08/21/2010 05:31 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Out and About This Summer

When stepping out this summer, whether for business or pleasure, observing the rules of good behavior will always make your day or evening go more smoothly.

Escalator Etiquette

• Stay to the right and walk to the left to pass. This rule applies to all escalators in department stores, shopping malls, or subways.
• Don't stand directly behind the person in front of you (especially if you have a suitcase on wheels). Skip at least one step so when you exit there will be room for each of you to exit.
• Always hold on to the rail in case of sudden stops.
• If you have shopping bags, they go directly in front of you to allow others to pass to the left.
• Don't bring a cart or stroller on an escalator; they are not allowed and can be dangerous.
• Don't stop at either end. This can cause an accident.

Elevator Etiquette

In a crowded elevator, which we have all experienced, use patience.

• Wait for passengers to exit before you enter.
• If you are going to a lower floor, stand toward the front.
• If you are going to an upper floor, move all the way to the back.
• When someone needs to exit, step aside or out if necessary to let him or her pass.
• Hold the door open for others and offer to push their floor button.
• Men may leave their hats on in elevators.
• Avoid eating, drinking, and talking on your cell phone. After all, the ride is short.

Limousines and Taxicabs

Courteous behavior also applies to private transportation.

• Don't bother the driver with excessive conversation, as he or she will need to concentrate on the road!
• The best seat in the back of a limousine or taxi is curbside, diagonal to the driver. This seat is reserved for dignitaries, important clients, or senior executives. It's also where the owner of a limousine sits when riding alone, and where you should sit when riding in a taxi alone.
• Junior executives should wait until senior executives are seated in a limousine.
• If several people are traveling in a limousine, the VIP seats are in the back, the next in status is a jump seat, and the lowest on the totem pole is the front seat.
• If two senior and three junior executives are traveling in a limousine, they should seat themselves as follows: senior man curbside and the next senior man next to him; two of the junior executives take the jump seats, and the third takes the front seat.
• When a man is escorting a woman socially, contrary to popular belief, he should enter the vehicle first, always from curbside; he then slides over and the woman enters the car. The driver then closes the door.

Movie Theater Etiquette

• Validate your parking ticket before the movie begins so you won't forget after the film or get caught in long lines.
• Turn off all electronic devices before the movie begins. Even texting distracts your neighbors.
• Never talk in the theater once the movie begins.
• Popcorn and candy wrappers can be quite noisy. Keep chomping and unwrapping to a minimum during quiet movie scenes.
• If you need to make a call, excuse yourself to the lobby.
• Take empty cups, popcorn bags, and food wrappers with you when you leave and deposit them in the trash outside the theater door.
• If someone is talking loudly or using a cell phone, don't confront them. Ask the movie staff for assistance.
• Be courteous to those around you, and enjoy the film!

Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert and the author of A Traveler's Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco and the founder of The AML Group (, certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford University and Microsoft to Nordstrom and KPMG. She has been quoted by The Sunday Times, InStyle magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today. She has appeared on various radio and television stations, such as ABC, CBS, and Fox News. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on and