There is a habit going round at the moment that I find particularly rude, as do many others, especially people who work in shops, bars and restaurants. I don’t know whether it’s more noticeable now because more people have mobiles or because people are becoming more ignorant but the habit is of talking on your mobile while being served and either expecting the assistant/waiter/waitress to wait or just ignoring them like they’re insignificant and not worthy of your full attention.
It happens to me regularly, a customer comes in and I’m entering their order and their phone rings “hold on, be with you in a sec” they say – but to me, not to the person phoning them. If it really is someone they can’t call back and they explain this and apologise then that’s fine, I’ll wait, go and do something else or make a cup of tea; often there is actually time to make and drink the tea before they’re back with you. But when they just carry on talking while gesturing at you, waving a credit card and then taking their invoice and leaving while still talking on the phone it makes you feel like you don’t matter.
I was in the supermarket a few months back and the man in the queue ahead of me did this, he didn’t say one word to the assistant on the till, not “hello”, not “thank you” just talking on his phone and as I could hear the conversation clearly, as could half the store and probably people sat in the car park beneath the store, I could tell it wasn’t that important a call. When he’d gone I said to the assistant “I hate it when people do that”, she let out a sigh and visibly relaxed saying “me too, it really annoys me” clearly relieved that someone understood how she was feeling.
Gizmodo UK recently published a piece about posters created by cartoonist Ted Slampyak highlighting other no-nos to remember, like keeping the volume down, using appropriate ringtones and not avoiding difficult conversations by texting – which is a whole other issue by itself. One commenter who worked in a restaurant told how he had taken revenge on such an ignorant diner by firstly not going over to take the order until the man put his phone down and then pulling his own phone out and having a fake conversation while taking the order.
Now please excuse me, I have a text.