Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Post Most Appropriately Titled, "Poor Ryan"

I went to Target yesterday. I know. Shocker.

Anyway, I had finished shopping and headed into a checkout line.

The girl in front of me was checking out and talking on her cell phone. She was unloading her cart with her one free hand, item after item, and chatting away about how the green flip-flops she was buying would like totally match her bathing suit and how she was so psyched that they'd also go with the new strapless dress she was wearing to her Rent's cookout and how Ryan is so lame for not calling her back. (Yes, I'm nosey.)

So, I'm listening to and watching her carry on this conversation, and I realize that she has never even looked at the cashier, let alone spoken to him. She swipes her card, signs the little box thingy, takes the receipt out of the cashier's hands, ignores his "thank you", loads her bags into her cart and leaves. Still chatting away. About Ryan's other multitude of issues. (Poor Ryan. Hope he runs like wildfire.)

So, when my nosey self pulled up to the cashier, I asked him, "Does that happen a lot? Do a lot of people talk on their cell phones the entire time they're checking out?"

He replied, "Yep. Happens all the time. All. the. time."

So, I'm asking you:

Is it acceptable in today's world to talk on a cell phone in a checkout line? Is it OK at some retailers and not OK at others? If you work/have worked at a retail establishment, does it/did it bother you when people talk(ed) on their cell phones during checkout?

I'm all


  1. I think it is rude to do no matter the establishment. People are people and deserve our respect. I typically say, "Gotta go, I'm getting ready to check out" if I am on the phone by the check out... although I typically find that talking on the phone while shopping with three kids is not really possible anyway. (however while driving I find it is the time I am least likely to get interrupted while on the phone)
    Seems to me these people are doing us a service and we can give them the courtesy of a smile, kind greeting, and a thank you. Those are my 2 cents anyhow!

  2. Great topic for discussion!

    Stepping on my soapbox now:

    Totally, completely unacceptable. And did I mention horribly RUDE?

    I have done this in the past, although I usually stop chatting to say "hello" and "thank you" at least, but have made a point to not talk once I get to the check out line.

    I have worked in retail but before everyone and their uncle had a cell phone. It annoyed me then when a customer was chatting with their shopping buddy and couldn't break away from their convo to give me the time of day. Kinda the same now, just delete the actual person standing there and insert a cell phone instead.

    As with taking driver's ed before one can drive I truly feel that Verizon, etc. should require a course on cell etiquette 101 before anyone is issued a phone.

    Has anyone come up with a polite way of saying something to the offender, if it is appropriate to do so?

    You are so right, POOR RYAN! :)

  3. I have to admit, I've done it before, but it happened when I was talking to my sister who is in a different time zone and is often hard to get a hold of. But even in that situation, I hold the phone away for a second to say hi to the cashier and then I say thank you when I'm done. The person on the phone should be okay with waiting a second while you say hello and thank you.

    The worst I've seen? I was a waitress for four years and watched as a man came in, sat down with his female companion, and promptly answered his phone. He spent the ENTIRE meal on the phone. No joke. He didn't even get off to order. Or talk to his friend/girlfriend/wife. She gave me his order and then sat there, essentially by herself. I was so peeved. I really wanted to "accidentally" grab his phone and dump it in his water.

  4. I currently work retail and this does happen all of the time. So annoying. Especially when said talker is ignoring her children as they are tearing about the store destroying stuff that I will have to later clean up. I know sometimes its unavoidable, but an apology or acknowledgement of some sort goes a long way.

  5. Leave it to Sarah to start a discussion. Zinger of a topic, girlfriend. *wink*

    Yes, and more yes.

    I think people do it to look popular, important and busy. I hear the conversations people have as they are shopping or walking around the pool (not watching where they are going) on their cells and it's *like* totally not that important at all.

    Unfortunately their rudeness has the opposite effect that I think they are looking for.

    In summary: to be considered, you must be considerate.

  6. I know that I have done it before...but I do try to smile at least!

    This is going to sound really old fashioned, but I feel the same way about texting. It just bugs me to see teens phone in hand 24/7.

  7. Oh my gosh- such a pet peeve of mine! I may make a phone call if the line at Meijer is a mile long, but once I'm up at the counter- no conversation needs to be taken care of right then and there! Not to mention the bad habit of not watching this ring up- I can't tell you how many times things don't ring up on sale when they are supposed to! This girl needs a lesson in manners!

  8. OK, so I think the only time I have done this is once or twice while going through a drive-thru for something and, even then, I generally either A) tell the person to hold on and put the phone in my lap while I conduct business or B) give more of my divided attention to the person in front of my face rather than the person on the phone.

    But, I don't even like to shop while on the phone, much less be in the checkout line. If someone calls while I am in a store, I find a corner and quickly have the convo. If I'm in the checkout and the phone rings, I ignore it and call the person back. My rule of thumb is that the person in front of you deserves your first consideration.

