We're Still Cultural Nitwits When It Comes To Cell Phone Etiquette And Enforcement

from the slow-learners dept

Apparently we're still rather idiotically feeling out the boundaries of cell phone etiquette and common sense after decades of cellular phone experience. Last week a Broadway play attendee nonchalantly climbed on stage before a production of Hand of God to use the set's (inoperable and quite fake) power outlet. When tracked down by one news outlet, the man proudly proclaimed that he was drunk, and that he needed to charge his phone just then because "girls were calling all day. What would you do?" There's a video of said nitwit's public apology to the theater community making the rounds.

We're apparently not much better when it comes to enforcing cell phone etiquette. A week later, Actor Patti LuPone broke proscenium and ripped a cell phone out of a theater attendee's hands after the audience member wouldn't stop texting during a performance. LuPone issued a statement shortly thereafter suggesting that idiots without etiquette have forced her hand in the matter, and she's not thrilled to be forced into the role of audience baby sitter:
We work hard on stage to create a world that is being totally destroyed by a few, rude, self-absorbed and inconsiderate audience members who are controlled by their phones. They cannot put them down. When a phone goes off or when a LED screen can be seen in the dark it ruins the experience for everyone else - the majority of the audience at that performance and the actors on stage. I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore. Now I’m putting battle gear on over my costume to marshall the audience as well as perform.
Across the pond, police have shown they're still learning the lines of cell phone etiquette as well, after UK Transit police had to walk back a recent decision to arrest a 45-year-old man for "abstracting electricity" by charging his iPhone via a train power outlet:
"She said I’m abstracting electricity. She kept saying it’s a crime. We were just coming into the station and there happened to be about four police officers on the platform.

"She called to them and said: 'This guy’s been abstracting electricity, he needs to be arrested'."
Some Internet forum users state that the outlets are generally reserved for cleaning the trains, and often feature stickers stating "not for public use." Still, if transit authorities don't want people using the outlets, it makes sense to make them less accessible. The law in question is also pretty clearly focused on cheating utility meters and is reserved for "high value" theft where the victim faces "substantial loss," making the case a bit of a tough sell. As a result, the police subsequently "de-arrested" the man after realizing that they were "abstracting" common sense from their daily enforcement practices:
"We were called to Camden Road London Overground station on Friday 10 July to a report of a man becoming aggressive when challenged by a PCSO about his use of a plug socket onboard an Overground train."

"Shortly after 3.30pm, a 45-year-old man from Islington was arrested on suspicion of abstracting electricity, for which he was de-arrested shortly after. He was further arrested for unacceptable behaviour and has been reported for this offence."
Given that Motorola researcher Martin Cooper designed the first cell phone back in 1973, you'd think that after 42 years of experience with the devices we'd be a little better at understanding the socially-acceptable norms for using them -- and preventing their use. Of course given that people still talk in movie theaters, often don't pay attention to what their kids are doing, and frequently treat one another abysmally, that inconsiderate boneheadedness certainly isn't the fault of the technology.

Filed Under: abstracting energy, charging, etiquette, mobile phones


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2015 @ 1:01pm

    More

    It appears that cell phones have become more than just 'electronic leashes', perhaps 'electronic behavior modifiers', and not just for the owner/users.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 1:05pm

    De-arrested?

    So does that magically go back in time and change history so that the arrest never happened? If so then I'd like to propose a significant number of folks I'd like to see de-elected!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Personanongrata, 15 Jul 2015 @ 1:16pm

    Ball and Chain

    You're a slave to the smart phone and than you die.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Joe, 15 Jul 2015 @ 2:23pm

    You left out the best one, when Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig were doing a show and someones phone went off. They stayed in character but refused to go on until the phone stopped ringing. But by then the person was too embarrassed to answer it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1m_fKbfcb4

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    RightShark, 15 Jul 2015 @ 2:29pm

    "that inconsiderate boneheadedness certainly isn't the fault of the technology."

    Of course not. Everyone knows Google is at fault.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 2:44pm

    I'm pretty sure inconsiderate boneheadedness has been around for centuries.

