Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: Big tip, bigger attitude. What gives?

By Jamie Lauren Sutton  | January 11, 2012 - 2:21PM

Dear Ms. Demeanor,

A few days after I gave very generous holiday tips to our doormen and porters (I didn't get a 10% raise this year but I gave one), I had carpet installed in the bedroom. 

The installers apparently left some of the padding and scrap carpet in the garbage room. 

One of the porters was vacuuming our hallway, saw me and said, "Did you have carpet installed today?  Your guys left a mess in the hallway and leftovers in the garage room." 

I was taken aback by his tone and said, "I am so sorry, is there anything I can do?"  He rudely replied, "It's too late now." 

I am hugely annoyed and wish I could take back my holiday tip.  He certainly won't be getting the same next year.


Kiss my Carpet

Dear Kiss,

People in service industries - from doctors to decorators to doormen - do have bad days and those bad days can have inconvenient timing. 

Your porter's apparent bad manners may have had nothing to do with you or your carpet installers, inconsiderate though they may have been.  (FYI, the best installers usually ask before leaving anything in the building.  This is, of course, not your fault and and you were very generous to even attempt to make it your problem.) 

I am assuming that the raise you gave reflected overall satisfaction with the job he is doing and I would urge you not to be punitive based on one incident.  This is one of the rare instances I recommend a little passive aggression to get your message across. 

Tell the head porter or doorman, "I feel terrible!  Tell Roger I am so sorry about the carpet installers.  I know he was upset." 

I suspect Roger will be sweet as pie the next time you see him.

Yours truly,

Ms. Demeanor

Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to [email protected] and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.

See all of Ms. Demeanor's advice here.



An open letter from your porter at the holidays


Dear Ms. Demeanor: Tipping the amenities staff at the holidays





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