Survey Reveals Regional Mobile Phone Etiquette

A recent survey from US Mobile Phone Carrier, Cingular Wireless, reveals striking regional differences in what Americans believe is the proper and courteous use of cellular phones in public areas.

Southerners are most likely to disable their ringers when entering a church while Westerners are most likely to turn off their ringers before entering libraries, theatres, restaurants, and schools. Midwesterners are most likely to silence their phones when going into retail stores. New Yorkers disable their ringers most in libraries and hospitals. The national survey indicates that people are most likely to silence their cell phones in church and least likely to do so in retail stores.

V&L Research & Consulting Inc. conducted the telephone survey among 504 randomly selected cellular telephone owners and users. The survey has an error range of +/- 4.5%.

There are regional differences in the USA in attitudes about disabling a cell phone's ringer in public areas. Residents in the West are more likely to disable the ringing feature of their cellular phones while in libraries, movie theatres, restaurants, and classrooms or schools. People in the South are most likely to set their cellular phones to silent or vibrate or turn off their phones upon entering church.

When entering a business office or bank, cellular users in the Mid and South Atlantic areas are more likely to turn their ringers off. South Atlantic residents more frequently disable their ring feature when entering a museum or concert hall. Hospitals are more likely to be considered ring-free venues in the Mid-Atlantic, Mountain and Western states. Among those changing their ring options upon entering a retail store, most live in the East, North Central or the Mid-Atlantic states.

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That a new one

gdbjr @ 11/6/2003 11:34:21 AM #
"most live in the East North Central or the Mid-Atlantic states." So what is East North Central? Is that one area or 3? And if they would have asked me my response would have been that my cell is always on vibrate.

RE: That a new one
Neoesis @ 11/6/2003 1:40:54 PM #
I do the same, simply because it aggravates me to no end when I hear someone's cell go off in a restaurant or movie. Especially when they then lack the decency to even take the call outside and rather answer it right then and there. It makes me want to gut them like a fish.

RE: That a new one
volcanopele @ 11/6/2003 1:46:57 PM #
My best guess it that "East North Central" refers to states like Michigan, Wisconson, maybe even states like Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio

RE: That a new one
kezza @ 11/6/2003 2:43:46 PM #
it was "east, north central," not "east north central." those are two different places. east is probably everything from northeast of pennsylvania, north central probably includes ohio, michigan, indiana, illinois, wisconsin, and possibly minnesota and iowa.

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RE: That a new one
Puppy @ 11/6/2003 6:05:17 PM #
I'm in Illinois, and the only places I switch my phone are church and movies. Technically youíre supposed to at my local library, but I figure if it ever goes off in there, I would just mute it quickly and leave (and Iíd switch it to vibrate if I was going to be in there for a long time).

Why would anyone mute their phone in a retail store? Supposedly people in the Midwest are most likely to do that, but Iíve never seen anyone do it, and I have no idea why they would. Thatís when Iím MOST available to talk, really.

RE: That a new one
egardner4 @ 11/10/2003 1:01:51 PM #
My phone is also always on vibrate and is always in my pocket.

One of my biggest cell phone annoyances at work is the large number of people with annoying ringers (e.g., rooster cackle) that leave their phone on at their desk while they are elsewhere.

Another major annoyance is when people at the head of a long line in a store, coffeeshop, etc. further slow things down by continuing a phone conversation while the person serving them is trying to ask them necessary questions.

The most extreme case of cell misuse that I ever witnessed was a woman in a coffeeshop whose first transgression was holding up the line as mentioned above. She then proceeded out the door with her coffee. She got in her illegally parked car, put her coffee cup on the dash, put the cell phone between her head and her shoulder (still talking), lit a cigarette (still talking), grabbed the steering wheel with the hand holding the cigarette (still talking), picked up her coffee cup with the other hand (still talking), and pulled out into traffic without signalling (still talking).

Speaker Phone & PTT

BrianG @ 11/6/2003 1:57:49 PM #
Too bad this survey didn't cover speaker phone or PTT (Push-To-Talk) Etiquette. How often do you see someone using either of these features even though they are holding the phone right in front of their face??? Seriously, do we really need to hear BOTH sides of a conversation, including those annoying beeps???

RE: Speaker Phone & PTT
hkklife @ 11/6/2003 2:39:48 PM #
Here in the south, people only seem to have any regard for churches when it comes to powering phones off. In any other area, they still have the "it's my damn phone and what I do with it is my own damn business".

