Today is Friday the 13th and according to lore, both Friday and the number 13 are “unlucky.” Another superstition has to do with umbrellas. Opening an umbrella inside a building is said to bring you, and the occupants inside, bad luck. I agree that it’s bad business to walk in to a building or home with an open umbrella, but not because of a superstition. Here are a few of my Umbrella Etiquette Tips in honor of Friday the 13th.
- Shake it off. Before you enter a home or office, shake off the wet umbrella, outside the door, close to your side, umbrella point facing down. Look for an umbrella stand, or location that is housing other errant umbrellas, and add yours to the mix. When in doubt, ask the receptionist if there is an area you can place your wet umbrella.
- Size matters. Select an umbrella that doesn’t take up space on the busy sidewalk. If you take the subway and then walk blocks to work, carrying an oversized golf umbrella on a crowded sidewalk is not a courteous gesture.
- Store your umbrella on the floor. An empty chair or piece of furniture is not the place for a wet umbrella. If you are taking a train or bus, stand it straight up and secure it with your hands or between your legs. At a restaurant, ask the waiter to hold it until the end of the meal. The goal of this piece of umbrella etiquette is to keep from getting other people wet.
- Stay out of people’s way. If you are passing someone with your umbrella, and they are walking towards you with theirs, there is an unspoken law of courtesy that dictates you adjust the height of your umbrella to avoid stabbing the other person in the arm, stomach or eyes.
- Pick up the correct umbrella when you leave. When departing the building, make sure your black umbrella is the same one you brought through the door. Umbrellas all look similar and accidentally leaving with a Burberry, when you arrived with a Tote, would be a breach of umbrella etiquette!
Happy Friday the 13th!