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Make a purchase from our Etsy store and receive a commemorative catalog from the D. Landgreth Seed Company.

Remember the days without cell phones? People knew how to behave with a phone. No judgment needed. Those days are long gone. And I miss them. I’ve been itching to say something about phone etiquette and common sense for a long time—two ideas that seem almost quaint by today’s standards. I hope this post will come as a gentle self-awareness prompt to anyone who finds himself aptly described here.

We all make occasional mistakes. As long as we’re not habitually casting ourselves in one of these four roles, we’re probably doing okay.

The yackety yack. Her mouth is constantly busy, discussing personal and professional affairs in public places. She often says much without saying anything. The rule:  Discernment is the foundation of etiquette. Only two things can come from running your mouth excessively and neither of them is good:

1) Someone around you is VERY interested in what you’re saying. If you’re discussing business or work, your competition and customers are everywhere. Imagine all the ways this could go wrong if your conversation is overheard. If you must discuss business in public, try to find the most secluded space you can.

2) No one around you is interested in what you’re saying. The fight you had with your boyfriend, your medical situation, anything financial—la, la, la, la, la. It’s called obligatory eavesdropping. We don’t know you well enough to know these things about you.

The social butterfly. He makes and takes personal and business calls while socializing with friends who are left wondering what to do. The rule: The person in front of you is always more important than the person on the phone. Could your call wait? (And how many of them couldn’t?) If you value a person enough to set a date for breakfast, lunch or dinner, give them your full attention. A good sales person never makes or takes an unrelated call in front of his customer.  A lunch date with a friend is the same.

The multi-tasker. She is so busy that she must make and take calls while moving through check out lines and elevators. No time is wasted. Everyone around her is forced to listen to her conversations.  The rule: People serving you deserve the courtesy of full engagement if only for a few moments. If you have to make a call to determine whether you need milk or butter, you can easily do that by stepping aside and making the call in private space. You’re also doing the business a huge disservice when you force its customers to choose between listening to you and fleeing that obligation. They might have been happy to stay and purchase something instead.

The exhibitionist. He makes calls when he is bored with present company or wants the world to know how important he is. He may even drop clues that reveal the nature and degree of his success.  The rule: You can’t be successful in life without some social graces. This makes you look very small indeed.

Well, I could have been so much more expansive, but I wanted to leave some room for you. What are your biggest cell phone pet peeves or rules for etiquette? Share them here!

The first five people to make a purchase at our Etsy shop during the next two weeks will receive a copy of the D. Landgreth Seed Company’s commemorative catalog.  They’ve been around since 1784. These special editions would make a lovely gift for your favorite gardener—just the thing to divert the mind from the snow and ice in our near future. It’s fun to see that gardening styles go in and out of fashion, just like clothes.

Life is short. Wear the good stuff!