  9. I use to work at a Dairy Queen and would happen quite often. I always really wanted to ignore that customer and go onto the next customer. I mean I can see people MAYBE getting away with it (even though still really rude) if all you need to do is have the cashier ring you up... but when you have to place an order, I mean seriously people... what can't wait 5 minutes? And the worst is when they look at you and either hold up a finger or tell you to hang on a second... arg... I mean, what did you ever do in life without a cellphone... other then pay attention to the world around you? ;)

  10. RUDE! Just the other day I was at the post office when my phone rang. I answered it only because it was my 15 year old daughter, ans said, "I'm at the post office, I'll call you right back." I promptly hung up, and the teller thanked me profusely.

  11. I agree with all the others. It is just rude to be talking when you are checking out. I've gotten called while I was in line and I call back. Now if Andy was calling from Korea - I might talk. But I'd still stop to talk to the cashier.

  12. i wrote a post on this same issue last year some time. i think it is so rude. i've tried to teach my kids that there is appropriate and inappropriate times to not only be talking on their cell, but texting on it too.

  13. I'm sorry to say that no, I don't think it's's not ok to chat away while your in a check out line, it's not ok while your in the library, it's not ok while your in the rest room, and most of all it's not ok while your driving...and finally there is a reason not to :o)

    I understand that people feel they must take calls and all but where do we draw the line...when you are face to face with another human being of some type? You know...your children??? your husband...the checker and the lady who is trying to wait behind you...cell phones are distracting us all in one way or another...

    ok I'm getting off my soap box now :o) If you do have a cell try to be aware of those around you.


  14. I have done it once or twice, when on the phone with a friend who's impossible to get off the phone. I do try to apologize to the cashier though, or at least smile and make eye contact. I used to be a cashier at Target (before the cell phone era though - yikes...), so I always try to be as polite as possible since I've been there myself. :)

  15. Just Mom says Just No to rude behavior, and that is indeed rude behavior.

  16. yeah, really rude. I just let mine go if it ever rings while I'm checkng out.

  17. I agree with everyone else.. so rude... and inconsiderate. I worked in retail for 15 years and I can't count the number of times that someone came to the register or the counter where I was with a cell phone glued to their ears...

    I do try to hang up if I am getting ready to check out.. or if it rings while I'm in line.. Like Aimee.. I let it ring till I get in the car...
    Great topic of discussion!!!

  18. I agree with everyone else. Have some manners people--It's horribly rude, i HATED when people did that to me in retail.

  19. Have I mentioned lately how much I enjoy reading your posts! You're so creative!! I can't say that I'm completely innocent of this, but I do think it is VERY rude! Actually, I could get on my soap box of the rudeness that occurs with cells phones, but I won't bore you. I also hate call waiting too for that same offense to anyone reading, but I think it's really rude. Great discussion!

  20. Yes it is very rude to do that. I especially hate it when people talk on their cell phones in resturants...more so in classy resturants. I always get on my hubby's case when he answers his phone in a resturant. I think it shows the person your with that your phone is more important than they are. Before becoming a preschool teacher, I used to work in a deli. I wouldn't go up to a customer until they got off their phone. I even have parents that will come to pick up their child and be on the phone. Like how am i supposed to tell you about your child's day if your on the dang phone....ugh!

  21. I won't get on my soapbox about cell phone etiquette but suffice it to say it is very RUDE.

    Honestly, I don't know if cell phones are the root of the problem or just add to it. There are many times when I am out running, biking, or walking with the kids and we will pass "neighbors" on the street who will not say hello or even make eye contact.

    Anywho - great post, great discussion, and I agree with Earen- your posts have been so creative lately. I enjoy reading your blog Sarah!

  22. I'm sorry, but manners are manners no matter what society you live in. and ignoring a fellow human being while yapping on the phone is poor manners NO MATTER WHAT.

  23. kristen is right! your posts have been totally creative lately, and i (as always) enjoy reading them.

    but back to cell phones. i did it once (checked out while talking), and then got such a hard time about it from my mom it later that I haven't done it since. my mom once owned a retail store and it drove her crazy. and i can see it... it is like saying the person ringing you up isn't worth the time of day.

  24. I think it's rude to talk on the phone while checking out and I personally never do it. And, I always make it a point to say something to the person checking me out. What I think is really bad, though, are checkers who don't say a word to customers. They're getting paid to do a job, and should at least utter a "hello" without prompting.

  25. IMHO Totally rude!!! The cells and texting are disconnecting us from the people right in front of us who we need to have some sort of co-action with or we become totally isolated in the long run.
    God puts different people before us for a reason!!!!!

  26. I agree - totally rude.

    But like Jill said - I think it is rude when the cashiers spend more time talking with their friends/workers than talking to me.

    I think it is crazy to use a cell phone more than you have to - but that is my opinion.

  27. i am with everyone else. i don't do it. because it is rude and i have difficulties multitasking. =)

  28. You are too cute! I so enjoy your blog too.
    And yes I agree with the rest, it is ex-tremely rude! I rarely use my cell phone, so this is not an issue for me.

  29. Yes, I agree, it's rude and disrespectful to talk on your cell phone while at the checkout, or any other place that requires interaction with another human being. Perhaps it would help if cashiers were allowed to wait to start ringing up the order until the person got off the phone!

  30. definitely NOT! I used to work in retail and i always loathed the customers who did this to be while i was ringing up their stuff. i mean, how hard is it it say "hold on" or "I'll call you back"?
    im guilty of constantly being glued to my cell phone, but at least i have some decency once in awhile!