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Courtesy In These Malling Times

Over the weekend, Margie and I bumped into Lia Bernardo, a dear friend at the foot of the escalator of our local shopping center. Lia was the founding editor of Metro Society, and worked with Margie in Sharp Karilagan during her stint at cruise ship crew training. Lia’s mother is Conchitina Sevilla-Bernardo, the Philippines own Emily Post. I told Lia that I picked up where she left off, as she wrote  a column on etiquette. I asked Lia for ideas, and she said, just look around the mall. And there I had it!

The mall has become the new social center. You don’t go the mall to just to shop, but you go to be entertained, to be fed, to ogle, to spend money you may not have, and most of all, to while away the time. Ah, yes, and go to church (something that needs to be thought through).

I took the cue from the You Tube on the Japanese making its appearance on my news feed, where courtesy is norm. Since we go to the mall for amusement and enlightenment (yes, the chapel), we want to have a good experience. Let’s look at civility in visiting center to distraction.

Arriving. Parking in the mall can be a nightmare on weekends, and big movie days, so just be patient.

Follow the queue.

  • Don’t be a boor, and sneak into  PWD slots or the sides of by the curb.  If you are not handicapped and think you are entitled to one of these spots, you need to go back to square one and brush up on some basic manners.
  • It can be annoying to have people tail gate you to see where you park, so why do it. If you see people getting into their car, don’t honk. Again, rudeness is just abhorrent.
  • Why worry about parkma, just give way and find the furthest spot, it will good cardio, but not enough to burn the huge burger and fries you are about to have.


The Entry. No harm opening the door for yourself, why not hold it open for those behind you. Chivalry isn’t dead. Hold the hand rail and let people through

  • Knowing you will get your mam/ser moment, why not dutifully go through the scanner, and if need be, just open your bag. It doesn’t hurt, and it really helps the security who are just doing their job.


Malling. The walks around the mall are like high ways. If you can follow traffic regulations – you do it in Subic, Clark, or when you travel abroad – its really quite sensible.

  • Don’t walk at a certain pace, and just stop. You know what happens when you do that on a speed way. If you do want to window shop, step aside, and let the others go through.
  • Definitely we are all guilty of text walking, so if you must, just be attentive. You know what happens when to text and drive. If you need to make a call, step aside, I actually don’t want to hear about your next trip somewhere or who you saw at the mall smooching.
  • Speaking of smooching, let’s keep PDA or public display of affection to a minimum. Oh, that doesn’t hold if you are cuddling a super cute child.
  • One of the most annoying and really impolite is the escalator stop. That is, texting yet again and once at the foot or top of the elevator, one person stops and just causes havoc with those following. That is one of the most irritating scenes you see all the time. What is it with the top or bottom of the escalator? As the Japanese do it, just keep to one side. Keep right for us, and let people pass.
  • When you meet someone at the mall, again, don’t stop midstream. Move to the side and continue the idle chatter.
  • When having to attend mass at the mall, please try to be early and have a pew seat. It really seems so incongruous to stand outside sneaking in a look at the screen while “listening” to the service. Also, when no reserve seating signs come up in the chapel, you know there is problem. People reserving seats to have an audience with God, makie it like going to the cinema. God knows what you are doing. And Judas not pay.
  • So remember, keep right, and give way and no stops on a moving highway.

Shopping. The stores are really places to meander. But its quite a nuisance if you tend to block the way. It can be down right frustrating if you want to perhaps look at the the same area but someone blocks your way. If you need to ask for help, wait your turn, especially when looking for something specific, the sales person may be attending to someone. Finally, line up to pay, and have your mode of payment ready. And your point cards, discounts, etc. You don’t want to wait yourself right.

Children, yayas and bodyguards. We’ve all seen them. Poor kids throwing a fit and the trip to Toy Kingdom won’t cut it. Try and keep them calm, but if they are really rowdy maybe best to head home. Be nice to your nannies, remember they let you enjoy by carrying the burden of making your life better. Oh, and the security set – it would be nice to have them blend in (well, the stomach gives it away – sorry stereotyping), and keep their distance. Just take a cue from Madame Secretary. You are at the mall because you want to have a respite, so let’s put others at ease.

Again, a lot of what I am saying is just common sense. You don’t want it done to you, so don’t do it. Remember, step aside.