Backpack Etiquette

Apr 17 2014, 3:13pm CDT | by

I have been itching to write this blog for months, but have always held back because, as a business communications blog, it may be slightly off-target — that is, not strictly pertaining to business.  However, the issue of sensitivity to others in the public domain affects all of us, in every aspect of our lives:  professional, social and personal.  That said, since one very important aspect of business is networking, we need to be conscious of who we are “bumping into.”

With that rationalization, I have decided to scratch this itch!

My topic today is the physical impact of backpacks on others.  Backpacks are a fact of life – among students, in particular, but also among the younger set in business, right up through the Millennials and beyond.

Backpackers are often carrying a heavy load, and shoulders can provide maximum support for “heavy lifting.”  But people who use backpacks tend to forget that they have this “boulder on their shoulder,” which in crowded public places, tends to bump those behind them in the face or chest.  These accidental, unexpected blows leave the unfortunate victim considering retaliation of some kind, like cursing or shoving the person responsible.

In fact, most of the time, the backpack-swinging malefactor has no idea that you are angry — unless you complain — because they are oblivious to what has happened.  If you say something to alert them to the debacle, most look back at you with a puzzled face.

As a business commuter, there are several ways one can get hit by backpacks: 1) You are standing behind a backpacker and he/she decides to take a few steps backwards, thereby pushing your chest; 2) You are seated and a shorter backpacker’s back is level with your face; he does a 180⁰ turn, thereby giving you a “face-swiping,” without ever knowing he had touched you; and 3) You are in a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd, and the backpacker, by the very extension on the back, makes your already confined personal space even tighter, particularly if pointy objects in the backpack are sticking you!

So what do we do about all this?  What should we be teaching backpackers?  Fundamentally, most are unaware of their impact on others; therefore, sensitivity training is in order.  Second, their ability to sense their distance from others is important to avoid “hitting” people.  Recognizing that one backpack in the crowd can hurt someone may require you to ask the person near you if they would be willing to remove it.  Is this an affront?  It should be considered polite – like asking someone not to smoke in your presence – today considered acceptable but once considered impolite.  The sensitivities and decisions about which actions to take are not very complex – they relate to awareness and common courtesy.

Some manufacturer of backpacks could stand out by running a series called “Backpackers’ Etiquette.”  That would no doubt be a welcome brand differentiator.

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Power outage across Bangladesh as national grid collapses
Dhaka, Nov 1 (IANS) Power outages Saturday hit several places in Bangladesh, including the capital Dhaka, due to the collapse of the national grid.
 
 
Drugs to abet cancer cells suicide found
London, Nov 1 (IANS) British scientists have found a drug combination that can trigger the self-destruct process in lung cancer cells -- paving the way for new treatments.
 
 
Climate change threatens global health security: UNEP
San Juan, Nov 1 (IANS/EFE) The rapid propagation in recent years of infectious diseases such as Malaria, Chikungunya and even Ebola is one more example of how climate change threatens global health security.
 
 
US-Japan joint rain radar mission to end next year
Washington, Nov 1 (IANS) After 17 years of groundbreaking 3-D images of rain and storms, the joint NASA and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) will come to an end next year, the US space agency said in a statement.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Power outage across Bangladesh as national grid collapses
Dhaka, Nov 1 (IANS) Power outages Saturday hit several places in Bangladesh, including the capital Dhaka, due to the collapse of the national grid. Reports of power cuts were coming in from several other places...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Space plane crash: Sir Branson 'shocked' but to 'persevere'
New York, Nov 1 (IANS) Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, was "shocked and saddened" by the news of the Virgin Galactic passenger space plane crash but said that he would "persevere". The space plane...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Drugs to abet cancer cells suicide found
London, Nov 1 (IANS) British scientists have found a drug combination that can trigger the self-destruct process in lung cancer cells -- paving the way for new treatments. The combination of two drugs, called TRAIL...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Boko Haram leader says kidnapped girls married off
Lagos, Nov 1 (IANS) The leader of the Nigerian Boko Haram insurgents, Abubakar Shekau, has in a new video said the over 200 abducted schoolgirls have been married to members of the group. The video, released Friday,...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Another Burkina Faso army officer claims power
Ouagadougou, Nov 1 (IANS) Burkina Faso's senior military officer Isaac Zida, who was in command of the presidential guard, Saturday announced via a televised speech that he has seized power as head of state during the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Climate change threatens global health security: UNEP
San Juan, Nov 1 (IANS/EFE) The rapid propagation in recent years of infectious diseases such as Malaria, Chikungunya and even Ebola is one more example of how climate change threatens global health security. "Climatic...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Nine killed in Afghanistan suicide bombing
Kabul, Nov 1 (IANS) Nine security personnel were killed while 20 civilians were injured in a suicide car bombing in the eastern Afghan province of Lowgar Saturday, the provincial government spokesman said. "One...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Al Pacino considered name change
Al Pacino considered changing his name to ''Sonny Scott'' when he started acting. The 74-year-old star was advised to alter his moniker when he began working in the movie industry because any stars with an ''ethnic...
Read more on Movie Balla