Posted by: Brenda Kula | January 17, 2009

Cell Phone Pet Peeve


The other day Robert found some black mold in one of the garden room walls, so I left for awhile because of all the respiratory problems I’ve had during the past year of remodeling. When in doubt, I usually go to Tyler’s only chain bookstore, Barnes & Noble, just a mile or so down the highway from me. I love to be amongst books.

Now if I’m not somewhere browsing something garden or nature related, that is my other favorite thing to do. Book shop. I can pass the time with some periodicals and books in one of the lumpy chairs they provide for you at the end of the aisles.


But how does one relax and concentrate on a book when cell phones are ringing all over the store?

I have heard women in doctor’s offices fighting with their spouse/significant other. Now who wants to hear either end of that argument? Why do folks want to air their dirty laundry in public? Do they not understand that we all have ring-side seats to their little drama?


I have begun to hate the invention that enables one to talk no matter where they are. Restaurants, stores, garden centers. When I go to the nursery, I want to relax. Wander among the varieties of plants, visualize their beauty in my own garden. I don’t want to hear someone conducting business right next to me. I don’t want to hear about grandma’s stiff neck. Or who is having an affair.


Yesterday I venture into the mall, something I probably do once per year. I peer beyond the entrance of JC Penney. Doesn’t look too crowded. Kids are in school. Some retired couples taking their daily walk. I decide to walk down and look at the clearance calendars in the middle of the mall.


There are a gaggle of people surrounding the kiosk that sells cell phone paraphernalia. Other kiosks, the kind that sells personalized gifts and such, have employees staring vacantly into space, no business in sight. What is the constant fascination with doodads to go with cell phones?

Yes, I think they come in handy when I’m at the grocery store and forget what it was my husband needed. I love the idea that I can call a tow truck if my car breaks down. I want to be notified if there’s earth-shattering news going on somewhere in the world.


But when I go out, I’m intent on the task at hand. I want to get my errands run. I want to skim the magazines at the grocery store. Window shop. Listen to myself think. I sure don’t want to be held up in the checkout line because the shopper in front of me can’t concentrate on paying while chattering on her cell phone.

Don’t people take notice when studies show that talking on cell phones while driving is about equal to driving while intoxicated? I’m telling you, it is dangerous just driving down the block to the corner store these days. I can’t imagine how a person would feel if they find themselves in a traffic accident because they were distracted by their cell phone. And horror of horrors, end up killing someone.

In Walmart, I see mothers and their daughters walking side by side down the aisles, each carrying on separate conversations, their cell phones pressed to their ears. How about a little companionship with “the one you’re with?”


I admit, I’m becoming the grumpy old lady I vowed never to be. The kind that can’t believe what the world is coming to. And looks askance at young people dressed so half their skin seems to be hanging out. I most often find myself shopping online, where I can have peace and quiet. No wonder brick and mortar stores are going out of business. Are there others out there like me?

At this point, I am all for text messaging, though I haven’t a clue how to do it. And don’t want toΒ  learn. While mom and grandma are sitting across from me in the doctor’s waiting room jabbering on their phones, the teen is sitting between them, clicking away. But quiet. I smile at her gratefully. But of course she doesn’t see me. Her eyes are on those tiny little letters, thumbs busy, socializing with her friends.



  1. Oh man this is a hot topic! I agree with much of what you say. Perhaps everyone needs a course in cell phone etiquette? As far as the driving…now that is a big concern! There are more people involved in accidents due to cell phone usage then drinking and driving anymore. Perhaps MADD should take up this cause next. I do a lot of driving and it’s amazing what people are doing on highways while talking on phones.

    Now I must admit I am one that loves to text! But I am not a texting junkie by any means. I also use twitter and facebook. In fact opened the front door this morning and snapped a picture of the snow with my cell phone and sent it to twitter and here it is:

    The first picture the world saw when the plane went down on Thursday in the Hudson River was snapped by a guy on a ferry with his cell phone. He sent it to twitter and the pic went around the world in minutes. Social networking has changed the world, there is no doubt about that. To find balance is the key for all people who use these devices.

    I’m due to update my phone (its about 3 years old) and I’m really itching to get the new Blackberry Storm.

