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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. FosterBoys says:

    OK, I’ve got one — sunglasses. Even though I have very sensitive eyes, I always remove my sunglasses when I’m talking to someone outside. If they are wearing sunglasses and don’t return this courtesy, I put mine back on.

  2. Laura says:

    I work in a large chain grocery store and see the rudeness with cell phones everyday. How can we do our job asking the customer how they are, if they found everything they were looking for, if they have coupons, or a store card,when they are in conversation with someone else. Cell phones in public are becoming a nuisance. I do believe cell phones are great for emergencies, or important private conversations. People need to realize their surroundings when answering their cell phones. I once stopped talking to a friend for months because she would be so rude texting people when she was suppose to be in conversation with me, I told her she was being rude and she disagreed, so as you said Dr.Phil, go be with the one you want to chat with. Young teens are also so consumed with their cell phones and text thousands of times a day. What happened to hanging out with friends and having fun times, making memories that will last a lifetime. We didn’t have cell phones when I was a teen, and instead we had more fun. Cell phones really are changing society I believe. Very sad.

  3. Jacquie merrill says:

    Did anyone else recognize the sisters that had a prob with one interrupting from Judge Alex? The older one sued the younger one and she was thrown out of the courtroom for attitude?

  4. Christy Kirtlan says:

    My problem with cell phones is when they take the place of the person in front of you. My young adult kids will sit in my home for a visit, with the cell on their lap or in their hands so they can continue to text. I think it is rude for anyone to interrupt the conversation they are in to check their phones or text. When I was an office manager and someone was in my office, I put my phone (old fashioned desk kind) on “send calls” because the person in front of me was more important than taking another call.

    Common courtesy, unfortunately, is in the past, unless it starts and continues with you.

  5. Kechia says:

    Wow!! This is so true. I was never one to yell on the phone, but I was one who was very attached to it. It was not so much the phone calls, but the texting. It ran my life for so long. While I was living at home, I paid more money to get unlimited text. At that time, I could pay for it, but it was not the best use for my money at that point. I am now married and I wish that I would saved every penny that I could have. But more then the money, I did not spend all the time that I should have with my family. You can lose relationships over this issue.
    We need to look at what is really important to us.

  6. Julie says:

    Cell phones are only the tip of the iceburg when it comes to rudeness in America.

    An example, this morning on my way taking my kids to school I was going down the next road past my own that I live on and not a soul was behind me, yet this guy jumps out in front of me to go across the street! HELLO, you can’t wait the 2 seconds it takes me to drive past you when there is NO ONE behind me?? Come on!
    This happens with cars jumping out in front of me as well all the time. Not a soul behind me, why can’t you wait?

    A couple weeks ago at a big outdoor event I went to, a lady and I accidently bumped each other, BOTH of us were at fault actually, but I quickly said I’m so sorry and she never responded, but her FRIEND kept asking her several times if she was alright. It was merely a small bumping of the rear ends, but she acted as if I’d knocked the woman over or something! And so I AGAIN said I’m sorry and they ignored me and walked off with the friend AGAIN asking her is she was alright!
    I was shaking my head over that one for a while.
    I could go on and on with the rudeness. I go out of my way to be polite, but for some reason, it’s rarely reciprocated!

  7. Lucie says:

    I’m proud to say that I’m one of those 15% of people who don’t own a cellphone. I never needed one for most of my life before they were invented, so I can easily live without one now. I’m a housewife, so I don’t need one for business and when I’m out, I prefer to give my undivided attention to whatever person or activity I’m involved with at the time. Most places that I go to still have payphones that I can use if I need to. I have problems with the small keyboards and buttons on cellphones as well, since my eyesight isn’t what it used to be. I simply don’t like the idea of being “instantly” available to whomever might be having a so-called crisis at any particular time. Cell phones are very expensive too, and I much prefer to spend my money on something else instead.

    I’ve never liked phones much to begin with. All my phones at home are unplugged at all times, except the one in the basement that has the answering machine, and I check the messages a few times a day. Most people know to e-mail me instead, as I check those messages more often. That way, my husband and I can enjoy a private conversation, a nice leisurely dinner, reading a good bok or watching our favorite t.v. shows without being constantly interrupted with unnecessary calls and the endless telemarketing calls.

