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November 19th, 2009 by Dr. Phil

Cell Phone Use is off the Hook

rude1So I’m sitting in a restaurant on Melrose and I hear someone’s cell phone start ringing at the next table, and a guy puts the phone to his ear and begins to shout — not talk, but shout.

I sigh.

The man, I realize, is one of millions upon millions of cell phone users who don’t seem to realize that cell phones electronically amplify your voice, which means that you can speak normally — or, in most cases, even more quietly — when talking into them.  But then, I realize that the call is probably meant to impress the person sitting around him, as much as to impress the poor guy on the other end, and for that, yelling is sadly required.

I turn around and give him the “stink eye.” I glower. I sigh … again. But engrossed in his conversation, he doesn’t look my way. I stare at the people at his table, hoping they might do something, but they are too busy being impressed (and/or are on his payroll) by this loudmouth, who’s going on and on about buying $100,000 of this and that stock. They obviously believe, or pretend to believe, he is that important that he needs to multi-talk right through dinner. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that if you get all dressed up, show up at a restaurant, presumably to have a meeting or socialize with friends, and then spend most of your time talking to somebody else, who isn’t even there, then maybe you should be with whomever you’re talking to on the phone. Either way, for the love of all that is sane, LEAVE ME OUT OF IT!

Friday’s show deals with rude behavior that seems to be everywhere these days, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s hard to find anyone ruder than this particular kind of cell phone user. I just read in the New York Times that 85 percent of Americans now own cell phones, which the Times’ reporter notes as pretty amazing considering that cell phones were invented only 20 years ago. All I can think about is how 15 percent don’t have one.  You’ve got to be kidding me! Where are these 15 percent, because I haven’t met any of them?

Even kids are carrying cell phones. And then there are the grown men and women who don’t think twice about having phone conversations while sitting on the toilet in public restrooms, their voices echoing off the tile walls. Or they whip out their phones in the middle of a movie theatre or at a concert. (I’m just waiting for the day when I’m at a movie and someone yells out to lower the volume so he or she can take their call.)

rude2I am one of the 85 percent with a cell phone. I’ve always got my BlackBerry with me to make calls and check e-mails. But, I’m determined to not let it take over my life. Actually, I hate the phone part so much that I refuse to set up my voice mail because I don’t want any messages, and almost no one has my number. I use it to call, but not to be called, and I don’t yell when I do.

In that same New York Times article, the reporter found a small subset of adults who proudly said they simply do not want cell phones. They resent the ring tones, the tiny keyboards and the phones’ screens that disrupt face-to-face conversation. They said they savor their moments alone and prize the fact that no one knows how to reach them.

I sigh again, but this time, it’s nostalgic. I know we’ve gone too far down the cell phone highway to give them up.

I’ve heard that Broadway actors are now openly breaking out of character when they hear a cell phone ring to take the culprit to task. Good for them. And I especially love the story of a guy in New York who placed a small recording device on a table next to a loud cell phone talker, which made the cell phone talker ask (loudly, of course) just what the heck was going on. “Well,” the man replied, “since you obviously want me to hear your conversation, I’d better keep a copy of it.”

I do have a fantasy that someday “cell phone cops” will walk the streets, dealing with all those who are being obnoxious with their phones — confiscating the phones or maybe zapping them with a Taser. (Now that’s an image!) But seriously, we’ve all got to band together and crack down on those who believe the rest of the world does not matter the minute their phone rings. If we all start telling people how rude they are, maybe they’ll all shut up. Or maybe, they’ll at least take their conversation elsewhere.

All right, got to go, my phone’s buzzing. But don’t laugh. At least it’s not playing some ridiculous ringtone that lasts for five minutes.

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114 Responses to “Cell Phone Use is off the Hook”

  1. Maria says:

    I agree. Cell phone useage has gotten out of control. The generation to whom it was important to have manners and show consideration to fellow human beings had to input on the rules of behavior. The “me” generation has made selfishness the “norm” and most of society has followed them. I despair for some of them. Personally, my cell phone is a convenience thing for me. I use less than 100 minutes per month. I keep conversations short, and if I’m in the company of a living, breathing, human being, I’ll let it go to voice mail. Technology is to serve US, not the other way around.

