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.