Is it rude to talk on a cell phone in a public place?

United States
January 3, 2008 8:04pm CST
I think it is. I was in the grocery store looking through the frozen food dinners when I suddenly heard a male voice behind me yell, "hey!" I almost jumped out of my shoes thinking the guy was talking to me. I turned and he was still talking and looking me (I thought), but then I realized he had a blue tooth headset and was on his cell while looking at the frozen dinners himself. Before I figured it out though, I stared at him for a few seconds trying to figure out how to respond. He looked at me like I was evesdropping, but he was talking loud enough for the entire frozen food section to hear him. About ten minutes later, I heard him still talking on his cell as he passed me in the dairy section. This is one of my pet peeves, because I really don't want to hear other people's conversations, and I don't think they should want to share them. Is talking on the phone that important that you can't stop while you are in the grocery store? or, at walmart, or in line to get into the theater?
13 people like this
45 responses
@nichole1983 (1189)
• Canada
4 Jan 08
i do it all the time... and if i feel that its necessary to take my phone to the store etc obviously the phone call is that important... if its a buddy and we are just shooting it then i will tell them that im at the market or whatever and i will call them back later... but i have been in stores many times when it was my adjuster from the insurance company, a doctor etc whatever it maybe and it is important that i talk to them... im not going to put my phone on mute when it is imperative that i need to talk to the person... if you dont want to hear the conversation (which is only one sided anyway; unless you can hear the other person... most times this is not the case) just tune it out and move on about your business..
• United States
4 Jan 08
I understand where you are coming from, but at the same time, what did you do before the cell? The doctor or adjuster would have to wait. Also, when someone stands right behind you talking in your ear, it's kinda hard to tune them out. It's not like just deleting an unwanted email or changing the station on the TV. I also believe that if a person has a conversation in a public place it becomes my business and everyone elses business. When they are in the check out line not paying attention to the clerk because they are on the phone, I can't tune them out or move on. People have bumped into me because they were on the phone and not paying attention. Hard to tune out. I know, I'm ranting. It's been one of THOSE days.
1 person likes this
• Canada
4 Jan 08
before the cell phone i was in my early teens... so i didnt really care about cells before then... i have had cells for several years.. and when im out in public talking on my phone im not shouting at the top of my lungs like some ppl do... i have never been rude to the clerks or anything when on the phone i motion all the same as if i were talking to them... most ppl that talk on the phone loud are only looking for attention oh look at me this is what im doing tonight blah blah blah... ok well those ppl dont need phones and shouldnt be doing that in public... more pet peeve would be the dumb drivers that dont know how to drive and talk on their phone... errrrr it really gets to me... if you know how to talk on your cell in public then there isnt a problem at all
2 people like this
@anniepa (26858)
• United States
5 Jan 08
I must say nobody should be driving and talking on a cell phone unless it's an absolute emergency. There's no reason to be on the phone otherwise, if it's that important you can pull over. And nothing's more irritating than being behind someone in the grocery checkout who is talking on the phone instead of taking care of their grocery bill, holding everyone else up. It's not necessary. If it were a true "emergency" you wouldn't be there shopping. If there's a call I absolutely can't miss instead of getting a voice mail message I wait until I get the call to go shopping or do whatever other errands I have. Annie
1 person likes this
@adouep (7)
• Mexico
4 Jan 08
I think it is not rude to use the cell phone in public places, because in fact I think it was created for that, for communicating when you are not home. But what I think might be rude is to use It either on places where you are asked not to use it (Like the cinema) or to speak to aloud that you annoy the people around you. But in the end it depends on each person how and where they use their phones.
@rosey3223 (1569)
• United States
4 Jan 08
I guess I have just gotten so used to cell phones being around that it doesn't bother me all that much anymore. Now you are right in that that guy should have been more aware if his surroundings and been more quiet, actually that goes for anyone who is talking on a cell in public. He should also have clued in as to why you were staring at him like that...they never do!! My pet peeve about cell phones is when they are cashing out. Whether it be in a restaurant's drive-thru, front counter, wherever it is that you go to pay for the items that you are buying, THAT is where I find it extremely rude to be talking on your cell because the majority of the time the clerk is trying to ask you questions and is being completely ignored by the twit on the cell!! I cannot stand that!!