  2. Casandra says:

    I have found it equally rude being in retail when people will come to the counter with their “goods” and continue a conversation on their cell phone or answer a call while I’m helping them. At first I was polite with people, whispering their totals to them or pointing to the screen as to not interrupt… but the more I thought about it.. the more it seemed ridiculous… why can’t you just say, “Hey, let me call you right back”? I do know some places where I live that have started putting up signs that say things like, “Please make sure your cell phone is turned off for highest level of customer service communication”. I don’t know how well it works but it only seems fair.

  3. Blgspc says:

    I’m like you, Dr. Phil. I have a cell phone and I have given MY cell phone number to my parents- now advanced in age- and my niece in San Francisco has my number and uses it ONLY when my California family are coming to visit me AND ARE EXPERIENCING delays! Also, unless I’m driving somewhere and concerned that I may need to make an EMERGENCY call for HELP, I DO NOT, WILL NOT, SHALL NOT carry that thing around with me!
    My twin sister- who lives in San Francisco- REFUSED to follow the trend of cell phones AND WOULD NOT HAVE ONE until her job forced her to carry one when she was On-call!

    AND, I personally, have LESS THAN NO REGARD for individuals like the one you’ve described in your Blog post. I mean, it’s like being in an ‘Emotional Hostage’ situation, one in which, the cell phone user IS FORCING everyone around to be a part of his/her personal life whether they wish to be or not. You CAN’T really have any kind of quality interaction with the person(s) you’re with because the cell phone user has determined that YOU ARE GOING TO BE involved in HIS/HER LIFE and FOR AS LONG AS THEY DETERMINE! Behaviorally, I believe, that is equivalent to saying, “Alright, for now, NO ONE is permitted to enjoy any kind of private dining experience BECAUSE I HAVE DECIDED THAT I AM THE ONLY ONE THAT ACTUALLY MATTERS HERE!” If that weren’t the case, those UGLY LOOKS from you and every other diner WOULD MATTER!!!

    It was only in recent years that I even purchased a cell phone and ONLY for URGENT or EMERGENCY situations. Oh AND I will never forget when they first came out with the VERY FIRST ‘ear phone’ (aka, Blu-Tooth …thing(s). It was early morning, I had just flown into Atlanta. I was tired and sleepy and experiencing Jet-Lag, when I saw this man walking in circles (On My Concourse, Near My Gate!) He was loudly cursing, demanding that ‘someone double-check that, Right Now!!!’ His angry tirade with- NO ONE in his immediate vicinity – went on and on. I was thinking, ‘Oh, My Gosh…this guy is responding to internal stimuli!’ I was about to approach an airline agent when someone came up to the man and the man removed his ear-piece! (Oops!)


  4. Jackie says:

    See, I am the exact opposite of this. I go out of my way to find privacy when I have to take a call. I just think its creepy when people around me, that I don’t know, can hear my personal conversation.

  5. Sophie says:

    Dr. Phil
    I agreed 100%. I hope that soon responsible Restaurant Owners and other service oriented owners will post a sign at their opening requesting that phones be turned off. Or perhaps businesses, theatres & public places will install signal blockers to prevent this nusance. At my gymn we have signs everywhere stating that due to privacy phones are not permitted to be used in the changing room. The young University students ignore it. I recently mentioned the gym policy and the young lady was shocked & said she was not aware. There are signs everywhere.

    It is one of the rudest social behaviors. Followed by texting. There have been so many people killed because they were absorbed with their conversations or texting. Yet the general population doesn’t get it. Too many followers and not enough leaders.

    I hope some leaders will soon voice their opinions on this issue. If Barack Obama and some movie stars voiced their opinions, it would help immensely.


  6. Eric says:

    I’m one of the 15% with no cell phone. I’ve never had one and don’t plan to get one. I’m 44 and single, and I don’t get a lot of calls. People know they can get in touch with me by leaving a message on my home answering machine if I’m not home. What a concept!

  7. Linda Rose says:

    I fully agree with you Dr.Phil that cell phones have gotten out of control. Also people who have call waiting on their phones are very rude some times. I was talking to someone and they got a “beep” so put me on hold. After ten minutes I hung up! A half hour later my phone rung but I wouldn’t answer it because I figured it might be the rude person again and I had no more to say to them with out being rude myself! We don’t have call waiting or call display on our phone.Just a basic phone with no added features is $30 a month here!That is bad enough to pay on a very low income.

