Please Hang Up and Try Your Call Again
Have you ever had the urge to multitask while standing in line at the bank, so you make a call? If you are still on the phone when it is your turn to step up in line, “please hang up and try your call again”…later. In other words, get off the phone! Nothing is more aggravating to tellers, as well as other patrons waiting their turn, then to have someone on the phone hold up the line.
In this day and age where everything is at our fingertips and multitasking is the norm (no longer a skill to highlight on your resume), it is hard to conceive of a time when it is appropriate to just do one thing – like standing in line and quietly waiting your turn. While I welcome cell phones and other technological devices in all their many forms to ease my way of living, I absolutely deplore the insolent creatures they have made us become.
When I first started writing and speaking about cellphone etiquette almost ten years ago, there was plenty to talk about (no pun intended). Not too many people were giving thought to their behavior while on the phone in public. And it seemed everyone in line next to you, on the plane, on the commuter bus or train, at the gym or the table behind you at the restaurant had a cell phone and weren’t afraid to use it. As a result, a cultural change was taking place in our society that more and more people wanted to address – primarily out of annoyance. Cell phone manners became the topic of discussion on morning news shows. Signs went up in businesses. Memos went out to employees in retail and other consumer service industries. Some public facilities were even scrambling for scramblers to disrupt signals and force non-compliant patrons to conform. Yet and still, after nearly two decades of mass production and consumption of the latest and greatest cell phones, and with all the conversation about cellphone manners, we still have a problem, Houston.
With more advanced features and instant apps to play with, even more caution is required. But before I launch into privacy issues and instant uploads to social networks, let me go back to the basics that somehow are still not being admonished. And no, don’t wag your finger at your kids who weren’t around to hear all the etiquette rules for cell phones when it was such a hot topic a few years ago. I still see too many working adults violating these rules. Here is a refresher on the basics of cell phone etiquette in public:
- Please limit your talking and your volume while in public
- Please turn your phone off or to silent mode (not vibrate) while enjoying the theater, fine dining or a religious service
- Please follow any posted signs or announcements concerning usage
- Please do not let your ringtone play all the way through because you like the song
- Please take calls only when it is necessary and safe to do so.
- Please do not share your business - personal or company - to try to impress others around you
Notice I said please – another lost common courtesy.
By all means, don’t wait until you lose your place in line, or have to be escorted off the plane or out of an establishment because you refuse to get off the phone. And the same goes for texting in these same scenarios. Not only is it rude but a potential hazard. I once saw a woman attempting to cross the street while texting and twisted her ankle after stepping into a pothole. That’s another story. I’ll save it for the next article!
By Michelle Powell CEO of Professional Manner Aug 10, 2013