Put The Phone Away Already


There’s a time and a place, people. Or more to the point: Just because you can be on the phone anywhere doesn’t mean you should.

Every day I see you, standing in line talking on your phone. Loudly. Apparently oblivious to the fact that everyone around you can hear your conversation. Everyone who isn’t on a call themselves, anyhow. And if you’re not talking on the phone, you’re texting. Seriously, whatever it is isn’t so important that you have to do it while you’re waiting to order coffee. Because if it actually is that important, you’d complete the call before you get in the store. And the texts? Surely you can set them aside for a few seconds while you get a delicious caffeinated beverage, right?

Scene one, starring Gabby McImportant as You. I will be playing the part of myself.

You: “So, anyway, we were, like, so drunk and like, the guy was all like, you know and then he was all like, ‘Can I buy you fine things some cocktails?’ Yeah, right! He totally, like, emphasized ‘cock’, like that was gonna get us to drink with him. Well, yeah, of course we let him buys us drinks…”

Me: (smiling, having listened to far too much of this conversation already and waiting for you to take a breath once you’ve arrived at the register) “What can I get for you today?”

You: (heavy sigh) “Hold on a sec, Missy, the guy wants to take my order or something.”

Really? I’m inconveniencing you? Okay, sure. I’ll continue to smile and take your order, bitch, because it’s my job and I’m a better person than you can ever hope to become. Your barista probably won’t decide to give you decaf. Retail Rule # 1: Don’t be rude to the people who make your food (or your drinks).

Scene two, starring Ditzy Dazeden-Confused as you. I reprise my earlier role as myself.

You: (arriving at the register, eyes glued to your phone as you fumble with your purse, plopping it on the counter and disrupting several displays) “Umm.”

Me: (smiling, slightly amused by your complete and utter state of distraction) “What can I get for you today?”

You: (still staring at your phone, stabbing at it with your thumbs) “Umm.”

Me: “It’s okay. Take your time.” (I glance at the nine people in line behind you and offer a smile and a shrug)

You: (looking up from your phone, apparently surprised to find yourself in a coffee shop) “Oh, umm… I want a, umm, medium…. no. Wait. I want a … umm… Hold on.” (you look at your phone again, perhaps hypnotized by its soothing electronic glow) “Umm… okay. I want a medium… no. Large… cappa… no. I want a large… umm…” And so on.  And on. And on. Seriously, how fucking hard is it?

If you’d get your mind on what you’re doing (ordering coffee in this case), you can do it and get back to being self-absorbed. You’ve had at least two minutes in the line to a) look at the menu and b) decide what the fuck you want to drink (if you don’t already know when you walk in the door). But you’re so busy talking on the phone or texting that you completely forget why you came in here in the first place.

To be fair, I also see this happen with people deeply involved in a discussion with one another that clearly began long before arriving at the store. By the time they get to the register there’s this moment where they realize they’re not in the office anymore. They look around like “Whoa. How’d we get here?” and then decide that maybe getting a tasty caffeinated beverage sounds like a good idea.

My point is, and always has been, put the god-damned phone down when you’re in public. You do not need to be connected every second of the day. It’s fucking rude to be on the phone, whether you’re talking or texting, in the middle of a store. Don’t be that jackass.

And one last thing: Both of the scenes above actually happened and although the dialog in scene one is a slight exaggeration, scene two happened exactly as written.

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4 Comments

Filed under *The Coffee Shop Days*, Retail Rant

4 responses to “Put The Phone Away Already

  1. Oh man, I can relate to some of these retail stories. Granted, I worked in retail before EVERYONE had a cell phone but these are ringing true for me. I’ve even seen signs in places that says, “Please do not be on your cell phone when you approach the counter.”

    Looking forward to reading more! You tell a story very well.

  2. Moona

    I don’t think the problem is that people are on their phone all of the time, but rather that they inconvenience people as a result. Where I work it’s mostly old people who come in and are therefore mobile-less, but you get the odd person chatting on the phone. If I ask them if they need anything and they don’t answer, I walk away and diddle in the back (if there aren’t other customers); I don’t even approach those on cells usually. With the old people though, they see a friend and strike up a convo, completely ignoring the employee (myself), and get mad when they’re done and I have moved on, assuming they didn’t want anything else.

    I’m on my cellphone often (mostly because I’m socially awkward and need to be doing something in public rather than staring at the wall… or something) but if I ever catch myself ignoring someone else, especially an employee at some place where I wouldn’t get served if they didn’t exist, I’ll ask the person behind me (or the employee) to give me a slap in the face.

  3. Yes, I agree… people too often don’t realize how their behavior affects those of us who, as you point out, are there to serve. And I may have glossed over the few good people who actually recognize that my time, and everyone else’s time, is as valuable as their own. You strike me as one of those.

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