A Sparkling Vintage Life

Down to Business: Servants are People, Too!

250px-Smedley_maid_illustration_1906 I was looking for a vintage work-related tidbit to share with you, and ran across this gem, just in case you have servants, lol! Actually it applies just as well to any service person, waiter, taxi driver, store clerk, hotel staff . . . not just a maid or butler in a home. Bottom line: treat everyone well and you won’t go wrong.

Here’s what Eleanor Boykin says:

“If there are servants in your house, use some of your considerateness on them too. In nothing do people show their breeding, or lack of it, more than by their attitude toward those who serve them Don’t jumble household routine by calling Maggie and Simpson from their jobs to wait on you. When you have a reasonable request to make, put it courteously not demandingly. Maggie will be more cheerful about doing it, and you will not feel ashamed of yourself.

At the table, it is, of course, not good form to engage servants in conversations of any length during meals; but this does not rule out your being human. “Good morning,” “Thank you,” “The pudding was delicious” and the like will not cause any raised eyebrows. Don’t behave as if the maid or butler were deaf. Steer table conversation away from national peculiarities or anything else that may embarrass one who is not in a position to answer back. It is probably better to skip such comments anywhere. Private matters should be saved for family conferences.” (from This Way Please by Eleanor Boykin, 1948)

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