Thursday, July 30, 2009

My 5 New Rules for Cellphone Use

Congress is currently seeking a ban on texting while driving after studies have shown that the practice is as dangerous -- or more so -- than drunk driving.

Further, it's been found that even talking on a cellphone while driving means you have a four times greater chance of having an accident.

That got me to thinking about all the other rules we probably need to have in place regarding the use of electronic gadgets. Especially in the workplace. So, here's a list I've started for lawmakers to consider:

Making it illegal to:

1. Hold a business conversation while you're in the bathroom. You may think I can't hear the toilet flushing or the water running or someone calling "can you hand me some toilet paper?" but I can. Really, I can wait 10 minutes until you're out of the john.

2. Do noisy multitasking when on a conference call. It's cool that you can work from home, but washing the dishes, loading the laundry, using a Weedwacker and drying your hair is distracting.

3. Call me as soon as you land. As I said before, I can wait 10 minutes until you de-plane. Please don't make me listen to you and 100 other people say, "I've landed."

4. Use a cellphone when you are traveling through the Appalachians. Or some other area where service is spotty as best. If you KNOW you're going to have lousy reception, if you KNOW you're going to fade in and out like Britney Spears, then use e-mail or find a decent land line and call me. Don't say, "I'll probably lose you!" and then do it five times in 30 minutes. I didn't get lost that much when I was 5-years-old.

I think this would a great forum to lay down some electronic gadget rules for the workplace. Care to add to my list?


Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, MRW said...

Love this! Especially the "I've landed' cell phone calls ;)

Would also suggest 'not' multitasking with email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. (even if it's 'quiet' multitasking)while having a face-to-face or telephone conversation, even if just a casual 'catching up' call. You're not fully engaged or truly listening to the other end of the conversation when absorbing emails and tweets, and it becomes obvious to the other person in your 'uh-huhs' and 'yes-es' that are disconnected and lacking in true 'interest.'

My 2 cents -- and thanks again for your humorous look at a meaningful topic!


Anita said...

I can't tell you how many times I've wondered why people bother to get together if one -- or both -- are consumed with their Blackberries the entire time. Thanks for adding to the list!

Mike Buckley said...

Anita, great post! Here are my two rules. 1. If you're going to use a cell phone, you should have at least a basic grasp of the process of electronic voice amplification. There is a tiny microphone in your cell phone that actually AMPLIFIES YOUR VOICE. It is NOT necessary to yell into the cell phone. A normal tone of voice will be heard just fine on the other end.

2. Unless you're a brain surgeon on call, surely you can be unavailable for a half an hour while you, and everyone else in the restaurant (see #1) enjoy your dinner. If you MUST be available set your phone on vibrate and step outside when you receive a call.

Anita said...

Those are great additions. Cell yell is unnecessary...and I really don't like talking to someone while they're eating. As you said, unless it's a crisis, it can wait!

David Zinger said...


You should never use a cell phone when the person is so close, as in one cubicle away, that they hear your voice better over the cubicle wall than on the phone.


Anita said...

Oh, I hear that complaint a lot! Thanks for adding it to the list.

Rich Rivera said...

My biggest phone issue:
Don't use the phone while at a cashier or another person who needs your attention. You can be unavailable long enough to recognize the person right in front of you!


Anita said...

I agree! I've seen people never even acknowledge a cashier or make eye contact as the continued their phone conversation. Rude, rude, rude.

Anonymous said...

To add to Rich - I work in a pharmacy and you wouldn't believe how many patients come through the drive thru to pick-up a prescription while talking on their cell phone. In WI - it is mandatory that we (pharmacists) talk with the patient. I end up waiting for them to get off the phone so I can talk with them about it. Super frustrating! Oh and add some cigarette smoke to the above and you will see a whole different side of me!

Anita said...

That's terrible! At the very least, I hope they apologize when they've kept you waiting. Let's hope your comments will get through to people.

Anonymous said...

My boss was hit by a driver who instead of paying attention to what he was doing was texting while he drove. My boss now has to have surgery to repair the damage caused by the accident.

Anita said...

It truly is a dangerous practice, but I think it doesn't really hit home with people until they know someone who gets hurt. I can't imagine any message is important enough to risk injuring or killing someone. If it's that important -- pull over!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the I can hear the eating and the dishes, etc. annoying also:
Why does anyone EVER EVER EVER use a cellphone in the bathroom, I know everyone does it and I have been on the receiving end of those calls and I always say "hey, call me when you are done, I don't want to hear the mom telling her little kid to wee wee in the next stall" 90% of the calls are not emergencies :)