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Cellphones Crowned Kings Of Rudeness

from the bend-the-numbers dept

The most commonly occuring rude behavior in America is people having loud cellphone conversations, according to the latest hard-hitting poll from 20/20. Of course, this is a bunch of freakin’ B.S. — oh wait, apparently people find that type of “near-cursing” really rude, too. It’s mildly interesting that poor phone behavior topped the list, but this is a strange survey. People were just asked to indicate how often they saw five particular behaviors in public, with the person that wrote the survey, rather than the respondents, determining what exactly “rude” is. Of course, the second most frequently occuring behavior was “being rude and disrespectful”, which would seem to encompass everything on the list. So perhaps it coming in second indicates that people aren’t as annoyed by cellphone conversations as 20/20 would like to make out.

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Comments on “Cellphones Crowned Kings Of Rudeness”

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Thomas says:

Why the hate?

I just don’t understand why you’re berating this study. I really think they made a big effort to create a study which would create statistically significant results and contribute to the scientific field of the study of rudeness. Every time I hear that 20/20 has conducted a study I know the results will be beyond reproach.

slow news day eh?

J Coleman says:

Re: Why the hate?

Hate to be the one to bust your bubble, but NO study is beyond reproach. If something is to be taken seriously, it must withstand criticism and close-scrutiny. That is what typically makes 20/20 fairly reliable, but they are definitely not above questioning. Questioning is what lends them their legitimacy.

Given the latitude that can be taken with most ‘studies’ and polls, everything can be set-up in a way to recieve the results desired. Simply in the wording of the question or the ordering of the options (or even the provision of the options) can sway poll-takers in the direction desired.

Jessica says:

Re: Re: Why the hate?

Talking on a cell phone while checking out is disrespectful to the cashier? That’s ridiculous. It’s pretty much the same thing if you go shopping with say your significant other, I don’t pay much attention to the cashier either. I suppose if you are doing business on the phone and have to put someone hold because you need to ‘respect’ the cashier that would be considered rude too. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. This is a ridiculous arguement.

Jessica says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Why the hate?

If you arent obnoxious on your phone then it isn’t rude. Do any of you people who are crying about this own cell phones? If so I consider that hypocrisy. This is just taking it too far burping in someones face is one thing, talking on your cell phone in public in another. Granted screaming in public on your cell phone is definitely rude. If you are keeping your conversation at normal levels I don’t understand what the problem is. Private conversations of course about private things would of course be kept in private. Is text messaging rude too? Reading the newspaper? How old are you people? Change happens, deal with it.

Greg Jameson says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Why the hate?

Jessica, my dear:
No one should have to be forced to “deal with” inconsiderate people. And that’s the whole root of this thing.

It doesn’t matter if you’re using technology or not when you’re being inconsiderate and rude. The only thing that matters is whether you strive to respect other people, in ALL things that you do.

I expect that by your “change happens” comment, you were referring to technological changes and the way technology is so pervasive in today’s society. But this is not the core issue. The core issue has not change one whit, throughout human history: it is called the Golden Rule. This remains constant, and it will continue to remain constant throughout ANY new technological means of communicating with one another. I think some people get so enamored with their use of “cool tech” as opposed to traditional means, that they forget that the rules of decency do not change one way or another.

No one is against the use of cell phones in general. But there is a right way to use them and a wrong way, and a time and place for everything.

Jessica says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Why the hate?

Well by all means, enlighten me of the cell phone etiquette. I honestly do not think I am rude or obnoxious with my cell phone. Though I do talk on the cell phone when I am checking out in line in the store sometimes, but I didn’t think that was a big deal so… I never yell or have clearly private conversations in public. I have never been given any rude looks. People have sometimes looked at me thinking I was talking to them but then realized I was on my phone. I’m not clear on what is ok and what isn’t ok when you own a cell phone and you never really answered my question. Do you own a cell phone? What is the point in owning a cell phone if you are only supposed to use it at home? I’m ranting now. I guess what I want to know is what is ok with a cell phone and what isn’t for educational purposes? I’m not aware of any official guidelines.

