Please Turn Off Your Cell Phone

We desperately need to establish some cell phone etiquette in this country. I am so tired of standing in line behind someone at the checkout stand at Safeway who is talking on the phone about something terribly earth-shattering, like what she was wearing last night at the party, and completely ignoring the poor checker trying to do her job.

This happened to me just today. The checker asked for the woman’s Club Card, a question the woman would not have missed had she been paying any attention. But since she was talking non-stop on the phone, she did not scan her card. When the bill was totaled, the woman was then very irate that the total was more than she expected, and it took another 5 minutes for her to check out because the checker had to re-ring some items to show their prices to her.

Well, OK. If you’re not going to pay attention to what’s going on around you, you might miss some important stuff.

And don’t even get me started on texting. You’ve probably seen the woman on YouTube who is texting while walking, and texts herself right into a fountain. I call that swift justice.

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I think people should be respectful and courteous when conducting transactions in a store, at the doctor’s office, at the bank, or pretty much anywhere people are engaged in business-related communications. For that matter, what can be so all-fired important that you have to either have a phone in your ear yakking while you are shopping or you have to be texting while you’re walking down the street?

What did these people do before cell phones? How did they cope? Was life so completely bereft of joy and happiness because they couldn’t broadcast their most trivial thought every moment of the day?

In this 21st century of Facebook, Twitter, cell phone conversations, texting and other non-contact sports, maybe it’s time to return to some 20th century social interaction that doesn’t require any technology.

So here’s what I propose: let’s try talking to each other face-to-face. When you’re in the grocery store, at the gas station, in the bank, at the mall, hang up the phone, stop texting and smile at the person next to you. Strike up a conversation with someone in line with you. Talk to the nice checker as she’s ringing up your purchases. Wish her a nice day for a change.

Hey – at least it’s a start.

Shelley Daley

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