    I never had a cell phone until a year ago. I live in the country, don’t drive and have to walk for miles sometimes before getting a ride to town.Once in town pay phones are very few and far between. They are being phased out.

    For safety reasons I bought a cell pay as you go phone. I never leave it turned on. But it is there if I get stranded and have to call for help or call a taxi. To buy minutes you have the option of paying $20; $40; $50; or $100. Paying the $100 the minutes are good for a year. The other options are good but are for less time. So it cost me $100 for the year to have the use of this phone! I renew it on my birthday so I don’t forget when my year is up.I see no reason to leave the cell on in our case. People can call me at home.

    We lived for years even without a land line but got one finally a couple of years ago for safety reasons. All the years we didn’t have a phone people came to the house if they wanted to talk to us. I would make a list of places I needed to call and bring my quarters when I went to town to use in the pay phone. That worked fine until the telephone company started getting rid of public phones!

    I found having a land line is very annoying at times as we were getting a lot of telemarketing calls. I put us on a no call list and we got more calls than ever. Now finally it has stopped after I complained to the phone company. Silence is golden!

  8. Vickie says:

    I am a server in a very fast paced resturant and my time is valuable…we have people who come in for lunch and are on a very restricted time frame. I often have guests come in and sit down and are either on the phone when they walk in or take a phone call while I am trying to take their order. I have to stand there and wait for them to get off the phone. These have to be the most selfish people on earth. Do they think they are the only people in the resturant???? They are not only wasting my time but are forcing other people to wait for them. This also slows down my serving speed and therefore often costs me money in lost tips because I cannot give my other guests the attention they deserve. I wish cell phones could be banned in resturants!!!

  9. Brenda says:

    I’m with you, Dr. Phil, about people needing to hang up & enjoy life. Just this afternoon, I was waiting for a parking space at the grocery store. Some bozo on her cell phone started backing up without looking & almost hit me. I yelled out the window “HEY STUPID! Hang up the phone & watch where you’re going! You almost backed into me! If you weren’t on that STUPID CELL PHONE, you’d be watching where you’re going & not about to hit me or someone else.” For that, she flipped me off. What lovely manners. I just shook my head at her as she peeled out of the aisle of cars, the phone still glued to her ear. She got the last gesture in, flipping me off out her sunroof as she drove away too fast. I’m sad to say I’m part of that “Me” generation from the 80s. However, I was taught manners & common sense growing up. If I get a call on my cell, I usually tell the person I’ll call them back or just let it go to voicemail. If they don’t like it, too bad. My son’s one of those 15% who has no phone. He just barely turned 13 & I’m not about to let him have a cell. I’d be stuck for the bill. Besides, he really doesn’t need one just yet. Maybe in a few years when he’s more involved in school or something else.

  10. Paradoxis says:

    I saw on TV recently that there are quite a few businesses that are actually banning cell phones in their stores because they are so fed up with the rudeness. Great idea, imo.

    I have a cell phone that I keep in my bag but never turn on, let alone use. It is there for one single purpose – if I have an accident, or car trouble, I can call for help. That’s IT. No one has the number. The problem is, I have to remember to check it’s charged occasionally. Ideally, I’d like for there to be about $10 worth of calls on it at all times, but it’s not possible because the calls you prepay for are only available for like, seven days, so that means topping up constantly for a service I’m not even using. It’s such a rip off!

  11. Dr Phil,
    I totally agree with this but why get upset about it?! People behave the way they want to no matter how we respond. So why get excited? We cant change their behavior. I realize you are in the field of helping people to see how they can better themselves( That’s why I love your show so much) but let it go when you are out. enjoy your dinner.

