I have written a number of Cell Phone Etiquette posts in the past – you can find them here, here, and here – and just realized my last one was written in May 2010. Therefore, for today’s post I have decided to once again tackle Cell Phone Etiquette.
To be fair, this post is somewhat of a PLEASE STOP DOING THIS as opposed to a discussion on etiquette but I will let you, my readers, make the final judgement on the suitability of the title.
You receive a text message asking you a question (or a series of them). You realize that it would be way easier to answer the person’s question(s) if you just called them instead of typing a veritable novel as a response so you hit the ‘Call’ button on your phone and they don’t pick up. You wait a minute or two and – politely – text them that you just called them to reply to their question(s) and they didn’t pick up – no response. You are confused.
I call this kind of thing The Text & Run. This kind of behavior is definitely very high on my list of pet peeves of modern communication. Beyond that it is just plain rude, what do people think the person on the other side of the phone is going to believe? That after you texted them you threw your phone across the room and ran in the other direction? Is that why you aren’t replying to calls and follow up texts?
Don’t get me wrong. I completely understand that there are times when although one can freely text they can’t pick up the phone. But if that’s the case then send a text to us explaining the situation. To paraphrase Warden Samuel Norton in “The Shawshank Redemption”: Don’t just vanish like a fart in the wind!
Does this happen to you ever or am I alone on this? Do you find it as annoying as I do? Let’s work together to let recurring Text & Run offenders know that this behavior is bad etiquette, downright rude, and all in all not ok!
After getting a question from a friend in regard to their BlackBerry – specifically the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) application – I have decided it is time for a new Cell Phone Etiquette post. (You can find the previous ones here and here.)
My friend, Robin (name changed), messaged me via BBM the other day and told me that a friend, we will call him Barney, of the sibling who she had inherited her BlackBerry from had added her to their BBM list. What Robin wanted to know was whether or not it was rude to delete Barney from her list now that they had established that the phone was no longer her brother’s. I responded that in my humble opinion she should wait a day and then delete Barney so he will be less likely to notice when her name disappears from his list avoiding a possibly awkward conversation. I suppose beyond what I said what is important would also be how well Robin and Barney actually know each other in the real world and whether or not it would be at all an insult.
But as I write this post about BlackBerrys and BBM I also think about one other point of etiquette which I am unsure about and would love to hear my readers’ opinions. Is it OK to give out your friend/acquaintance’s PIN to a mutual friend/acquaintance without first asking your friend? (If you don’t know how BBM works with PINs see below) One friend of mine’s opinion was that it doesn’t matter as you can just delete the person from your list if you don’t want them to have you on their list anymore or just ignore/refuse the friend request in the first place. I accepted the opinion at the time because I was new to the world of BBM but I have come to the conclusion, personally, that it is not alright and is a breach of the other person’s privacy and bad etiquette. The same way I do not like giving out other people’s phone numbers or personal email addresses without the owner’s express permission I don’t think it is OK to give out their PIN without their permission. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.
Every Blackberry device has its own unique PIN and a BlackBerry user can use a PIN to send a direct message to another BlackBerry anywhere in the world at no cost. As well, every Blackberry has a program called BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) which is an Instant Messaging (IM) program which uses PINs to differentiate between people. As BBM is an IM program, like any IM program you build a buddy list and can choose to block or ignore requests for people to add you to their buddy list.
As many people in Toronto and the surrounding area (referred to as the Greater Toronto Area or GTA) probably already know that there will be a new area code for phones by 2013. This development has been undertaken with the apparent blessing of the Canadian Numbering Administrator (CNA) and the North American Numbering Plan Administration (NANPA) by the the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) which has decided in its infinite wisdom to overlay another new area code in Southeastern Ontario as the 289 area code which was overlaid in 2001 on top of the then almost exhausted (and now completely exhausted) 905 area code is going to be exhausted itself by 2014. See the full report at the CRTC website here http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2010/2010-213.htm
Before I continue, I feel I should segue to explain something about Canada for my readers outside of Canada. In Canada, unlike pretty much every other nation in the world, there is still long distance charges and roaming charges on cell phones while still in the country and even while still in the same province. As well, most landline phone plans also charge for long distance out of a defined local calling area. This is very different than, for example, Canada’s neighbors to the south, the United States, where one can use a prepaid cell phone with a Miami, Florida phone number to call from Hawaii to New York City and it is considered a local call with no roaming charges.
