Atheist Scruples – what’s a “public phone”?

Really dating the game here, but it did come out before cell phones were in every pocket. Portable phones didn’t fit in pockets back in 1986.

“…$3300 retail.”


Anyway, the question:

You are using a public phone. Someone else is waiting. Do you cut your call short?

I’ll rewrite this for a 2014 audience:

You are talking on your cell phone while shopping. You’ve reached the till and are ready to pay. Do you cut your call short or keep talking to your BFF while gesturing impatiently or outright ignoring the sales clerk who is trying to serve you?

Biased much? I’m so not a fan of how people tend to use their phones these days.

In terms of the original Scruples question, I think I’d feel compelled to cut the call short but less out of courtesy and more out of “don’t listen in on my conversation.”

In terms of the 2014 question, a lot of people who talk on cell phones don’t care who’s in earshot and also don’t care who they inconvenience in the process. Privacy is a thing of the past in a lot of cases.

From Psychology Today, an article regarding noise/conflict in the workplace:

The microphones in most cell phones are so sophisticated that you can whisper into them and still be heard. This fact is lost on many of your office mates (and on people in elevators, restrooms, movie theaters, airports, weddings, and funerals), as they shout their personal details into their phones from the next cubicle over. “My doctor says my hemorrhoid operation is gonna take about an hour. They take this big metal tube and they put it in my . . .” Similar conversations about spouses, dates, relatives, sports, gossip, and politics abound, often at a volume in the office where these oh-so-important chats can be heard across the room and down the hall.

I think it’s entirely rude to remain on a phone call or stand there texting when you’re supposed to be dealing with someone right in front of you. Finish the conversation and then run your stuff through the till. Order quickly from a restaurant menu and resist the urge to waste 20 minutes of your waiter’s time taking group photos with your phone and posting them to Instragram. You really think they give a damn about where you’re eating today and what food looks like on a plate?

Opinions were mixed on a recent poll done by the Guardian over cell phone use in restaurants. Good publicity for the restaurant, annoying for other patrons.. This was a good comment made by someone using the name AhBrightWings.

It certainly seems odd that they wouldn’t see the free advertising potential, so they’ll get their just desserts.

Now, if they want to ban blathering into cell phones all night… I’m for that, as it has an impact on the atmosphere for other diners. We dined out on Valentine’s with our daughter (a first ever). It was she who, at fourteen, commented with disgust on the sheer number of people with their heads dropped into their laps texting away, or worse, bellowed into their phones.

One poor girl, was gazing sadly around the packed room while her date/partner spent the entire evening on his phone. My daughter whispered to me, “Look at that couple over there and that one there. Wish they could see the difference.”

The couple she nodded to were also young teens, but sans phones. Animated, laughing, hanging on each other’s words…they were an image from a bygone age and the very picture of young love. It was a delight to be in their presence.The other couple, unfortunately, were in good company, as nearly every table had marooned partners eating a solitary meal with a person at the table, but not really there.

About 1minionsopinion

Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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3 Responses to Atheist Scruples – what’s a “public phone”?

  1. N. E. White says:

    Guilty. My husband and I make a point to put the phone away when out to eat, but sometimes they make their way back onto the table (fact-checking usually gets them out). I do try to make an effort to use the cell phone as little as possible in a public setting.

    Regarding the private conversations made public, I haven’t really experienced that (other than, say, in a mall). Most folks I’ve worked with are very aware of who may or may not be listening to their cellphone conversations. They keep ’em short or move to a more private location.

  2. 1minionsopinion says:

    One of my co-workers answers hers with a loud “What up!” even though she’s approaching 50 if she’s not there already. When she’s not on the phone, it’s beeping every few minutes to alert her to a text message from one of her kids. The beep is distinctive enough musically to put me in mind every time of a Scott Joplin rag and she doesn’t worry about who hears the details behind the latest bit of family drama. She’s been out of the office a couple weeks and it’s been lovely, frankly. But I hope she feels better soon…

    I still have a stupid phone rather than a smart phone and do a pay-as-you-go service rather than a contract. I keep my calls short just so I don’t burn through my minutes. It’s more for sorting out schedules and reminders to pick up this, that, or the Little Man from the babysitter’s. heh.

    I used to hate texting but now I’ve come to appreciate the usefulness as a means of relaying information without having to go through all the courtesies of hello how are you fine. But I don’t live on my phone, unlike a lot of folks these days.

  3. Pingback: A Question of Scruples: What Would You Do?

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