Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hellooooo Baaaaaby!

Make no mistake, I think cell phones are a great convenience, and mine gives me a feeling of security when I'm driving long distances alone. But some people take things to the extreme. Like the folks who yak while driving. Or worse yet teens who text and drive. And then there are folks who just won't turn off the cell phone in the theater or doctor's office. It's annoying enough to have the high point of a movie interrupted by someone's cell phone playing "Redneck Woman," but please spare me having to listen to you gripe about your ex-husband while I'm waiting to see the doctor.

Apparently I am not the only person who feels cell phone usage has gotten out of hand. Jacqueline Whitmore, founder and director of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, is also Sprint's etiquette spokeswoman and she's declared July to be National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. She thinks it's time to teach folks some basics.

Jacqueline said her masseusse once took a call during her massage. "This went on for five minutes while she was massaging my one shoulder with her one hand," said Whitmore.

Courtesy month has some rules including keeping calls private, not yelling on your cell and letting some calls just roll to voice mail. Ms. Whitmore says most people do the right thing but plenty don't. With more than two hundred fifty million users in the U.S., that's an awful lot of discourtesy. But maybe National Cell Phone Courtesy Month will catch on and some folks will realize the error of their ways.

Here's her etiquette quiz. We won't ask you to post your score. ;-)

1. When talking on a wireless phone in public, you:
a. Talk loudly. Cell phone connections are not that good.
b. Get caught up in the conversation and do not realize how loud you are talking.
c. Talk in a normal tone. Cell phone technology is so good that a whisper could be heard on the other end.

2. When entering a movie theater, you:
a. Turn your phone off or place it on silent so you will not disrupt others in the audience.
b. Put your phone on vibrate.
c. Keep your phone on its normal ringer, so you do no miss any calls.

3. You are in a meeting and your phone rings, you:
a. Don't worry about it ringing; you have already set your phone on silent.
b. Take the call. It is more important than the meeting you are in.
c. Remove yourself from the meeting to take the call. You have already alerted your colleagues that you are expecting a call.

4. You are out to dinner with friends at a restaurant and your phone rings, you:
a. Apologize and let the call go to voicemail. Then turn off the ringer.
b. Step outside to take the call. You had already told your friends that you are expecting a call.
c. Take the call at the table.

5. You are in the grocery store and your co-worker alerts you on your Walkie-talkie, you:
a. Let her know that you will contact her in 10 minutes when you're in the car.
b. Continue the conversation on speaker phone as you shop.
c. You turn off the speaker-phone to continue the conversation.

Answers: 1) c. 2) a. 3) a. 4) b. 5) c.

Got any cell phone rants of your own? My favorite is when the DH and I were in the book store and a man beside us got a cell phone call. It was his wife calling to find him in the store. Turns out she was on the other side of the aisle. Sheesh.

P.S. Another round of congrats to hometown girl Margaret Hoelzer who qualified for the U.S. Olympic Swimming team again last Saturday night. This time it was in the 200 meter backstroke, and not only did she qualify, she set a new world record! Good going, Margaret! Let's bring home the gold for the USA!

P.P.S. Remember the story I blogged about last week? It's finished!!!!!!!!! Done. Complete. The End. Edited and submitted and it can never nag at my conscience again. Hallelujah! Now let's just hope they buy it.


birdzilla said...

Boy, where do we start here...

My worst is when the cell phone user is annoyed because they can not here their conversation IN A PUBLIC PLACE. You get evil looks and low and behold the "Can't you see I am talking". not stand for that.

Anonymous said...

I hate the walkie talkie ones!!! Hate them, they are so disruptive!!! Yes people need to mind their manners using cell phones. I went to a Toby Keith concert and pretty much the whole time, a lady in front of me was either texting, browsing or trying to talk on her cell phone most of the concert - what the ????? If you are planning to do that - why come to the concert?????

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Just yesterday, I was in Marshall's. Went to the restroom. There was an employee in there talking on her cell phone. And she was mad. She was talking to someone, presumably a girlfriend, about something someone else had done or was doing. The bathroom was empty except for us.

Now, the bad part is that I actually had a moment, a sliver of a second, when I felt bad that I was going to have to flush the toilet. And then I thought, screw her. SHE'S the one being rude.

She left, but not five minutes later, I saw her headed for the bathroom with her phone open. And there was a huge line in the store and the manager was calling for people to come work registers. Yeah, that's the kind of employee you want.

I have to admit that I've called hubby in a store when I can't find him. It's one of the best things about cell phones. But it typically has to be Costco or somewhere equally as big. I'd look for him first in the bookstore.

Instigator said...

I called 'Zilla Monday on my way to the girl's school. We talked for a couple minutes and then hung up. Nothing major. I was just checking in with him since it was his first day back at work. Several minutes later my phone righs and 'Zilla tells me to pass the slow poke van in front of me. Apparently, he'd been behind me the whole time and I didn't even realize it.

What does everyone think of the new California law about talking on cell phones and driving? I'm kinda mixed. I've seen some people on the road who simply can't manage both at the same time. But I'm pretty good at multi-tasking and I'm not sure I like that I'm paying the price for some idiots. I know when to shut the phone off and pay attention to the road.


Rhonda Nelson said...

It's the people in the check-out lines that drive me nuts. Emptying their cart with one hand, like they've got all the time in the world. Argh!

