Monday, May 12, 2008

A Conversation about Cells

How is that for an intro to the subject of cell phone etiquette!

My wonderful son and I were just having a conversation about cell phones today. We pretty much agree that the rules of good etiquette and simple kindness to the people around you apply to cell phones just like they do to other situations. We were wondering why some people don't think that courtesy applies when they are on a cell.

One of my son's pet peeves is people who are walking along and have a blue tooth ear piece. Not only do they look a little foolish looking like they are talking to themselves, but they usually speak loudly, are unaware of their surroundings, and disturb the people around them. I remember at the Scrapbook Expo in Orlando, my buddy Janie and I were sitting at a table in one of the concourse hallways taking a break and having some refreshments. A woman came and stood by our table, put her stuff down, answered her cellphone and had a lengthy andloud conversation standing right there. Janie and I could not really have a conversation of our own as she was standing over us, facing the table and babbling on. I honestly thought she was being really rude and had to bite my tongue not to say something to her!

My pet peeve is people that have a lengthy cell phone conversation with someone else while they are somewhere with another person and I don't care if they are with their children when they do it either, in fact that is probably even worse. I'm sure you've seen them, sitting with someone in a restaurant and ignoring their table mate while having a vigorous and loud conversation on their cell. I remember feeling really sorry for this older man, he looked like the father of the person he was sharing the table with. His "son who was 30 something" was on the phone for a good 20 minutes while the poor man sat there not quite sure what to do with himself! I thought it was not only rude, but rather thoughtless!

I don't have a problem with a person answering their cell phone, even if they could ignore the call based on the caller ID, because I think they really should answer. But it would make sense that they inquire if it is an emergency and if not offer to call back either later or the next day. If it is not possible for them to talk later , then the person should excuse themselves to the person on the phone, explain the situation to the person they are eating/visiting with and then leave the table and go have their private chat away from everyone else. People on their Nextel wakie-talkie style cells are even worse, you get to have your eardrums assaulted by both the caller and the callee.

To get back to people ignoring a call they are receiving, here is why I think that is rather rude as well, especially if they explain themselves using an excuse that makes it sound like the person calling them isn't important. It's happened to me and I knew that the person calling was a close friend. From that day forward, when I called this person and the phone went unanswered, I wondered if I was suffering the same fate as that other friend!

Here are some other people's take on cell phone etiquette. This article sets out some cell phone rules. The actual rules are a towards the middle.

What do you think? Do you have any cellphone or other pet peeves?