    My husband owns a cellphone only because his work involves doing renovations in houses that are usually unoccupied, so he uses his cell to return the messages from his pager. The cellphone is always turned off, unless he needs to use it to call someone, and nobody has the number except myself. He bought it for HIS convenience, in case of emergencies, and NOT for everyone else to use. We also don’t do any texting — no need to really, as we own a laptop and use e-mail instead.

  8. Tia Rutter says:

    I can’t agree with FosterBoys and sunglasses… my husband works outside and has extremely sensitive eyes. HOWEVER, to those who don’t take them off inside… RUDE!

    As for the cell phone use… as well as texting in public… come on people. Have some respect for the rest of the world. I would also like to see some ‘phone police’ taze some people!

  9. Kathy says:

    Oh my goodness! We see this type of behavior all the time with college students. What floors me is texting the answers to exams or quizzes. Students feel that it is okay to “share” the information with each other. Additionally, some do not understand that “sharing” papers or information is considered cheating. There are some really great research articles out there on why students cheat in college. It’s all in their perception. They don’t see anything wrong with it because it is “sharing” information.
    Additionally, my children would rather text me than talk to me on the phone. Even important things are texted instead of spoken. I received a text recently that said, “will you Listen to me”. Amazing, simply amazing. I may be old school but aren’t ears necessary to “listen”?

  10. Edd says:

    For the most part, mobile phone use does not bother me whenever I have to hear it although I do admit that I make a personal effort to crank down the volume or keep it short if I have to receive a call in a public place. I’ve observed some people become seemingly furious over what I would perceive as relatively inoffensive mobile phone use often responding with the sort of dirty look toward a user that might imply actual threat of some sort.

    One user that did try my patience was a young man that regularly ends up on my train in the evenings. Instead of talking on the phone he has decided to use it as a headphone-free music player. A whole journey’s worth of loud techno music booming from across the carriage causes me to produce, out of my ears, just about enough steam to power the train for the next 4 months.

    Overall, I believe that it’s not only up to phone users need to keep it quiet and more considerate but unwilling listeners really should try to cool off their reactions too.

  11. Linda says:

    ONE-UPPERS! The ultimate rudeness! I work with a girl who is the worst! If you have an illness, she has one that’s worse. If you have an ill relative, she has one that’s worse. If you made a fantastic recipe, she has one that’s better. If you get to go on a trip of a lifetime, she’s been someplace better. It goes on and on. Why can’t people just show compasion for some who are going through a difficult time and be happy for those who experience something good in their life? And the bad part is, she doesn’t even let you take a breath before she is sharing her “one-up” story!!!

  12. Tricia says:

    I got a couple things, the being late for things gets so annoying. I know a few people who do that and since I am with them it makes me late and I don’t like that, and they do it alot. The cell phones that does get irritating when it goes off in a place it shouldn’t like a theater, church, or when something else is going on.

  13. Natali McKee says:

    Dr. Phil. I don’t have a cell phone in use. I am too poor :) My money needs to go to feeding my babies. But I take my husband’s cell phone (paid by the company) if it is late at night.

  14. lee durham says:

    Dr Phil,

    I so agree with you on this issue. I’m truly beginning to hate cell phones. Actually it’s not really the phones’ fault, just the people. People are always trying to be impressive to others and show off. I especially hate the young people who are in line at say the grocery store, and the clerk is ringing up items while this person talks on the phone. They are so into their “cell phone” life they can’t be bothered to greet or acknowlege the person ringing up their stupid stuff. Also just the people who in general simply must talk with others while in public, and loudly. Gads it really drives me crazy. Texting too.
    Lee

  15. Mitzy Roberts says:

    Ya know whats rude is when a supposed friend comes over offers to clean for you after you politely say no thats ok she does it anyway puts everything in the wrong spot and then cries about how poor she is until you pay her for cleaning. When this person knows that you have less money than she does. ok done venting now

  16. Paradoxis says:

    A pet peeve of mine is people who show up to my door unannounced and uninvited. Especially neighbours. They just feel it’s fine to come knock on my door any time they like, just to have a chat. It doesn’t matter what I might be in the middle of. I’m just expected to stop what I’m doing and give them my undivided attention. It doesn’t even seem to bother them if I’m in my nightie and not dressed for company!