I suppose it's a regional thing, but usually in a restaurant/library etc, when someone's phone rings, they wrap a coat around it, sit on it, wrap their hands over the speaker etc etc in a futile attempt to mute it. They then look all sheepish and are blushing and embarressed but after the phone has finished ringing, they place it back on the table, ready to ring again. I don't think that the average cell phone user is aware of silent/vibrate modes or that you can hit a button to mute a ringing call.

Of course, everyone and their brother seems to have a Nextel down here...the new trend seems to be teenage girls who have a Nextel and are on their parents' rate plan and they yak with their friends while sitting at the mall's food court about all manner of gossip and lewd sexual behavior...ugh!

RE: Speaker Phone & PTT
He||Raiser @ 11/6/2003 3:32:08 PM #
Well, I'm on the west coast and I keep my phone on Silent/Vibrate every moment of the day. First because I can't stand it when I hear someone's phone in a place that should be quiet, let alone their dumb ringtone in any other location. Second, because I keep my phone in my pocket all the time, I can easily tell when the phone rings.

Mobile phone etiquette

Navamske @ 11/6/2003 2:03:39 PM #
"Mobile phone etiquette" is an oxymoron.
RE: Mobile phone etiquette
otter @ 11/6/2003 8:55:08 PM #
Here on the west coast, the obnoxious people - lots of them here - annoyingly keep their phones on everywhere. Obviously there are considerate people who turn them off in movies, hospitals, etc., but you never know about them.

The cell phone "etiquette" is just a microcosm of people in general - if they're rude with phones, they're probably just rude in general.

The hell they do!

mikecane @ 11/6/2003 2:49:19 PM #
>>>New Yorkers disable their ringers most in libraries and hospitals.

Ah, how I'd love a license to do free bodily harm to the dolts who use their cells in the NYPL... then they could go use it in the hospital too! Bloody nitwits.

Why is this annoying?

4s @ 11/6/2003 2:55:29 PM #
Like a lot of people, I am annoyed by people talking on cell phones in restaurants, etc. However, I cannot explain to myself why this annoys me.

Is a cell phone conversation at the next table really much different than if the person was talking to another person at the table? Maybe it is because some people talk on their phones more loudly than they speak to someone face to face.

<><

RE: Why is this annoying?
Altema @ 11/6/2003 3:50:35 PM #
I think loudness has something to do with it, but I get the impression that the brain notices a conversation more when we can only hear one person talking.

RE: Why is this annoying?
hotpaw4 @ 11/6/2003 4:46:18 PM #
There must be something wrong with the cell phone user interface which causes typical people, who are perfectly capable of having a quiet to moderate volume conversation at a restaurant dining table, to sudden start yelling into their cell phones like a sports newscaster.

I try to turn my ringer off in quiet restaurants, but leave it on in noisy ones where the conversation level is already fairly loud.

RE: Why is this annoying?
GenericMan @ 11/6/2003 5:03:22 PM #
Some people just don't trust phones to carry their voices effectively, so they shout into them. I once worked for a man who yelled so loudly into the phone that I had to hold the receiver about three inches away from my ear when he called me. This was on a landline phone, too.

Anyone who has worked in an office knows about the problems of speakerphone abuse. Cell phone abuse is an extension of this to everywhere that a cell phone works.

RE: Why is this annoying?
mikecane @ 11/6/2003 5:07:30 PM #
I've yet to use someone's cell (don't have my own, although the T600 might change that...) that carries voice as well as a landline. And I had to shout yesterday when calling a cell from a landline!

But there's just *no* bloody excuse for using one in a public library. What the hell is *voice mail* there for?

RE: Why is this annoying?
Altema @ 11/6/2003 5:15:29 PM #
The older Motorolla StarTac was prety good at transmission volume, which is why it took so long for my wife to upgrade. She picked the SE-T316 for her upgrade finally, which I don't really care for, but it seems to have decent volume. My former Nokia was horrible, having both poor reception, weak speaker, and poor mic volume. May it rest in pieces.

As far as the ringer, I always turn mine off in theatres, libraries, and other place where it would be out of place. When the ringer is on, I use "Old Phone"... it fits right into most environments where I have it turned on, and is amusing rather than annoying. Most people will **** their head to one side, then laugh when they realize what it is. I leave it on in church because NO ONE would dare call me during those hours! Not on purpose, it's just that I usually forget about it, and the few people who do have the number know better than to call at certain times.

