What Is It With Cellphone Usage In Public Venues?

children, cell phones and safety. does it come down to modeling?I spent the afternoon working at a favorite coffee shop today and instead of listening to music, as I usually do, I decided to just enjoy the ambiance of the café crowd. Then I was fairly appalled to have the guy sitting next to me jump on a call. But he wasn’t just chatting on his iPhone, he had it on speakerphone. Even worse, he didn’t know how to use the darn speakerphone mode, so he had the bottom of the phone jammed to his ear and was talking louder to compensate and ensure that the other party would hear him. The microphone was in his ear and the speaker was somewhere between him and me. You can imagine how it went.

But that wasn’t all, because he was having problems getting his car repaired and was complaining to first one company, then another. Finally he seemed to wrap it all up because he left. Just to have someone else a half-dozen tables away be doing the same thing, a loud conversation on a speakerphone.

Meanwhile, last night I attended a media screening of the amusing new film “Shaft” (starring Samuel L. Jackson) and even though security warned people to stay off their phones and even though people were there by invitation, I saw not one person texting, but two people on their phones during the movie.

cellphone jammer portable miniI even talked to one of the security people afterwards (since they spend the movie watching the audience to ensure no-one’s recording the film) and she told me that the one person who had been texting near the front was “a studio executive” and therefore they couldn’t tell her to stop.

Never mind that it was incredibly rude of this woman to be texting during a movie. Never mind that letting one person get away with it tells everyone around her (over half the theater because of the way it’s all laid out) that it’s okay to sneak their phone. AUGH!

There’s just a basic lack of manners when it comes to cellphones with a significant percentage of people nowadays, and it’s hard to figure out how we as a society are going to move ahead without it getting worse and worse. What’s it going to be like in ten years? Twenty?

Contrasting with that, I have to say I would be very much in favor of theaters and other public venues deploying cell signal blockers. They’re on the market, (that’s one on the left, a portable unit that’s about $180) just not legal in the United States. In fact, the FCC is pretty blunt about it: “We remind and warn consumers that it is a violation of federal law to use a cell jammer or similar devices that intentionally block, jam, or interfere with authorized radio communications such as cell phones…”

Still, if I have to keep suffering through these knuckleheads and their phones, I don’t know what I’m going to do. If you see me and I refuse to remove my headphones, you’ll at least know why, however.

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