Call me old-fashioned, but I am a stickler for manners. I’m firmly of the belief that manners aren’t a nice thing to have, but a non-negotiable necessity. I spend a lot of time using manners myself and insisting that my children use manners every single day. At the most basic level, I believe that saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ are vital, no matter who you are talking to. Manners should be just more than please and thank you. Manners are responding appropriately when you are given a gift. I always sent thank you notes; now I tend to send thank you emails. Good manners mean not saying “oh I’ve already got one of those” on receipt of a gift; they mean making your bed or asking if you should strip the sheets when you stay at someone’s house ; they mean thanking the maker of a meal for their effort and offering to help with the clean up; good manners mean taking your glass or plate to the kitchen bench when you are at someone else’s house and finding a time which suits them for you to shower in the morning.
Good manners extend further though, and in the 10 months I’ve been writing this blog, I have observed a correlation between the manners shown by the various proprietors/ managers of eating establishments and the quality of their establishment. I always make a point of emailing a cafe or restaurant (or shop!) when I post a review of a venue or product. I do this, because I consider it good manners to inform the subject of my comments if I am commenting in a public forum. Those places that I enjoyed or thought highly of have all made a point of responding, even if it is just to say thank you, as Galbraith’s did this week. The best of the responses have been where the review I have done HASN’T been as positive, but the manager or proprietor has taken the time to respond.
It seems to me that the better the establishment, in my terms of service, food quality, gluten-free labelling and options, are the ones most likely to respond to a review, be it good, bad or indifferent. Those places which are not so good don’t even bother to acknowledge that you’ve taken the time to review them and don’t have the courtesy to reply to your email with a simple thank you. This is not totally true – there have been a couple of very good places which haven’t responded, and a couple of not-so-good places which have. But in the main, it seems to me that I am more drawn to those places where manners are displayed. Maybe I’m not the only old-fashioned one.