Monday, July 16, 2012

Cellphone Etiquette (from the perspective of the girl serving you your latte)


I honestly can't think of anything interesting to say today, so I figured I'd do storytime. Then, while I was going through my portfolio, I found this lovely little rant that I wrote way back when, as a barista, and I thought it still had some useful points. Number 8, especially, gets on my nerves! Enjoy!

CELL PHONE ETIQUETTE

You’d think these were all no brainers. Cell phones have been around a while now. You might think at least most people would be fairly well-versed in the polite and timely use of their mobile best friend. Yeah… you would think…

Yet day in, day out, at work, at play, and on the road, I see rude people, many of whom are not only wholly ignorant of their own obnoxious behavior, but often dangerous to themselves and others because of it.

So here are a few easy tips on cell phone etiquette that may keep you out of danger, both from chance and others’ annoyed fury.


1. USE AN EARPIECE.

This is a simple and easy way to adjust your cell phone behavior. In fact, most cell phones come with an earpiece that you can easily insert and free up your hands for driving, writing, typing, or any other activity. Bluetooth technology is also becoming more prevalent and affordable. It may seem like a no-brainer, but I can’t tell you how many drivers I’ve seen cutting others off and nearly colliding with other vehicles because they were so occupied with keeping their phone held up to their ear that they couldn’t turn to check their blind spot.

2. BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS.

Regardless of whether or not you have an earpiece, it’s still important to be aware of what’s going on around you. I know that drivers who talk on their cell-phones springs to mind first and foremost, but today I nearly collided with a man who was talking on his cell phone while walking along the road. I’m telling you, there’s nothing a biker likes better than to politely call “On your right!” and have a pedestrian who is blithely unaware while talking on their electronic tumor turn to the right to see who was just calling to them. Can we say “near miss”?

3. DO NOT TALK ON THE PHONE WHILE WAITING IN LINE OR ORDERING FOOD.

I work at Starbucks, so I see this about a thousand times per day, and it is my biggest pet peeve. This is rude, crude, and obscene, not only to those serving you, but to those waiting in line behind you as well. It not only slows down the line and often messes up your order, but also gives the server or cashier the impression that you esteem their individual worth to about the level of the electronic ATM at the bank. Trust me, I will give you decaf for this.

4. DO NOT PICK UP DURING AN INTERVIEW.

You laugh, but I’ve seen someone do this at a job interview. Needless to say, they weren’t hired.

5. TURN IT OFF AT THE MOVIES, LIBRARY, OR OTHER QUIET ENVIRONMENTS.

I know that it’s exciting that you just found your aunt’s favorite author’s new mini-series or you want to tell all your friends how awesome the battle scene in the new Hulk is, but here’s a novel idea: wait until afterward! Other movie-/library-goers can hear you, and charming as your voice is, it’s definitely not what they came to the quiet environment seeking. And if there is something pressing to attend to, take it outside. I don’t care if you paid ten bucks to see this show, right now, about a hundred other people whose movie experience you just interrupted are willing to pay at least that much to kick your butt.

6. TEXTING IS STILL A FORM OF “TALKING”.

I don’t understand how people who self-righteously claim that they never talk on the phone while they are at work or in a meeting can then turn right around and text people while on the clock. Texting is only a literary form of chatting, and it’s still rude and wrong. If you need to talk to your friends at that very moment you can either go on break (if you’ve checked with the manager), or quit, because you are wasting your employer’s and coworkers’ time. (Yes, texting for work is a different matter, but should still never be done on the actual floor, since it still looks bad.) And for heaven’s sake, I hope I don’t even need to go into calling people (or answering calls) while at work!

7. DON’T USE THE SPEAKER PHONE IN PUBLIC.

It’s annoying, and in some cases embarrassing, both to you and your caller/callee. Nobody needs to know your private conversations. Keep the speaker phone for at home or during conference calls, ok? Thanks.

8. CALL THEM BACK LATER.

Now some people think, “Oh, I’m in line, I’ll just tell the person to hold on while I keep the phone glued to my ear and order my venti latte.” Not okay. Even if the person on the other end is dutifully quiet as you order, a huge chunk of your attention is still fixed upon the speaker held up to your ear, which means you are not focusing completely on the task at hand. And if you forget to order that latte with extra foam and another shot of espresso, the person who makes it will be very ticked off when ask for it to be remade now that they’ve lined up thirteen other drinks behind it. Not to mention, it’s rude to the other person. Quite a few times I’ve been asked to “hold on a second” while a friend does something else, or takes another call. “Second” in most cases translates to at least five minutes, during which time my minutes are being wasted while Slowpoke takes his sweet time. Ask them if you can call them back later when you’re more able to talk. I guarantee they’ll appreciate it.

9. CHECK YOUR MESSAGES REGULARLY.

Not to be a hypocrite, I’ll just let you know right now, I am the world’s largest offender on this one. I regularly check my messages… about once a week. But I regularly miss opportunities, including job interviews, social invitations, and conversations with distant friends because I didn’t take the time to check my messages. Don’t make my mistake. Check your voicemail: it only takes a minute.

10. APOLOGIZE.

It’s the simplest form of cell phone etiquette: the quick, sincere apology. If you ever find yourself breaking one of these rules, just stop, and apologize to those around you. There have been customers where I was seething at their lack of politeness as they held a conversation on the phone while ordering a complicated drink, but as I rang them up, they hung up and looked me in the eye and said “I was being rude, I’m sorry”, and all desire to throw that burning hot beverage on their dress suit evaporated with the apology. It’s amazing what a little retroaction will accomplish.

Now I would probably add on #11: 
Don't use your phone to show each other pictures on the internet or play retarded sound effects during an RPG session, since that usually tacks on about an extra 2 hours to our already LATE night sessions (between passing it around, laughter, and getting back on track from the conversation tangents it sparks), but I suppose that's not highly typical outside of my group of friends.


What's the most annoying thing you see people doing with their cellphones? 

2 comments:

  1. I think you covered a lot of the annoying things. I would have add one of my pet peeves. I hate annoying ring tones. Get something that sounds normal--a song, a ringtone---not some person screaming or other nonsense.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Biggest mobile phone pet peeve I have = Having a loud conversation with someone over the phone while you are at a restaurant. Come on people, just because you can pull it out just about anywhere doesn't mean you should. The cellular was inverted so if your car died you could call AAA, or a friend and so you would not need to hitch a ride with Jeffery Dahmer to get to home. It was not invented so you can callously inject yourself into another person’s evening.


    And texting... What is up with that? Text me directions to your house, things you want me to pick up at the store or if you have laryngitis, do not text me if you are so anti-social you get a panic attack if you hear another person's voice over the phone and thus need to hold a conversation solely with the use of your thumbs.

    ReplyDelete