Friday, November 30, 2012

Cell Phones in Public

The other day we stopped by the Exit 9 Wine & Liquor in Clifton Park. I don’t know much about wine stores or what to buy so it was an interesting experience for me. At the check-out register while paying, I noticed a young woman at the next register swiping her Credit Card on a few bottles of wine she’d bought. While completing the transaction she remained on her cell phone, holding it under her ear and engaging in what I thought was a conversation the rest of us shouldn've been forced to listen to. It was a boyfriend from the sounds of it, and they were having a tiff of some sort.

Although the nature of the conversation was itself annoying, seeing that this woman couldn’t wait to get into her car to make this phone call was even more annoying. Who does this? Who has a full-blown phone conversation while conducting business in a public setting? I thought it was very rude and rather disrespectful to the cashier completing the purchase. Staying on your cell phone like that is kind of saying that the cashier is insignificant and doesn’t deserve your basic respect while in his/her store.

Maybe I’m wrong I thought. So when the cell-phone woman went off I asked the cashier if that kind of thing was seen as rude by the workers. Without hesitation the cashier said they all hated it, and how it happened all the time. Terrible, I thought.

If I’m ever on the phone with someone and I hear them doing business of this sort on the other end, for instance saying, “Hold on.” Then, “Can I get a foot-long turkey--” I just hang up. I hate holding on for that and I feel slimy being part of it happening to the person who has to serve this cell-phone fool.

There was a time when I actually stood up for the cell-phone user. I was at the old Borders on Wolf Rd. I was upstairs reading a book and a woman came through on her cell phone. She had a friend or family member on the line and was running through book titles, trying to get the purchase right. An elderly couple sitting a few feet from me and reading a book they weren’t going to buy scolded the woman for being rude. The woman apologized and ran off embarrassed.

I said to the couple, “This isn’t a library. She was trying to buy a book.” In my opinion she had the right-of-way on that one. And two months later that Borders closed down. Maybe too many people treating the place like a library and not a retailer.

Brian Huba

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