  12. Laurie Flinn says:

    Hi Dr Phil, I’m so glad you are going to address the subject of cell phone etiquette, or lack of it, on Friday. Until recently I was working at a Hallmark store and there were a number of times that customers came in and talked on their phone and completely ignored me or anyone else around them. The worst one was a woman who walked around the store for about half an hour chatting away loudly, oblivious to any of the other customers (who, by the way, kept rolling their eyes and shaking their heads at her!) When she finally got to the counter to have me ring up her purchases, I had to try several times to get her attention to ask if she had a Hallmark card, which she dug out of her purse and tossed on the counter — still not looking at me or even acknowledging that I existed. She threw her Visa card onto the counter and again, it took me several times to get her attention to ask if it was a debit or credit card. It was at that point that she finally looked at me and noticed that I was a real live person standing in front of her — but only long enough to shoot me a dirty look for having the audacity to interrupt her phone conversation!

    Here in Washington it has become a law that we cannot use cell phones while driving, but unfortunately it’s only a secondary offense. I still see people gabbing away like there’s no one else on the road. It’s too dangerous. It’s not worth it.

    Seems to me that all these new inventions like cell phones and email are supposed to help us communicate, but often times they are a deterrent to communicating in a real and sincere way, ie when talking on the phone, texting, emailing, etc keeps you from interacting with people that are in your space. All these electronics are fine if we remember that they don’t give license to be rude. Be nice! Use common courtesy!

    I appreciate so much the help that you and Robin give on the show and I thank you for your commitment to people. I’ve learned a lot from you.

    Thanks, Laurie

  13. rebecca humes says:

    i think the worst symptom of “cell iphone itis” was when my son, daughter in law, my husband, and myself where in the delivery room with grandbaby number four coming OUT and my son took a call! aaahhh! and just to think i raised him!

  14. Jennifer says:

    I totally agree w/ you Dr.Phil. What really ticks me off about cell phones is when I hear one in church while our pastor is talking. I mean really? Do these people have half a brain.I think not. Or when your in a doctors office & theres a sign there plain as day. Please turn off your cell phone. Give me a break. Some people just have no manners.

  15. QueenChristy says:

    If I’m at a restaurant, in a theater, or in any public venue where my cell phone could disturb others or disrupt there enjoyment of a performance, my phone gets put on silent or turned off completely. I don’t even put it on vibrate because, odds are, I’ve paid money for that time and I don’t want to be disturbed either. The most aggravating thing to me is at the movie theater–after the commercials and trailers, there are always at least three separate reminders to “please silence your cell phone”. And what inevitably happens??? Some idiot decides he or she is just TOO IMPORTANT to comply with that request and five minutes into the movie a cell phone rings. I’ve been tempted WAY too many times to jump up and yell, “What part of ‘turn it off’ did you NOT understand?”

  16. Justise says:

    Even though I am in a business that relies on these mobile devices to keep my business going, I agree these things are everywhere & people just seem to have forgotten that the phone is a private thing not a public forum that everyone must participate in. I didn’t get the call, they didn’t call MY phone so I don’t want to be involved in the conversation, you need to take it else where. Personally if I could turn off the PHONE portion of my iPhone I’d be much happier. I rarely if ever give out my number, I think 3 people have it. I use text & twitter & email 99.9% of the time & NEVER while in conversation with a real live human being. We need to remember in society that in most cases the person in front of you, the live person who took time to be with you, is far more important that the other person on the other end of the phone!

  17. Believe this or not, but I am 28 years old studying law and I do not own a cell phone. I’m fine with the Pony Express. This cell phone thing is getting out of hand, just yesterday I see a girl next to me driving with the sides of her hand while she had the cell hone at the top of the steering wheel texting or checking some kind of message. This is why I wish I lived in California. Blah…..

  18. Babs says:

    Thank you Dr. Phil! Cell phone rudeness is just plain bad manners. Unfortunately you live in LA where “manners” are a lost art. Keep waking up America with rude behavior topics. Can not wait to see tomorrows show.

  19. Christina M. says:

    Try being a pharmacist and going over the drugs and side effects with a patient and they are talking away on their cell phone! This could KILL you! Shut up and listen!

  20. Cheryl says:

    Don’t even get me started on cell phones. Somehow my mother managed to raise us, keep track of us and everything else a parnet needs to do without the use of a cell phone or the internet. I don’t think any kid under the age of having a license need or even should have a cell phone. Let’s face it where are they going to be that doesn’t have adult supervision with a phone available either by an adult cell phone or a hardline. And the texting is just out of control. no one needs to be that in touch with anyone. it’s so rude to have an inperson conversation while they not only answer the cell but start a whole new text conversation. And those ear pieces blue tooth things boy do i hate those. Your talking to some one and the next thing you know they have answered the phone you don’t even know it and they start a whole conversation you think is directed at you and bam its someone on their phone.

