After a recent dump of apocalyptic rain and more in the forecast for, on and off, the next five months, umbrellas are out in full force in Vancouver.
We asked three Vancouverites — Laura McGlynn, sales associate at the Umbrella Shop, Nicky Anderton and Mikhail Gelovani — to share their views on umbrella etiquette:
For whom should you raise your umbrella in an umbrella faceoff?
Laura: “Going by the way of chivalry, I think the gentleman.”
Nicky: “Whomever thinks to do it first, or the taller person.”
Mikhail: “I always raise my umbrella. I’m tall, though. Short people should be mindful of tall people, too.”
Should people close their umbrellas when walking under awnings and covered walkways?
Laura: “I’d probably close it if it were that narrow so you’re not bashing into people.”
Nicky: “If it’s short I just keep it open, but if it’s long, like half a block and it’s a heavy traffic walkway, then everybody should close their umbrellas.”
Mikhail: “That seems like a waste of energy. Why don’t they just not walk under the awnings?”
What should people do with their umbrellas on the bus?
Laura: “Leave it loosely closed on the floor beside you. Never leave it on the seat.”
Nicky: “I saw … someone actually hook their umbrella over the overhead rail, and it was a little scary. Don’t poke people.”
Mikhail: “(You shouldn’t) stick it out straight in front of you, keeping it pointed at people.”
Would you share your umbrella with a stranger at a bus stop?
Laura: “If your umbrella is big enough, why not? It may be a chance to strike up a conversation.”
Nicky: “Yes, I would.”
Mikhail: “Yeah, I would because some of these new bus stops just aren’t adequate enough to shield you from the environment.”
Should a man give his umbrella to a female co-worker or female friend if she doesn’t have one?
Laura: “No. Those days are gone. He shouldn’t get wet. She should have brought one.”
Nicky: “Not necessarily. I think you can share it. But I think it’s about practicality and it has nothing to do with gender.”
Mikhail: “Yes and no. It’s up to her. If you offer and she says no, well, don’t press it. Everybody needs to look out for themselves.”
Tips for buying an umbrella
• A stick umbrella is stronger than a folding one. Each joint enabling an umbrella to fold down is a point of weakness.
• The smaller the umbrella, the more times it folds, and each fold compromises the umbrella’s strength when fighting wind and wear.
• Look for umbrella ribs with a coated finish, which are better protected from rust and corrosion.
• Spring-loaded automatic openers exert heavy pressure on frames and are more costly to fix.