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A ringing phone is not a royal command, it’s an invitation.

January 24, 2005

We have all enjoyed the newfound freedom associated with mobile phones, but with it comes responsibility and frankly, some down right respect. When someone answers the mobile phone I’m ringing with, “I’m in a meeting, can I call you back?” my response is always “Why did you answer the phone?”.

Of course we are slaves to the system when this is your customer that does this, but I’ve been known on more that a few occasions to walk out of a meeting with suppliers if any of them interrupt the meeting by answering their mobiles. Frankly, if they are too busy to talk to me, I’ll find a supplier that has the time and the manners.

When I’m in a meeting, my phone is on silent and I do not answer it, as I have dedicated that time to whoever is in that meeting with me. If people call, they are directed to my voicemail, to which I can call back when I have the time to do so. If, in the remote chance that I am expecting an urgent call, I will tell the people I’m meeting with that this may occur in advance. Common manners. has an interesting article about some businesses that are taking back the reigns to common decency in business. I guess the biggest issue we have with mobiles is that we are compelled to answer no matter what the cost. In fact, we forget that it is just a tool for our use rather that it being the ringing bell of slavery.

There should be a tag attached to every mobile phone that reads:

Congratulations on your new mobile phone purchase! Be aware that, unfortunately this device will give you a false sense of holier-than-thou symptoms and outright rudeness. You will be tempted to use the device to, interrupt conversations, speak loudly & gesture foolishly in public places, make your customers, business associates, friends and family feel utterly insignificant, not to mention ruin the lives of other patrons around you at restaurants, movie cinemas and sporting events as you become an experimental success of Pavlovian Conditioning. Enjoy!

Take a challenge this New Year, choose to answer, or not.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. special permalink
    January 31, 2005 11:20

    Hey Shane, I read a few of your stories, very true about the respect issue with mobile phones, although it doesn\’t stop there, it is socially excepted "way of life" for most of us.there\’s a thing called, "personal space", and should also mean that comes with a tag as well!, that your voice dosen\’t leave that circle either while talking on mobile phones or in public places….heheheP.S "I hate microsoft", to a degree anyway lolKind Regards Tracy

  2. Shane permalink
    February 2, 2005 08:58

    This is something I see a lot in Asia, where the users cover their mouth wihile talking.If you are a "I hate microsoft" person I must help thee! 🙂

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