    Come on folks put the cell phones away use them for emergencies and enjoy the great outdoors.

  21. Cheryl says:

    Oh and the business people who I swear have a phone permenently attached to their heads. Come on folks business some how managed to make money and get work done long before the cell phone came along and if they disapeared tomorrow you would find a way. let that car ride to and from be your cell phone break. It’s ok to let the phone go to voice mail.

  22. Kelly says:

    I 100% agree. I wouldn’t have a problem with cell phone usage if people weren’t so unbelievable rude with them! I was in a movie theater a while ago, and then I see this girl in front of me flip open her phone and begin having a full conversation with the person on the other end. She didn’t hesitate to speak at a high volume and a lot of people were getting annoyed.
    She looked about my age, 14 or 15, and she was sitting just in front of me so I gently tapped her seat with my foot to get her attention and whispered, “Could you please take that outside or something? It’s really distracting and people are getting annoyed…”
    She proceeded to insult me and told me to mind my own business (quite rudely, if I might add).
    Long story short, I had to sit through a 2 hour movie frustrated, insulted, and VERY VERY annoyed…
    Ugh, some people….

  23. dedavis says:

    Dr Phil, He was just trying to let you know that he has a cell. Got to show off my toy to everyone. Is that being rude?

    I don’t know why they can put the phone into vibrate or off when in a group meeting or a restaurant. People today are self centered and don’t think of the people that are around them.

    The Bible says:
    2Peter 3:3 First, you must understand this: In the last days people who follow their own desires will appear. These disrespectful people will ridicule God’s promise (GOD’S WORD)

  24. I am one of the 15% w/o a cell phone. I haven’t been to a movie in years since Oprah’s movie “Beloved” when a cell phone went off during movie. I’ve heard that unless you have a cell phone you won’t hear back from producers of shows so hope not true for Dr. Phil Show or The Doctors. See, I need a head to toe, inside & out (the works) medical, dental, & visual Ultimate Makeover. Lynn only has a land line here. Call me please y’all. Thank you.

    Cell Phoneless in Dallas

  25. Vicky Pickens says:

    What’s worse is when you know a person who always talks extremely loud on their cell phone in your presence annoying you like fingernails on a chalk board that calls you with their cell phone and u can’t hear what they’re sayin…how’s that possible??

  26. Vicky Pickens says:

    Oh yeah…I am one of the 15 % !!

  27. Joyce Long says:

    I totally agree with the statement about how rude cell phone users are. But how about rude teenagers and their cell phone usage… My teen daughter and her friends text during church. We attend a church where we have a childrens church and adult church, so they are not in the main santuary except for once a month, but they are still in church being taught about God, yet these teens text during church. My daughter doesnt have a cell phone but uses her friends phone to text. I have gotten onto her more than once over this and how rude it is but she doesnt listen. She even was texting during her grandfathers viewing. I thought that was pretty rude behaviour.

  28. Joyce Long says:

    I too agree with Sea, I hope not true that Dr Phil producers will only contact if have cell phone as I need help too as does Sea and Aces40.

  29. Donna says:

    I completely agree with Dr.Phil.I am a manager at a local McDonald’s here in town and when we are at our peak times (lunch,dinner) and customers are coming through our drive thru talking on their cell phones and trying to order and getting upset with us because we can’t understand their order.And then they come to the pay window still on the phone and it continues to the pick up window and we say thank you and come again and they are like “yeah” and drive off. But, then maybe 20 minutes or so they call and say we messed up their order. I’m not saying that we aren’t human and don’t make mistakes but, if they were more involved in their order instead then they wouldn’t have an issue in the first place.And most of the time they are holding up the line because they don’t know what they want to order and they are on the phone and don’t know what they want.Two bad mixtures of a to have in a customer. And don’t get me wrong I love my customers and love taking care of them but, they don’t really understand that it really isn’t that easy doing my job.Making everyone happy and understanding what everyone needs and wants.I can’t read minds.Wish I could!! LOL So when your in Drive thru think and your on the phone think of the people behind you and think of you wanting your order right. What if you were in line and someone else in front of you was on their phone and holding things up,how would you feel? Just steams me that people just don’t care.What did all these rude people do before cell phones and had to miss those calls? OH MY!!

