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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Evil Cell Phones?

It's pretty crazy how our society has changed in the last 10 years. I remember a time with dial phones, no answering machines or voice mail, no cell phones, and no call waiting. If you called someone and they weren't home, you tried calling back at another time. But that's not the way it works anymore. Many people don't have traditional land lines anymore, opting strictly for cell phones (including myself and my wife). Nowadays if you can't get ahold of someone at home, you call their cell phone. If you can't get ahold of them there, you might freak out a little (like happens with members of my wife's family). I couldn't imagine not having my cell phone, yet I also see how it has changed how we act towards each other and how we interact with society.

One of the areas that I see it is in my work. I'll walk into a room and the client will be talking on their phone. I sometimes have to wait for a while for them to finish before I can talk to them. Or similarly they will answer their phone while I'm trying to talk to them about their pet. It's really rude and annoying to have to fight the cell phone for their attention.

Yet on the flip side it's been very helpful. It's common that the person who brings the pet in may not be the one who actually knows all of the details about a situation. When that client can call home to their family members, it really helps me try to make decisions on how best to care for their pet.

Whether or not we love them or hate them, cell phones aren't going away. In fact, I think it's gotten to be difficult to fully function in a 21st century Western society without one. Yes, it may annoy me at times when clients can't leave it alone, and I try to avoid being the same kind of person when I'm with a doctor or in a professional situation. But it's something we all have to learn to live with, and I just hope that everyone learns proper etiquette and politeness when using your phone.


  1. It's funny you should mention this. When I was home visiting my family a few weeks ago, I was at the grocery store with my sister-in-law, and we were just starting to check out when my brother surprised us with a call from bootcamp. My SIL hadn't talked to him in weeks, and there was no way she was going to blow him off, so she ended up going through the line while chatting on the phone. I felt the need to justify it to the checkout girl by telling her that it was her husband calling from bootcamp, so she couldn't hang up the phone.

    That being said, most of the time, people are not speaking to family members for the first time in weeks. It would be really tempting to say to someone who was wasting your time on the phone that you have other clients waiting and that you are going to go check on their pets and you'll be back when you're finished, and maybe by then they'll be ready to talk to you. Even if I didn't have other clients waiting, I'd just leave the room for 15 minutes and have a soda or something. I know that's probably not very professional. You could do what people doctors do, and claim sensitive equipment that cell phones interfere with. (We all know that's not really true, they're just tired of rude clients wasting their time.)

  2. yeah, they can be annoying in the exam room. I mean I realize they will ring but when people actually answer while I'm talking about their pet? I have at times just given the info to the tech and left when I'm done with the exam and they are still on the phone. Evidently they are not that interested in the findings.


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