Greg Jameson says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Why the hate?

You are missing the point again. There are no “official guidelines,” just simple common sense and common courtesy. And again, this doesn’t apply to just cell phones — it applies to everything. There doesn’t have to be a special, separate “cell phone etiquette guide” just for that particular method of communication. Again, break out of the thinking of the cell phone as a tech object, and think of it as simply another method of vocal communication. And then use what you know of common courtesy and consideration for others when using it. If your parent didn’t teach you these things, then I guess I can’t really help you.

Actually, it sounds like from what you described, if that’s all you do, then you’re doing it in an inoffensive way, not inconsiderate. But surely you have encountered such people — those that are obnoxious, inconsiderate, loud, inappropriate and rude…cell phone users and otherwise. And surely you would have to agree that those people need a behavior adjustment. Those are the people we are addressing here.

Jessica says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Why the hate?

Well, I don’t think I am missing the point. I just don’t agree with whoever said using your cell phone while checking out in a grocery store is disrespectful. Or whoever compared cell phone talking to burping in someones face. Yes I do agree with you that the other things are definitely offensive. Another thing, the 16 to 25 is somewhat stereotypical, I’m 21. I work in cell phone repair. So I could definitely do some more accurate stereotyping. I guess I just kind of felt like you (not you personally) were picking on the younger generation of cell phones users. Either way you took the wind from my sails and I agree with what you are saying.

Greg Jameson says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Why the hate?

Thanks, Jessica, I think your viewpoint is valid, and I agree with you.

Oh, and as far as picking on the younger generation, I was not picking on any particular age group. Despite the bias that the article seems to have, inconsideration for others spans generations. For one example, there are plenty of middle-aged businesspeople that ride my train that would fit the “loud, inconsiderate and obnoxious” description. Unfortunately, it’s not just kids.

Kyle says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Why the hate?

Wow. This study is, in essence, baloney.

The day the general population of Earth considers and worries that public cell phone use rude, is the day the human species is doomed. We have much more pressing issues to worry about.

If you’re pissed off at people using cell phones in public, GET OVER IT. They’re not going away. Get off your high horse, ignore the guy on his phone in the next isle, make your purchase and get the hell out of the store.

If the cashier thinks you’re rude, so what? You’re not there to make friends with them, or to tell their life story, or to tell them where you’re having chest pains.

How come nobody has said anything about Nextels? For those of you who don’t know, Nextel is the nation’s largest walkie-talkie service provider. Those I can see people getting annoyed about, simply because you can hear two ends of the conversation, usually very loudly. I myself am a Nextel user and I take it off speakerphone if I’m in public, because I know how annoying it is. However, if you get bent out of shape and your day is ruined because of ‘rude cell phone behavior’ you’ve got some problems. If you think the Nextel is annoying, fine, but once again, they won’t stop using it, and they’re not going away, so get used to it. It’s not your phone; it’s theirs.

You guys need something else to worry about.

daniel says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Why the hate?

> Kyle said:
>If you’re pissed off at people using cell phones in public, GET >OVER IT. They’re not going away. Get off your high horse, ignore >the guy on his phone in the next isle, make your purchase and >get the hell out of the store.
>If the cashier thinks you’re rude, so what? You’re not there to >make friends with them, or to tell their life story, or to tell them >where you’re having chest pains.
Kyle, you and your ilk are not part of the solution. You are the problem. Instant Karma’s going to get you. Have you never wanted to be out with your family/SO/friends/etc, and to be able to enjoy a dinner/show/etc. without being rudely interrupted by some loudmouthed lout on a phone?
The underlying problem is that technology provides a means for people to amplify their behavior – When they take advantage of whatever tech, without considering how it affects those around them, the “me me me, don’t care about others” attitude is all too apparent.
And Kyle, it’s an “aisle”, not an ‘isle”, though perhaps an “isle” is where some of the worst cell phone offenders should be sent 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Why the hate?

Instant karma?

Sure, if I believed in that superficial crap.

And I’ve been out all the time with friends, family and my significant other and I’ve never once had a ‘ruined’ experience because of someone on their cellphone. Why? Because getting bent out of shape about that is a waste of time.

