Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cell Phone Etiquette

After getting some coffee, I went over to the counter where there are the sugar, stirrers, and napkins. Standing at that counter was a women busily engaged in a cell phone conversation – not doing anything with coffee – just standing right at the counter talking. I picked up a packet of sugar and then had to reach in front of her to get a napkin. She never moved, just stayed planted there, despite blocking people’s access to the supplies at that counter. She was still there minutes later, talking away, rather than going to a table, or better yet, hanging up and calling back at a more opportune time.

Recently I saw a woman walking her dog, talking on her cell phone. She crossed the street without looking, totally absorbed by her conversation. Fortunately I saw her and didn’t hit her. People being so distracted are a hazard to themselves and others.

I have a sister-in-law who works at a store. Many of the younger employees go into the ladies room, where they talk for lengthy periods of time on their cell phones on company time. I’ve seen women talking on the cell phone while negotiating their huge SUVs through crowded store parking lots. Of course there’s always the loud-talking person on a train carrying on a cell-phone conversation that nobody really wants to hear, but is forced to anyways. Kids in school text while in class, which I believe is disrespectful to the teachers.

While the cell phone is a marvelous invention in many ways, it is terribly abused. Car and train accidents have been attributed to cell phone use. People will text while driving, and many flagrantly disobey the law against cell phone use while driving. The cell phone seems to have caused people to believe they must be in nearly continuous contact with their friends or something terrible will happen. Unless you’re on call as an EMT, fire fighter, or some other emergency job, getting that phone call just isn’t that important.

I believe it is incredibly rude to be talking on a cell phone when you are out with another person or group of people. When you do that, the message is “I’d rather be with that person than you people.” I gave a ride to a guy who was going to the same meeting as I was. After the meeting, as soon as we were on the road, he listened to his voicemail messages, and then began returning phone calls for most of the hour’s trip home. I was offended because he felt taking care of business was more important than spending some time talking with me, who was kind enough to give him a ride. I was stuck because I couldn’t listen to the radio (he was chatting away on his phone) or talk on my cell phone (against the law, remember?).

There needs to be better cell phone etiquette and more consideration for other people. People need to remember not to talk on cell phones in public places, because others really don’t want to hear your conversation. Don’t use your phone and drive. Don’t talk when out with other people. If you have to talk in a public place, keep it brief and be aware of your surroundings. Are you blocking something? Are you in people’s way? Don’t be afraid to turn off your phone when receiving a call just isn’t proper. Turn off that phone when talking on it is not a good thing to do! Let the caller leave you a voicemail or text message, and you can respond later. It isn’t that urgent. Be considerate of the people you’re with. Don’t make your cell phone use annoying to others.

No comments: