Social Etiquette and Good Manners/poor customer service


Hello C. Lett

I went into a store just to pay a bill granted that i was dressed poorly because I was in a rush from home. I entered the store and the cashier extended her hand out to take my payment and I put the money in her hand. Well my change of 7 dollars she put on the counter 2 feet away from my extended hand. She made a rude comment when I asked to have the money put in my hand she refused so I asked for my money back and then she did the strangest thing she held the money up to the light for a 2nd time, so i retrieve my money and walked out of the store.

your thoughts please

Dear J.B.:
How odd that she looked at the bills you used up to the light to confirm that you were or were not passing counterfeit bills.  Ignore that - she has a directive from someone to do that and it really doesn't even concern you as long as the bills are real.  Regarding putting change into someone's hand... I have been told by many managers that they teach their service personnel never to do that because many people don't want others touching them.  Another reason is that it is awkward to put the bills and change away in a wallet if you are holding them and then manipulating the wallet. Many people prefer the money be laid on the counter.  My guess is that this woman was taught not to put it into your hand directly and she wasn't going to make an exception.  She had no right, however to make a rude comment, whatever comment that would be.

In this situation I would have paid my bill and then left the store. I would also have spoken with the Manager before I left to voice my complaint (in a calm and non-threatening manner).  You did nothing wrong from what I read except to allow her behavior to irritate you.

Social Etiquette and Good Manners

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Cynthia W. Lett


Proper manners with friends,family,colleagues,neighbors and everyone else you know.


I have been an etiquette expert teaching and consulting on the subject worldwide since 1983. I started and serve as the Executive Director of the International Society of Protocol & Etiquette Professionals and am considered a leader in the field of etiquette and protocol training and execution. I edited "Etiquette for Dummies" and have recently written "Lett's Talk - Everyday Etiquette Dilemmas and What to Do about Them". My book, "That's So Annoying:An Etiquette Expert on the World's Most Irritating Habits And What To Do About Them" was published in 2009 and is available wherever books are sold. I taught the Business Protocol class to Master's level students at the George Washington University, Washington, DC for seven years I served as Chief of Protocol for MCI Telecommunications for three years.

International Society of Protocol & Etiquette Professionals, ASTD, PCMA, National Speakers Association

I have been quoted over 700 times in the past 5 years worldwide. Publications include Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, NY Times, Washington Business Journal, USA Today, Associated Press, London Times, Newsweek Japan edition, Newsweek US edition and many many more.

I am a Certified Etiquette Professional (CEP) and Certified Protocol Professional (CPP) earned by examination through ISPEP. I have a Master's degree in hospitality law and undergrad degrees in Restaurant & Hotel Management and Public Relations/Interpersonal Communications from Purdue University.

Awards and Honors
Who's Who Worldwide,Who's Who of American Women, Distinguished Darden Professor (Purdue University).

Past/Present Clients
World Bank, United Nations,US Dept. of State, US. Dept. of the Army, Pentagon, Barclays Global Investors,Accenture,Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, The White House, Dept. of State, AT&T,Bank of America,American Association of Clinical Pharmacies,Ritz Carlton Hotels, Hilton Hotels, Marriott Hotels,Starwood Hotels,and many more.

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