Playground Monitor said...

Personally, I think all states need to get tough about cell phones and driving. The California law allows drivers over the age of 18 to use a hands-free device.

I know there are times when you need to use the phone in the car. An emergency is one thing; talking non-stop while you weave all over your lane and the next is another. I try not to talk and drive; I see if there's a place to pull over. It's a distraction and drivers need to keep their focus on the road.

Stepping off my soapbox now.


Liza said...

I have told my nieces that there will be no texting at the dinner table. I can't really believe my sister and her husband haven't already made it a rule.

The people in the checkout lines drive me crazy! Hang up the phone or get out of line. I actually have the checkout person on her cell phone one time at Wal-Mart.

Sherry W. said...

My cell phone came over on the Mayflower. (LOL) When I was working I mostly answered the phones. After eight hours a day with three to four lines the last thing I wanted to do was talk on another one when I got off.

But I see people all the time who really enjoy talking in public places so everyone can hear them. They're loud and seem to need a lot of hand motions with the call. It's like 'Hey, look at me - I've got a cell phone and I'm a VIP'. No, you're just obnoxious.

Writers are suppose to be kinda nosy, aren't we? Maybe we should pull out our phones, pretend we're talking to someone (pretend loudly), tell the other end you're going to be late cos you are listening to another conversation and you need some really stupid sh$t to go into your next book. : D

Sorry. Rhonda started all this ranting today. (LOL) But I do feel a cleansing coming on.

Problem Child said...

I talk and drive, but I do use a hands free device. I'm trying to break myself of the habit of calling someone just because I'm bored in the car...

What kills me are the students in my classes. They come to class, yet play with their phones the whole time. One girl even answered and carried on a conversation...

Angel said...

Well, I talk while I'm driving too. I figure it is no more distracting than talking while someone is in my car or listening to the radio really loud, both of which I also do. And let's not forget the distraction of having kids in the car.

But I don't weave all over the road or forget my driving etiquette. Or eating while you are driving? I've done that since I was a teenager, because we lived out in the middle of nowhere. It would get cold before you got home. I don't think that made me a bad driver.

I also talk in the grocery store, usually to my Mom. I'm bored and its like having a friend along. But I don't talk really loud and I don't hold up the line. I do get off before I get to the cash register, because I think it is rude to carry on a conversation with someone while trying to do business with someone else.

I guess my point is, don't paint every cell phone user with the same brush. People are stupid. There will always be stupid people. And we all have to be punished because others can't behave like responsible, considerate adults.

And I hope she told her masseuse why she wasn't coming back.


Mark said...

Never gonna happen, people now believe that they must be connected at all times, that the universe will end if they cannot be available to pick up the phone 24x7. Thus they have an inalienable right to answer it and talk anytime anywhere anyplace.

Sorry, but when was the last time the general public sacrificed any convenience to make life better for others. This is the same humanity that will drive up the exit lane and cut off three cars squeezing back into traffic just to shave 11 seconds from their commute.

Kathy said...

I just heard on the news recently that people generally stay to themselves, choosing not to go out, but to keep in contact with everyone via cell phones and internet service. Let's face it. The invention of the cell phone/internet keeps human beings from physically interacting with one another giving us a boldness that wouldn't be normal when face to face with a friend, acquaintance, or loved one.

There will always be those without manners, even if they've been taught how to behave. There will always be those who speed even though they know the law.

People are people so why can it be, you and I can get along so awfully. (Tears for Fears)

Smarty Pants said...

I'm pretty bad about talking while I drive, although I don't swerve or pose a danger to others. I just have a long, boring commute sometimes. I had an earpiece, but its reception was worse than my phone and I found it was a greater danger to have me dropping and redialing calls over and over again.

I have been known to talk on the phone at the grocery store (if I can get service) and yes, even talk while unloading my cart. Fortunately, its usually at Walmart where I could unload with my feet and still have plenty of time before I needed to pay.

On that note, I always turn off my phone in meetings, movies, etc. I actually leave my cell phone in my car during yoga. I thought the point of a massage was to get away from all that...

I think the problem isn't the cell phones. Its the fact that most people are just downright rude and inconsiderate of others. We're a self-centered society.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

When I lived in Germany, talking on cell phones was illegal while driving except with a hands free device. When I moved back to the U.S. and saw people talking with the phone to their ear, I was horrified.

Army installations have banned even the hands free device. Do not drive onto Redstone Arsenal and talk on your cell phone in any manner. :)

I do think talking and driving is unsafe. It's not the conscientious people who are the danger -- it's the ones not paying attention while they talk, or who are texting. I *have* talked while driving, though not for long. I would never text and see no excuse for that whatsoever.

OTOH, will a law stop those who are dangerous anyway? Probably not. But, the CA law doesn't bother me at all. It's just like Europe, and I was already used to that.

Chelle said...

Timely topic. I was nearly in a wreck this morning because some woman in a big SUV was on her cell and almost ran a red light.

I know some of you say you can talk and do it safely, but being on a cell phone takes a bit of your concentration off of the road. So does eating or smoking. And yeah, kids do too, but don't add to an already distracting situation by using the phone too.

Jane said...

It scares me when people don't use their hands free headsets when driving. Talking on the phone in the bathroom is pretty annoying, too.