RE: Why is this annoying?
Altema @ 11/6/2003 5:30:44 PM #
That's NOT what I was thinking! Perhaps "move" their head to one side?

RE: Why is this annoying?
mikecane @ 11/6/2003 5:48:23 PM #
Tch! Such a dirty mind!

RE: Why is this annoying?
abosco @ 11/6/2003 5:55:02 PM #
Wow. I'm trying to put in all available curses in that four-letter box, but I'm drawing a blank. What in God's name did you write!

Maybe I'm the only normal person here on a cell phone. When I get a call, I talk low. Really low. Mics these days are extremely sensitive since stubby phones don't have long reaches down to your mouth, so all you need to do is talk a little lower, and nobody will even bother to lift up their head. The receiving end will hear you fine.

Nextel is straight from Satan himself. I've already told my story about why I hate Nextel. Damn brick phones with obnoxious rings and beeps, annoying users, and stupid people who say, "HEY JOHN WHERE THE **** ARE YOU" while "John" is actually sitting in church right behind me. Move over "those who remain neutral in times of crisis", we have a fresh batch of people that have reserved the hottest place in hell!!

-Bosco
PalmSource SC
http://www.palmsource.com/interests/browsers
Everything you've ever wanted to know about Palm OS web browsers.
NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616

RE: Why is this annoying?
devildoc @ 11/6/2003 6:33:37 PM #
I have thought much about this and I have come to the conclusion that loudness has nothing to do with it. If three people are in line and two are talking to each other and the last one is talking on the phone at the same volume as the other two, the two talking to each other will be annoyed. Why? Because they can't hear the other side of the conversation.

Personally, I only use vibrate AND I talk EVERYWHERE public conversation is acceptable. Grocery store, bank, sidewalk, coffee shop, night club, restaurant... If the fact that you can't hear the other side of the conversation bothers you, too bad. And don't bother me when I'm on the phone, just because you can't see the other person or my phone doesn't mean that I'm interested in talking to YOU. Trust me, if you were talking all alone on the sidewalk I won't come near you, so leave me to my conversation.

RE: Why is this annoying?
otter @ 11/6/2003 9:00:13 PM #
abosco: it rhymes with "rock" and basically means to turn, tip or tilt. Or another name for a rooster. :)

RE: Why is this annoying?
abosco @ 11/6/2003 9:43:35 PM #
*Slaps head* Wow, guess I didn't put all available curses in there! :D

Hippocrates, good one. Funny guy. Seriously, that was funny.

No, really.

-Bosco
NX80v + Wifi + BT + T616

RE: Why is this annoying?
Hippocrates @ 11/6/2003 9:54:37 PM #
*Slaps head* Wow, guess I didn't put all available curses in there! :D

I hope you don't get corrupted when you leave Kansas. Only a church-going, God-fearing, Kansas-raised 16 year old wouldn't have known that one.

By the way, if you're proud of your Palmsource article, advertise it all you want. Don't let a sarcastic old coot embarass you, kiddo.

RE: Why is this annoying?
mikecane @ 11/7/2003 11:27:23 AM #
>>>Don't let a sarcastic old coot embarass you, kiddo.

Oh come on. The only good thing about getting old is that it allows you to abuse the young! What's the purpose of old age if you can't become spiteful? Ha!

Besides, alec (I can see him gritting his teeth -- hey, kid, those will be dentures some day! My God! Mrs. Brady wears dentures?!!?) knows I'm just winding him up. He has to keep sharp for the next ska invasion.

RE: Why is this annoying?
rcartwright @ 11/7/2003 1:54:15 PM #
I have had the good luck to have one of my best friends be one of the pioneers of cell phone sales and services. Which traslates as near free airtime and a cheap phone when people who used cell phones also flew on the Concorde. As a result, I was a fairly early adopter of the Mortorola brick phone around 1988. I am also a lawyer and have a good situtional awareness of people around me when engaged in conversations. IMHO, I think that a lot of people who started using cell phones when they went to mass market pricing have a mental disconnect and talk like they do on a landline at home because they don't really yet realize that they are taking or making a phone call in a public place. Or frankly, they may be just rude.

Life is a great adventure or nothing.

This is GREAT phone etiquette!

mikecane @ 11/6/2003 5:49:21 PM #
MS's boss of Smurfphone to quit!

http://msmobiles.com/news.php/1601.html

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