2 people like this
@worldwise1 (14890)
• United States
4 Jan 08
I consider talking on cell phones in public places the height of rudeness, JoyceRenee! I agree that nobody really wants to listen in on someone else's "private" conversation. Yet, these inconsiderate people don't think twice about whipping out their cells to have these private talks, and look at you like you're crazy if you even glance their way. That is one reason why many places of business prohibit the use of cell phones in their establishments. I think they should be banned from all public places. One great technology that has come on the scene is the jammer that can interrupt such phone calls.
• United States
4 Jan 08
Ooh, there's a jammer. What's that about? You got my point exactly. People think I'm crazy because I only have a cell phone because I have an hour's drive to work. If anything happens, I want to have a phone right there. I don't use it while I'm driving or in public places. I wait until I go to my car, and then I call them back while I'm still in the parking lot. I don't start driving until I'm done with the conversation. I know that is extreme, and I don't expect all that from others. It would just be nice if they were more considerate about their cell phone use. Thanks!
• Philippines
4 Jan 08
Hi JoyceRenee, If you ask my opinion it depends on how that person uses it's cellphone. If he or she violates the privacy of another person may be yes it is rude. like talking very loud as if he/she wanted people to know that he has a cellphone or maybe that person is a first time user of that said devices and wanted some attention... he he he... But, kidding aside there are other people who knows how to handle situation were in he/she know when and where to take calls. like for example your in a bus and your phone ringing all you have to do is ask that person call again or that you'll just call him/her back because your in a bus or somewhere else and you can hear him/her. that way you need not to talk so loud that you are disturbing other people.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jan 08
Hi, thanks for your response. I agree with you that there are people who are not so rude with the cell. I guess that's why I have such a problem with people who are rude. I think you're right that some folks seem to talk loud when the don't need to just to let other people know that they are "cool" because they have a blue tooth head set. Regards.
1 person likes this
• Malaysia
7 Jan 08
well it's probably a normal thing for people to answer their phone when someone's calling. But I think we should be aware of our surroundings, and try to mind our manners when answering or talking on the phone in public, so as not to disturb other ppl. we can't simply yell and talk extra loudly and sometimes if we're at a noisy place or are in the middle of something, perhaps it's best to return the call.
1 person likes this
@cblackink (969)
• United States
7 Jan 08
That is one of my pet peeves. I really don't want to hear other people's private conversations in public and I think it's downright rude to subject everyone around you to it. I wholeheartedly agree with you. Makes you wonder how we lived before cell phones, doesnt' it? Good Lord, I don't need to be in constant contact with anyone and I definitely don't like the idea of being reached by anyone at anytime. I turn my phone off. Let them leave a message on my voicemail. I check that regularly.
1 person likes this
• United States
6 Jan 08
If you're in public, keep your voice down. But I do think it's really rude to be talking on your cell phone while you're ordering takeout or just trying to conduct business with a cashier. I always hang up my phone when I get to the check stand so I can converse with the cashier. But if you're out in public it doesn't bother me unless you're so loud that I can't hear my own phone call. I don't want to hear about bowel movements while I'm trying to eat nor do I want to hear how your little kid took his diaper off and threw poo across the room like a monkey. Be discreet about what you talk about in public. If you wouldn't want your priest/preacher/rabbi/clergy member to hear it, don't say it out in public.