But thank you though, me and ‘my ilk’ are quite contempt with it.

Michael says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Why the hate?

I’m personally offended by anyone who is offended with my cellphone conversations. If my friend was standing next to me, you wouldn’t have a problem with me talking to him. You’d gladly eavesdrop over every second of it. But suddenly only hearing half the conversation offends you. You can all go fuck yourselves. Anywhere where normal conversation is allowed, cell phones are allowed at a normal level (yes, I’m conceding to people yelling into cell phones… that’s just irritating).

Greg Jameson says:

Re: Re: Re:10 Why the hate?

I think that that is all that anyone was actually talking about, Michael…not just people using cell phones — but rather, people using them rudely. It has nothing to do with hearing half the conversation vs. the full conversation. Normal cell phone conversation kept at a normal volume level and conducted in an appropriate environment or situation shouldn’t offend anyone. But people talking loudly into their cell phones with no consideration for the people around them, or people talking in movie theaters with no consideration for how inappropriate that environment is for such activity…that’s poor behavior. I think we’re all in agreement on that.

heliosphan (user link) says:

cell phone conversations are rude

The study was correct. Cell phone conversations are extremely rude and as a daily San Francisco/BART commuter – I see rude-cell-phone-usage every day. People who blatantly go out of their way to advertise their oh-so-important business dealings or relationship troubles everyone sharing the train car. Or you have the classic – let’s walk through the grocery store and shop – while ignoring the cashier as if he/she were a nobody while continuing a conversation that could have postponed for 30 minutes. I could go on and on…

Lethal Dose says:

Re: Re: cell phone conversations are rude

I dont mind ppl talking in the street, i dont mind hearing a cussing now and then, but you dont need to go yeling at your cellphone in the street so anyone can hear. Plus i think that in comercial establishments, like stores and suck, like hospitals, should be mandatory to have cellphones turned off. Yes because it is rude and creates anoying background noise to the clerk and the ppl browsing the store. Plus should be forbiten to drive and talk on the cellphone. Driving wile talking on cell has proven to be responcible for 30% of road accidents. I have nuthing against cellphones, but everything has to have a weight and mesure. I myself, have my cellphone in “busy mode” wile driving and in stores. Im able to see whos calling so i can pull over and call back or w8 till im off the store. Plus ppl can also leave a msg or send an SMS. There is no need for many things, that should be considered moral laws, that should be inforced by ppls self awereness itselfs. It would be a much better world if ppl didnt act like totaly selfish. (sorry bout my bad english, not my native language)

Kelly says:

Re: Re: Re: cell phone conversations are rude

Cell phone useage often is extremely rude, not least because people don’t seem to get that they’re using a phone, which means that you don’t have to yell. Many seem to think that they’re talking over a “string-and-tincan” setup. I was sitting on a plane recently, wearing earplugs and a headset with music playing, when I heard this loud, obnoxious voice. It was some joker standing in the aisle yelling into his cell phone about the usual trivia and nonsense…baying so loudly that the entire plane of 200+ people were forced to listen to him. What a jackass.

But cell phones are just the most recent and most common manifestation of widespread, boorish behaviour, resulting from the perception that many people seem to have that “when in public spaces, one should become as loud and expansive” as possible. Loud talk (and cell phones) in movie theatres; extremely loud music in the streets and on public transportation; loud, obnoxious behaviour at campsites (particularly at night); and so on. I had always been taught that in public spaces that you should contain your noise to your own circle, not inflict it on everyone else. Cell phones, boom boxes, loud talk…it’s all of a piece with a belligerent insistance that one’s individual perogatives always trump consideration for the rights and sensibilities of others.

Ron says:

On cellphones

“So perhaps it coming in second indicates that people aren’t as annoyed by cellphone conversations as 20/20 would like to make out.”

I disagree. People are certainly annoyed.. they’re just polite enough not to say anything most of the time. They then go on about their business.

