By Jug Varner

You may have read my rant against the thoughtlessness of cell phone users in my Jug’s Journal article, (TECH) Not The Greatest Invention. Recently I read a news item about the Sprint Wireless Courtesy Report and it aroused my curiosity, so I thought you might enjoy the highlights of its poll results.

The Sprint report compiles statistics from an ongoing poll with thousands of cell phone users. I have seen and overheard (impossible not to) a lot of thoughtless cell phone addicts walking around or sitting in crowded public places, and if the percentages of the survey are correct, some of the responses may be misleading. Some people say one thing in answer to a poll question, but do not necessarily practice what they preach. And a lot of people don‘t see their own faults clearly… or if they do see them, will not admit them.

So here are the survey highlights, with my own comments appended in parenthesis:

  • 80% of U.S. adults surveyed say people are less courteous using wireless phones today than five years ago. (I agree with this statement.)
  • 97% labeled themselves as “very courteous” or “somewhat courteous”. (Give me a break! Much too high percentage for all those cell phone addicts out there!.)
  • 62% said they have felt “uncomfortable” overhearing someone else’s private wireless conversation. (The word “indignant” better describes it for me.)
  • 98% said they move away from others when talking on a wireless phone. (The percentage seems upside down. How about 2% that move away from others?)
  • 2% say they keep their phone ringer on when in a place of worship. (Why? Are they expecting a call from God?)
  • 77% said they have overheard a wireless conversation in a public restroom. (Maybe the conversation, like their purpose in being there, just “couldn’t wait.”)
  • 34% put their phone on vibrate when in a restaurant; 11% lower the ring volume; 18% turn the phone off; 28% make no ringer change; and 9% didn‘t say… (But they all seem to talk very loudly over this noisy crowd, and those at adjoining tables can't help overhearing them.)
  • 93% say it is rude to take a cell phone call in a business meeting. (Yeah, but no doubt more than 7% do it!)
  • 80% say the same for a text message or e-mail. (Probably more than 20% do this, too! Obviously, the people in charge of these meetings have not “taken charge.”)
  • 88% said people unnecessarily raise their voices on wireless phones; 15% said they have been told they talk too loud on their wireless phones. (The percentage is probably much too low, but how else can a “want-to-be” attract attention to his or her self-importance?)
  • 54% said they feel “unimportant” or “impatient” when a friend stops a conversation to take a cell phone call. (Or a regular phone call as well? Maybe they need to tell this to their “friend.”)
  • 53% had a similar response from a co-worker. (If they are at work, incoming calls should be more important than office chit-chat.)

You can participate in this survey at http://www.sprint.com/etiquette.