  30. Ginny says:

    I’m with you Dr.Phil. I’m truly worried about the kids with cell phones. I think the CDC and/or Pediatricans professional group has taken the position that children should not be exposed to the repeated cell phone radiation during developmental years. Adults may be at risk with long term use, according to some preliminary case study evidence.

    Rudeness? Loud talking? I crave a return to adherence to the basic rules of etiquette, most importantly, respect for those around us.

    I’m not perfect. I appreciate being reminded to be thoughtful.

  31. Marcie says:

    My husband and I visited a Subway store here in Australia recently.
    Can you believe we’ve never been to one.

    I could not believe on the counter was a sign…..If your using your cell you will not be served…or something similar.

    Do people really need to be told not to be rude and be respectful.

    I mean anyone serving me food gets my upmost respect!

  32. Helen Austin says:

    I live in a small town in canada so we’re all terribly polite here!

    But seriously, when I live in London, UK I was surgically attached to my cellphone and email. Now I enjoy going out without either and, like you, I don’t have voicemail. I figure if someone really wants to speak to me I will get the message at some point that day.

    My 12 year’s friends mostly have cellphones but I figure she doesn’t need one until she can drive (we live rurally and we have to drive her anywhere she needs to be).

    Seriously people, take a break from your cellphones… you might even like it!

    And rude people? Don’t get me started. I lived in London for 18 years. It’s nice to now be Canadian

  33. Melba Williams says:

    O lend me your ear~~my pet peeve! I went in an upscale department store and made a purchase with a cashier who was on her cell phone when I approached the counter and stayed on it until transaction was complete. She did not even put on hold to say Thank you–come back. Well the store manager had seen this incident from out of her view and asked me what I thought of my visit to the store as he slowly came up behind me at her counter when I was gathering my purse and bags. I did tell him in front of her— [oh btw she did hang up when he approached] and I expressed my displeasure in giving my credit card to someone who is in another zone. He said “Oh I saw the entire process” and he told her in front of me to get her things~~that she was being replaced. No doubt someone else had reported her. Owning a cell phone also means learning some ettiquette rules.

  34. Nina says:

    Hi Dr Phil, here is Australia it is illegal to talk on your mobile while driving, but day after day I see people driving with one hand and talking away on their phone. There are severe penalties in place, but it’s hard to police. Also, more and more restaurants and cafes are placing signs on the counters, refusing to serve you while using your mobile – step aside & go back in line. It simply is poor manners and this isn’t just related to mobiles.

  35. Dr. Phil.:
    I’m a cell phone user and have used my blue tooth since I got it. I believe this helps with conversation on the phone but it doesn’t always solve the problem. Anyways, I liked your part in your cell phone rudeness comment about:
    “And I especially love the story of a guy in New York who placed a small recording device on a table next to a loud cell phone talker, which made the cell phone talker ask (loudly, of course) just what the heck was going on. “Well,” the man replied, “since you obviously want me to hear your conversation, I’d better keep a copy of it.”

    This is hilarious but the truth hurts sometimes. I’ll use this technique if I here someone talking to loudly on their phone.

    Love your show,

    Beau Carlisle, TX

  36. Charlie says:

    Hi Dr.Phill,
    Commenting here is a first for me…but as one of your Canadian fans….. I couldn’t resist commenting on this subject. Cell phone usage is out of control. Walking through Walmart, kids are walking the isles head down, texting thier friends and slam into you….instead of an “I’m sorry” you get the dirty look from hell? You can’t remember why you’re there because 3 people are having a discussion on cell phones beside you. It’s distracting and loud.
    A new law has recently been passed here that prohibits the use of all hand held devices while driving. Just as Nina’s comment above suggests…it has not been taken seriously. Just last week, my husband and I passed by a police car on the side of the hwy with his radar out looking for speeders. Just ahead of us, plugging along at 10 km below the speed limit and weaving all over the road, is a grey minivan. (Note….he is ahead…so he also passed by the police cruiser) We pull out to pass….and I couldn’t help but notice…. because I’m on the passenger side…..The driver is not just on a cell phone…..He’s got a lap-top open and is surfing the net….unreal! Now that’s an accident looking for a place to happen! There is a time and a place for cell phones…but in the car while driving, in restaurants,and in the shopping centres is neither the time or the place! It’s rude and in some cases (ie… in the car) potentially dangerous! Think about it…texting and driving…..where is your attention when the car ahead nails his brakes? The next tweet…if you’re still alive to send one, will come from the back of an ambulance! Is it worth it? It’s every bit as dangerous as drinking and driving… and not taken nearly as seriously. Apparently common sense when it comes to cell phones is not very common.