1 person likes this
• Canada
5 Jan 08
Hi and welcome to Mylot...good topic! Even though I am a cell phone user and I have chatted with my hubby in all kinds of public places I agree with your viewpoint. For example I was attending a social event for a women's shelter I am involved with yesterday and my phone went off in the middle of the entertainment and I was embarrassed and regretted not shutting off. I wasn't expecting a call but should have put it on vibrate and it is yet another example of how intrusive cell phones are becoming. When I do get a call in a public place I do my best to keep it short and lower my voice to respect the rights of others in my immediate vicinity. Unfortunately, as you pointed out people are not taking that into consideration and you are right they do create a lot of rude, inconsiderate behavior. The use and abuse of cell phones and blackberries and the negative impact they are having on our society is something that concerns me too. Maybe the companies who market them need to put some 'suggestions for appropriate behavior' forms as a marketing tool. Whatever the solution I hope we find one...otherwise it will only get worse as more people have cell phones and take them everywhere (and turned on) with public place that we all share. Happy Mylotting...good to have you here. Raia
@Stiletto (4597)
4 Jan 08
I do carry my mobile phone with me everywhere but I'll only take a call in public if I think it's likely to be important. Most people text me anyway so it's not normally a big problem for me. Other people speaking on their phones doesn't usually bother me too much although, like you I have also got a fright from time to time when someone right behind me suddenly yells "hello!" lol. Where I do think it's really, really rude is when people continue their phone conversation while someone is trying to serve them or whatever. I never do that no matter how important it is.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jan 08
As a general rule I think it is very rude to talk on a cell phone in the public. I used to be a cashier in a grocery store and one of the biggest complaints I had was my customers' being on the cell phone while I was ringing them up and when I would try to talk/greet them they would not be able to because they were already talking on their cell phones. The only exception I would have is that if you get an important phone call while you're in a public place, but otherwise I find it very rude and offensive.
1 person likes this
@CORDALE (868)
• United States
4 Jan 08
I agree. I try desperately not to do this i may have done this twice but both times i placed call on hold and apologized to the person. i hate cell phone drivers and i hang up on my husband when he calls while i am driving i have enough distraction telling my kids to be quiet stop hitting etc.... great topic thanks for starting it
1 person likes this
@lingli_78 (12852)
• Australia
4 Jan 08
i don't think that it is rude at all as long as they are not disturbing other people and don't talk too loudly... we can't avoid using cell phone in the public place because it is the purpose of having a cell phone, right??? i do it as well many times... but i keep my voice down...
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Jan 08
What?! I can't stand those people who get on the phone and are talking real loud, It's so rude. We hear all their conversation and we don't want to. People can be so loud too the movie theater is worse, when you're actually in it, I was watching a movie and this girl absolutely disrupted the movie. Her phone rang so loud and then she had the nerve to pick it up and start talking all loud! I guess the person on the other end couldn't hear her, she was on the phone for about 30 seconds until someone told her to shut up and then she just ran out. People need to be more courteous.
• United States
4 Jan 08
now that is rude i do think it ok at like the mall or grocery store though
@sublime1 (13)
• United States
4 Jan 08
Oh- this is such a pet peeve of mine! If I get a call in a public place I call them back or I STEP OUTSIDE to continue the conversation. Why does everyone need to share their personal info with the world? The Bluetooth ones are the worst! They start speaking and you think they are 1. CRAZY or 2. Talking to you. Very strange. I was at a movie recently and the guys blue light kept flashing during the trailers. His wife finally leaned over and made him take it off!
• United States
4 Jan 08
At the movies is the worst! Thankfully, I haven't seen much of that. I think my life would be too stressful if I thought I had to go to the movies with the phone in me ear. If I were a doctor, maybe. But, when I go to the movies, I don't want people to be able to contact me. Regards.
• Philippines
8 Nov 11
Well, I think it's rude if he's talking loud enough to make you think he's talking to you. I do talk on the phone in public but I will talk in low voice as possible not for the entire frozen foods section to hear. I think that's rude too.
@gmkumar08 (396)
• India
10 Aug 11
I guess it is rude, but,honestly,i did it many times.I tried not to,but,i just couldn't control it.All the people around looked at me in a weird way,as if i am the bad guy.Phew,i have to stop doing this!
• United States
8 Aug 11
cell phone jammers can really be a good item to keep the phones quiet in the public places. Although it is traditionally used in militray fiedld, it can be taken into application in many other circumstances I think.. http://www.jammerall.com/
• China
2 Apr 08
I think talk private affairs is not suitable in a store or other public place is not polite. It will interupt other people there. But if you can't ignore the phone or so much vital then you should try your best to slow down your voice. That is also what i did. Do you agree?
@chiyosan (29388)
• Philippines
31 Mar 08
I think it is a bit rude if you are talking with someone as if you are at the comfort of your own home... believe me there are those people who talks on CP who seemed like they want everyone to know that they are talking with someone, and on the phone! Its really silly. talking out loud for everyone to hear. i have encountered one who was even gossiping about someone they know and she was talking soo loudly at a mini bus. even if you are not listening.. you will hear.