  2. What can I say but “AMEN!” PAM

  3. I have a cell phone…I try to practice cell phone ettiquette though. I don’t use it in public. If someone does call me, I leave the store I am in and go outside to talk. Or I tell them I will call them back. I turn it off in restaurants and doctor offices, so it it won’t ring.

  4. I agree, those cell phones can be SO annoying. And to hear a personal conversation is not cool.

  5. Where I live we don’t get cell phone coverage – but my worst cell phone hate, is when I am on holiday and they are ringing all over the beach, or by the pool, or wherever I am trying to be “on holiday”. Oh, and maybe on trains … nightmare.

  6. Brenda, this is just about the best piece I’ve ever read on the subject. I understand the “necessity” of cell phones, but really, there needs to be some restraint.

    I’m guilty of using it while driving, although when I’m in town, I don’t. I need to watch more closely when I’m in traffic. I need to just NOT USE IT, period. When I first got a cell phone, it was just for emergencies. Now I have added a low-use text messaging plan, though I don’t use it with anyone except my daughters.

    A bookstore is something akin to a library, and I would be annoyed, like you, to hear rings and conversations going on like that.

    People need to use some sense.

  7. I agree totally. I hate them but they are useful if you have an emergency or need something you forgot to tell your DH at the grocery store.(-: I have never sent a text so I have no idea how to do that and how the kids can type so fast on the little tiny keypads. Not for me at all. I would rather enjoy my alone time and just do what I need to do and not be interupted by the nasty sounds of ringing or the annoying rude people that are on their phones and in my way(-: Grrrrr(-: LOL I did enjoy your pictures though(-: Oh and today I went shopping for a few things and ended up with a Giant sunface(-: I can’t find my camera or it would be on my blog. Its been MIA since New Years Eve day! I hate that.)-:

  8. I agree entirely! When I worked in a fabric store I once heard a conversation on speakerphone (which meant I had to listen to BOTH sides) in which a woman was arguing with her bank about an overdrawn check. I could hardly believe my ears – this woman was ranting and raving and everyone within earshot knew exactly what her financial situation was. And this was while she was shopping, no less! When she came to the counter to have her fabric cut and said she was going to pay by check, I told her no. I explained that I couldn’t help but overhear her conversation and I couldn’t accept a check from an account with no funds. Boy was she mad!

  9. We ditched our cell phones when we moved to BC; part cost-saving, part a eco-smart decision. I hear ya Brenda, I hear ya!!! πŸ˜‰

    LOVE the statue, I wish I had one like that.

    Hugs, G

  10. I too have a cell phone but don’t use it that much. When I was passing through the San Antonio airport a few weeks ago, a woman was talking in the bathroom stall next to me!! At first I was confused who she was speaking to then I figured it out. That one really amazes me!

    There was an article in our newspaper last week about a man who travels around town in a motorized wheelchair that has a tall flag on it. He has been hit by cars three times – one of the times the person was on the cell phone and never saw him. That’s scary.

  11. I never hold conversations on mine ,I got mine for emergencies, just in case… I travel a lot… lets rephrase that… I use to travel a lot and its handy then.Its in my purse I just never use it much.As for other people hey to each his own but I hate when they drive with the damn thing stuck to their ear!!

  12. It drives me crazy too Brenda. You get behind someone on the road and they are gabbing on the phone slowing down & speeding up. No wonder so many people have road rage! Alot of places around here like Dr Offices and Gov Offices have signs telling you to turn off your cell phone while in their business. Great topic today, I could go on and on and on about this pet peeve. πŸ™‚

  13. One of my biggest complaints with cell phones are those ear things people wear in the stores. I walk by and wonder, are they talking to themselves, or ME, or just who are they talking to?? Then I see that ear thing. Can’t they NOT talk while they are shopping! I love having a phone–I feel safe having a phone, but I don’t talk on the phone in a store . Good post Brenda!

  14. I LOVED this post and the great comments others left! You seemed to have hit a NERVE!!

    I’m ashamed to admit that I am lost if I realize I don’t have my phone with me–but I don’t spend much time on it (we have low-end plans with not a bunch of minutes). I want to know it’s there if I need it— if I have car problems, etc.

    Yes, folks are very “cellphone rude”–it is just amazing that these wonderful gadgets have turned into such a problem.

