OCTOBER 31, 2007

The annoyance of cellphone ignorance

       Ring, ring. Ring, ring. ďHi, Iím just with a client right now, can I call you back?Ē And as she hung up her cellphone, my hairstylist threw it back in her purse and proceeded to cut my hair.
       Ironically at the cellphone store the sales associate puts me on hold (weíre face-to-face) and decides his ringing phone is more important. After a few seconds I saw why. I mean, Iíd be in a panic if it was mid-afternoon and didnít know what my social plans were for the evening.
       I guess itís all about what people find to be disrespectful when dealing with someone else. A phone ringing off the hook is an annoyance and I understand having to answer a work call if no one else is around, but taking a personal call while youíre dealing with someone else tells the customer the acquaintance on the line is more important than the job they are doing.
       When I worked retail I made sure that if I had a client in my presence and the phone was ringing (and I knew another employee could answer the call) I would let it ring and focus 100 per cent of my attention on the customer who was actually looking at me. I wouldnít even dream of answering my personal cellphone.
       To me itís not about making sure I donít miss a call from a friend because with todayís technology and the wonders of voice mail and call display and text messaging, Iím sure soon enough Iíll know the reason of the call and I can get back to them a few minutes later. Does that make me a bad friend? Not really. Putting work ahead of things like that makes me a good employee.
       Iím surprised these days at how many offices and in how many stores the employees have cellphones on desks or on belt loops or in pockets. Despite many workplaces having a ban on personal cellphone use, it doesnít seem like much can be said to convince some employees to ditch the phone for a few hours.
       Thatís my point. Whatís yours? Call my cell and tell me. No wait, Iím at work so I wonít answer!


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