Hey, I'm In The Next Stall -- I Can Hear Everything You're Saying!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate

Ladies RoomIt’s never really a good idea to talk about the intimate details of business or people in public.  This is a lesson I learned when I was a very young girl.  One of my best friend's father was a tremendous role model, and I’ve never forgotten all the great advice he gave me while growing up.  Sometimes, when he would take us out for dinner, my girlfriend and I would naturally start to gab about anything and everything.  That's when he would remind us to NEVER talk about people in public.  He would often say, “you never know who is sitting at the next table.”  I fully understood his theory and have never forgotten those words since.  That being said, there are two women I encountered in a restaurant ladies' room recently who apparently need a quick, brief lesson from Aunt Carie.

TMI Alert:  I entered the ladies' room, walked into a stall, and locked the door.  At the same time, two women were talking to each other -- one was applying makeup at the mirror, and the other was in the stall next to me.  They were having a '"business-related conversation" -- and I’ll give you three guesses what business they're in.  Anyway, I listened to them chat about this property and that property -- and about this agent and that agent.  By the time I exited the ladies' room, I had heard my share of juicy gossip.  In my opinion, clearly not the appropriate conversation to be having at that particular time or place.

I had no clue who these women were -- nor did I know any of the players or properties of which they spoke.  Yet, the point is:  I inadvertently overheard sensitive and private information that was not meant for my ears -- nor meant for anyone else’s ears either.  Luckily, it will not develop into an uncomfortable situation for a lot of people.  But, it definitely could have -- and it was completely avoidable.

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carie shapiro

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Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Karen Hawkins, MBA - Langley & Surrey, BC 04/25/2012 11:23 AM
  2. Bob Crane 04/26/2012 06:51 AM
  3. Marge Piwowarski 04/27/2012 04:20 AM
  4. Debbie Reynolds 06/18/2012 12:29 PM
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Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage www.tromlerconstruction.com Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

I'll remember not to gossip in the ladies room, you never know who may be in there.  :)

Thanks Carie

Apr 24, 2012 03:53 PM #41
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Carie, I keep pretty much to myself. If I talk at all about properties, it's to my husband. And I never speak poorly of other agents. Just not cool.

Apr 24, 2012 03:58 PM #42
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Carie - This is a very good point.  Public is not private, and we need to remember that.

Apr 24, 2012 04:25 PM #43
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Carie - You are so right.  That is so "unsmart" and they could have killed some deals there. 

Apr 24, 2012 07:54 PM #44
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

This is true about any business, and any venue! 

When I was in my last career, we had to take courses on how to safeguard confidential information and, really, it was all business-confidential.    No reading paperwork in public, for example, don't have business plans or business cases (or in our business scenario contracts/disclosures/etc) open on your lap for others to see.  No phone conversations that could be overheard.  No private information up on computer screens in public.  The list went on.   Talking in public with someone else was one of the most obvious breaches - it's unbelievable that it still happens.


Apr 24, 2012 08:10 PM #45
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Carie, It's a VERY small world, and more so in our business.  You just never know who will overhear what we have to say, and killing a deal over the slip of a tongue would be a sad way to do it.


Apr 24, 2012 08:14 PM #46
Marc Swartz
Mortgage Finders Canada Inc., Mortgage Brokerage, Lic# 11118 - Toronto, ON
Principal Broker / Mortgage Broker, AMP

Hi Carie - Keeping private information private is very important.  Anybody could be listening.  It can also cost the talkers business.

Apr 24, 2012 08:31 PM #47
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

Now, take everything that you heard and flush it right down the toilet. The toilet is the perfect place for gossip.

Apr 24, 2012 09:59 PM #48
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

This is so true. At one of our Realtor functions a little tipsy agent entered the ladies room talking about how "hot" a male (married) agent looked and how she wished she could get her hands on him. They had had a relationship before the "hotty" married several years ago. Then exiting out of one of the stalls comes the wife of "hotty". The conversation went dead. Thankfully there were no injuries. Ha Ha!

