Lunchtime poll – bring in the noise
September 10th, 2010
12:15 PM ET
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Speaking of shrieking kids of all ages raining terror down upon diners, didja know that scientists have found out why it's infinitely more annoying to hear cellphone conversations than regular ol' in person chats?

Mindhacks reported on a study that says it's because your brain has to work harder to keep up.

"A one-sided conversation (brilliantly named a ‘half-a-logue’) draws in more of our mental resources because the information is less predictable – like being fed a series of verbal cliff-hangers."

So how 'bout when you're served up one by a nearby diner?

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Filed under: Buzz • Lunchtime Poll


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soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. Holly

    I join in their conversation, of course! They've made it public, so they must have meant to include me, right? I have been known to laugh at their jokes; ask them to repeat what the other person said; offer advice on the best brands of [whatever they're being asked to pick up from the store]; give vacation planning tips; help out with dating/marital/parenting advice; commiserate over whatever they're bemoaning... This can be especially fun when they're captives – for example, in a crowded elevator, where others take the cue and join in, too – or in a bathroom (seriously, who talks on the phone while on the toilet? Courtesy flush! And again...) Anyway, humor usually gets the message across better than lectures or stern glares. We all need more humor in our daily lives. If it's clearly an emergency call – not work-related (unless it's a brain surgeon), but you know, someone's BLEEDING or hanging by their fingertips from the fortieth floor of a tall building – I'll cut 'em some slack and let them carry on their conversation unmolested.

    October 25, 2010 at 8:33 am |
  2. Yeah Sure Right Whatever I'm Easy

    Oddly, I am awake at an odd hour not giving a s**t about this issue yet taking the time to write about it. I don't care if others talk too loud. Sometimes I do it unintentionally, but generally try to be a considerate person. If I don't realize I am speaking too loudly and some telenazi decides it's his/her job to parent me about it, I suggest they use their very best manners. That will be fine with me, I will apologize sincerely, maybe feel a bit embarrassed, tone it down or hang up. If they want to get nasty and rude about it right from the start we'll have a showdown. That tells me a lot about you. It's not about my loudness. You're a naturally pissy bitch of a person just waiting for someone to confront. And guess what? I'm not up for YOUR rude shit. We share this world. I'll try to talk lower while you practice meditation and/or take a xanax. One more time: I'll tone it down and apologize if you approach me politely while you practice not being such an uptight asshole. Maybe we can work this out.

    October 9, 2010 at 6:03 am |
  3. AGS Direct

    It's usually the people who dine alone who are guilty of this bad behavior, since they must prove to the entire restaurant that they actually have friends.
    http://cell.agsxpress.com/

    September 15, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  4. CF

    Twice I've called over a waiter and asked for a quick Happy Birthday song to the offender's table in return for a nice tip. Works like a charm.

    September 13, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  5. Trammer

    I tune in! I just it is just good humor to listen to someone who is obviously tone deaf with no regard for the own business being broadcatsed to the public. I tune in just like it was a radio,

    September 13, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  6. Cieje Valentine

    I try my darnedest to ignore my cellphone and discourage anyone, even my friends from calling me on it due to being a cheapwad on a prepaid..

    September 13, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  7. Heather Number 1

    I know a good lunchtime poll topic.....You win 5 million dollars from the Publishers Sweepstakes...the same day that big Ed guy gives you the check, aliens land on earth and say they are going to blow up the world in 2 days...what do you do?

    September 13, 2010 at 2:58 pm |
    • Cieje Valentine

      ...Try to convince them that mosquitos are actually an endangered species.

      September 13, 2010 at 3:01 pm |
  8. Not Me

    Cell phone loud mouths drive me up the wall! I got the privilege of being able to go shopping early one morning at a near empty department store. I ended up leaving with nothing because of one woman who walk walking around the store spouting her holier than thou drivel AT TOP VOLUME for over an hour. I told her on the way out that Jesus loves inside voices inside.

    Hey.... it's nicer than what I said to the loud mouthed banker in the next booth at lunch. He was shouting (not just talking loud) to someone about some nonsense, so I asked him quite loudly about his gonorrhea. :)

    September 13, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  9. ace

    I fully believe in treating others how you'd like to be treated. That being said, if I'm at a restaurant and I'm expecting a call, I apologize for the phone sitting on the table. When I receive my call, I excuse myself and take my call outside. I know I'm one of very few who do this and I try and extend patience toward those who are rather loud and who just don't care about those around them.

    September 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  10. LK

    Does anyone know if it is possible to send in a suggestion for a lunchtime poll? I didn't see a place on the website.