Why should society tolerate loudmouths on a cellphone? We shouldn’t. When talking on a cellphone, you should be considerate of those around you. Even though you may not mind, others around you do not wish to hear of the trivial affairs of your pointless life.

There is a time and place for everything. Bed for sleeping and sex, the table for eating.. and a room out of earshot for yakking on the phone.

Be kind. Remember to STFU.

Dan says:

Re: On cellphones

I commute a long distance five days a week and I can tell usually who is on the cell phone by the way that they are driving usually badly. One day though I passed an individual who was having a rather bad driving day. I assumed he was on a cell phone, but as I glimpsed at him as I went by I noticed he had his laptop between himself and the steering wheel working away.

gypsymom says:

cell phone

While I agree that it is somewhat annoying to deal with people on their cell phones. I really don’t see that much difference with that and people talking to each other the same way when they are face to face. I do think it is strange to look around and realize that it seems that most people are talking to themselves, but it gives me a wonderful out when I want to talk to myself I just put my earbud in and start talking and no one knows the difference

Greg Jameson says:

Re: Ain't it the truth

I ride a train every day to work. The most annoying things on the train, by far, are:

1. Idiots talking loudly on cell phones.
2. Idiots on Bluetooth headsets, who tend to talk even louder than the idiots in #1.
3. Idiots wearing both Bluetooth headsets and iPod earbuds AT THE SAME TIME (yes, this is more common than you’d think), talking even LOUDER than idiots #1 and #2.
4. Add about another 5-10 decibels if any of the above idiots happen to be black. (This is not a racist statement. Just a fact from about 20 years of train-riding experience.)
5. Add another 3-4 points to the idiot score if any of the above have a disco ringtone.

Greg Jameson says:

Re: Re: Re: Ain't it the truth

Figured I’d get some flak from that comment, but sorry, I’m not taking it back, and I don’t have to “own up” to any “racist” remarks. There are many blacks that ride my train — many of my coworkers, in fact — that say exactly the same thing that I am saying. A lot of blacks just simply have a tendency to be too loud, both in their normal conversation and on the cell phone — more than any other ethnic group. It’s not something that is a result of any skewed perception on my part due to being “racist” (and if you knew me and those who I associate with, you’d know just how absurd that label is when applied to me). It’s not just MY perception; it’s nearly everyone’s on the train, including the conductor’s, who frequently reminds them that they ARE being too loud. It’s just the way it is, period.

If you don’t like that comment, then ride my train for 20 years and come back to me. Until then, my remarks stand.

John Elliot says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Ain't it the truth

Typical..perhaps “THEY” “ARE” being loud but what you fail to realize is that you are painting broad strokes when you use an entire ethnic group. Look at your argument…YOU speak for “Everyone” on the train? You have “many” co-workers that agree with your statement, so that makes it so? The conductor never has to speak to a non Black person? It’s not a matter of liking your comment…just having you evaluate your perception. Which is skewed…you just don’t realize it yet. Perhaps you never will…stand on that.

Greg Jameson says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Ain't it the truth

Nice try, John, but again, no dice.

I fully realize that I am painting broad strokes. Of course I am. I also fully realize that not all blacks are that way, as I already addressed. My black coworkers — the people that I ride with every day — also fully realize that, and agree with me.

To address your statements, though: When I used the word “everyone” — yes, it is quite fair to state that it annoys everyone else on the train, except for the ones being obnoxious, of course. This is a factual and reasonable statement, and while of course I can only speak for myself here, yet I know that am far, FAR from being alone.

As far as “it being so” because many co-workers agree with my statement: it goes far beyond that. As I just mentioned, it’s not just coworkers. So yes, if the vast majority of people are annoyed with these people as I am, then yes, “it is QUITE so.”

I never said that the conductor NEVER has to speak to a non-black person. I just alluded to the fact that black people get spoken to by the conductor more often than any others. Same type of argument as the statement, “Not all Muslims are terrorists. But almost all terrorists are Muslims.” Both are completely factual statements — matter-of-fact observations, devoid of any racist or (in the case of the terrorists) religious bias whatsoever. It just is.

So once again: ride my train for 20 years, and then come back to me. Until then, NOTHING you say will make me change my statements.