Apr 25, 2012 01:04 AM #49
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Dale:  I know, it is baffling to hear what people talk about in public sometimes.  And, sometime at higher cell phone decibels, as you pointed out :)

Sharon:  Yes, it is a good lesson for everyone ... at any age.

Karen:  I have heard some interesting conversations in the ladies' room over the years, too :)

Tom:  LOL ... very funny :)

Tammie:  Just not cool ... well said.

Christine:  Public is not private ... I like that!

Debbie:  Deals, relationships, and who knows what else could be affected.

Kat:  Those sound like valuable classes.  And, you are absolutely right -- this applies to any business and any venue.  I'm reminded about all the times I've seen people reading business or other "private" documents while riding on crowded public transportation.  Not too confidential!

Bill & Liz:  It is a small world, and it would be a shame to kill a deal, a friendship, or who knows what else!

Mortgage Finders:  Yes, keeping private information private should be a priority always.

Joni:  I'm not a big fan of gossip either :)

Debbie:  Oh, boy ... not good!  That's what I'm talking about ... thanks for sharing that story!


Apr 25, 2012 01:55 AM #50
Bryan Robertson
Los Altos, CA

I never talk serious business in public places because you just never know who is nearby.  I've heard stories of agents talking about properties with neighbors, competing buyers, and other agents within earshot who used the information to their advantge.  Loose lips sink ships.

Apr 25, 2012 04:13 AM #51
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Bryan:  Agreed ... I'm with you on this!  And, it's really amazing the things people discuss with others in public, yes?

Apr 25, 2012 05:48 AM #52
Kevin A. Guttman-Author, ReverseMortgageSpecialist
NMLS #384936 - Colorado Springs, CO

Aunt Carie!

Well said.

And true enough.



Apr 25, 2012 08:00 AM #53
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Thank you Carie, very enjoyable story and in important lesson, people also discuss too many private things in restaurants with loud voices for everyone to hear.

Apr 25, 2012 09:08 AM #54
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

I have the same reaction with people I hear talking on their cell phones while they are in a stall.  Hello we can hear everything your doing :-(

Apr 25, 2012 11:48 AM #55
Bob & Leilani Souza
Souza Realty 916.408.5500 - Roseville, CA
Greater Sacramento Area Homes, Land & Investments

Carie, this is excellent advice you received and followed! I would also add that even if you're speaking in a language other than English...you still shouldn't talk about it in public because you never know who might understand the language you're speaking in. :)


Apr 25, 2012 12:21 PM #56
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Kevin:  Thanks!  Yes, something to think about!

Bob:  Thank you.  You're right ... I've heard some pretty remarkable conversations over at the next table :)

Cindy:  Oh yeah ... the "multitasking in the stall" thing :)

Leilani:  Good Point!  I hadn't thought about that ... thanks!

Apr 26, 2012 01:04 AM #57
Janis Borgueta
Key Properties of the Hudson Valley - Newburgh, NY
LIC RE Salesperson

So many things happen when people don't just think before doing! I have seen this get somebody into real trouble.. Just fired from a position.. but it could have been a lawsuit.. Pay attention .. and be carefull..

I remember my mom saying.. " if you can't say something good.. say nothing at all" 

Apr 26, 2012 09:43 AM #58
Carie Shapiro
North Shore Suburbs & Chicago Real Estate - Evanston, IL

Janis:  You're so right ... bad things tend to happen when not thinking before speaking.  And, I guess I already told you this once before but I would like to say it again ... I like your mom :)

Apr 26, 2012 11:23 AM #59
Marge Piwowarski
Phoenix AZ Horse Property - Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix AZ Horse Property, LLC

That reminder is ALWAYS timely.  We never know who is at the next table, next stall, behind us in line, etc.


Apr 27, 2012 03:27 AM #60
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