Friday, September 30, 2005

More Manners when on the Mobile, Please

I want to talk about people's manners when using mobile media. This applies particularly to cellphone use. I think it is very clear that mobile media is changing the way people interact with other people in public space. Even though Luke specified that pre-mobile media society didn't just walk around having conversations with strangers, I think that there is a noticable change to the level of general politeness and people's manners in public.

I work in retail so I experience many customers who don't think they need to be polite, and that's just typical of the position I'm in. But I've noticed lately that so many people will think it is okay to deal with a salesperson while on their cellphone. When I work at checkouts, many people come through talking on their cellphone, don't even look at me, shove money at me, and leave without saying thank you. Now I know that people in retail don't usually get great treatment anyway, but I almost always at least get a thank you from customers, even really agro ones, because it's just common courtesy, it's good manners. But there is this new breed of mobile people who seem to have forgotten how rude it is to just ignore someone. I mean, I don't expect them to hang up and talk to me for an hour about their day, but a simple mouthed thank you as they leave, or at least a nod in my direction to indicate that they're aware of my presence. These people make me want to leave on the security tags so they get stopped at the door as they leave. Muhahaha.

But don't get me wrong, there are still some nice mobile people, who make an effort to look appreciative, or if their phone rings while they're at the counter they apologise before answering it. How nice.

I think what people need to realise is that even though there is all this new technology that allows you to talk across the world and interact with people that aren't physically around you, you still have to deal with the people that are around you; they don't just disappear because you're on the phone. And just because you're on the phone, it doesn't make you any more important or superior than those that aren't. A little courtesy goes a long way, but it seems to have all but disappeared in todays mobile society.


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