    A friend recently shared a story about being in a little cafe and seeing a young gal talking on her cell and driving—she made a turn in front of someone and caused a wreck. They witnessed her continuing to talk on the phone (appeared to be with the same person on the other end)while she got out of her car and sat down on the curb. She didn’t miss a word in her conversation!

    I also can’t understand why, when on the phone, a person’s speaking volume seems to rise 50 dB!! Annoying!

    Anyway, I guess when it comes to cell phone ettiquette–I’ve turned into one of those crumpy old ladies, too! You are not alone in your feelings!


  15. I’m just as cranky as you when it comes to cell phones. People ssem to be talking about nothing. My phone is for emergencies and if I need one of my children.


  16. I absolutely agree with you. We sat in a little coffee shop, the morning we were returning from Big Cedar. There was a phone conversation going on, just behind us. The woman was broadcasting about, guess what, Big Cedar and how they were planning to make reservations….yada-yada-yada….as if she wanted to make sure everyone knew they were going to this “swanky” resort in the Ozarks. I thought it was silly. We just shook our heads. I think some of these loud business talking people want to make sure those around them know how important they are.

    Don’t get us started on cell phones and driving! That’s a major complaint!

    Great post and oh my goodness,Brenda! That last shot is so gorgeous!

  17. Good points. I have gotten to where I prefer receiving a text to a call… now that my son has taught me how.

  18. haha..You are not a grumpy, old woman. πŸ™‚ I agree with you. There is a time and place for certain conversations. And if go somewhere to relax…I want to RELAX…not get stressed out from someone else’s problems when I have my own! πŸ˜›

    Hope you have a good Monday. **hugs**

  19. Hi Brenda, HA, that was a good rant, get it all out dear! Our doctor’s office has a please turn off your cell phone sign, but some don’t follow that. I have to admit I don’t go anywhere without mine, and especially while plant shopping like to speak with my daughter to see if she wants me to pick up a bargain plant for her too. Now texting, I hate it! That clicking drives me mad. When the workmen were here last summer, one of the young guys was texting constantly while packing my things. I wanted to throttle him! Oops, now I am ranting. It’s contagious. πŸ™‚

  20. Once, I went to Michael’s to slowly stroll up and down the aisles and look at all the goodies, BUT I couldn’t get away from this lady arguing with her mother on the phone. Stuff I didn’t want to hear, no escape. So I went to Pier One-she followed me. I moved to Big Lots, ahhh, the lovely piece and quite of people talking to each other:)
    Old and contrary? Yep, thats me, and I’m ok with that:)

  21. Hi Brenda,
    While I love the convenience of a cell phone, I do believe in keeping the conversation short and quiet in a public place. Arguments are definitely OUT! I’m usually calling to check if there is milk in the fridge or get measurements for something!

  22. i’m so with you, tho I do text, more as a easy way to message/arrange stuff rather than social talk

    you know I think it comes to simple old fashioned manners – something so many people in my generation (late 30s) let alone the young ones just don’t seem to have been taught…i just find it rude to talk on a phone when others are around in a public place…just today in a shop there was this guy, clearly out of his normal environment, on a business call, shouting his mouth off and pacing up and down the aisles while he talked ahhhhhh, I gave him the evil eye, but he didn’t even notice

    i wonder where it will all go?


  23. I agree, this cell phone stuff is out of control! It’s so annoying and LOUD! I use my cell phone only if necessary, not for chit chat.

  24. I am with you, Brenda. It is so annoying when people carry on conversations esp. when they are so loud. Are cell phone users hard of hearing? I rarely use mine and few people have my number because I don’t like being disturbed when I am out and about. I don’t know if that is being a grumpy old person or just wanting others to be more considerate of other people.

    Always Growing

  25. This post reminds me of what I used to tell my kids when they were younger. “If you are being annoying to each other, you are also annoying to anyone around you.”…you would think that people would not want to spread their bad vibes amoungst strangers. Very worst offenders…people who take phone calls in restaurants.
    β™₯, Susan

  26. Brenda, I have one. It goes in my purse for emergencies. We’ve had it for over a year and have not used it ONCE! I don’t care if I ever use it.
    I have a land phone and that’s fine for here at home. I pretty much agree with you!
    We had On Star in our last car and when we traded it in, that’s when we got the cell phone. I’d still rather have the On Star. I felt safer with it.

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