    Phones have only provided a new set of circumstances in which people can express their inconsideration and thoughtlessness.

    I suspect that Google would be happy for your phone's location services to detect if you are in a sound-sensitive zone and silence your phone for you.

    But then we'd call that Google-creepy.

    One option is to build Faraday cages into theater architecture. San Francisco's Cliff House (a restaurant, not a theater) is built in that way, and there's no service whatsoever while in the building.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    djl47 (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 5:36pm

    NYC in 1999 at Death of a Salesman

    I went to a few plays while working on an IT project there. Every theater was adorned with multiple signs to turn off cell phones, every usher reminded people to turn off cell phones yet people just couldn't be bothered.
    Brian Dennehy went off on some jerk with a cell phone during a performance of Death of a Salesman. I wasn't there but the story made the local news.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Jul 2015 @ 6:09pm

    Haven't had a cell phone in years, don't wear a watch either. Yet I can still do business and be on time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Pen, 15 Jul 2015 @ 6:27pm

    Out of all those stories the one I find most interesting is the one about the actress stealing an audience member's phone. I'm not interested the act itself so much, but the fact that so many people in every forum I've seen the story discussed in can't wrap their heads around the idea that being rude with a phone doesn't give people the right to assault the phone user and steal their property.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 6:58pm

    Whereas...

    I rely on my cell phone all the time for internet access on the go.

    I'm also aware enough to turn off both sound and hotspot when I'm at an engagement.

    Also, due to a coffee accident a year ago, the speaker is very quiet, so I tend not to rely on sounds for alerts anyway.

    It's possible to have a phone, and to exercise consideration while using it, just as it is possible to have a car or (more related) a pager and exercise consideration in its use.

    It's not about the phone. It's about the people being impolite apes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 15 Jul 2015 @ 7:09pm

    Slaves to the machine...

    To the contrary, I think in environments where there's nothing better to do, phones help people cope.

    People on the bus, for instance, might on occasion have talked to each other before everyone had cell phones, and when SMS was less available and less popular and less understood we had a phase of phone-shouting. Now we have the occasional (quieter) talker, and lots of people smiling and giggling at someone via SMS or chat.

    So they're connecting, but to someone they love. And they feel better about life even before they get home.

    Granted, this is San Francisco and anecdotal. In Chicago and New York it might be different.

    Oh yeah, some folks may read stuff on a tablet (me) or play games on their electronics. That falls in the same category as the book you take on a train.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Seegras (profile), 16 Jul 2015 @ 1:26am

    Plugs

    I don't know, but here in mainland Europe, trains have plugs for the express purpose of people to use it to charge their cellphones or laptops.

    http://blog.huwi.ch/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/wpid-Photo-01.08.2011-08266.jpg
    Yes, that's between every pair of seats.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Howard, 16 Jul 2015 @ 5:27am

    PCSO = Plastic Plod

    Sadly, Police Community Support Officers (who have no powers of arrest unless accompanied by a uniformed police officer) are all too often power crazed little Hitlers. Any normal person would simply have said "Can you unplug that please? It's intended for train cleaning crews only."

    But noooo, you must respect their authoritah!

    They also have a history of abusing Section 44 'stop-and-search' powers. Railway enthusiasts (trainspotters, railfans, cranks, foamers, veg, whatever you call them) particularly got it in the neck, as those people commit the 'suspicious' act of hanging around on railway station platforms, photographing trains.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Howard, 16 Jul 2015 @ 5:33am

    Re: Plugs

    Some UK trains do have sockets for passenger use, but the one in question does not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2015 @ 6:14am

    Enforcement of etiquette? - wtf does that mean?

    Officer: Sir, you are under arrest for using your dinner fork to eat your salad. Stop resisting!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    btr1701 (profile), 16 Jul 2015 @ 9:29am

    Lights

    It seems to be getting worse and worse in movie theaters, too. The new trend seems to be people who walk into the theater (late, after the lights have gone down, of course) with the app on that turns their flash into a flashlight, shining it into everyone else's eyes as they look for their seats.

    It's enraging beyond belief. I wonder how people managed to find a seat in a theater before cell phones?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    btr1701 (profile), 16 Jul 2015 @ 9:33am

    Re: I'm pretty sure inconsiderate boneheadedness has been around for centuries.

