Sunday, October 24th, 2021

Rainy Day Etiquette: 5 Umbrella Bumbles to Avoid

By Katherine Lazaruk on Apr 11 2011 • Filed under Image Intensive

Umbrellas and Business etiquette

In a rainy city such as Vancouver, especially in the April showers, it is certain that one will be using an umbrella in close proximity to others during the fall, winter and spring months. Here are some common ‘umbrella bumbles’ and ways to avoid them.

1. Keeping your umbrella open under awnings.

To avoid this ‘bumble’, be sure to collapse your umbrella when you are walking under any awning longer than one storefront. Hold your umbrella at your side, point down to allow errant drops to fall straight down to the sidewalk.

2. Poking or hitting someone with the edge of your umbrella when passing them on the sidewalk.

When walking on a busy sidewalk, tilt your umbrella to the outside when passing another pedestrian. However, when tilting, be sure to check for other pedestrians on your outside.If there are other pedestrians, you may raise your umbrella straight up to allow the umbrella of the passing person to pass just under the rim of yours. If this is not possible, you may also drop your umbrella down just over your head so they can pass their umbrella over yours. More commonly known as the ‘Dance of the Umbrellas,’ this technique is especially useful on crowded downtown streets. Make sure your umbrella is in good repair as broken ribs can be dangerous to you and to those that pass you on the street.

3. Fighting with an umbrella that has been turned inside out.

Remain calm and try not to curse while your umbrella is misbehaving. Simply turn around and graciously let the wind blow your umbrella right side round.

4. Shaking or dripping water from your umbrella on other people or on the floor of the place you are entering.

It is polite to collapse your umbrella outside of the building, under the awning or on the porch of the place you are entering. Gently shake it to the side of the building, away from the door or any other pedestrians. If there is an umbrella stand provided, please use it to avoid dripping water on the floor as you proceed into the restaurant/hotel/office/home. If not, you can avoid most drips by shaking off the excess water, fastening the cord and placing the umbrella in a corner near the door, preferably on a mat where shoes are kept. If in doubt, ask your host where he/she prefers to store umbrellas.

5. Popping up your automatic umbrella without looking.

Before you hit that button, take a quick look around to be sure that no one is in the immediate vicinity. If there are people present you can step to the street side of the sidewalk and hold your umbrella down towards the street as you open it. If you are stepping off of public transit, keep your umbrella furled until the way is clear.

Most importantly, choose the right umbrella for you in order to avoid struggling with the size and weight of it as you walk down the sidewalk. Match the scale of the umbrella to your height. If you are taller you can choose a slightly larger and longer umbrella. If you are shorter then a smaller, more compact umbrella will do. Add a nametag with a contact number to your umbrella so it can be returned to you if lost. You can also have fun with your umbrellas, choosing bright patterns and colours in a flattering shade. In Vancouver, I recommend the Umbrella Shop which has several locations around town, locally made and imported umbrellas and a lifetime guarantee on their products. I have had three umbrellas from them, including my first red canvas one that I will never forget.

Enjoy the rainy season, keep dry and follow the easy tips above to avoid being an ‘umbrella bumbler’!

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