    I just really hate it that people think they can invade my place, my home, my personal space whenever they feel like it. It’s good manners to at least ask if they could drop by at a time convenient to me. Or wait to be invited.

    At one point, years ago, my family were so persistant at doing this – even after I asked them again and again to please call first, before dropping by – that in the end I simply wouldn’t answer the door. They’d know I was home, but if they hadn’t rung first, I wasn’t going to answer the door. I treat my neighbours like that now too. And if they think I’M being rude, so be it. Boundaries, people!!

  17. i work at a grocery store in irvine i see rudeness when customers are on their cell phones in line i mean come on its rude wait till your shopping and hang up when your in line please

  18. cliff boswell says:

    I’m not talking about being at the movies or at the theatre but it seems to me that people who are getting upset at others on cell phones are the rude ones!
    Get off the pot people; The whole lot of you are not that important. We all have been hard wired to answer the phone. If you have guests at your home you don”t
    turn the ringer off on your land line. It rings you answer. That’s how it is. A
    cell phone is no differant. We’ve got more guests around us but we all will answer the phone. So for the rest of you, PLEASE, get a life.

  19. Rebecca says:

    Cell phone use is actually a huge problem in my family and it is actually causing hard feelings. It is not like we get together all the time but when we do, we all sit down to a nice dinner (that took mom 2 days to prepare!) and a certain someone will either text throughout dinner or if the phone actually rings, this person will answer it immediately and just get up and leave the table. Last time this happened, the person never returned to the table and was on the phone for over 1 1/2 hours. Needless to say, our feelings were hurt and others were flat put out and ticked off…but, not one person said anything and never has (to the offender). What do you do? How do you tactfully say something without causing a complete family meltdown?

  20. Nadia says:

    Hi Dr Phil, whenever I go shopping I never take my cell phone with me because I want to enjoy my shopping. And whenever I’m in a conversation with someone I leave my cell phone in my room. My cell phone is only for emergency purposes and not for unnecessary conversations and texts. :)

  21. Nadia says:

    I must also say I never grew up with cell phones and had the best childhood ever. Sometimes I forget that I got a cell phone lol. And also I’ve seen how rude some people can be when they shouting on their cell phones in the shopping mall, its disrespectful its not nice because nobody wants to hear their conversation. I wonder if those type of people suffer from a hearing problem to shout so loud over their cell phones because its so unnecessary lol. And its sad to see how kids of today are so addicted to their cell phones they do’nt even greet, because they are so caught up in cell phones, because their texting is more important than greeting it’s rude.

  22. LindaRH says:

    Good topic, Dr Phil. I HATE cell phones, although I have one. In addition to the rude loudmouths that have to talk on them in inappropriate settings, others think they have the right to know why you don’t answer! I used to tell white lies, like “I was in the bathroom, or I was driving” but I’ve given that up. If they are so rude as to ask me what I was doing that I couldn’t answer their call, which from experience is usually not earth-shattering, I give them the truth: I didn’t feel like talking on the phone. THAT’S WHAT THE MESSAGE FEATURE IS FOR!
    I hate when you’re conversing with someone and their cell rings. Even though they don’t intend to talk with whoever it is, they HAVE to look at it to see who it is. It makes me feel second best to a damn tool! On the flip side, I always feel complimented when somebody turns the phone off when they are with me.

    I dread the day when we will wear some sort of device, or be implanted with one, to be constantly online, connected, and tracked. We don’t have to invent robots, we will become them.

  23. I’m going to reply to texting on the cells. My granddaughter uses hers all the time, even one Sunday at church. I was really upset with her for this. I have decided that in years to come, babies will be born with great big thumbs to be used for texting. I was at the movies last week and a young girl was texting during the entire movie until my friend leaned over and asked her to turn it off because it was interferring with her watcing the movie. I guess I hate those who try to drive and text the most. I have a cell and it is always on when I’m away from home. It is only used for emergencies and not just talking to hear myself speak. I have been asked why I don’t leave it on all the time. I don’t need to, I have several phones in my home that I can use. Cell phones have gotten to be a problem from the oldest to the elementary school children. There should be some sort of law as to when to use them or when not to. I guess I hate it worse when I’m in church and someone’s phone is ringing or singing some wild song. That is not the place to have a cell on. Cut it off while in church. That’s the least a person can do while trying to listen to the sermon.

