I saw something interesting the other day while visiting a pharmacy. There was a sign on the counter which read “We will be happy to assist you after you have finished your cell phone call.” It was something I had never run across before and I was intrigued. I thought to myself, “Brilliant! What a fantastic idea”.
I’m certainly not the first person to complain about cell phone etiquette and I hate to sound all “gripey”, but I feel the need to get my “gripe” on. I think we all need to take a step back and look at how we are behaving.
We all see people with earbuds or Bluetooth devices seemingly surgically implanted into their ears. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been caught saying hello to a perfect stranger only to realize that they weren’t speaking to me but to someone else on their earpiece. Wow that felt foolish. Fooled me again!
Personal experience and embarrassment aside, here’s the heart of the matter; the thing that sent me reeling was seeing a family out to dinner the other night. Mom was on her iPhone, Dad was on his Blackberry, tween daughter was texting away and young son was playing on his Gameboy. The poor waiter practically had to jump up and down just to get their attention long enough to take their order and when the food arrived they all managed to eat while continuing to use their respective devices. The daughter even took a phone call during the meal without a comment from either parent.
Yes, our communication skills may be eroding, but I can type 90 words per minute on my new touchpad. It’s madness. I’m tired of hearing clients beginning conversations with “Yeah, hang on a second”. What ever happened to “Good morning”, or just simply “Hello”? Remember when you were a kid and your mom had you walk up to the counter by yourself to ask for something in the store so that you could learn how to communicate your needs? Remember when you were taught to ask politely for things and say “please” and “thank you”? How can our kids learn these things when we can’t be bothered to remove our Bluetooth long enough to communicate politely with other people? How will they know how it’s done?
I’ve decided that when possible, I’m going to find ways to insert the policy from that sign on the pharmacy counter into my own life. I’ll find polite ways to let clients know that I’ll still be available when they have finished their phone call. I will offer to get up from the table to give my dinner companion privacy to complete their texting session. I will pretend not to hear children unless they use the word “please”.
Or am I just being a complete bitch?