Bookstores are a fun place to browse and relax. You can go in, cruise the aisles for a few books, pick up a warm drink, and then sit down in a large, cushy chair to enjoy said books and drink. It’s most relaxing. That is, until some jerk on a cell phone decides he has to talk at the highest decibel to be heard on the other end of the line (and, apparently, the store). Suddenly, you’re jarred from whatever imaginary world you were visiting in the pages before you. Your muscles tense and your eyes narrow as the guy just keeps on talking, not realizing he’s disturbing those around him.
As is talking on the phone while in the bathroom (especially a public one), talking loudly on a phone in a retail establishment is a pet peeve of mine. I find it utterly inconsiderate. The reason people come to stores like mine and stay for hours is to relax, get away from the office or home, not to hear one side of a stranger’s personal conversation. A coworker of mine once heard an older gentleman explain to his grown daughter why he left her mother for another man. Apparently, the pet section of a bookstore is a great place to have that phone conversation.
Another time I overheard a man telling his friend on the other line that all his checks were bounced and he was afraid to go back to the hotel because his credit card might get rejected at checkout. He said he was tempted to steal food at the grocery store so instead he decided to hide out in the bookstore. This guy had the conversation rather loudly, right in front of me as I worked (wearing a name tag, handling product, etc.). Not only was he rude in talking so loud but also rather stupid. I went around, first to each manager and then to each cashier, and told them not to take any checks from this guy.
Let’s not forget those people who stand in line and talk on their cell phones. We see this a good deal of the time, but I imagine it happens in grocery stores and the like as well. There is nothing ruder than this, I believe. First of all, it’s a distraction to everyone around, even for the person on the phone. A cashier may be calling and calling for the next in line but the jerk on the cell phone is oblivious and continues to hold up the line, pissing off everyone around. Then, when the cashier is helping him and he continues to talk on the phone, the cashier cannot ask the required questions she is supposed to ask. Not only that, but the cashier is trying to be of service and the customer is essentially ignoring the one person required to help him.
If the cashier is lucky, this is the end of the incident. But I’ve on that side of the register before and seen that a complete transaction does not mean a complete interaction. Once a lady came up on her cell phone and practically threw her book at me. I rang it up and hit total and she swiped her card. As the receipt printed, she took the phone away from her mouth (but not her ear) and asked if I got her discount card. Let’s see. Threw the book at me, check. Threw discount card at me, no. Apparently I was supposed to be psychic and know that she had a discount card and look it up for her by somehow knowing her phone number. How dare I be so rude! Of course, I had to completely redo the transaction and it further held up the line because one lady couldn’t put down the phone long enough to buy a book. How long would it have taken? Thirty seconds? A minute? Not as long as it ended up taking, that’s for sure.
So, next time you’re out in public and your phone starts playing “Baby Got Back,” alerting you to a possible booty call, think twice before answering it.* Is the potential conversation one you want to be shared with strangers? Especially strangers who will gladly put said conversation on the internet for others to read? I thought not.
*Really, the why doesn’t matter. The point is, the people around you are not your friends and family and should not be privy to your life.