Why exactly are Cell Phones so much more annoying????

Right now I’m listening to a loud conversation. Not loud as in argument loud, but loud enough to hear EVERY blasted “fact”, inflection and story of the conversationist (and I use that term lightly).

Is this one annoying side of a cell phone conversation, as in dozens of “I hate cell phones/Blackberries etc” threads? No.

Nooooo. This is a person going ON and ON about some boring hunting and fish farming crap and all his travels and ON ON ON ON ON…Not only are we, the captive and unwilling audience (I"m in the Portland terminal waiting to board), being treated to Mr Adventure’s (MA) droning tales of travel, but we are also having to hear his two closest captives and their responses.

At any rate, the above was the scenario, the setup if you will. So why is that not as annoying as those cell phone conversations some of our fellow dopers are constantly starting threads in which to whine?

Yes people who talk too loudly on their phones are annoying. All conversation in which we aren’t personally interested is annoying. Can we just leave it at that and stop with the whiny pathetic and pointless attacks on cell phones?

THEY are not the problem. People who insist upon forcing others to listen to their fascinating personal lives (whether by one sided cell phone conversation, or live and in person) ARE the problem.

So lay off cell phones already, cell phones don’t talk loud, PEOPLE talk loud.


(sorry, that was way too tame for the pit but with cell phones as the subject matter I’m pretty sure it would end up pit material pretty quickly).


Er…I don’t find cell phones annoying by themselves. I mean, I don’t *want *one, but I don’t mind people just talking on them.

I find them annoying because you can take them into places I don’t even normally have conversations, like the bathroom, or the movie theatre. In a movie theatre, people normally shut up, and don’t talk, but a few cell phone people always think it’s OK to answer their phone and talk on it.

Cigarettes aren’t annoying and hazardous to our health.

It’s the people who smoke them.
Stop blaming the cigarettes! :dubious:

It’s not the annoying or ridiculously inane conversations that piss most people off. It’s that a lot of cell phone users insist on talking when they should be doing something else that delays other people.

I saw a woman driving a Ford Excursion in a parking lot. She was using her left hand to hold the phone and the right hand was pawing at the steering wheel trying to make a left turn. Put the fucking phone down for FIVE SECONDS, won’t you?

I was in line at the post office in one of those common feeder lines. The woman at the front of the line was jabbering on and on and didn’t hear the counter person say, “Next!”, so the next person walked around her. The cell zombie got upset and yelled at the guy. The guy yelled back, “Hang up that damned phone and pay attention next time”, and got waited on. And there was mild applause from the 15-20 people in line.

I think there are several reasons:

  • people tend to talk on them so much more loudly than they need to. I don’t know why, but they do. As a result it’s much harder for bystanders to ignore the noise and thus it becomes more irritating.
  • you’re exposed to them everywhere nowadays, in places where you would once have been free from them (as **Anaamika ** said) eg restaurants, cinemas. It’s annoying if your lovely dinner out in a good restaurant is spoiled by the incessant yelling into the phone going on at the next table.

The exact same thing happened to me except for I was the dipshit on the cell phone. The guy behind my agressively walked by me a few feet and then stood and stared at me. When I realized what happened I gave him a thumbs up and waved him on. You could plainly see the disappointment on his face. He was ready for a loud confrontation, god damn it. He was 100% in the right to go ahead of me but it ruined it for him when I acknowledged it.

Back to the OP. I am sure that people would mind cell phones much less if we all whispered into them. It’s the loudness, not the phones. A few weeks ago I was in the Memphis airport. We were all crowded at the gate getting ready to board. This guy was on his cell placing an order for something. He clearly said his name, credit card number and expiration date within earshot of about 100 people. Unbelievable.

No. No we can’t.

Apt. Guns don’t kill people…guns make it much much easier for people to kill people. Cell phones don’t make peole annoying…cellphones make it much much easier for people to be annoying.

(Let’s just take one example. Two people are in a heated conversation. They approach a third person, let’s say for the exchange of good and services. Conversation stops while one of them interacts with third person (99.9% of the time). Alternatively, one person is in heated conversation on cell phone. Enters into interaction with third person for goods and services. First conversation continues unabated (77.3% of the time). Annoying. )

Sure, I agree with… wait, can you hear me? Hold on…

Is it ok now? Wait a minute, dammit… this thing is breaking up… I’m on one bar here…

This stupid phone… Lemme call you back.
[sub]This sample cellphone conversation brought to you by my mother.[/sub]

This story from a pilot friend of mine.

He’s co-piloting and taxiing towards the runway for take-off. The usual announcements of “please switch of all cell phones, computers blah, blah, blah” have been made when the in-flight attendant taps on his shoulder and tells him that there is a passenger talking on his cellphone who refuses to end the call and switch off.

Did I mention that the captain is a “take no prisoners” type of guy?

Next thing, captain keys the mike, asks tower for permission to stop taxiing, gets a puzzled okay, then brings the plane to a steady but nose-dipping stop.

Silence, except for a distant “yadda, yadda, yadda, stocks are up, shares are down…yadda…”

Then he keys the PA system, and says: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. This is a personal message to the gentleman in seat D3. Sir, this plane is going nowhere until you switch off your cellphone. That’s right, sir, you, the one on the phone in seat D3, you are entirely responsible for delaying take-off.”

