While this magazine will hit the stands in early June, I’d like to talk about something that will take place in the month of July —National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. If you’ve been reading my column for long, you’ve most likely picked up on the fact that there are many, many pet peeves that I have when dealing with the general public. For some reason I have zero control over (or inkling as to why it’s this way), many of these pet peeves center around cell phone usage in public places.
I will be the FIRST person to admit this… I can, at times, be a little hypocritical when it comes to this. However, I’m going to put this out there — I might do some of these things every once in a blue moon and most of these NEVER. I’m talking more to the people who do it more than twice a week.
Talking on speaker phone in public
This is one of those things that I can’t even believe that people do. It absolutely dumbfounds me that some people think this is acceptable behavior. I don’t want to hear about what the doctor told Great Aunt Ida about her bed sores or about how Lynn’s cousin’s sister cheated on her husband and is now pregnant. It’s really none of my business… but you can bet your butt I’m going to listen and then tell my friends the juicy gossip you were spilling. Seriously, unless there is absolutely no way possible for you to hold your phone to your ear, just don’t do it.
Playing music while walking through a store (without headphones/earbuds)
Why do people think this is so cool?
There are several reasons that this is annoying to those around you. First, not everyone has the same taste in music. Second, sometimes music contains explicit terms and/or phrases and if you’re walking through TJ Maxx blasting Gin and Juice (I’m going to sing along, don’t get me wrong) but that mom with the inquisitive 4-year-old in her cart probably won’t appreciate having to answer questions about what Snoop Dogg meant when he said he was mackin’ on that *girl* named Sadie. Third, there is already enough noise in a public place — music over the loudspeakers, shoppers, employees, carts being pushed, etc. Why would there need to be any added noise?
Personal calls in an office
It’s one thing to call for a doctor’s appointment, make lunch/dinner plans or call to refill your meds at your desk. It’s another to spend 75% of your day on your cell phone when you’re on the clock. Your coworkers don’t need to hear about your taxes or listen to you and your spouse discuss their attitude issues. They also don’t need to hear you call and complain to every single delivery service in town about how slow they are or that they forgot the extra barbecue sauce you asked for. Those conversations are best reserved for when you can walk to a private area of the office to talk or when you go to your car on your lunch break. At the very least, keep your voice down.
Keypad noises, videos and games
I don’t understand how people can go through life and not think that maybe, just maybe, that video about how to properly cook Brussel sprouts doesn’t interest everyone in the damn doctor’s office. I get it — the waiting room is like purgatory and you’d rather be ANYwhere but in a waiting room. But WHY make it miserable for everyone else that’s already miserable? Just bring some headphones or earbuds into the office with you and listen with those. I’ve done it many, many times. And how in the heck do you type out the entire Declaration of Independence with that keypad noise on? That doesn’t annoy you? If it doesn’t, maybe you should wonder if it annoys others—let me tell you…IT DOES.
Texting and driving
I know this sounds like I’m talking about a motor vehicle and I’m not. In this instance, I’m talking about that buggy at Walmart that weighs 200 pounds because of everything you’ve packed into it. When you are texting with one hand and pushing that buggy with the other, you’re endangering everyone in the store — one wrong move and you could knock over an entire display (or run over someone’s heels and let me tell you, I would NOT be happy about that).
Peppa Pig and Caillou
I don’t have kids, so I’m not subjected to the daily joys of cartoons like parents are. (I say “joy” sarcastically because I’ve heard that some of the cartoons are awful.) And while I understand that parents need to keep their kids occupied in the doctor’s office, the grocery store or in line at the DMV, many of us don’t want to hear the music or sounds that go along with cartoons. If kids need that distraction while Mom or Dad are running errands, can we at least agree to keep the volume down? Or as early as possible, start making the kid accustomed to using headphones?
Reward apps and pay with phone
Samsung and Apple Pay are super convenient ways to be able to leave your wallet in your car. And using the Starbucks app or Chick-fil-A app to pay for your drink/meal is a great thing since you can earn freebies when you pay. BUT if you can’t remember your password to those apps, or if you never update them, don’t subject the folks in line behind you to an extra wait while you try to remember if your password has a capital letter or not. I’m the world’s worst with passwords, so I have mine saved to be accessed with my fingerprint OR I make sure I’m logged in well before I get to the checkout. In the event I can’t get access, I have backup in the form of a debit card or cash.
Meetings and public speakers
While it’s rude enough to be glued to your phone while you’re out to dinner with someone, it’s got to be one of the rudest things to be in a meeting of an organization and have your phone ring audibly, interrupting the speaker and disturbing the attentive listeners in the room. But the rudest of all rude HAS to be when you actually ANSWER the phone call. Even if all you do is say “I’ll call you back.” It’s so disruptive and not to mention disrespectful. It always embarrasses me as well to be part of the group.
Cell phones are great to have for communication, entertainment and more. I just think that we need to focus a little more on the people around us and how being glued to our phones might be causing undue stress to our fellow shoppers or patients.