  37. Kathy says:


  38. Kathy says:

    Great point. You do realize there are restruants that do not allow children and some that do will ask you to please control your child should they become unruley or loud or even crying! A RULE I FOR ONE APPRECIATE ESPECIALLY IF IT IS AN EXPENSIVE OR SPECIAL OCCASION MEAL. I LOVE CHILDREN, HOWEVER GROWING UP AT MY HOME WE WERE TAUGHT TO RESPECT OTHERS AND MANNERS ESPECIALLY OUT IN PUBLIC PLACE. NO EXCEPTION TO THE RULE AT OUR HOME.

  39. Kathy says:


  40. FosterBoys says:

    Ms. Stephenson, Joyce, SEA, & Aces40,

    Don’t worry about not having a cell phone. Don’t know who told you that, but DP’s producers WILL call you on your LAN line (home phone).

  41. John says:

    The example you use is a LOUD person talking on a cell, does this go for any call?
    What about just a normal conversation? I don’t mind these, after all if I have a cell and get a call, I expect to be able to use the thing. So I have to have SOME consideration for others.

    What is rude is pretty much up to opinion, but I have seen people using them in cars, and they act like driving is their second concern next to the call.

    They aren’t paying attention to whats going on around them and they are usually in a position where they could kill me.
    Now I don’t care WHO you are, that’s RUDE!!

    I never had a cell for a long time, then got one and as soon as the contract ran out got rid of it.
    But then I got in a position where it was useful for emergencies, (I fly a PPC) so I got another once they got cheap enough.

  42. Mitzy Roberts says:

    People now days are just rude and inconsiderate. Not just with cell phones but about everything. I have a cell phone because its cheaper than a land line and in case of emergencies. If I am with friends or family and my phone rings I usually just send the person a text saying will talk later or keep the convo really short. To the person who commented on teens rude cell phone use. I think teens especially girls are additcted the phone and when they have a cell its even worse. My own sister threatened that I woulod never see her again if I had her phone turned off that I was paying for. I had it turned off anyway. I not only see teens texting during church but adults also. Oh and when I worked in fast food years ago people would pull up to the speaker at the drive thru and talk on their cell phone for 10 mins while I wait to take their order and people are waiting behind them. Like I said people have no consideration for others they either don’t care or don’t realize because they are too wrapped up on themselves. Sometimes I feel that I am the only person in the world that has respect and consideration for others.

  43. Robin Davis says:

    I can’t stand it when I see drivers using their cell & damn near hitting me!!! Nor can I stand for someone to be on thier phone in a store at the check out counter!! I was a stylists for 20 yrs.& I literally had to make peeps get off their phone so I could cut thier hair & they would answer thier phone right in the middle of thier cut which if you cut hair,& have to stop in the middle you lose your train of thought & not to mention where your at in the cut!! I wanted to charge them more because time is $$ as a hair stylist!! These peeps would be on the phone god knows how long if I didn’t tell them to get off. Don’t get me wrong I was polite about it. If they had been a doctor or law enforcement thats one thing I get having to answer a call like that, but if it can wait, let them leave a dam message!! Is that too much to ask?

  44. Sarah Vale says:

    Cell phone etiquitte needs to be taught in school along with bringing the subject back in a general sense. People have no manners!. If you’re in a checkout line, get off the phone, it’s rude to everyone around you AND the person on the phone. In a restaurant, get off the phone and turn it on vibrate. In a car with someone, not appropriate to force said person to listen to you talk to someone else while ignoring them completely. The situations go on and on but it all goes hand-in-hand with the masses of people today who can’t be bothered to say please and thank you, chew with their mouths closed, hold the door for the person behind them, Sit up straight, and any number of other things that are totally accepted as the norm today but should horrify everyone.

