Indiana Daily Student

The etiquette of cellular

U.S. Cellular has decided to teach its 2.8 million customers the dos and don'ts of cell phone use. Monday's Chicago Tribune reported the company received complaints that its phone users have lost all sense of decency. In response, it launched its national campaign on the finer points of "wireless etiquette."\n"Since we're adding customers every few seconds, there's a need to educate them on simple usage procedures," spokeswoman Michele Merrel told the Tribune. "It's simple education versus legislation on phone use."\nU.S. Cellular's list of "Seven Steps for Wireless Etiquette" is being distributed by their retail outlets in 144 markets as well as Wal-Mart stores. But today is your lucky day. I won't make you go to Wal-Mart to read all of them -- unless you want to. I'll just give you a few.\nRule One: Focus on Safety First. It says, "Do not use your phone if it impedes your ability to drive." You can tack on "your ability to walk and talk, too." We'd hate for the people walking to class (and talking on their cell phone) to be hit by a driver who is talking on his phone. \nRule Two: Silence is Golden. "Be aware of wireless-free quiet zones such as theaters, restaurants and classrooms." \nThey left out bathrooms. This is the one place you can get can solace while escaping from a lousy date. Last thing you want is the person in the next stall talking to their friend while using the can. \n"Oh, I can't believe she said that to you! Hold on Judy, I need to wipe."\nAnother rule: No Need to Shout. "Despite the smaller handsets now available, your callers can hear you just as well on a wireless phone as on a regular phone." This might be hard to believe, but it's true.\nWilliam Battle can tell you (and the Chicago Tribune) about cell phone disruption. He was in a downtown hotel when the man next to him was shouting at his girlfriend. She was on the phone, most likely far away from him, because the man was "probably" a jerk to her, too.\n"Overhearing all of this, I'm thinking to myself, 'We've lost our mind because of the cell phone,'" Battle told the Tribune. "It is just another gadget that we can use to be rude to each other. A private conversation should be kept private."\nHere's my favorite part (he continues): "If they had a rule stating, 'Don't answer the phone while making love,' people would realize how silly cell phone use is at times."\nYou had me at "Don't answer the phone while making love," William.\nIn May, San Francisco-based Let's Talk Cellular released its Magna Carta of phone etiquette. \nThe company focused their advice to customers in 22 states. There's one here in Bloomington, too.\nIts rules of etiquette were a bit different from the other company's.\nThey put: "Don't cross the personal-space boundary" at No. 3. "All citizens should be mindful of how close they are to others when using a cell phone" (see Making Love and Phone-use above).\nChicago is considering an ordinance that would forbid the use of cell phones while driving. If approved, they would be the first major city with such a ban.\nLet's Talk conducted a poll that showed 76 percent of customers talked on their cell phones while driving.\nDrivers in Chicago would be required to pull to the curb before using their phones. Those caught using a phone while driving would be fined $25. If you got into an accident while talking on your phone, you would be fined $100.\nNow this is silly. I understand how dangerous talking and driving can be. But if you're going to fine someone, fine them a significant amount so they won't do it again. Chicago police are busy enough without having to write $25 tickets.\nCell phones aren't bad. Friends use them to call their designated drivers on the weekends, and people can call police to report accidents from their car; they are a useful resource when no other phone is around.\nAnd in most cases, the people using them are respectful (excluding the two girls I see walking hand-in-hand to class every morning while talking to each other on their cell phones).\nJust be responsible. If you're so important that you need to bring your cell phone to class with you at 9 a.m. Tuesday, I'm happy for you.\nTell your roommate I said hi, and I'm glad they got home from class safely.

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

Powered by Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 Indiana Daily Student