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Monday, July 31, 2006

Jacqueline's Favorite Cell Phone Etiquette Horror Stories

My 8 yr. old son Steven had a playdate and sleepover last night. In the morning when his mom came to pick her son up I was anxious to tell her about the night pool party and movie and all the fun the boys had together. When I answered the door she was on her cell phone and she remained talking to the other person--virtually ignoring me. She then tried to carry on 2 conversations -- Did they have fun? And when I answered she would tell the other person. I had no idea who she was talking to. She never even thanked me. I showed her son into the car and quietly walked back into my house--so I didn't interrupt her phone conversation. I felt neglected and unappreciated. I understand we are all busy and trying to multi task but we are losing our sanity and quality of relationships in the meanwhile! Busy Momagers (TM) need cell phone etiquette too -- children are learning from their parents behavior.

Christine Martinello, Dayton, Ohio

I was attending the funeral of a dear friend. As beautiful, though somber and emotional, piano music was being played someone's cell phone began ringing in a loud tone- it was one of those awful clips from a popular song. It seems that the owner was too embarrassed to turn the phone off because the ringing was ignored. The standing-room-only congregation listened to that interruption for the entire ring cycle!

Best wishes with your article. Please let me know if you find my stories helpful.

Debra Armstrong, Granbury, Texas 76049


I attend a college class from 5:45pm until 10pm and one night the professor was going over two chapter's worth of power point slides (which was very time consuming). It was 9:15pm and we were all running out of steam and still had a lot to go through when his cell phone rang. He answered the phone and spoke for 10 minutes while we all had to wait for him to finish his conversation. This delayed class and ironically his policy is that every time a phone goes off in his class, we all get five questions added to the test. Talk about bad cell phone etiquette!

Jorie Scholnik, Boca Raton, Florida

My fiancée and I were attending a concert and during the course of the evening a woman directly behind us received a phone call during the concert and continued her conversation without exiting. Keep in mind she was only a few seats from the aisle (and a door). I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt since it was the opening act, but good grief! I contemplated kindly explaining to her that I was pretty sure her name was not on the marquee and therefore I had not paid to listen to her conversation. Thankfully, she ceased the activity and confrontation was avoided.

That same evening, a man seated next to me was sending email on his Treo Smartphone. Not once. Not twice. Over the course of at least two-thirds of the program. This may not seem like a 'cell phone' problem since I'm not listening to him carry on a conversation. However, the screen on the Treo is extremely bright and, in a darkened auditorium, was quite an annoyance in my peripheral vision. Again, I wouldn't have minded if it was once or twice, but it was a continual distraction and I was relieved when he finally left the concert in which he obviously had no interest.

Matt Hawkins, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission


Several years ago, when cell phone users were still a minority, I was in the ladies room at a movie theater when someone entered the stall next to mine. She answered her phone and proceeded to tell the caller details, including the ending of the movie she'd seen -- which happened to be the movie
I was about to see!

Betsy Haber

I was attending an employer-sponsored meeting involving a State representative for the workers’ compensation program. The employee facilitating the meeting had been speaking for about two minutes when his cell phone rang. In a group of about 30 people, with a guest speaker present, the guy answers his cell phone! Who knew – maybe it was an emergency, right? No! It was a non-emergency personal call! He stood there in front of everyone and had a conversation with his wife or his kid – who cares?

Malena Doty, Texas

A few years ago while sitting in church, as the pastor was speaking someone's cell phone began to ring. After about the third ring, several people began looking around trying to determine where the ringing was coming from. And oh boy, was it ever loud? The pastor kept right on speaking as if everything was fine. Obviously this person did not subscribe to voicemail because it kept ringing and ringing.

Finally, a petite, innocent, sweet elderly lady, who was sitting in my row reached under her seat where she had placed her bag and discovered it was her phone ringing. It actually startled her! She did not recognize the ring because her granddaughter had just purchased it for her and that was the first time it rang. She wasn't sure how to answer it and by this time she was holding it as it continued to ring. I showed her how to answer it and she proceeded to carry on a conversation. I politely guided her outside to the hallway where she continued her conversation. I stayed with her and showed her how to place it on the silent mode before returning back inside. She was excited she had a cell phone but wasn't sure how to handle it. Hopefully, the quick tutorial I gave helped her.

At the close of the service, the pastor jokingly said, "I don't know who answered their phone during service but I hope it was a call from God." The congregation laughed hysterically, and when others found out what happened, they were quite forgiving.

Donna Riley

I was heading home from a day in the city (Chicago) on the train when a gentleman boarded. He proceeded to carry on not one, but TWO cell phone conversations on his two separate cell phones very loudly. As if that weren’t bad enough, he put both callers on hold, pulled an electric razor out of his coat pocket and proceeded to shave while on the train. He finished shaving, picked up his phones and resumed his conversations for the entire ride to his stop.

Lisa Trosien


I was in the first-class car of an Amtrak train from NY to DC. Sitting behind me and talking on the cellphone was the lawyer for one of the baseball players involved in the steroid scandal during the heat of the scandal. At one point, there was a three-way phone call with the baseball player, the player's publicist and this lawyer to craft the baseball player's statement to the press.

That time, what I fantasized about doing was kneeling on my seat, peering over the seatback, facing him, talking on the cellphone as if I were talking to the New York Times or some other media outlet and saying, "I'm on Amtrak and [player x]'s lawyer is sitting here and they're writing his statement and here are some of the things that they took out of the statement... let me see... I took notes of the whole thing."

I know this lawyer would have gone ballistic. You want a lawyer who blabs your business in a public place?

Patricia Luebke
New York, New York

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