Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cell phone (dis)courtesy

Yesterday I was at Mercy Woodstock Medical Center and had a short wait before the service was available. Seated in the waiting area on the lab side was a woman who was carrying on a long and loud conversation on her cell phone - while she was reading a magazine.

Within a few minutes a man seated to her right got up and walked out into the entrance hallway to get away from her. I remarked to employees at both the Radiology and Laboratory reception desks about the loud and long conversation, but neither took corrective action.

Later I learned that Mercy allows visitors and patients to use cell phones but, if the call becomes disruptive, the caller can be asked to terminate the call or go outside to finish it.

My suggestion to Mercy is that front-desk employees should be alert to such loud or long cell phone conversations and that a supervisor should be asked to speak to the phone user.

Too many cell phone users intrude in open, public places with their conversations. They just don't care. And, if you dare to say anything to them, they can quickly become confrontational, even nasty.

I was in a McDonald's one day where a man had set up his office. He had his laptop, PDA, phone, newspaper, reports, burger and drink, and he was conducting business on his phone in a loud tone of voice. The manager-on-duty was reluctant to approach him. You know, you don't want to anger a customer. What he didn't realize was that he was likely lose 5-6-7 customers for not approaching the man on the phone.

It's best to let management deal with the disruptive customer. If they don't, you can also contact the franchisee or McDonald's corporate office. Or the ownership or headquarters of whatever business in which you happen to be.

A restaurant - or a medical office or any other public place - is not a private business office or a cell phone user's personal phone space. Users should be considerate of others around them. Keep the calls short and in low tones, or go outside.


The Madd Bulldog said...

Ride Metra Big Shooter, and you'll get so aggravated with the cellphone users that the balance of your hair will fall out!

I know, cuz after I get overserved in the club Car, and I try to sleep it off, these f-n cell-gabbers go on and on and on...

Gus said...

TMB, I rode the Metra to Chicago one day, and I was definitely not the only person annoyed by a loud cellphone user. The louder the train noise, the higher her voice. Finally, several of us chimed in, and she hung up after telling her friend that riders were annoyed with her.

The Madd Bulldog said...

You seen da movie "Throw momma From The Train"? Howabout a 2009 update to: "Throw Cellphone User From Da Train"!!!!

The Madd Bulldog said...

Gussomundo- you are a man of many vehicles... Planes, Trains, & Automobiles. Also, buses, motorcycles, too. Been on a ship? You're on one now... it's called My Sheriff's Campaign.. and its sink'n! DOH!

whatmeworry? said...

Truly spoken by someone who has nothing better to do than make trouble for someone else. I suspect that ANY call, no matter how quiet would interrupt the little birdies tweeting in your head and give you something and someone to complain about.

DownByTheRiver said...

Hey Gus –

Throughout Western Europe & Asia, cell-phone jamming broadcasts within particular venues, such as theaters and restaurants are fairly commonplace. These “solutions” wouldn’t be commonplace if the annoyances weren’t occurring. Unfortunately, here in the US, the FCC regs don’t allow these devices to be used. Same with the TV remote control zappers, sold over the internet, that allow a person to “zap”, or turn off so many of the TV’s blaring away in public venues these days.

As I consider “rap” to not be in any recognizable way “music” nor enjoyable, particularly in regards to the proliferation of 1000 watt sub-woofers installed in autos which rattle the dishes in my cabinets and upset the delicate balance of well-hung framed artworks on my walls, I asked my electronics-nerd exbrother-in-law what could be done about THAT. He allowed that a directional-beam “weapon” could be easily devised that would fry the circuits in a car or home stereo system (think EMP), but that it would also fry most every electronic circuit in the auto and home as well. Oh well – if I had such a device, I PROMISE I would only use it for good, not evil! LOL!

As it was Mercy, I would have to say that blocking calls in allowable areas is not the best policy in this example. Most of us have had the experience of responding to a friend’s or relative’s admission for emergency care, and know how important and vital it is to be able to communicate the situation to other close friends and family members. Often, such communications can produce vital information that will help the staff, family and patient in regards to treatment and other weighty decisions.

The Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper advanced one solution that he himself claims to have used frequently. Most of us are annoyed by these loud calls as our brains are “wired” to recognize communication, i.e; inter-personal verbal communication. If a conversation is loud enough, our brains assume that the communication is directed at us – so when it proves not to be so, we have to be able to “over-ride” our brains’ hard wiring, and are thus annoyed and confused.

