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Cell phone etiquette

Posted Monday, February 28, 2011, at 12:35 PM

I was reading an article today about attitudes towards cell phone etiquette which I'd like to use as a jumping-off point for a future technology column. But I need your help.

What uses of cell phones annoy you? Are there particular places or settings where you've seen or heard people using cell phones -- either for voice, data or web applications -- in what you felt was an inappropriate manner? How do you feel about someone using their cell phone in a restaurant, or at a grocery store, or even in a public restroom?

Perhaps you're on the other side of the equation, and feel that people are being too thin-skinned about cell phone use as etiquette evolves and we try to figure out what's acceptable.

Whatever your feelings on the topic, leave your comments below or e-mail me at jcarney@t-g.com.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
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Personally, I hate when someone is at the register at a checkout line on the phone while fumbling for their checkbook or credit card trying to pay. I don't really care to hear a conversation on how her neighbors' dog keeps having running bowel moments in her yard. (especially when I was in line purchasing chocolate, beef stew and cream chipped beef).

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Mon, Feb 28, 2011, at 12:47 PM

My sister worked at Kroger for a while at the register. She would tell the customer the total amount due of their purchase while the person was chatting away on their cell phone and the person would not hear her. Then she would say a second time to them of how much money they owed for their groceries and once again the person would not acknoledge her. Then she would get mad and just stand there staring at the person when they finally would look up and say..."How much do I owe?" By this time she would just point at the amount of the screen. I know this made her very mad since it happened quite often. I have also been trying to get by someone on a grocery isle and I would say "excuse me"....The person would keep chatting away without even noticing me...then I say it once again and once again I am ignored... then I just push by the person scrubbing against them to get by and they give me a hard look for doing so. This is a very good way to get a fight started because I dont put up with that crap. But on the flip side...I feel like if a person has their cell phone on vibrate and it is NOT bothing anyone around them whether it be in a resturant or where ever then I am perfectly ok with that. My father always taught me to have respect of others...to say "yes man or no mam" to say "thank you" etc. Everyone that owns a cell phone should use the same common curtousy in public places and when driving in traffic. Have a good day...I need to go charge my cell phone. :)

-- Posted by AmericanWoman on Mon, Feb 28, 2011, at 1:41 PM

I agree. I hate shopping and seeing people walking around chatting on their phone and/or trying to push their carts and texting. If it's a conversation about something that they are buying there, I don't mind hearing it. But I don't care about your personal life details and do not want to hear about it while I am checking out.

I also hate it when people are just chatting on cell phones for no apparent reason. That is my biggest peeve. I have a cell phone, but it is for emergencies. Not to call to see "what's up". That can wait until I'm home. I have a Tracfone, so I don't have a monthly bill. But I don't see the need to have my phone glued to my head at all times.

And I agree with AmericanWoman about manners. I have always been taught to always say "Please, Thank you,etc" and I always make sure my children use their manners as well. Even if we get confusing looks from other people.

And I am one, who doesn't mind stating that people need to use manners, out loud within your hearing distance.

-- Posted by PrpleHze on Mon, Feb 28, 2011, at 2:29 PM

A friend of mine, who doesn't live here, recently told me that when she went to confession the priest answered his cell in the middle of it! That's crazy. That said, I don't really care about other people's conversations in public.

-- Posted by cfrich on Mon, Feb 28, 2011, at 3:22 PM

Anywhere you are conducting business is a time to have your phone put up.To me its like cutting in on a conversation.At one time it was a status to have a cell phone,but now everyone has one so you only show your ignorance by having it to your ear talking.I wish I could get a scrambler and turn it on when someone was being rude by using the phone while in a place of business.

-- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Mon, Feb 28, 2011, at 3:42 PM

My biggest pet peeve is the blue-tooth shriekers. Many times I have been out someplace to hear somebody nearby look directly at me and yell, "Well, hi there!"

"Uh, hello," I reply.

They look at me brightly. "How ya doing?" they shriek.