Greg Jameson says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Ain't it the truth

One more observation: I believe that it is you, my friend, whose perception is skewed. You don’t realize it yet, but to automatically tag someone as “racist” for simply pointing out matter-of-fact observations regarding a trait that many (not all) members of an ethnic group display, is indeed indicative of a skewed perception of reality.

John Elliot says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Ain't it the truth

4.Add about another 5-10 decibels if any of the above idiots happen to be black. (This is not a racist statement. Just a fact from about 20 years of train-riding experience.)

Read your words…NOW, you qualify your comments by adding (not all) members of an ethnic group. You didn’t make that distinction before. Have you thinking about your position eh? Hmmm…mission accomplished!

Greg Jameson says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Ain't it the truth

I’m not qualifying anything now. The original statement was already qualified as it was. You’re the one who didn’t catch the distinction.

Item #4 follows items 1 through 3; it doesn’t stand on its own. Therefore, the person has to be loud and annoying on the cell phone already. That was one of the criteria. Ergo, I was, by definition, limiting my statement to only to those people that are rude, obnoxious and/or annoying on the cell phone. Once that criteria is met, then yes, add another 5-10 decibels if that obnoxious, loud, annoying person also happens to be black.

I am afraid your are just whistling in the wind, John. I repeat, again — you are not going to get me to take back my statements. You belong to one of those “habitually offended” groups that demand that other people conform to their over-sensitivities and PC pomposity. And then when they don’t, you automatically scream epithets such as “racist!” at them in an attempt to shame them into submission. I do not bow to nor apologize to the habitually offended.

Greg Jameson says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Ain't it the truth

Sure you were attempting to have me back down from my statements. You are now trying to deny this? Don’t make me laugh.

Like I said…ride my train for 20 years, and then come back to me. I stand 100% by my previous comments, and will never bow to the habitually offended. I believe that you, sir, are the one that needs an attitude adjustment. Or perhaps just a widening of perspective.

Greg Jameson says:

Re: Re: Re: Ain't it the truth

Re: the inevitable knee-jerk accusation that any matter-of-fact observation regarding the tendencies of a certain grouping of people is automatically “racist,” I repeat: The accusation is faulty, I will take back absolutely nothing that I have said, I stand firmly behind my previous comments. Come back after you’ve ridden my train for 20 years, and maybe we can talk. Until then, no dice.

Eric Fullerton says:

Aren't we biased

I find the study to be extremely kind to the cellphone talkers. They are much more rude than the study suggests IMO. You really don’t need to be yelling or cursing to be taking up more than an ordinary amount of personal space, and if that space is being taken from the other folks in that area you are being rude. Driving rudeness with a cellphone is a whole nuther discussion.

misty says:

not always rude

So, talking on your cell phone is rude, but if the person was there with you it wouldn’t be? What’s the difference?

I don’t think its the fact that you’re using a cell phone, but more that some people do it very loudly. If you keep the conversation at a normal voice level there should be no problem.

Mike says:

Re: not always rude

In general it’s the total lack of respect the newer generation has. I’m pointing out the 16-25 era. There is no respect here at all. Simply example, going into a convenient mart or gas station and trying to buy whatever while on the phone. Paying no respect to the cashier in front of you, the people in line behind you, or even the person you’re on the phone with. Trust me people your life is not that grand that the whole world needs to here it. Grow up realize that there’s a time and place for everything. One more thing you parents getting these kids cell phones is rediculous. Thewy don’t need them. You didn’t need them at their age. I didn’t need them at their age. Giving them everything they want is what is wriong with these kids.

Sean Paton says:

Re: Re: not always rude

While will wholeheartedly agree with the 16-25 set being just rude, self-centered, and basically asses towards others(though not all are that way, some actually had Parents that gave a crap). When it comes to cell use, there is no particular age group that’s louder. I’ve seen men and women in thier forties yappin on high volume, and the way they think you have to move the phone away from the ear, closer to their mouth, then yell into it. I feel sorry for the person on the other end (while I’m getting annoyed). I believe in the “keep the noise in your personal circle”, no one wants to hear your stupid conversation.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Sounds about right to me. Maybe cell-phone users don’t mean to be rude, but they sure do come across that way. Driving, on the cell phone. Shopping, on the cell phone. Walking, on the cell phone. Start a conversation with one, ooops, they’ve got to stop and answer their cell phone. It is rude. It is obnoxious. I’d say it is the number one rude behavior in our society, whether intended or not.

