Cell phone calls in public places

I was enjoying dinner on a recent trip when I had a little disruption.  Two ladies across from the restaurant from me 2-17-15-2were eating when one of them received a phone call.  She took the call, which is not a big surprise these days. But what was surprising is that she took the call on speaker phone!  What was more bizarre was the friend she was at the table with was not even part of the conversation.  So it wasn’t like the two friends both needed to hear the call. The friend had to sit there awkwardly while the lady held a dinner speaker phone conversation in a relatively quiet restaurant.  The lady taking the call was eating while talking so I can only guess she put it on speaker was to make it easier to eat (would you call this hands free eating, like hands free driving??). 

I can’t think of any public place where speaker phone should be used to hold a conversation. Maybe walking down the street but even then it’s still pretty annoying. No one wants to hear your distracting conversation.   At least when it’s a one sided conversation I can block it out because I don’t fully know what they are talking about, but when I hear the entire conversation blasting I can’t find a way to block it out.  Some people may say that it’s not that different from two people sitting there having a conversation. I think that’s true on the rare occasion, but mostly people tend to talk louder when they’re on the phone for some reason.

What should be the etiquette for taking phone calls in public places?  I think speaker phone conversations are a no brainer for being inappropriate in public, but what about phone calls in general?  For me, when in a restaurant I rarely will take a call unless it’s something that just can’t wait.  In those cases I try to step away from the table to take the call.  I just find it rude for dining companions and/or for the people sitting around me.  Even somewhere like a coffee shop, where it can be a working environment, I still find it inappropriate to hold lengthy conversations because it can be such as distraction for those sitting around me.

Hotel and restaurant lobbies, and even airport gates, seem like more appropriate places to hold phone conversations.  In those areas for the most part if you are distracted by someone on the phone you can easily move somewhere else.

Finally, airplanes.  I believe airplanes are the worst place to allow a phone conversation, and it’s because of this that I hope that cell phones continue to be banned during most flights.  In such tight quarters I can’t imagine having to be stuck next to someone blabbering on their cell phone the entire time.  Sounds awful.

Readers, what are your thoughts on phone calls in public places? 

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Comments

  1. Literally listening to a guy have a business meeting on speaker right now in the airport lounge. 1) About half the lounge is on calls and everyone else is using their headphones or handset. It’s annoying, and I have to wonder who else on the call knows he’s on speaker? I’d be worried about sensitive business info.

  2. My understanding is that there is a device that makes cell phones inoperative within a certain area, except it can’t be used domestically. It’s used in Mexico and other nations to achieve quite when necessary.

  3. I have a policy that I do not take calls at dinner or when I am talking to a person face to face. That is what voice mail is for. I was getting a haircut the other day, and my phone went off. My stylist asked if I was going to get it I said no that voice mail will handle it. She was amazed that she stated I was the first not to answer the phone while in her chair. I stated that her time was valuable just as mine is the call is nothing that I can’t handle after I leave in a few minutes I saw her smile that also made me happy.

  4. I once had words with a man who took two calls during a movie. The second right during the massacre scene of Bloody Sunday, which I felt was extremely disrespectful.

    I think anyone who takes/makes calls in a restaurant and doesn’t step out is a dick and should be told so. (constant texting and FB checking from GenY is bad enough). The only time I’ve ever done that was when someone’s mum was (literally) dying and I took time out to provide comfort to her (she called me), but then felt extraordinarily guilty when it ended after ten minutes because my dinner was going cold.

    If people start being allowed to make calls during flights, I will have to stop flying. I already want to murder people who make calls on trains and trams. I can’t imagine how much angrier I will be if this starts happening in flight. The “I’m on the plane, be there soon” calls shit me to tears as it is. What’s wrong with a text message???!

  5. Just a note on cell phone blockers: they might be great for your personal comfort, or ensuring that a performance is not interrupted, but if I’m out and about while on call at the hospital I RELY on my phone having a functioning signal. We no longer carry pagers and to block signals can put lives in danger, so don’t.

  6. After working in customer service for years, I have grown to despise cell phone usage, especially since it keeps people from having a conversation with me while I assist them. I have even had customers take calls at the register, interrupting a conversation entirely.

    I wrote a blog post about my experiences that you can check out here:

    http://wesleygough.weebly.com/blog

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