  24. Gringanica says:

    I have a friend that lives one hour from my house. On occassion I do go and visit her which includes time, gas and money plus the time away from my family which is a sacrifice on my day off. When I am with this friend, whether it be at home or on the road (she has a cell phone) and it goes off, she immediately answers it. If it’s someone who has called to chat, away she goes to that phone conversation while I just sit there and feel like a third wheel. When the situation is reversed and I am the hostess to this friend and I get a (rare) phone call, I tell the caller that I am keeping this brief as I have a house guest. I think it is simply rude to treat the phone call as if this person has made the same effort as you in coming to visit. When you have company, real live people in your care, this is NOT the time to take a personal chit-chat call. If it’s something important that the caller wishes to tell my friend, I don’t have a problem, but otherwise- GET OFF THE PHONE- they didn’t make the same effort as you in coming in person. Really people- get some manners. This is just RUDE as all get out!

  25. Cassandra says:

    Oh goodness…cell phones.

    I quite agree that they’re good for emergencies, private conversations, and even for business-related reasons. That really is the only reason I would own one, or even a BlackBerry or something like that. I’ll admit, I am drawn to the iPhone, but even I know I can live without it.

    And texting, I don’t know why, but I really scrunch my nose at texting. What the heck is the point? What’s wrong with e-mail? Or even, oh, you know, an old-fashioned dialing of the number and calling the person? Or better yet, face-to-face?

    I once had a friend in high school, and she had a cell phone. I did not, and I still don’t. But anyway, she would just go ahead and use it and text (for little to no reason) and check her messages, while I was still there with her. She even sometimes did the same thing, except it was listening to music.

    Nice, huh?

    And don’t even get me started on driving while texting. I remember that one episode of the show, where you had that girl…I forget her name, who was addicted to texting while driving, and saw nothing wrong with it. Then failed a driving simulator test with a 10 when the pass was 70 (if I remember correctly…), I remember just sitting there with my jaw dropped.

    Cell phones are good for some things, but man, it’s like we as a society tend to take advantage of it. Obviously.

  26. Debbie says:

    I am one of these very odd people who does not use my cell phone and even if I I do, the only thing I can do with it would be to call 911 in case I come across an emergency, or have an emergency myself.
    Yup..it’s true.. can you believe it..I can survive in this age of cell phones and text messaging very well thankyou very much and I have to wonder why the rest of the world can’t seem to survive without it.

    And text messaging..all that I can see from this is that people, especially kids forget how to spell or put together a proper sentence..or how to communicate..period.
    And it’s not just kids either. One day my brother and I were in a restaurant and there was a couple at a table to the right of us. They appeared to be in their 40s.. a man and wife we assumed, and there they both were with their fingers just going a mile a minute..texting. They hardly raised their heads from their phones or spoke to one another. How nuts is that? What’s happening to one on one conversation? I shake my head.

    From Debbie..a non cell phone user and darned proud of it.

  27. Tiffany says:

    I agree that people often use cell phones in a rude or obnoxious fashion; however, I don’t believe anyone needs to justify why they have a cell phone. It’s alright to have a cell phone just for emergencies, or for business, but it is also alright to have one because you enjoy communicating with other people either via phone conversation or text. I don’t even believe that talking on the cell phone in public is always necessarily rude; it is HOW you go about it. If you are in the company of someone else sometimes you do need to see who is calling you and I believe its perfectly alright to tell someone “Excuse me, I need to take this for a minute.” I don’t think this is a black and white, cute and dry issue. Also, I think part of the problem is that the younger generation perceives some of this differently and does not realize they are being rude. I have a younger friend who is always texting while we are together and have wondered how to politely tell her that it offends me. So I just think we have to try our best to do the right thing, but also realize that not everyone agrees on what the “right thing” is, so we should openly and politely communicate with those we feel are being rude so they have a chance to correct themselves.

