Ok, so I hate poor mobile phone etiquette as much as the next person. I stay away from those who yell entire conversations into their phones in public places. I also strive not to be that person. After all, it’s a mobile phone, not two cans connected by a string.
All that being said, when I’m in a situation where I have to wait a lot–like today’s doctor/lab/pharmacy run–I’m going to take advantage of the free time. I warn the person on the phone. I’m polite. And, I put the staff at my physical location at the top of the priority.
Here’s my method: “Hey, I got your message. I’m waiting for [whatever] and can talk for a bit, but I might have to hang up all of a sudden.”
(The friend I was talking to today was about to leave town. It was probably our only chance to talk about something important before she left for vacation.) Then, I monitored the comings and goings of other patients at the lab so I could predict when I’d be next. Then, when it was my turn, I said, “gotta go” and hung up on my friend. As soon as I was done, I called her back so we could finish the conversation.
At the pharmacy, we were still talking (remember, it was important), but for the two times the pharmacist had a quick question, I asked if she could hold on for a second. I answered his very quick question, and then returned to the conversation.
At the first of these exchanges with the pharmacist, some old guy using a cart like a walker said in an as-loud-as-an-old-guy-can-get voice, “I’ll have to call you back. I’m talking with my pharmacist…” and gave me a dirty look. Now, he was not using a phone, didn’t have a headset, and wasn’t at the actually pharmacy counter. He clearly directed this at me.
So, I explained to my friend how I seemed to have offended someone else at Walgreen’s because I dared to make use of the wait time while they filled my prescription. gasp! the horror! I don’t know if I can ever show my face at that Walgreen’s again!
When E & I left he was still puttering up and down every aisle of the store with his empty make-shift walker, so I guess Walgreen’s is his social gathering place. I guess I could have walked up to him and explained the benefits of technology and how I asked my friend to hold so I could answer the pharmacist’s question, and how it was just as rude of him to eavesdrop and interfere..
..but then he might have thought that was rude!