Jamie says:

The Technology contributes to the problem

The Cellphone itself is part of the problem… When AT&T invented the phone, they carefully fed back some of the microphone signal to the ear so that the phone would not sound “dead”. This “sidetone” signal is considered an important factor in every wired telephone. In the cell phone, this sidetone is eliminated to save on battery.
This lack of sidetone and coupled with weak signal issues, cause even non-boorish people to talk loudly. The phone sounds dead, and along with that common dialog is “what? I didn’t hear that!” just makes people talk louder.

Greg Jameson says:

Re: No Subject Given

No one here said that cell phones top their list of worries, and no one here but you is trying to equate inconsiderate cell phone use with brandishing a gun or assaulting a passerby.

You’re trying to use the old, “Well, at least they didn’t murder anybody!” argument. Entirely beside the point.

Andrew Strasser (user link) says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

You’re trying to use the old, “Well, at least they didn’t murder anybody!” argument.

If cops spent more time working cases like these or theft rings or anything of the sort really our country would be a better place. Violence is a much bigger problem. I will say I had an accident because of some ritzy lil school girl on her cell phone and hate to say it, but at that time years ago the insurance industry said they wanted this legislation. Who wins business or insurance?

Greg Jameson says:

Re: Re: Re: No Subject Given

“Violence is a much bigger problem.”

Once again, and slowly: No one — repeat, no one here — was arguing that violence is a lesser problem than cell phones.

Rather than refuting what I had said, your comment, “violence is a much bigger problem,” actually served to be another EXAMPLE of the “Well, at least they didn’t murder anybody!” argument that I had mentioned.

Andrew says:

Probably getting off topic...

Being a member of the mentioned age group, I can say that I notice rude behavior quite often among my peers, and worse, I sometimes catch it in myself. The problem with cell phones is they tend to give the user the impression of transporting to a private communication room.

The other problem with cell phones was hit right on the head earlier. They provide a means of amplification of already present behavior.

The reason there was such an aggressive reaction was because someone tried to tell someone else what to do. Welcome to human nature. Someone says, “Don’t be rude,” to which someone replies, “You can’t make me.” Does anyone catch the irony in that?

With the moral (and apparently grammatical) decline western culture is experiencing, it’s no surprise to find people who will so aggressively defend their “right” to impose themselves upon others.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Loud cell-phone conversations in public are similar to nothing so much as the shouted conversations that winos have with their imaginary friends. I can feel a bit of sympathy for the winos. Cell-phone users deserve to be slapped in the head with a 2×4.

The only thing worse than loud public cell-phone conversations is a loud cell-phone conversation in a public restroom. Every other day it seems that someone walks into my office building’s main restroom and takes a piss while having a loud business discussion on his phone; I’m guessing that what’s coming out of his mouth is about as valuable as what’s coming out of his penis. Worse still is the guy who has the loud cell-phone conversation while defecating; how are these guys explaining the pauses and “sound effects” along the way?

Of course the worst offenders are people who use their goddamn fucking cell-phones while trying to perform complex maneuvers on the road. These idiots are directly threatening my life and the lives of my family members. I would whole-heartedly support legislation to arrest and punish cell-phone use while driving in a similar fashion to drinking while driving. These dangerous individuals desperately need to be removed from the gene pool.

redheaded_stepchild says:

Re: No Subject Given

give them enough time, and they will be 🙂
Natural Selection is a wonderful thing. Just try to stay out of their way until they drive themselves off the cliff/into the semi/through the median.
On another note, when I mentioned my friend’s loud cell use, she said “when I cant hear the other person, I talk louder.” Oh yeah, that’s just classic.

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