When it was first published in 1922, Emily Post’s “Etiquette” featured advice on how to behave in an opera box, the correct size for visiting cards for men versus women and proper butler attire.
Such topics may seem dated now, but the general need for etiquette remains, said Daniel Post Senning, the great-great-grandson of Emily Post and co-author of the new “Etiquette, the Centennial Edition,” out October 4 (Ten Speed).
“Times always change. They’re changing very fast right now,” he told The Post. “People communicate in different ways and figuring out social expectations as we form new communities is really important right now.”
During the pandemic, he noted, a number of new etiquette questions, many around video calls, quickly arose. “We watched new manners come into being and form up within a matter of months,” Post Senner said.
The new book delves into various issues around Zoom meetings. Post Senning and his co-author, cousin Lizzie Post, advise on how to deal with embarrassing tech issues.
Sign off, and “do your best to send a text, email, or other message to the host or organizer to let them know that you are having tech issues and will be delayed, need help, or will reschedule, depending on the problem,” they write.
If the connection is strong, but things grow heated, the pair advise to end things as quickly and smoothly as possible.
“Rather than exit in a huff, try something like, “I think I’ve reached my limit, and it’s best if I take some time to regroup. Let’s talk again another time,” they write.
Another tech topic the book tackles is the use of surveillance cameras and other gadgetry in the home.
“You should let anyone who is staying over or staying on their own in your house (like a house sitter), or working in your house regularly (like a babysitter) know about the systems being used,” the authors write. “You might even turn off certain microphones and cameras as a courtesy.”
In other words, let your nanny know they might be on candid camera.
The first edition had pages devoted to butlers, the latest focuses on baristas.
Though tablets might suggest gratuity ranging from 15% to 22%, Emily Post’s progeny advise that a buck, $2 or spare change for a barista is still a kind gesture. Tipping a barista is not required, they say.
“Don’t feel you have to tip beyond the standard to impress anyone,” they write, noting sometimes a simple “thank you,” is enough.
For salon services, they suggest tipping 15% to 20%. Takeout and grocery delivery get 10% or $5 or more per order. For curbside pickup or groceries, a couple bucks will do it, though $5 is standard if it’s a large order. At restaurants, even if the service is terrible, leave at least 15%, and ask to “speak to the manager” if service is particularly bad.
For those hailing an Uber or Lyft, “tipping is no longer optional; it’s standard,” the book advises. “Not tipping could impact your rideshare rating.”
Oh, and when it comes to getting in that Uber or Lyft, “Always say hello to your driver and ask how they’re doing … if you are not able to chat, it’s fine to be on your phone … say something like ‘I’m going to listen to some music now.'” And be sure to avoid eating, the authors write. “If you are so hungry that you cannot wait, ask the driver first if it is okay.”
Ultimately, the advice on such conundrums shows that etiquette is important no matter what the year on the calendar, Post Senning said.
“Fundamentally, etiquette is about how we treat each other,” he said. “That’s always important and will always matter.”