Dear Carson: I work in an office that has 20 cubicles and many small offices. When is it proper to use a speakerphone? We are on our phones a lot during the day. Some people, however, use only their speakerphones, so that we hear every conversation (business or personal). Please send me a tactful way to address this problem. Thanks. - An Unwitting Ear Load
Dear Ear Load: I urge you to put a very noticeable announcement on the bulletin board. Put a heading, "Attention to Speakerphone Users: Please limit your speakerphone use to calls that concern others in your office. Having to be aware of other's conversations, via speakerphone, disturbs the concentration of co-workers."
In addition to the bulletin board notice, ask your office manager to circulate, via e-mail, an office memorandum addressing the abuse of speakerphones.
Dear Carson: I have been divorced for six years. My ex-wife is remarried, and I am engaged. I have no financial responsibilities for my ex-wife, and I never have had. I am just wondering, if asked for marital status on documents, do I still have to put "Divorced" or can I put "Single"? - Stag Status
Dear Stag: Until you and your fiancee marry, it is appropriate to put "Divorced," but when you are married, you may answer the question on documents "Married." Fiscal responsibility toward an ex makes no difference.
Dear Carson: Recently, I have heard so-called social elites, or those who would like to be known as such, referred to as "hoi polloi," e.g., "She acts as if she's one of the hoi polloi". Where did this term originate and is that really like a social status? - Just Curious
Dear Curious: The term "hoi polloi" is a term that means just the opposite of the way you quoted. The term refers to the common people or the many.
Dear Carson: We just got back from a trip to Australia. We were told that tipping everybody for everything is unheard of and that they tip only for exceptional service and then, only 10 percent. We were in an upscale restaurant and experienced excellent service. Everyone from the owner to the busboy constantly serviced our table. When my husband mentioned leaving a tip, the response was, "Oh no, we don't expect a tip, nor do we want one. We get paid extremely well and we love working here." If it works over there, then why not here? When did U.S. restaurants go to this system of not paying their workers a decent wage, yet pocketing the profits while expecting customers to subsidize the employees? - Shocked, but Pleased
Dear Carson: I presume we just became an entitled society by degrees.