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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Phone booth without a phone

No this isn't a joke. With the popularity of cell phones, there has been a lot of talk about removing public telephones completely because they cost so much for the telephone companies to maintain (everything is about money).

But this causes a huge problem you might not realize. Telephone booths allowed businesses to designate a location where people could carry on a conversation and not disturb everybody else. So what should be done? Well Cell Zone, a Massachusetts company has solved the problem by creating a phone booth without the phone. The strange thing is they're not alone. Cingular did something similar in 2002 by designating Courtesy Zones in Loews theaters and The Biltmore Room Bar created a leather-walled cellphone booth for which they became famous.

But these companies don't think these booths are only good for etiquette, they also believe that restaurant patrons and movie goers will flock to these phoneless booths for a quite place to talk.

Not everyone thinks that these booths are a good idea. Tom Farley, editor of Town & Country Modern Manners, thinks that these booths will just enable bad behavior. I agree with Mr. Farley, while the booths will provide a place for people to talk on phones the problem is getting people out of their seats and into the booth. Personally, I don't think the majority of people will bother to use the booth. So you're left with a $3000 plus empty cylinder.

Many people think you can teach etiquette but when it comes to things like this, rude people will always be rude people no matter how much money you spend to help them.

The real problem here is that we are quickly turning into an instant gratification society where want things now and don't care what it takes to get it. I won't tute my own horn, but when I have to use a cell phone I step outside or into a hallway so as not to disturb the other people, it just seems like common sense (maybe I'm wrong). The problem is that people don't care about anyone but themselves.

I have witnessed some truly horrible cell phone offenses. One in particular is the ringing cell phone in a classroom. In many of my classes as an undergrad, people let their cell phones ring loudly during a professor's lecture. This displays the utmost lack of respect for their classmates and the professor. The offenses don't stop at ringing cell phones either. Many of these people often answer it in the middle of a lecture and proceed to talk. Are we really that lazy that we can't take a moment to step outside to answer the phone?

In another instance I actually had a professor stop his lecture to answer his cell phone and then continue to carry on a conversation for almost 5 minutes. I understand that some phone calls are very important and can't be missed but people's lack of etiquette is forcing teachers to ban the cell phone from class completely.

The worst part about this is, there doesn't seem to be anything we can do besides ban phones from certain areas outright. What do you think about this and what are some of the worst cell phone offenses you have encountered?

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