I, and others, have written about the cell-phone curse --- trying to communicate with customers who are in the midst of cell-phone conversations or texting and regard us as a minor annoyance that is interrupting their important communications with the rest of the world. It is something that everyone hates, and everyone in the public arena has to deal with this.
I recently returned from a trip to a big east coast city. (Really BIG.) Now, I'm not exactly from Podunk-ville, but I was floored by the number of people walking the street with their noses in their cell phones -- in fact, the majority aren't even talking on them, but rather texting or tweeting or just reading stuff. I saw cops looking at their phones. I saw security guards and doormen looking at their phones. I saw a TSA agent talking on his cell phone as we lined up in front of him, and the conversation, which I could hear clearly, didn't sound work-related. The taxi driver was on his cell phone. The guy behind the counter at the bank was glancing at his cell phone, the guy selling us tickets... and on it went.
Maybe some of these people do have to use a cell phone for work-related communications, I don't know. Or, maybe they're actually breaking the rules of their job. But I was really blown away by this level of absorption in these devices. How are you an effective security guard when you're reading your phone half the time? A high-school kid I know works in a fast food restaurant and they are absolutely FORBIDDEN to have their cell phones with them while working. If it's good enough for the hamburger joint why isn't it good enough for the TSA?
I've written before about my problem with pharmacy employees being distracted by their cell phones. I work with people who regularly make and take cell phone calls from home while working, and it really bugs me. Remember the good old days, when if someone needed to reach you they called your work number? --- better yet, you called them on your lunch break?