Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use. ~Emily Post

The Eleven Basic Rules of Shelling Etiquette 

by Jan McSween
 (borrowed from the Sarasota Shell Club's December 2010 newsletter)

1.) Shell by yourself. Solo shelling means more for you.

2.) If you must shell with a companion, walk in opposite directions.

3.) If you must shell with a companion and walk in the same direction, walk faster than your shelling companion.

4.) If you must shell with a companion and walk in the same direction at the same speed, observe the 6-ft. radius rule (also known as Shelling Circles) to ensure the equitable distribution of finds. Anything within six feet of you (in any direction) is yours. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the same goes for your companion. This necessitates maintaining a minimum distance of 12 feet from your shelling companion at all times.

5.) If you notice something of interest in your companion’s shelling circle which he/she seems to have overlooked, you may want to:
a. Be polite and point it out to your companion
b. Be sneaky and wait until your companion has moved more than 6 feet away from it, then casually saunter over to collect it (nonchalance is essential when employing this tactic) or…
c. grab the item in question from under your companion’s nose. With this tactic you stand a good chance of losing a friend, or (in the event your quarry happens to be a Junonia), an appendage. Deservedly so.

6.) Any shells outside your respective shelling circles are fair game, and the first person to touch these items with his or her toe (Benediction of the Big Toe) gets first refusal. Likewise, shouting, “I don’t know what that is, but I saw it first!” earns the shouter first
refusal. However, shouting this phrase after your companion is already en route to deliver a toe benediction earns you nothing but a poor shellsmanship award.

7.) When shelling at a dredge pipe with other shellers, DO NOT jump in front of the other shellers to grab things shooting out the pipe. Doing so sanctions any punitive actions taken by the other shellers – up to and including the use of force to place your head in the pipe.

8.) If your companion finds a particularly outstanding shell, offer congratulations. DO NOT say, “I saw it first.” Do not whine, pout, or behave like a two year old. Under no circumstances should you attempt to steal it.

9.) If YOU find a particularly outstanding shell, count your blessings and thank the Universe for sending
it your way. DO NOT jump up and down while yelling, “Yippy!” or “YES!” or “So THERE!” Doing so is a great (and very quick) way to make people hate you. There
is one – and only one – exception to this rule:
“OH MY GOD I FOUND A JUNONIA!” is acceptable. Another benefit of solo shelling is the ability to yell whatever you darn well please.

10.) Do not offer to “share” multiples of your shells with other shellers. You will forget making the offer, but they will not.

11. ) Enjoy the process of finding, and revere each find – perfect or otherwise – for the miraculous creation it is.


  1. This has me cracking up! I believe in all these rules!!

  2. Very funny. I think I totally got into your shelling space and didn't even know it!!

  3. I need to make Clark read these....especially number 9.

  4. This is very funny. I'm so glad you posted it...
    thank you for sharing.
    I also loved the pillow from your previous post. What a special gift you received. Lovely.

  5. That's awesome. So spot on... Karen, thanks also for stopping by my latest post. I know I know, it's a grower though. It's a little 70's in feel isn't it. Pruxxx

  6. I will share my shelling space with you any time. With that said, I now know why you are always so far ahead of me and here I thought it was all about my darn feet.

    However, my dear friend, I happen to know firsthand, as do many others, that #10 does not apply to you. You have a caring, sharing heart, but don't worry, I won't tell anyone.

    Love ya!

  7. Just found your blog, love it, and I'm now your newest Follower!

    Shelling has to be the hardest job out there! And people wonder why clams are so expensive! Wish I could shell to day, it's snowing and it's unlikely that we'll get to Maine for the weekend!

    Love the Emily Post quote!!! I may have that painted on my kitchen wall!

    Stop by when you have a moment, we love company and new Followers are always welcome. I've enjoyed my visit today!


  8. This is great! I think I need to have my daughter read this. She's always poking around right where I'm looking!

  9. Oh these were too funny! I only go shelling with my kids, so they know which ones are mine :-)

    It's snowing here right now, so I don't think we'll be going down to the beach for awhile. My hubby would love to go surfing though :-)

  10. LOL! Too funny! But probably very very true, right?? lol! Thanks for the giggle tonight! :)

    xoxo laurie


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.