    > One option is to build Faraday cages into
    > theater architecture. San Francisco's Cliff
    > House (a restaurant, not a theater) is built
    > in that way, and there's no service whatsoever
    > while in the building.

    I'm all for this idea, since the FCC refuses to allow private property owners to control this nonsense in the most direct way, by jamming the frakking things, passive blocking is definitely something I'd consider when building a theater or concert hall.

    I'm sure some braindead cell addict would claim that's a violation of their constitutional right to text and their right to annoy everyone around them, and there'd be an equally braindead judge somewhere that would take such a complaint seriously.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Pen, 16 Jul 2015 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: I'm pretty sure inconsiderate boneheadedness has been around for centuries.

    If you can develop a tech that can reliably block radiation only up to your property line then I'm sure the FCC would be fine with it, but the moment your blocking tech encroaches onto the public airwaves it's an issue. Want a solution. Faraday your building.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. icon
    btr1701 (profile), 16 Jul 2015 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re: I'm pretty sure inconsiderate boneheadedness has been around for centuries.

    For those massive multiplex theaters that are surrounded by a couple of acres of parking lot, I'm sure they could easily dial down their blocking so that it encompasses mostly just the building, with whatever bleed-over still well within their property lines.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 16 Jul 2015 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Slaves to the machine...

    "People on the bus, for instance, might on occasion have talked to each other before everyone had cell phones"

    No more so than now. Before cell phones, people on the bus isolated themselves by reading or listening to music instead of with cell phones.

    Nothing has changed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 16 Jul 2015 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Lights

    In the old days, theaters had ushers with flashlights for this purpose.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Jul 2015 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Lights

    Why does anyone go to the theater anymore? It is a horrible experience. Way too expensive for the crap they call a movie, people are rude, patrons are treated as though they were all pirates, the theater films you while you sit there bored shitless watching endless ads. And then when no one likes their precious content they spent way too much making and does not buy any the DVDs and other trinkets they claim their losses are due to piracy. What a bunch of bullocks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. icon
    nasch (profile), 16 Jul 2015 @ 8:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm pretty sure inconsiderate boneheadedness has been around for centuries.

    For those massive multiplex theaters that are surrounded by a couple of acres of parking lot, I'm sure they could easily dial down their blocking so that it encompasses mostly just the building, with whatever bleed-over still well within their property lines.

    Active cell phone jammers are illegal to operate even within your own property.

    https://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/jamming-cell-phones-and-gps-equipment-against-law

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. icon
    btr1701 (profile), 17 Jul 2015 @ 8:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm pretty sure inconsiderate boneheadedness has been around for centuries.

    > Active cell phone jammers are illegal to operate
    > even within your own property.

    No shit. That's what we're talking about-- the reasons for that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    btr1701 (profile), 17 Jul 2015 @ 8:22am

    Re: Re: Lights

    > In the old days, theaters had ushers with flashlights
    > for this purpose.

    Ushers didn't point their flashlights right in the eyes of the other patrons. They pointed their flashlights at the floor to help people see the stairs.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 17 Jul 2015 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Lights

    "Why does anyone go to the theater anymore?"

    I had stopped. But there's a new crop of smaller theaters that have brought the pleasantness back to the experience. I go to those. No first-run movies, but who cares?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. icon
    nasch (profile), 17 Jul 2015 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm pretty sure inconsiderate boneheadedness has been around for centuries.

    OK, it just sounded like you were suggesting that as a viable option for theater owners.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Jul 2015 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Lights

    It seems to be getting worse and worse in movie theaters, too. The new trend seems to be people who walk into the theater (late, after the lights have gone down, of course) with the app on that turns their flash into a flashlight, shining it into everyone else's eyes as they look for their seats. It's enraging beyond belief.

    The new trend seems to be people who walk into the theater and open fire on the crowd. I know because I saw it on the news. It's enraging beyond belief!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2015 @ 12:44pm

    Your thinking of common sense. b Whish to quite hilarious and sometimes horrible consequences is not very common.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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