"Um, fine, I guess. Do I know you from somewhere?"

The friendly look turns to one of disgust. "Oh, fine, fine. I just have some weirdo trying to talk to me."

I suggest the following rules for cell phone users in general and blue-toothers in particular:

1. Don't shriek, speak quietly. The other person can hear you just fine. Cell phone technology is very advanced, way beyond the can-and-string business.

2. Blue-toothers especially: Pay attention to what you are staring at. People who don't see your earpiece don't know you're on the phone.

3. Watch where you are going. Your phone does not make you immune to oncoming lamp-posts.

4. If you must take a call in a restaurant and the waiter is approaching, either tell the caller to wait or that you'll call them back. It doesn't take that long to order, and to keep the waiter standing there while you're yapping tells him: My time is more important than yours. Is that the attitude you want to take with somebody who is going to handle your food?

5. Yes, you may get a call while you are in the grocery store. A grocery store is a busy place, so pay attention to what is going on around you. Never talk on the phone when you are at the register. Aside from this being common courtesy, you should really pay attention if you are about to spend money.

In other words, act the way your mom taught you. Speak quietly, don't stare, watch where you're going, be careful with your money, and think about the feelings of others. And if your cell phone should ring while you are interacting with a human being in front of you, well, that's what voice mail is for, isn't it?

-- Posted by Bird on Mon, Feb 28, 2011, at 3:55 PM

If the call is social, it can wait. If it is truly important, please at least excuse yourself from line, the restuarant, church, a meeting, or whatever. The rest of us DO NOT wish to hear you conduct business boastfully, no matter how proud of yourself or overly confident you may be...

-- Posted by equinebriefs on Mon, Feb 28, 2011, at 5:11 PM

Cellphones are great because they tell the government exactly where you are and when.

It is the users that are rude, crude and obnoxious.

-- Posted by Unique-Lies on Mon, Feb 28, 2011, at 9:54 PM

people texting while "talking" to me. you should be allowed to rip the phone from their hands and stomp it to pieces.

i settle for just walking away.

-- Posted by lazarus on Tue, Mar 1, 2011, at 8:19 AM

I agree, I can not count how many times I have been waiting in line at the post office or store and had someone hold up the line because they were too busy talking on their cell phone while the clerk waiting on them is ignored. Those kinds of people should be forced to the back of the line for being rude like that.

I also get tired of people driving while talking on a cell phone . . . I don't know how many times I have almost been hit by a woman talking on a cell phone while driving.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Mar 1, 2011, at 10:14 AM

Bird, I love your post, although I agree with all of them. You said it best and I think I' going to print it out and post it everywhere.

Jax, I would love to come to the defense of my sex, but I can't. Sad as it is to say, every single time I've had a near death experience involving a cell phone-using driver, it has been a woman. In an SUV.

Then again, it may be because boys like their toys and tend to get things like hands free BlueTooth before the girls do, and I just can't tell if they're on one when they almost run me off the road.

-- Posted by MotherMayhem on Tue, Mar 1, 2011, at 10:42 AM

I think some folks get a little too upset over the whole deal. I enjoy talking on the phone while I'm shopping. I don't really like shopping and it makes the whole ordeal pass by more quickly. I will stop though when its time to pay. I am not loud and I use a hands free set so I can get finished more quickly.

I don't really think the cell phone/technology is the issue. It is the rudeness that is the common factor. I don't like rudeness, cell phone or not. I see plenty of people being discourteous who are not even on the phone.

-- Posted by OMYI on Tue, Mar 1, 2011, at 2:10 PM

A lot of places won't serve or help you if you are on your cell. There are a lot of signs at the service desks that say they will not wait on you if you are on the phone. I make it a point to frequent these places.

-- Posted by Wolf Clan on Tue, Mar 1, 2011, at 6:34 PM

Like MotherMayhem, I noticed the same thing. I was in a parking lot one day, watching a woman get into her SUV, take out her cell, make a call (it didn't ring so I suspect making a call), start up the vehicle, and proceed to back out one-handed, without looking both ways (Have you ever been driving down a one-way aisle and someone is coming the wrong way?). I was glad that I wasn't parked next to her.