So the current situation in Southern Ontario is that the 905/289 area code includes the Niagara Peninsula, Hamilton, Oshawa, and the suburban Greater Toronto Area (You can see a map of this here in low-resolution http://www.cnac.ca/npa_codes/npa_map.htm and here in ‘higher-resolution’ – 1703×1509, nothing crazy http://www.cnac.ca/images/AreaCodeMap_highres.png). As such, the calling situation in Toronto and the GTA is very confusing for people. From a Toronto landline or cell phone (which have area codes 416 and 647) one can make a call to the city directly north of Toronto, Vaughan, and it is a local call 905 or 289 number. One can also make a call to a 905 or 289 number in Mississauga and it too is a local call. However, try calling a 905 or 289 number in Hamilton or Niagara Falls and you have to add a 1 before that number because it’s a long distance call. I have even heard tell of areas of Mississauga where people can call both Toronto and Hamilton and both are local calls! The point is, no one in the GTA knows when they are calling a number outside of the 416/647 area code for the first time if they are supposed to use a 1 before the number or not. Every new number is a new adventure!
According to the CRTC decision for the implementation of the overlay of 365 over 905/289:
I. (8) The Commission notes that overlaying a new area code on the area served by area codes 289 and 905 would not require subscribers to change phone numbers. The Commission considers that, compared with the other options evaluated by the RPC [Relief Planning Commission], this would be the least disruptive option for subscribers, would cost less to implement, and would provide long-term relief.
and they even have suggested in the same report that the area code 742 “could potentially be used for future relief in the 365-289-905 area, which is expected to exhaust again approximately 10 years after the next exhaust date.” (II. (15))
With all the above being said I personally believe this is quite a foolishly inefficient method of dealing with the problem and would like to take this space to lobby for a change in plan. I think that there should be a separation of the 905/289 area code’s current coverage into Toronto Local (TOLo) and Toronto Long Distance (TLD) and assign one of them the new area code.
In researching and writing this post I experimented by calling Tim Hortons stores in Durham region (east of Toronto). The stores Pickering and Ajax 905 numbers were TOLo and once I tried a little further east in the city of Whitby it was TLD. This is probably a big part of the problem and the reason overlay after overlay is going to happen – a bad decision early on is just being repeated. The 905/289 area code covers areas north, east and west of the City of Toronto. In each of these directions some of it is TLD and some of it is TOLo. Currently, the area that is known as the GTA which uses 905/289 consists of the municipalities of Durham, Halton, Peel, and York. In all those municipalities although they are identified as the GTA and a vast percentage of them probably come into Toronto to work (and play) and people in Toronto drive to them to work, there are TOLo portions and TLD portions.
It is high time that we normalized this ridiculous situation! Sure it is going to be a pain for a time but if we don’t do it now we are only going to further compound this problem. I say we go with the ease of the majority of the population. According to the Toronto Star, “[e]ach area code has a potential of about 7.5 million unique phone numbers. There are actually more combinations possible than that, but certain numbers, such as those beginning with 911 or 666, for example, are deemed unusable“. And, using the 2006 census the GTA municipalities had about 3 million people. The rest of the areas serviced by 905/289 had, according to the 2006 census, less than 2 million people. The change should therefore be implemented that the four municipalities that are part of the GTA become TOLo in their entirety and get to keep their 905/289 area code and phone numbers. The areas outside the GTA currently using the 905/289 area codes, which include Hamilton, Niagara Falls, St Catherines, and others will get to keep their phone numbers but have the new 365 area code instead. We won’t have to worry about people dialing the wrong numbers because if you try to dial a 905 number while you are in Niagara Falls the call won’t go through as it will be long distance and you didn’t add a 1 serving as your reminder that the number has changed to a 365 number. No one will ever be confused again about whether or not they need to be dialing long distance because the 416/647 area codes and the 905/289 area codes will always be local to each other!
