Monday, April 23, 2007
I've been mulling over this rant for nearly a month now. People need to learn some phone etiquette! And with the widespread use of cell phones now, the problem is worse than ever.
Let me start with regular phone behavior. When you are calling a business say who you are. Don't assume they'll recognize your voice. Maybe they do, maybe they don't, but if you are calling to find out what's on hold for you or when something you ordered is coming in, you might want to make sure they know who the heck you are. The store probably has more than just you as as customer. It always makes me nuts when people call and say something like, "Hi. What do you guys have on hold for me." Or, "Hi. I was told to give you a call." It is hard to help with these answers when I have no idea who you are. Good phone manners include introducing yourself when you call someone. If you are calling your family it might be different - they probably know your voice and saying who you are isn't necessary. But we don't have caller ID on the phones here at the store, so unless you have a distinctive voice or give me some kind of clue as to who you are, I probably have no idea who is calling. Is it so hard to say, "Hi, it's Stan?" It just drives me nuts when people call the store and assume I should know who they are.
Then there's the cell phones!! OMG!!! What is with people and these damned things?
Fellow comic blogger Heidi posted about cell phone abuse at the convention and gym recently on her blog, and I agreed with everything she said and then some.
You would not believe how many people I see drive up - on the cell phone. They park and get out of the car, still on the phone. Then they walk into the store, STILL on the phone. They wander around, looking at things here and there, but still on the phone. Maybe they flip through back issues or look at the comic book racks - but it seems like they're only paying any of it half of their full attention at most - because they're also ON THE PHONE. Then if they pick something out they bring it up and are still on the phone. I ring up the sale and try to tell them how much it is without interrupting their call. Then they struggle to get money out to pay for the purchase while keeping the phone on the side of their skull. Then they leave with the purchase and can't even say goodbye because they're still on the phone. They get back into the car and sit there for a few minutes, still on the phone. Eventually they drive away while continuing that same phone conversation.
Yes - this has happened!! It's rude to me as the store operator, because I feel like coming to the store is interrupting this important phone call. It's rude to other shoppers because they're being forced to hear one half of a conversation they couldn't care less about, and they feel like they can't talk to other people in the store because they don't want to disturb that phone conversation.
And you would not believe some of the conversations! I had a guy discussing some RPG scenarios they played with one of the characters being a nymphomaniac. I've had people talk about bad dates, about someone cheating on someone else... things that really aren't any of my business. And even if I try to ignore them, most of these one-sided conversations are loud, because we all seem to feel like we've got to shout into those dang things.
If you get a call while in the store, that's one thing. Or, if you are picking up something for someone else while you're here and want to make sure they didn't find it somewhere else, or to clarify what they are looking for - I guess I'll let that go too. Most polite people will answer their phone and step outside, coming back in once they're finished. Or, he or she will make the call and be quick about getting back off of it and into making a purchase.
But then there are those people that just make everyone else feel like they shouldn't be bothering them while they're on the phone - even though he or she was the one who walked into that business in the first place. Why not finish the call outside or tell the person you're going to run into the store quick to make a purchase and then call them back? I, for one, do not like talking on the phone in a store, and when I'm shopping I don't like listening to someone else on the phone. HOW did this kind of social behavior become acceptable?
You know, there was a time when we couldn't call and text each other every time we had a tidbit to share. We had to go home or to a pay phone and make a phone call to someone who also had to be home to answer it. It's TRUE! I SWEAR! I had my first cellular phone after I graduated from college - and we called them "car phones" because they were big bulky things that had to be plugged into the car's cigarette lighter for the power to work. They were for emergency use only! Now people call each other to say, "I'm bored. How about you?" or things even LESS important than that. The charges used to be around $.15 per minute plus a $30 monthly fee, with no "free nights and weekends" or "unlimited text messages" or "five friends free."
And conversations used to be private. I'd call my high school friends and close the door - I didn't want my sister or parents listening in. Now it's like people either want to be heard, or just don't care if anyone hears.
People can't leave them in the car either, even if they're not talking on them. God forbid we'd miss a phone call - I mean, it could be important, and not able to wait that 5 minutes I'll be inside the store. And really, I can't risk turning the phone to vibrate. My hip might mysteriously loose feeling and I'd miss the call. I MUST have that crazy ring on! After all, I paid extra to download that snappy tune anyway, people should WANT to hear it, so I'll make sure it's loud.
Sure, they're convenient. Sure, they're inexpensive - people are switching from land-line phones to cell phones all the time. Yes, it's nice to be able to get someone on the phone while they're not at home rather than having to wait until they finally get home. But do we have to be so discourteous about it?
Now, I'm not one of those people who want the government to ban the use of cell phones in the car. The government should mind it's own stinking business and not tell me what I can and can't do while inside the confines of my own vehicle. But, we should all have the good sense to realize that when you are focusing on a phone call and only using one hand to steer because the other is holding the phone, and you can't really turn your head fully while on the dang thing, that we are asking for someone to smack into our vehicles.
If you haven't melted your brain from the dangerous cell phone waves - then use that brain of yours and put the stinking cell phone down.
Cartoon taken from this link. Check it out - it's part of a larger strip.