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Bad Manners Can Cost You A Fortune

The Emily Post Institute

It’s a crazy theory that goes against everything you might have heard, but Daniel Post-Senning, great-great grandson of the grand dame of etiquette Emily Post, says the nicer you are the more likely you are to make money and snag bargains.

Forget about rolling up your sleeves and jabbing other people with your elbows on Black Friday: his theory goes for shoppers, too. Post-Senning spoke to Pay Dirt about the 18th edition of “Emily Post’s Etiquette.” It’s been seven years since the last edition and a lot has changed.

Pay Dirt: You say successful business people and millionaires are often nice.

Daniel Post-Senning: Yes, people will want to work with you if you treat them with dignity, honesty and respect.

So what if I don’t like your new book?

I would advise you to look for the benevolent truth. For instance, if you don’t like your friend’s dress, say, “Only you could pull that dress off, Sarah.”

That doesn’t sound very benevolent to me.

That dress is atrocious. That would be the truth.

How else can minding our Ps and Qs save us money?

I cultivate relationships with the sales people at Brooks Brothers. That’s been invaluable to me. They let me know of upcoming sales. And be nice to customer sales people. Most consumers do the exact opposite.

Here’s a scenario. It’s Black Friday or a big sale at a department store. You’ve been standing in line since 5am. An 80-year-old lady cuts the line. She wants the same TV as you do. What do you do?

I’m wrestling ethically with the situation you describe. You tell her that these folks have been queuing all night: “There’s the back of the line and I’m sure you can find it.”

You would say that to an elderly lady?

Well, you would find the benevolent truth.

Here’s another one: Your friend sends you a gift through Amazon and the UPS guy delivers it three times to your home. But you don’t have time to collect it from the warehouse. What do you do?

That’s at a tricky one. You don’t want to give a gift that puts a burden on someone.

Do I have to respond to every text and email I get at work? Will I lose friends or business – or money?

You should create an expectation of replying every five minutes or else twice a day and fulfill that.

Is it okay to re-gift this holiday season?

Within the Post family there were absolute battles over this. Not on handmade or personal items.

And Halloween? Is it okay to splurge on candy for the local kids?

It’s a pagan tradition and some people might not think it’s religiously appropriate. If the candy dish is depleted or you don’t want to participate, turn the porch light off.


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    • While it’s true that there is a pagan holiday that coincides with Halloween, the practice of handing out candy is a pretty modern (1950s or so) tradition. Anyone who gets religiously uptight about it needs to have their sense of fun examined, because it’s clearly not working properly.

    • It’s always been my philosophy in bizness that assholes pay more.

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