As usual, the views expressed above are just my $0.02. You don’t have to agree with me.
People seemed to really like my first cell phone etiquette post so I thought why not give y’all a followup?
Two pieces of brilliance for you ladies and gents today:
- “Phone Violating” – When you are with another person or a group of people and you get a phone call that does not concern the whole group/other person if you sit and talk on the phone it is very rude. Amongst my friends we call this “Phone Violating” and the perpetrator of such acts a “Phone Violator”. This is especially true when you are sitting in a car with a person as they cannot listen to music because you need to hear the person on the other side, they have no one to talk to if you’re the only one in the car and if there are other people in the car to talk to loud talking in the background can be just as annoying as music during a phone call. So the person/people sitting in the car with you have to just be quiet and do nothing while you sit and have a phone conversation and ignore everyone else who is actually with you physically. If you are with one other person in a restauraunt or bar you are still phone violating if you get up and walk away from the table to have the conversation. Of course a quick conversation is acceptable but anything over the 3 minute mark makes you a rude phone violator! There are exceptions to this rule and they include – your parent or family member or boss who needs to have a discussion with you and won’t accept that you cannot talk to them right then and there or absolutely cannot know that you are in a car an hour away from the city approaching the cottage for the weekend after ditching out on work early…on Thursday. Or, if the information being given to you by the other person benefits or is of interest to everyone else in the group – e.g. directions to aforementioned cottage. But use your better judgement of when you are being a phone violator and when you aren’t.
- Late Night Phone Calls/Texts/Emails – If I am attempting to get in touch with you in a way that makes your cell phone ring and that wakes you up at 4 A.M. TOO BAD! It is a cell phone, you only have one and it is not difficult to turn the ringer off. “But I need to be able to hear my phone in case an emergency happens and someone needs to call me!” Fine so set up a profile that turns off all other sounds like text and email notifiers so those won’t wake you up. I understand the rationale behind not calling someone on a house line after a certain hour because we cannot expect people to walk around their house/apartment turning off phone ringers but a cell phone is one device which can easily be set to silent or left in another room. This is the 21st Century, not everyone is on the same schedule as you and you better get used to receiving emails at all hours because that’s the way the world works these days.
But that’s just my $0.02, as always your comments are appreciated!
The other day I was on the phone with a friend of mine and after we had a 5 minute conversation I told him to give a message to another friend of ours who he sees all the time. He told me that not only was he with that person right now our whole conversation had been on LOUDSPEAKER and the other person had been listening in. I didn’t say anything to the person at the time and I haven’t since but in my humble opinion that is just rude and a massive breach of social etiquette for the 21st Century.
I began to wonder as I was deciding whether or not to write this post if maybe I was being a little bit crazy and shouldn’t let such things bother me as I am sure they happen all the time. But then, the next day I called another friend of mine and some of the first words out of his mouth when he picked up the phone were – “You’re on loudspeaker and Wife’sName is with me in the car.” When I heard that I duly thanked him for making me aware of the situation, not because I had anything to hide from either of the people who were listening in on either call who I hadn’t called (or received a call from) in the first place. Simply put, it is a matter of etiquette. It is rude to be on the phone with someone and have them on loudspeaker and have other listen in without the other side’s knowledge.
In this day and age when our modern phones (both cell and regular, but mainly cell) have more and more options and gadgets available for us on them it is important, in my humble opinion, for us as a society to retain some sense of politeness and etiquette in their use.
If you are talking on the phone on loudspeaker and you are not by yourself it is just common decency to let the person (or people) on the other side know that their words are going out to an audience.
But that’s just my $0.02, as always your comments are appreciated!