  28. Mary says:

    Okay,I’m guilty! I’m a shouter. There is a REASON I shout though. I have nerve deafness. Some say when I speak normally (to me) I sound as if I’m mumbling and they can’t understand what I’m saying then when I speak louder I’m shouting! So in order to be understood I MUST speak over the ringing in my ears!Now some may say “get a hearing aid” sorry, all that will do for me is make the ringing louder!So my point I’m trying to make is this we shouldn’t JUDGE people by the tone of their voice. After all, unless you ARE a judge, judging people is VERY rude!

  29. Jamie says:

    I couldn’t agree more that cell phone use has gotten out of hand. I am a healthcare provider and I have had patients put up a finger (telling me to wait) and taking a call that takes away from my precious time with patients!! So RUDE!

  30. monica bystryk says:

    I am 37 yrs old and am so glad cell phones did not exist while I was growing up and developing my work ethic. I am a student in college and my ability to turn my phone off and refrain from facebook during lecture has definitely given me a great advantage over my classmates. Honestly the average college age student is incapability of just paying attention to the professor. My husband is a small business owner of a valet parking company and twice a week I go and work for him at one of his locations, I am working with a younger age bracket than myself and the employess hate working with me because I tell them to leave their phones in their cars and to just worry about parking cars and offering customer service. One of the employees whined so much and would not stop complaining so I actually told him to go get the darn phone, it was like working with my two year old. I just couldn’t listen to it anymore. This younger generation is has really been handicapped by texting and their cell phone addictions.

  31. Judy Reed says:

    I have to weigh in with a few funny cell phone stories…

    In church several years ago, someone’s cell phone rang and the Priest stopped right in the middle of what he was doing and said “Oh, OK–we can all wait for you then, let us know when you’re done.”

    Our local post office has a sign stating “No Cell Phone Usage While in Line”. When the lady in front of me got called to the next available postal employee, she was on her cell phone. The postal employee made her “step aside” while he waited on the customers behind her until she got off the phone. I loved that!

    This last one is more sad than funny. A few years ago, my husband and I were at dinner. There was a young couple sitting a few tables away, and I swear to you, the guy talked on his cell phone the WHOLE time we were there. Ugh I was hoping the girl would just get up and leave, but no such luck.

  32. Mona says:

    Cell phone use by teens in school is becoming a huge problem. It is not only the fact that they are using the phones when they should be focused on learning, but the constant contact with friends is causing lots of teen relationship problems. The schools are trying to figure out how to deal with “sexting”, text drama and cheating, all done via cell phones.

    It was only a generation ago that our only social contact source was the telephone in the kitchen (the one with the long cord so you could try to stretch it to find a little privacy) where teens talked to their friends. Now, teens fingers are flying across the tiny keyboards during dinner, in class and it seems to be getting in the way of real life. It is too late to turn back, but what a negative effect this is having on teen life.

  33. Diane says:

    The ultimate rudeness, I think: my husband and I were having a serious conversation that lasted about an hour. Little did I know that he was texting a friend of his when I briefly left the room AND the text was about our conversation!

  34. Linda Carey says:

    I used to be a bank teller and had a customer come up to my window while talking on her phone. I asked what I could help her with and she told me “hush…I’m on the phone”. I finally told her to step aside to finish her conversation so I could help the next person in a very long line and she got angry. Go figure.

  35. Lauri says:

    I’m very uncomforable when out of the blue someone takes or makes a cell phone call in my presence. I feel like a voyer, a position I did not ask to be in. And you’re right Dr. Phil…I’ve often thought that these loud, annoying conversations were definately an attempt to impress anyone within earshot. I, for one, am NEVER impressed, only annoyed…

  36. Katie says:

    I was at a restaurant with my dad and his friend when someone’s cell phone rang and the person answered it and was talking rather loudly. My dad then rants for 5-10 minutes about how rude it is to talk on your cell phone in restaurants. Then his phone rings and he answers it and talks for about 10-15 minutes while totally ignoring us. He then hangs up and apologizes saying how he had to take it because it was his employee. So I guess when others do it, it’s rude and when he does it it’s necessary! Four words please take it outside, that’s all I ask (or don’t answer it)

  37. Shelley says:

    Cell phones have their place, but that place is not at the dinner table, in line at a post office, grocery store, etc. When I have dinner with friends, which I do often, we all turn our phones off when we sit down at the table. There is just no reason to be interrupted by them when we’re sitting with each other. As Dr. Phil said, if you are talking to someone on the phone to the exclusion of others sitting with you, why not go be with the person on the other end and leave everyone else in peace?