The solution that Roeper advances is to take a direct personal interest in the conversation. Hang on every word. Loudly advance YOUR OWN answers in response to the callers’ statements. Treat their end of the conversation as a conversation with YOU. Be enthusiastic and obvious about it, as your fellow victims will also enjoy your game. When the caller, finally exasperated with your assertive injection into the conversation, asks, “Do you mind?”, you must reply, “No, not at all!” with a big, sh*t-eating grin. Most such calls usually end rather promptly.


DownByTheRiver said...


It's not the hushed conversations that are perfectly audible to the recipient that are the problem. It's the "shouters".

In addition, some of us are entirely capable and polite enough not to "wear" a phone everywhere we go! In a public venue, my phone remains in my car. If an important call comes in, the 15 to 120 minute delay in my response to the caller is HARDLY a problem to be solved.

If such communicatorial "connectedness" is "vital", I suggest you do what all we smokers are used to doing - "take it outside"!

Plus who is it that would wantonly broadcast every detail of last night's date, every private and sometimes embarrassing medical issue, or just the general banality of these conversations?

As was once remarked in the HUAC hearings, "have you no shame?"

Apparently not!


Gus said...

DBTR, thanks! And thanks to Richard Roeper. The nice thing about doing that at Mercy is that they'll be ready to extract the person's cell phone from the throat of the person who spoke up.

There was a sergeant at Lowry AFB who designed a radar interceptor and drove cops crazy. He could transmit the speed to be displayed on the radar gun (until they caught him). I don't think the Feds were too nice to him.

DownByTheRiver said...

LOL! Gus! LOL! Were it I, I can guarantee that it would be that caller, not me, that would be in distress! LOL!

Your mention of the Lowry Sergent also has me recalling, again, certain "illegal" but necessary devices as were, again, widely available for a price, yet highly illegal.


Gus said...

DBTR, the device created by the sergeant at Lowry AFB didn't, as I am sure you discerned, just jam a radar signal; he could dial in the speed he wanted the radar operator to see displayed. Very creative... Just imagine driving by the radar car at 30MPH and showing him 140MPH!

DownByTheRiver said...

Yes, Gus,

And this was the very situation posited by these device "manufacturers".

Electronics is a "hard" science, and as long as you know your stuff....

It doesn't surprise that your friend was Air Force. Those of us early into the electronics game, regardless of school, all had most of the basics taught to us via "old" official Air Force curriculum.


Gus said...

A different USAF sergeant tried to jam an electronics school curriculum down my throat in 1960, but there was no way my brain could handle a schematic for a bomber-nav system. Finally, in exasperation, he asked, "Philpott! Which side do you think you are on???"

DownByTheRiver said...

Ironically Gus,

IF you were on the "other side", you would have been in favor of the "vacuum tube". Remember those carefree days when one could waltz out to the hardware store, and for 35 cents, the partiular tube held in your young hand would restore your extended family and household back into the civilization of home television! LOL!

Come to think of it now, WHOSE side is WHOM on? What with the fact they we are facing the threat of an EMP destroying all of the solid-state electronics in this country and the resulting chaos.

Maybe another reason for the Russians (still on the tube system quite substantially) to be so sanguine regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions!


QuitWhiningAlready said...

Looks like Gus found a new best friend.

DownByTheRiver said...

No, Doug and Wendy -

That's any friend at all. You know, THAT WHICH IT IS THAT YOU'RE DESPERATELY IN SEARCH OF! Obviously, far outside your skill set!

I would invie you to the Island Lake Blogspot, except that we've had our fill of discontent d*ckheads like you.


DownByTheRiver said...

>>>> Looks like Gus found a new best friend.

Looks like Doug/Wendy has little or no knowledge to inform any particular sort of discussion of any sort.

Your ignorance is not any sort of impediment to including you into the discussion, Doug/Wendy.

It's your ATTITUDE regarding your ignorance that's off-putting. Intelligent people cannot tolerate those for whom any sort of learning is a vice.

You seem well-set, practiced and enthusiastic - in fact, INVESTED in remaining an ignoramus.

Hope it's workin' for ya!