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Can Anyone Elighten Me About The Rudest Cell Phone Behavior of All?

Posted by: David Kiley on March 9, 2005

I ride the train from New Jersey to Manhattan on most days, and I have recently become aware of a growing trend of the rudest cell-phone behavior of all.

These are the people who not only talk the whole time, filling the car with blather, but they use the speaker function of the phone to boot. In this case, what we get is a garbled fuzz of blather from the sap we can’t see, a beep when they are done blathering, and then our train companion’s back-chatter. This is roughly like sitting next to a security guard in a mall for the duration of the trip as he monitors all his checkpoints or monitoring a police channel.

At first, I thought this was an isolated incident. But No. This is a bonafide trend. Here goes another Andy Rooney moment I am having. Can anyone explain to me: What is the attraction of using a cell-phone like a walkie talkie or a speaker phone on a crowded train? And, more importantly, what the hell were you people doing when the creator was handing out sense and manners?

What does this have to do with marketing? Cultural trends are always pertinent to marketing. Rudeness run amok must be some sort of flash point for advertisers and their agencies.

So far, this is a trend advanced mostly by young people under the age of 25 in and around New York City, as I observe. However, I’d peg the last phone-goon doing this on my train at about 30 years old.

Soon, I am going to retaliate, as I did a few months ago when some corporate chieftain was blathering through an entire conference call while standing shoulder to shoulder with me on the train. Trying to read my paper in peace, I became so fed up that I began reading the Times op-ed column aloud into his face. When he stopped, I stopped. That was a good day.



News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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