-Silver to keep breathing.

“One more breath! One more breath!” Quintero told here wounded friend. “There you go Jaydon. One more breath! There you go Jaydon. Good job! Just stay with me, OK? OK?”

Sanchez then asked again, “Is he breathing?”

Quintero responded, “He is barely breathing, how many times do I have to fucking tell you?”

Apparently this outburst deeply, deeply offended Sanchez, who felt that the use of the vulgarity justified him leaving the panicked teen to deal with her dying friend by herself. “OK, you know what ma’am? You can deal with it yourself. I am not going to deal with this, OK?” the dispatcher said, and he disconnected Quintero as she pleaded for help.

So there.

As you know, I’m a big fan of civility, and we really should discipline ourselves and our children to avoid profanity and  vulgarity in dealings with others, in the workplace or anywhere else. Mutual respect is a cornerstone of ethical conduct generally, and civility is how we recognize the inherent respect we owe every fellow citizen. Having one’s friend dying in front of you is a stressful situation, however, and I think the collective effects for fear, panic, desperation and stress creates sufficient adverse influences on a teen that a lapse of decorum should be excused or at least tolerated, don’t you? Particularly when the listener  is allegedly an adult and trained rescue personnel?

Jaydon died. A rescue squad was dispatched before the hang-up, which only means that what Sanchez did could have been worse.

Albuquerque Fire Chief David Downey  called the actions of dispatcher Matthew Sanchez on June 26 “unforgivable” and said Sanchez, who had the sense to resign, at least, should not have hung up on the caller. Downey  says he is examining the training procedures.

Good analysis. We can all stop worrying now, at least those of us in Albuquerque.

And we should be grateful, should we not, for Mr. Sanchez providing a superb lesson to all of our young people about the important of avoiding potty mouth?

 

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Professions, Public Service, Workplace

Would You Pay $15 An Hour To This Employee?

I love it when a story  combines recent posts. This one evokes the issue of minimum wage hikes and people who use social media to try to rouse the ire of the web Furies while getting themselves some pop culture fame of the approximate duration—and value— of a mayfly.  If only this teen had shot a lion, it would be perfect.

17-year-old Sylva Stoel was sent home to change when she arrived to work at a J.C. Penney’s store looking like this:

Sylvia shorts

Good for the boss. That’s no way to dress for work in a retail store. But Sylva is imbued with that certitude of perfection that only spoiled and badly raised teens can model, so she quit in protest and announced her defiance to the world, tweeting a photo of her giving the finger to Penney’s…

Sylvia finger

…. with the legend,“Boss sent me home for wearing ‘too revealing’ shorts that I bought from the store I work at in the career section.”

Yes, but what career, Sylva?

Her argument, brainlessly championed by the Huffington Post, is apparently that employees should be able to wear what they sell, which will be fun for those shopping in the bathing attire section.

I’ve got news for Sylva (I also may have found her missing “i”). You know nothing about the workplace. Your idea of professional attire is pathetic. You have no skills, and setting out to webshame an employer, who generously gave you a chance to get some desperately needed experience, by quitting and flipping your boss off should, if there is any justice, make you unemployable for a good, long time.

Those who run businesses can dictate reasonable dress codes for their employees, and red hotpants are not appropriate attire for male or female workers even in hotpants stores, unless the owner decides otherwise. This twitter assault says nothing of value about dress codes or J.C. Penney, but volumes about a deluded and rude child named Sylva Stoel, whom nobody should hire again until she learns acquires humility and  manners.

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Social Media, The Internet, Unethical Tweet, Workplace

What A Surprise: Donald Trump Has An Unethical Lawyer!

One of these guys is Donald Trump's lawyer. Maybe both...

One of these guys is Donald Trump’s lawyer. Maybe both…

I realize I run the risk, by publishing this opinion, of Donald Trump’s thuggish, boorish, dolt of lawyer trying to “mess [my] life up … for as long as [I’m] on this frickin’ planet,” to put it in his well-measured, restrained and professional parlance. Well, so be it. Seldom do we see any lawyer befoul the image and dignity of his profession like Michael Cohen, Esquire, one of Donald Trump’s lawyers, did yesterday responding to a Daily Beast story about the dirty linen aired during Trump’s divorce from Ivana Trump over 20 years ago.