Click, dial tone…silence.

Or even “please switch off all…”

Actually, I’d find the scenario in the OP slightly less annoying than loud cell phone users, and here’s why:

My brain has certain filters, like every other human brain. Someone can be droning on in the background about something that I’m not paying any attention to whatsoever. Then suddenly I hear my name, and not only do I become conscious of my name but I become conscious of the couple of words before my name which I must have heard unknowingly. I’m sure that sort of thing happens from time to time to everyone.

One-sided conversations grab my attention like that. If two people are arguing it’s easier for me to block them out. I’m not sure why. It’s as if my brain considers conversations with multiple people to be normal background information. One-sided conversations, however, trip some trigger that causes an alert, “Abnormal background noise - conscious attention required!”

On those rare occassions when somebody really is talking to themselves loudly, it’s just as annoying.

People who insist on entertaining us with the intimate details of their personal lives and such in places like airports don’t bother me. Especially since we’re all there because we want to get somewhere else. The problems is places like restaurants, theaters, museums, churches etc. where people should know better. I sometimes wander if these people didn’t often have withdrawal symptoms from not being able to yack away on the phone before the advent of cell phones. Maybe these are the same people who were always on public telephones before they had cell phones. I’ll bet Superman complained about not having a place to change often because of inconsiderate public phone users.

I still have trouble grasping a scene I witnessed at a devotional following a Wednesday night church supper. A woman’s cell phone rang during the devotional and she answered it and proceded to have a phone conversation right there! :eek: If ever God were going to smite someone for something that should have been it. I still say we should have taken her picture while she sat there on her phone, had it blown up and displayed in the church. I mean, sure it wasn’t in the church proper, but she kept those of us around her from being able to listen to the devotional, not to mention the affront it had to have been to those three people who were leading the devotional. Oh, and the conversation? She was discussing the details of an upcoming bridal shower. YEEHAA!

I think it’s the volume: People feel they need to speak loudly into the phone or they won’t be heard. Normally, personal conversations are softer. And, it’s the lack of understanding of the difference between private conversation and public conversation.

Pointless anecdote (names changed): I was sitting in the waiting room at the airport, on a flight back to Chicago. A guy is on his cell phone, speaking loud enough for everyone to hear. He’s talking to someone about the Board Meeting this coming Sunday of the Suburban Cultural Arts Committee, and how they have to get Karen off the Board. She’s out of touch and is an impediment to progress, but she’s been around a long time, so they should set it up as offering her some non-board position, like heading up the Opera functions. THen he hangs up and calls someone else, gets an answering machine, and says, " This is Larry Smith, please call me back, my number is blah blah."

I was seriously thinking about picking up my cell phone and pretending to talk on it, loudly, saying, “Hey, Karen, this is Dex. I want you to know that Larry is going to try to weasle you off the board at the meeting on Sunday.” I didn’t have the guts, I was afraid he might confront me.

One of the reasons I hate cell phones is that they allow… nay, *encourage * people to have extremely private conversations in extremely public places.

I think it’s fun to intrude on the conversation when people do this. I’ll cut in with some advice, and when they say (as they almost always do!) “This is a private conversation!” I respond “No, it’s really, really not. When you say something out loud in front of God and the entire subway car, it’s **not ** private. Now that I know all your problems, let’s talk about me. We’re gonna be friends, I can tell!”

I agree with the OP. I chat on my cell phoone only in places where I’d find it acceptable to have a conversation with another person, particularly the bus. Once a woman flipped out, screamed and swore at me for talking too loudly/talking at all on my cell. Everyone else in the bus thought SHE was nuts.

And here’s my philosophy - I love overhearing conversations on the bus. They entertain me to no end. So I like to give back to the world when I can.

I completely agree. It took me a while to figure out that this is what really bothers me about cell phones. If I’m in a realatively quiet room (say a coffee shop), and someone just says, “hello?” (not too loud, even, but like they are starting a conversation) I reflexively look up and see who it is.

On the other hand, eventually they will become commonplace enouh in our society, that in a generation or so, most people will have adapted.

i am hyper aware that having my phone ring when i’m in the cinema/at a funeral/receiving a papal blessing etc must be excruciatingly annoying for those around me who quite reasonably expect silence in such situations. Consequently i have put this song on it as my ringtone.

What? If i am going to annoy folks they might as well get their money’s worth! :wink:

Have you ever seen “Trigger Happy TV” where the guy persists in walking around London shouting into a giant cellphone? Someone down the hall from me has the same ring tone as the dummy cell phone on there and every time it rings I convulse in laughter. That’s not so bad.

The One Side of the Stupid Cell Phone Conversation I Always Get to Hear

Dippy ring tone version of a Britney Spears song…
Hi. Nothin’. What are you doing?

Yeah. I know. Me neither.

What do you want to do tonight?

K. Call her and call me back.


Dippy Ring tone version of a Britney Spears song…
Hi. Nothin’. So?

I hate her. She never wants to do anything.

K. Call me back.

(This would be way better if there was some way I could dot all the "i"s with pink hearts.)