    My husband and I have had many arguments about his Blackberry addiction and I do believe it’s an addiction in the literal sense of the word. He takes it everywhere – to dinner, parties, etc. It’s madness and I find it sad that someone would rather be in a virtual world than in the real world.

  38. EVB says:

    When I say “That’s just not polite.” People laugh. It seems that people have widely accepted that everything is relative, anything goes and one mustn’t be jugdmental. However, try mirroring the poor behaviour and see how quickly communication deteriorates. Worse culprit people texting while asking for important information. Important to them! I don’t answer and wait until they notice.

  39. Tim Bount says:

    I agree with many of the sentiments expressed regarding cell phone use – its amazing how thoughtless people can be. I can remember a time when public phones had booths – with doors that closed to allow the user some modicum of privacy. Its difficult for me to understand what has happened and what little regard for others many cell phone users seem to have. I use a cell phone – but when I am with others or am in a place inappropriate for a call – I simply let the call roll over to … voicemail. Ringtones … no problem, set the phone for something discreet, like vibrate or flash/silent. I can’t remember anytime I missed a life changing call by not being instantly available. My wife loves the cell phone, it seems to be her constant companion – she tells me that it really helps her multi-task and make the best use of her time when she is in the car, etc. I find it intrusive, especially when we’re both in the car together – I’d rather we spoke to one another, I wonder if the thought crosses her mind. When we take vacations I make sure we go where there is no cell phone service. I get to be with the woman I married and she gets to adjust to being without a cell phone!

  40. Kristina says:

    Most of the time, I keep my cell on vibrate, and I check every so often if I have a text or voicemail. It has no place at the dinner table, theater, classroom, or in line. Too many times I see texting during class, dinner, etc, and hear cells ringing during lecture, sermon, etc. Rude. I want to hear the pastor not your Gwen Stefani ringtone.

  41. Lauren Banks says:

    The rudest phone users of all time are the clerks at the counter when you are checking out. I have come across this THREE times in the past two weeks! Clerks chit chatting with their friends! I heard one clerk talking about a relative who had the flu and all the nasty details. I was just shocked. None of these three spoke a word to me during the entire transaction. This is the very height of rudeness.

  42. Sally says:

    Foster Boys – I agree with you regarding the use of sunglasses. I always try to take mine off when talking with someone outside. If it is too bright and glaring I must leave them on. Years ago I damaged my eyes big time by not wearing sunglasses when painting a public pool that I was managing in a small town in Alberta, Canada. My eyes are incredibly sensitive now… Somewhat like snow blindness… There are instances when individuals must leave the sunglasses on!

    My three daughters are all very sensitive to the use of cell phones around friends and in public. If parents would do their job and teach kids where and when it is appropriate to use cell phones then this rudeness epidemic might be minimized!

  43. Wendy says:

    Dr Phil, I live in The Netherlands and the cellphone thing is an issue here as well. I work in a store and I get so many people at my register, wanting to pay for their groceries, whilst in a conversation on their cell. It makes me feel like they don’t considder the checkout-girl to even be human. I Sometimes make my voice louder to try and interrupt the conversation by asking them if they want a bag and stuff.. but it just doesn’t really reach them. Oh and what I find even more annoying is people that, while they are shopping, use their handsfree set. Plain annoying, you never know wether they’re talking to you, or someone that isn’t even there!

