I just got home from a wonderful trip to Yellowstone National Park. Did you know it’s the first and oldest National Park in the world?? The staff and Rangers were very helpful and friendly. The geographical history of the place is fascinating including the geo-thermal activity. Wikipedia has good information on the area.

While I was looking forward to a rest, I do love teaching etiquette but the downside is not knowing when to stop “correcting behavior” in my head when I see faux pas being committed!! This blog is devoted to addressing some of the more frequent slips in good manners that I personally encountered on my trip to Yellowstone.

Picture taking – saving memories on our digital gadgets is something we all like to do at touristy spots. But is it reasonable to make others wait while trying to achieve the perfect shot worthy of a National Geographic magazine? While we’re on this topic, endangering family members generally isn’t considered good form either. My husband witnessed a couple plopping their 3 yrs. old daughter on a wall with a 1000 foot drop to her death if she moved the wrong way. She was terrified and had more sense than her parents. It was too much to watch. And a Ranger told us about a dad who wanted to get his 3 yrs. old son on the shoulders of a free roaming Bison in the Park to get that perfect holiday photo. Huh???

Tour bus patrons – when the driver lets tour bus passengers off in the parking lot, they need to have some situational awareness of cars, trucks and motorcycles. Linking arms and walking 10 abreast makes it very difficult for others who are trying to exit.

Umbrellas – whether sunny or rainy, some people really love their umbrellas. But is that golf brolly such a good idea on a narrow path? If the brolly isn’t switched to the other side of the handle, chances are good someone who is passing may get their eye poked out!!

Passing on the path – unless you’re from the UK, Japan or Australia, we pass left to left on the road. The same goes when we are on a pathway in the forest or a corridor in a building. That also applies to grocery store aisles.

Talking or yelling – I realize that being in the outdoors means not being in a church or library so I don’t have to whisper. But if my family are 100 m away, do I need to scream “Come here” or “Look at this” while others are close by? Ah no, I don’t actually. But I experienced others who did feel this need. I’m considering getting my hearing tested.

Don’t congregate – I was on a pathway and there were several people congregating together in front of the sign that I wanted to read. Now, I usually read every piece of printed material whether in a museum or outside much to the chagrin of my family!!! I stood there and waited hoping that someone would realize that they were blocking my view of the coveted reading material. No one noticed. So I had to ask them politely to move. Yet no one even said “Sorry”. Another pet peeve is when parents let their children reach up and touch the sign that I’m reading especially the words. Again, I have to correct their children and the parents say nothing, not even “Sorry about that. Johnny, that lady is trying to read the sign and you’re in the way. Step back so she can read, please.”

Being respectful of others means that everyone can enjoy the wonders of nature or a museum or whatever the scenery happens to be. During this summer, my hope is that you are being treated well and treating others as they would like to be treated, too. Isn’t that what good etiquette is all about??


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Maria and her Etiquette Program have been featured in several media outlets including:

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