  45. MarkVII says:

    Something I don’t understand — it’s OK to do a working lunch with colleagues at the same table, but it’s rude if I’m at a table in one city and they’re at a table in another city? It seems that all the people around me are missing out on is being able to eavesdrop on both sides of the conversation. And yes — I do keep my voice down and put the phone aside while ordering.

    In my line of work (Information Technology), outsourcing has made conference calls a way of life. Calls start earlier and earlier in the day and also later and later in the day to get the job done. It simply isn’t feasible to spend all those hours at the office if you want to have a life.

    Staff reductions have made working while eating a way of life as well. It doesn’t help that management expects the workers to be “reachable”. If Corporate America would tone down its expectations, there might not be as many folks on cell phones.

  46. Kimberly Ohmacht says:

    OMG I totally agree!

    On Halloween, we entered our dog (a 3 yr old puggle) into our local Doggie Day Downtown. Well, during the parade, traffic stopped to allowe the parade to cross Main St. This one guy, in his car, was chatting on his cell phone while watching all the activity going on around him. *I* yelled at him “HANG UP AND DRIVE!”, boy, did I get dirty looks from everyone, except my husband. I sincerely hate when people do that.

    I also hate when people text or check their email when my husband and I take them to dinner. I have to admit, I’ve done it once or twice, too but it was dinner with my husband and not friends or other family. Someone in my family has done that and I just want to yell at him and take his phone. He is always texting and emailing his girlfriend when he’s spending time with us. I find it very rude and just wanna take his phone away. He’s 32 years old and my husband’s son but it’s still extremely rude.

    I totally 100% agree with you, Dr. Phil. You and Robin ROCK!

    Thank You~

  47. Betty says:

    I agree cell phone use is out of control. Many are letting the phone control them. Everytime it rings does not mean you have to answer it. It is a choice. I have observed when visiting the hospital or just walking down the street, it is common to see many people walking and talking on their cell phones. I believe cell phones and texting have become addictions to many.

  48. Beth says:

    Hello Dr. Phil and Robin -
    I really have enjoyed watching your show, and although we all tend to focus on what’s NOT right in the world, I think you have positively influenced tens of thousands of your viewers…so, thank you very much for that.

    I am a Southern girl, and I find that it’s very hard to talk to long time friends (21+ yrs. of friendship mostly!) who have rude behaviors such as talking at length on a cell phone while we’re visiting; not putting their cell phone on “vibrate” in restaurants if they are expecting a call; and habitually arriving late for our plans together. Their bad habits sometimes embarrass me, but I’m at a loss for finding the right words that convey my feelings without getting a defensive response from them. Many of them are sensitive, but oddly, it only seems like they are sensitive when someone openly speaks to them about their bad habits.

    I would love to see your show address more extensively how we all should inform our friends, family, significant others, etc. of these behaviors while respecting their feelings and keeping their self esteem intact. You briefly mentioned this today, but I’m still at a loss as to how to effectively address the issues with them.

    Any chance you’ll have a continuation of today’s show featuring more solutions? I heard and have read many complaints on this blog – we all know rudeness is out there, but how can we affect these behaviors to create a positive change?

    Thank you again, Dr. Phil – I appreciate all you and Robin do!

  49. KJ says:

    I was at a red light in the left hand turn lane. There was a lane to my right with a lady in it, talking on her cell phone with her window down. Her light turned green, she didn’t go, the person behind her honked, she didn’t go, her passenger said, “The light is green!” and she said, not kidding, “I’M ON THE PHONE!” and she didn’t go. The person behind her had to go around her as she sat at the green light finishing her conversation. Wow.

  50. Ro says:

    I agree, Dr. Phil. Cell phone use is out of control! My biggest pet peeve is cell phone use in public restrooms. I mean does the person at the othe end know what is going on?! If I were talking to someone and heard a toilet flush it would be the end of the conversation! As for texting, I don’t do it more than once a month if I’m lucky. I am not a good typist anyway.

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