  44. Tammy says:

    I agree with many of the issues already commented on. I do, however, have two particular ones that might be unique to me. One of them does deal with phone usage: I have two close female relatives (okay, my mom and my sister, lol) that have the very bad habit of calling to talk to me, then rudely holding a conversation with someone else on their end while I’m stuck listening on my end and waiting for them to remember I’m there. This can often go on for several minutes, and I often wonder if they called me simply because they want an audience for their conversation (both are very dramatic type people and tend to *perform*). Most times I end up just haning up, then they get offended and say I was the rude one for doing so. I’ve never been one to enjoy just sitting and talking on a phone (I prefer face to face), and I certainy don’t enjoy just listening.
    My second pet peeve I was reminded about this past Thanksgiving. Our holiday get-togethers are very informal most of the time, and many people take advantage of that fact. Once it is decided (or assumed) who will be hosting the holiday, everyone else feels let off the hook. No help, no contribution, not even bringing a dish. For some, that is understandable and accepted; none of us are wealthy, and some haven’t the money for even one dish. We don’t make a big deal out of it, though we’re hard pressed to feed those who come. But that’s where the rudeness comes it. We will recieve multiple MAYBES, even from people that haven’t been invited. It’s just generally expected (by them) that they might show up and they might not. Some of the messages are even passed by ‘word of mouth’ through other relatives/friends instead of directly to us. So we never have any idea who’s coming, how many will be there, when they’ll be there if they do come, etc. Then we’re often criticized for not cooking enough, or the right things (as if we had the money for it), waiting too late or not waiting late enough for the possible visitors- and all this when we are never informed who and how many will be there, or when they might be there. This year there were four of us for the holiday, and 9 that said they *might* come. No one ever showed this time, though, yet none of them called to let us know they wouldn’t be, even though we’d been asked to make certain favorite dishes (that we couldn’t afford to fit in) in case they showed up. To me, that is the pinnacle of rudeness and disrespect.

  45. Ginger says:

    Yes, I have to agree cell phone usage is way out of control. I am one of the 15% of people that does not own a cell phone. If someone wants to talk to me they know my home phone number and if I am out I can call them when I get home. I work in the resturant industry while going to school. How are you supposed to take someone’s order when they are chatting away on thier on cell phone? and the person on the cell phone has the nerve to say to you, oh just one minute. Give me a break. Your wasting my time. Also when you are out to eat with someone and your phone rings its extremely rude to answer it. You are sending the message to the person you are with that they are not that important. That goes for texting too, which is dumbest invention ever.

  46. JJSherman says:

    I must agree that cell phone users are out of control, and don’t speak about the texting, it is even worst. They have got it now they wont respond to your phone calls but they will text you. Even on land line phones my phone would ring and say will I press 1 to receive a text. I don’t I just hang up the phone. Rude and hartless to me, maybe its because I am older, and then again no, for common sense and politeness takes nothing away from a person and their character, but brings out the true meaning of compassion in a person heart. Treating each other with respect makes our world that God has given us to live in a better place. With people loosing their homes and jobs, and the epidemic of homeless society try giving of ourselves and don’t just stop there for if we all stand together for one another, then we would put a smile in the heart of our creator. Try it and take it into the New Year, we make the cell phones and texting apart of our daily life and rituals why not put our brother’s and sisters and all children into consideration, and see how that will come across. Lord knows that this country will come around and maybe the world will to for all eyes are on America.

  47. Charlene says:

    Ok, so I only have a cell phone, never put in a land line when I was in university for 2 years because with the apartment that I was living in, I would only be able to make local calls and all my calls are long distance, and my cell gave me 350 local minutes that I didn’t even use 100 of them a month.

    I like having a cell most of the time and if I don’t want to be interrupted with calls or texts I’ll put it on silent, or if I’m talking with someone else face to face I’ll ignore it, I have an answering machine that if the call is really important than who ever called will leave a message and I’ll return it when I’m done with what I’m currently doing.

    What I don’t like is that when people know that you have a cell and they call and leave a message they expect that as they are leaving the message you are getting it right away. That has happened to me a few times, they leave a message and then I forget my cell at home or in the car and don’t get the message when the person that left it assumed that I got the message right away.

