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Blacklisting blackberry-heads and canceling cell phone companions

The next time a client or an editor or a so-called friend, or god forbid a man who has asked me out, or anyone who is sitting at a table or barside with me for whatever reason even THINKS about answering a cell phone (at the table) or even MAKES A MOVE toward a frickin’ Blackberry, I will get up and walk out.

It’s a solemn promise. And everyone else out there with even the barest soupçon of sense and sensibility should do the same thing.

It’s not just a matter of good manners (though it is certainly that as well), it’s a matter of this simple fact: a person who does this while in your company is so socially and intellectually deficient, you should put as much distance as possible between that individual and yourself before their beyond-boorish behavior wears off on you.

If you’re at a table or bar, your cell phone should be turned off. Period. Unless you say to your companion at the moment of your joining, “I’m sorry, my rich Mummy is on her deathbed in the hospital whilst I’m out drinking myself drunk. I must keep my cell phone on so I can immediately know when she kicks the bucket and then run to the bank to cabbage on to her money.” Or possibly, “I’m sorry, I must keep my phone on because I haven’t the barest amount of trust in the babysitter with whom I left my most adored only child.” — unless you can say legitimately something along these lines, your cell phone shouldn’t even be ON when you are with others in a social or business setting.

If you inadvertently leave your phone on and it rings, you must immediately shut it off — don’t look at it to see who is calling, don’t say anything such as, “Oh, sorry, let me shut this off,” or “Oh, let me see who this is.” Just ignore it, flip it off. Do not even acknowledge its presence or its ringing in any overt way.

If you think it might be something urgent, then yes, at the NEXT ACCEPTABLE BREAK in conversation, you may say these words, “Excuse me for a moment, please.” (You do NOT say “I have to go check my messages.”) Then you go someplace private and quickly check your messages and respond if necessary. And when you come back to the table, you do NOT apologize for your absence, you do not say anything except pick up the string of your former conversation or start a new one. You especially do NOT relate the circumstances of the phone call to your companion(s) unless it is exceedingly apropos.

As for other kinds of communications that involve finger tapping/typing or scrolling or whatever on your Crackberries, let me break it down for you:

If you are sufficiently déclassé to do something like this at a table or bar when out, or god forbid in a meeting or discussion of a business nature … you are a knuckle-dragging dolt.

Posted on July 10th, 2009Comments RSS Feed
8 Responses to Blacklisting blackberry-heads and canceling cell phone companions
  1. I totally agree with you MC it’s beyond rude. At the doctors’ office the other day, while checking in, a woman actually answered her cell phone while the receptionist was talking to her. After she sat down (next to me, God help me) she proceeded to type on her blackberry which made the most annoying noise. So help me God I wanted to smack her!
    The liquor store where I buy my wine has a sign on the counter that reads:

  2. Cinderella — thanks for reading the blog and for sharing a comment! I love it when people actually respond. I LOVE that liquor store sign! I know I was a bit harsh in my blog, but I’m just so beyond tired of this new level of craziness in our society! Well, thanks again for reading/posting a comment.

  3. John W. Perkins
    July 10, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Again, I agree with you..

    When people enter my office, take a seat before my oversized desk (not my choice. But, it is bullet-proof) to confer with me,
    and their cellphone goes off, I simply tell them to, “take it outside.”

    I get some surprised looks..

    But hey, it’s my office and if you’re here to see me regarding business, nobody and nothing else matters.. I require that person to focus on the issue at hand..

    Yeah, I can be a bit Draconian at times..

  4. I think it’s cool that you do that, honestly. Draconian or not!

  5. Susan M. Kinsella
    July 10, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    So, I was totally insulted the other day when I was at the check out at a local grocery store and he cashier was on her phone. What should I have said, done? So wrong!!!

  6. Well, yes, that’s beyond the pale too. There’s no concept of service, much less civility, these days.


  7. John W. Perkins
    July 11, 2009 at 10:02 am

    “So, I was totally insulted the other day when I was at the check out at a local grocery store and he cashier was on her phone. What should I have said, done? So wrong!!!”

    Oh, you’ll love this.. I insert my comments into their conversation.

    “Tell them John said Hi!’… Or, “I can feel your pain. She shouldn’t have done that to you..”… “Is that your car alarm going off in the parking lot ?”.. etc.

  8. John & Patrick Dowd
    July 12, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    AMEN–unregulated accessibility breeds complete incivility!


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