Monday, June 25, 2007

Cell Phone Etiquette

Ever walked into the bookstore, coffee shop or wine bar with the expectation of having a nice, quiet, relaxing few minutes, only to have it spoiled by an obnoxious bystander talking loudly on their cell phone? How do you keep yourself from throttling the person and throwing their phone in the nearest incinerator?

Abby says:
This happens to me often. I was recently in Barnes and Noble on a Saturday morning relaxingly perusing the mystery aisle when I heard a cell phone loudly ringing. I cringed and followed the tone along with the loud male voice who answered with a bellowing "hello". There he was, lurking in the fiction and literature aisle. Mr. big shot. Could he talk ANY louder? It was not a short call. It went on and on. I pulled one of the employees aside who informed me he was not allowed to approach customers about this.

So, I took matters into my own hands. Not only was he ruining my quiet Saturday, I could tell he was spoiling that of other patrons. I politely said to him, "Excuse me." He stopped talking and looked at me like I was from Mars. I continued, "Can you please take your call outside the store? You are disturbing me as well as other customers." He huffed off and eventually took his call outside. Other customers gawked at me with an approving look.
If you know of someone who needs cell phone etiquette tips, here is what I tell attendees in my seminars:

  • Be courteous of others. The world is not about you.
  • If you're going into a quiet place, turn your phone to vibrate. That way you'll still be alerted if you receive a call.
  • If you must take a call in a public place, walk outside or into a lobby, atrium, etc. where you won't disturb others.
  • When taking calls in public places, speak softly. No one cares to hear your conversation. Really.
  • Never, never take a call when you're in a public bathroom stall. I've experienced this as well. A woman at my gym in the stall next to me answered her cell while we were all doing our business. She loudly talked about her Super Bowl extravaganza in Miami going from yacht to yacht with wealthy men. Get a life.
  • Never shop and talk at the grocery, drugstore or department store. It's as tacky as walking and smoking.

Sheri says:

I have walked and smoked.

I have been humiliated with my phone ringing at an inopportune time, usually because I forgot to switch it to silent mode. (They really frown on that in church.) Other than my own forgetfulness, which I totally blame on the cell phone for zapping my brain cells, I obey the etiquette.

I was a hold out on the cell phone. I had a home phone and a car phone, which was about the size of today’s laptop computers. I knew it was something that would eventually catch up with me but I held out as long as I could. Now I’m another lemming with it clipped to me most of my waking hours.

People should not be expected to be reached and available 24-hours a day (unless you are a physician on call). I think the etiquette could be boiled down to two rules:


  • Be polite to the people around you.

  • Occasionally, turn it off

Some final advice: don’t walk, smoke and talk on your cell phone -- especially if you are wearing a fur. You are certain to be pelted with something.

I want to meet that girl that bops from yacht to yacht. Sounds like someone I need to befriend.

If you want more etiquette tips visit the Ten Commandments of Cell Phone Etiquette.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Stop talking on the phone when you are driving!