Saturday, February 24, 2007

Perhaps courtesy means saying goodbye.

Is it rude to continue talking on the phone when you are dealing with a person at a checkout? I don't know if others feel the same way as I do but it sure seems rude to me. This insidious and isolating culture of rudeness is seeping like a virus through the UK. People wander through their days oblivious to the rest of the world they have chosen to live in. Just tonight I stood behind a well-dressed, mature woman at the checkout of the supermarket (I mention well dressed to quieten those voices that will immediately say "scruffy kids have always been the same"). She had gone about the business of throwing things into her basket without taking a breath in her telephone conversation. Her mobile phone appeared to be locked to her ear and as she reached the checkout she pushed the basket in front of the cashier without so much as a nod or acknowledgement of the exchange they were about to have. She didn't even falter in the conversation she was having. The cashier stood there..apparently invisible to her, she was just a counting and payign resources demanding no more attention than a cash machine. Somehow in the storm that was going on in her head she managed to notice the amount on the cash register,she wedged the phone between her neck and shoulder, foraged in her bag, extracted the money and threw it on the counter. She picked up her purchases and went on. There was no thank you. There was no recognition that there was another human being involved in this interaction. She was lost in the parallel universe of telephone gaga land.

How could this have happened so quickly? How could this country have turned into a nation of zombies walking around the streets plugged into headphones not aware of where they are walking or the people they pass?

I pass the topic over to the consiracy theorists because it is definitely an open book.


Housewife said...

During times of crisis (most of January for me) I've been known to talk on cell and wander through the market.

There are only so many hours in day.

But typically I'm not in crisis and I don't have long personal phone conversations when I have the option of talking to an actual live human being in front of me.

I'm sure you'll be stunned to hear that I fight fire with fire. When someone is being impossibly rude and having a cell conversation that can clearly wait I just chime in.

"Oh no he didn't!!!"

"Why didn't you tell ME that?"

And when it's a stranger being hostile (yes ignoring the needs of the grocery checker is a hostile act) I'll chime in with:

"Can you put it on speaker, I want to hear it all!"

I'm sick of being pushed aside for someone who isn't even in the room.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I think that it IS rude to do that- it's just like here in America too. I think that people shouldn't talk to two people at once- I wonder what a three-way call and talking to someone at the same time is like. Anyways, nice blog and keep blogging!