    I also need a cell for my job, as a security guard at a store or a construction site when no one else is around, its nice to have because with smaller security companies there aren’t always enough radios for everyone, and they are given to those that don’t have phone first. The other reason is I have to drive 45 minutes on a highway to get to work and if I’m driving at 9pm or 10pm at night or 5am when its dark and no one is on the highway and something happens, its nice to have a cell at your disposal.

    I started with a pay as you go plan and one of my dad’s old cells when I was in high school, just because I was driving and would need a way to call for help if something happened (I live in southern Saskatchewan in a rural area, lots of back roads and the closest you could be to the next farm house may be a good 4 km walk from the highway, and in the winter you don’t want to leave the vehicle if you go off the road).

    I normally do talk quietly on my cell (unless of course I’m angry at the person), because I spent time talking transit while I was in university and didn’t want others to hear my conversation, also that was the best time for me to talk with siblings that were 8 hours away from me.

    I think cell phones are great, I don’t know how people can send 1000 texts a day, I got a blackberry just over a month ago and on this bill I’ll have sent AND received just over 1000 texts, normally if the person is going to text me more than 10 times in less than 15 min I’ll just call them and talk.

  48. Kali says:

    Why is there so much GREED in this world?? thats what i want to know. Who cares about someone yelling on there phone. Its just petty whinging. There are worst things in this world. WHY? Greed is the root of all this evil that is now happening in the world. I live in Australia and we are starting to become commercialized like America, the government is slowly taking away our rights and services that have been here since before Australia was in the stockmarket. I believe that we should’nt be selling our rights and services to someone with a couple of bucks in the bank. No wonder people angry.

  49. Barbara Lamar says:

    I had to reply to your comments on cell phone usage. I am an older woman and my husband is a year older than I am. We have been together 40 years…so that gives you a clue on ages. Regarding cell phone usage, we have ridden a motorcycle for 40 years together, me on the back. We have been super lucky until September 13, 2009, when we had gone about 3 miles from home, a nice sunny Sunday afternoon, driving to the interstate to get out of town and ride in the country when we were hit by a 24 year old on a cell phone. He was NOT in the lane to turn into a drugstore, but decided to turn into the driveway anyway. Even though we ride a Harley with LOUD pipes, he was talking with phone in right hand (blocking his vision) and turned into us. We were extremely lucky, not killed or run over, since my husband screamed as loud as he could, but we crashed over a curb and went down. My husband fractured 3 ribs, tore up his knee, and a hematoma popped up on his right leg where he hit the bar that protects the engine. I tore the skin off the palm of my hand, jammed my shoulder, tore rotator cuff, knee, among other things. I agree cell phones are totally overused while driving. We had been riding together all this time and not gone down once. We are retired and looked forward to riding a lot, now may have to give up the motorcycle. We don’t want to take another change on being killed the next time. I think cell phones should only be used for emergencies and people should stop and make the calls when necessary…and yes, we both have cell phones! Thanks for hearing my point of view.

  50. Lisa Burghardt says:

    Cell phone use is WAY out of hand!! I used to work as a cashier in a grocery store. I would be courteous to the customer, but the idiot continued to yap on his/her cell phone and totally ignore me. He/she would slide his/her credit card and walk off while yapping away about God knows what. At least, I could have gotten a thank you. I have responded, “Have a great day, and get off your cell phone when you are in my lane!”

    I now deal with cell phones all day at call center for a major cell phone service provider. I have to deal with billing and technical issues. Some people put themselves beyond us when it comes the their phones. They blame us because they go over their monthly allotted minutes or text messaging packages. I hear all the time, “I didn’t talk that much!”, with a few expletives connected.

    I had an 11-year-old get mad at me becuase she had worn her phone out in 6 months from texting too much and couldn’t get another one. She knew more about cell phones than any of us did.

    We are required to take 5-week course before we get on the phones and 5 more weeks of training before we can be on the phones without our trainers.

    I have a cell phone. I use it to call my mother if I need to call her when she is out or keep it on after I leave work since I get off late at night. I use the music player on the phone more than I use the phone itself.

    People, too, need to be respectful of doctor’s offices that state, “No cell phones”. Some equipment works on the same frequency as the cell phones and can be damaged.

    There is a time and place to text and read the web. Driving down the road isn’t one of them. Check your messages before you leave home.

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