2013-03-01 / Columnists

Slice Of Life

Technology Etiquette
by Beth Hanning

No calls during dinner, no calls after 8 p.m., and no phones in our rooms. These were the phone rules in my parent’s house. If the phone rang after 9 p.m., it would be an emergency or bad news. If the phone rang during dinner we were not allowed to answer. This was before answering machines and caller ID. My father would say, “If it’s important they will call back.” It is because of these rules that were enforced in my house growing up that I cannot believe so many people do not have cell phone etiquette.

When cell phones became popular I was waitressing part time. I could not believe the amount of people who would ignore me while I was attempting to wait on their table. Not just teenagers, adults too. Etiquette rule #1: If you must take a call in a restaurant tell the person you are speaking to to hold on a minute and step outside for the conversation. No one at the restaurant wants to hear your conversation.

Parent teacher conferences are my favorite. You are trying to discuss a student’s progress and mom not only has the ringer turned on, she actually answers the phone. Etiquette rule #2: When attending parent teacher conferences turn your phone off, unless you are awaiting a call from President Obama regarding an issue of national importance.

I even saw a teenager recently post a picture from church. The teen posted a pic with the caption “Never saw this in church before.” I wanted to comment put your phone away. I have never seen someone take pictures during Mass, but I had exceeded my annoyance level with my daughters with my hash-tag article so I decided to not be annoying. Etiquette rule #3: Turn your phone off in Mass. Not just the ringer, actually turn it off.

My favorite is the subway/bus phone calls. When I was taking the A train a few years ago, I could not wait until we went underground so the lady on the cell phone would be quiet. Never mind the insane conversation she was having on the 7:20 a.m. express train. Etiquette rule #4: Do not speak on the phone on the subway or bus, period! I enjoy reading my newspaper in peace and do not want to hear how much you hate your ex.

The old fashioned pay phones had doors that you closed for privacy. Why do people think that they can discuss their personal business while walking through the aisles of Target? Why do they continue to talk while they are line at the same store and hold everyone up because they are not paying attention to the person working the register? Etiquette rule #5: Do not speak on the phone while shopping or waiting on line to check out at the register.

Then there are the people at the gym; while on the treadmill they have a full blown conversation. According to Steve Orr if you can talk you are not working hard enough. Seriously, do I really need to put this as a rule? Once again, unless it is an EMERGENCY call reject the call. Etiquette rule #6: No phone calls at the gym.

I can go on and on, this could be a book.

Happy Parade Weekend everyone. Enjoy.

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