-- Posted by Tyger on Tue, Mar 1, 2011, at 9:12 PM

MotherMayhem . . . now that I think about it, every time I have been almost hit by a woman driver using a cell phone she was in some type of SUV.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Wed, Mar 2, 2011, at 9:44 AM

As someone that uses a smartphone, fixes phones and knows the cellphone business, you might think I have a unique perspective. Maybe to an extent I do, but I am trying to approach this "debate" on cell phone etiquette with an open mind.

First things first. I mean NO disrespect to you if I am talking on my phone in the grocery store. I work 40 hours a week. I work when you're ususally home having dinner with your family or helping your kids with their homework. My home time and time with my child is precious, so if I can squeeze in a call to my Grammie (who lives a thousand miles away and I don't get to see on Sunday after church) while I am grocery shopping then so be it. So sorry to upset your boundaries. You don't have to listen. I speak in a tone as to not draw attention to myself. I pay attention so as to not block the isle while choosing produce and I hang up once I get in line to pay for my goods. I'm minding my business, you can certainly mind yours.

Just like listening to an iPod or a walkman, I certainly wouldn't ask a waiter, or cashier to just wait until this song was over, I do use the basic human courtesy of putting the person I am interacting with as my priority. I can always ask the person I am talking to, to hold on.

I don't have a house phone. I got rid of it when I concluded that I was paying for a service I NEVER used. I apprecaite you may have a cell phone just for emergencies. I do not.

Trying to raise a child, work 40 hours, spend 15 hours a week commuting to and from my job I rely on my phone to be a life line to my family who lives a thousand miles away. I don't always have time to sit down at my computer to answer an email or google a recipe. So maybe I have to answer an email at what you are calling an inoppertune time.

You didn't hear my phone ring? Well, as a courtesy to YOU I may have it set to vibrate or silent as to not disturb you. Please don't make assumptions as to how my interaction with my phone was initiated unless you're the other party in this situation...

If you are texting and driving, you are breaking the law. Period. No excuses for this.

If you cannot focus on your vechicle and control your vechicle because you are on your phone, then you shouldn't be on the phone. The same goes for anything that may distract you from your vechicle or the road, be it a radio, gps, a map, trying to control your screaming baby. Pull over if you need to do something that will prevent you from being a defensive driver.

Finally, I use manners. I say please and thank you. I will hold the door for you wether you are a man or a woman, old or young. If I see you drop something, I will pick it up and put it in your hands. I am a christian, I recycle, I will do whatever I can to make your interaction with me positive and friendly. But dang it, don't get grouchy that I want to talk to my Grammie while you are thumping melons and checking the date on the milk!

-- Posted by readyAimFire on Thu, Mar 3, 2011, at 12:13 AM

A large part of the reasoning I use when I got my kids tracfones, was that it's a limited service / product. Apart from the obvious fiscal benefits, the limited usage left room enough to introduce my teens to real life, face to face communications, manners, and responsibilities. Sure they didn't like it, but they'll walk away from my home with at least the knowledge of relations savvy.

-- Posted by Diddlow on Thu, Mar 3, 2011, at 11:05 PM

Well said readyaim fire, calm down people. If everyone acted with manners some people would find it hard to complain.

-- Posted by eglnation on Mon, Mar 7, 2011, at 6:53 PM

My pet hate is having coffee with friends who are constantly texting throughout the conversation...that they even think you'll think you have their undivided attention. You can tell by their disjointed answers or the monosyllabic answers-true, and so, yeah I hear you, etc. Or the lengthy story they tell you that just becomes twice as lengthy with "hang on a sec" interspersed throughout. I don't really care how cheap your Straight Talk unlimited plan was...make the most of it on your own time.

-- Posted by Joel11 on Thu, Mar 17, 2011, at 8:12 AM


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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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