Ivana then compared a sexual encounter with her husband to sexual assault and rape,  and The Daily Beast wrote about it, as if Trump wasn’t doing enough already to make any decent American head to the loo at the sight of him. So Trump appointed Cohen as his media spokesman on the matter—just think: he was the best and most professional of the candidates for the job!—and he said this to The Daily Beast… Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions

The Great Maine Diner Controversy

Marcys-Diner

Thanks to the internet, every day conflicts between ordinary citizens become opportunities for society-wide ethical evaluation . This can be extremely beneficial, helping to reveal disagreements regarding ethical conduct in common situations, and establishing social norms with efficiency that once would have been impossible. Of course, that requires that society reaches a reasonable consensus.

Last week a controversy emanating from a Portland, Maine diner called Marcy’s had blogs bloviating, pundits punditting and social media boiling over. Vacationing parents took their toddler to a crowded diner for breakfast, waited 30 minutes for a table and another 40 minutes for their food. The hungry child went on a crying jag that went on too long for the owner, who  suggested that the couple to leave in a less than polite manner, and finally shouted at the little girl to  “shut the hell up!” The couple left the diner.

The mother, Tara Carson, couldn’t resist registering her indignation on the Marcy’s Facebook page, the owner responded with even more colorful language than she did in the original confrontation, and social media appeared to divide into the “it takes a village so be sympathetic to parents of young kids and give them a break” camp and the “serves these entitled and incompetent parents right for being so inconsiderate and not controlling their child” camp, with the latter considerably smaller than the former. Then, not content to let the matter blow over, Carson got the Washington Post to publish her op-ed about the episode, which concluded, Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Etiquette and manners, Facebook, Family, Social Media, U.S. Society

Eight Ethics Observations On Donald Trump’s Prisoner Of War Slur…And Another New Rationalization: “Popeye’s Excuse”

PopeyeFrom the New York Times:

“Mr. Trump upended a Republican presidential forum here [Ames, Iowa] , and the race more broadly, by saying of the Arizona senator and former prisoner of war: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Mr. McCain, a naval aviator, was shot down during the Vietnam War and held prisoner for more than five years in Hanoi, refusing early release even after being repeatedly beaten.

The only news outlet that isn’t covering this is the Huffington Post, because controversies that directly affect who will be President of the United States aren’t news when they involve candidates the HuffPo ideologues don’t respect.

I thought I should remind you.

Ethics observations:

1. The statement is signature significance that Trump is a jerk as well as a fool, and not very bright as well. The latter is especially important: being an idiot should disqualify anyone for high elected office. Not that Trump’s intelligence, or lack of it, hasn’t been a matter of record for a long, long time, but this is as blazing a tell as anyone could wish for. Anyone who voluntarily places his or her life at risk for their country is a hero; circumstances and moral luck determine what other tests warfare will present to such an individual’s character. When a hero passes such a test with distinction, as McCain did in his prisoner of war ordeal during the Vietnam war, the military makes a special effort to recognize that heroism, in part to inspire others. My father refused to make a big deal about his Silver Star and Bronze Star, because he was aware that the man who was blown up by a shell while virtually standing next to him could have just as easily been the decorated war hero, and my father a statistic, had the shell landed a little bit to the right. My father regarded the man who was killed in his foxhole as much of a hero as he was. Trump would say, “I like people who aren’t killed.”

Only a stupid man could believe that.

2. For Trump to denigrate McCain’s service when he took every possible step to avoid service in the same war is especially nauseating. The ethical values being rejected here are fairness and respect. John McCain displayed courage, patriotism, devotion to civic duty, selflessness and integrity that Trump could not. It’s really that simple. Trump lacks any standing to criticize Senator McCain’s war record.

3. On ABC this morning, Donald Trump was asked about his habit of name-calling and using personal insults as his response to political criticism. He justified his incivility by evoking the Tit for Tat excuse: if you insult him, he’ll insult you, and that includes calling you fat, old, stupid, or–his favorite—“a loser.” This is playground ethics, worthy of a 12-year-old. Your duty to be fair, civil and ethical is not reduced by the unethical conduct of someone else, even when it is aimed at you. Ethical people understand this, often before they are 20. Ethically, Trump is a case of arrested development. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, U.S. Society, War and the Military