    This is a bit off topic but still along the lines of being disturbed while eating: Dose a co-worker have the right to interrupt you while you are eating lunch at the office?
    Like many people I bring my lunch to work each day. As our office does not have a common location to eat lunch I must eat at my desk. Most days multiple people interrupt my lunch with questions or tasks that can sometimes cause me to have to abandon my food altogether. I'm sure they do not do this out of malice but I find it very rude. Am I overreacting?

    September 13, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
    • payroll clerk

      If your company allows you a lunch break (30 minutes or more) and you take lunch at your desk and end up working during your lunch break, your company must pay you for your lunch break. In order to avoid this payroll liability, many companies do not allow their employees to take lunch breaks at their desks.

      September 13, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
    • Evil Grin

      That IS rude. Can you take your lunch outside on nice days?

      I think I'd hang a humorous sign on my cubicle, something along the lines of "Sorry closed for work." Maybe have a book or something that clearly shows I'm on break and not doing any work for anyone. That's all I can think of.

      September 15, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  11. Shambala

    Now, now, SUdarshan1, it's really rude to listen in on someone's private conversation–I mean really! Where are your manners. Simply put in ear plugs if you must be a neb nose. God loves you too!

    September 13, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  12. SUdarshan1

    I see many thoughtless persons revealing so many personal details either about themselves or others, including phone numbers, e-mail addresses etc while talking on a cell phone on a crowded train, as though nobody in the world could hear their "private" conversation. Have they never heard of the serious consequences of identity theft?

    September 13, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  13. Shambala

    Now, now, Carl–Don't be talking about people being impotent when they're not here to defend themselves. Let's be nice! Everyone should talk on a cell phone 24/7. Smile, God loves you too!

    September 13, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  14. Carl L

    I think the best solution is the cell phone jammer. The reason is that these small-brained jerks who talk at the top of their lungs on their phones in public, want the attention. They are childish, probably impodent and feel soooo important that they are having a phone conversation at 7 in the morning or roaring down the tracks or in a restaurant. Unless you are a brain surgeon and someone might die if you don't take the call – it can wait.

    September 13, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  15. musheded

    Why can't people just put the cell phone, smart phone or whatever away when they're eating. Unless you are emergency personnel, have a critically ill relative/friend or on some type of deadline there is no reason to have your phone out during a meal...especially if you're with other people since presumably you are there to socialize with them not be on the phone!

    September 13, 2010 at 1:54 pm |
  16. Shambala

    You all bore me!

    September 13, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
  17. JasonPDX

    Speakerphone users are the worst, like it's not bad enough that they are already talking so loud the people in the entire place can hear, but now we get to hear the annoying voice on the other end and just as loud or louder. I usually just look at the offender and yell "You've got a sexy phone voice" and when they look puzzled I say "No, not you" and then walk away. I do appreciate the user who said "It's a cellphone, not a megaphone" because I am totally going to use that one too.

    September 13, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  18. LK

    My personal least favorite experience is when the "cell phone talker" is at my table. I always excuse myself from the restaurant if there is an emergency call I need to make but what do you say to another person in your party? When my brother-in-law visits our small Connecticut town he insists on taking every phone call regardless of our location. I suppose it is not a big issue for him as he is just visiting but for my husband and I, who patron these restaurants regularly, it is very embarrassing!!!

    September 13, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  19. Amber

    As someone who eats alone and notices how loud other diners can be I don't really see a problem with talking on my cellphone so long as:
    1) I do so relatively quietly – diners who are in excited conversations or laughing loudly are often far louder than I am.
    2) I have my ringer on vibrate – I agree cellphone RINGS are annoying.
    3) I politely set my phone aside to speak with the waiter.

    Science aside, I don't see why I should be deprived of dinner conversation just because my friends are located miles away. Either that or the rest of you should have to quiet down as well...you can get pretty loud too.

    On a side note, as a single diner, I often bring a book. Some friends have told me they think reading in restaurants is inexcusably rude. But if I'm not allowed to talk on my cellphone or read does this imply that my choices become (1) eavesdrop while staring off in space while waiting for food or (2) never eat alone? Because if so, you all suck. I pay, I tip, I enjoy food. Don't be hating on the tables of one!

    September 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • Evil Grin

      I read when I eat alone as well, especially waiting for the food. I don't see how it's rude at all, if you're not ignoring someone at your table, or making extra work for your waiter. I don't understand that reasoning, does it make others feel less intelligent or something?

      September 13, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  20. Mike Wiggins

    There are similar instances in the workplace where there are those who feel the need to use their speakerphone to listen to a meeting, conference call or the like. Usually the volume is way above what is needed and gets in the way of your own work.

    Upon hearing a loud speakerphone conversation in a managers office, one time, I went to this person's door and quietly shut it. He acknowledged what I was doing and I've had no trouble since then.....from this person at least.

    Like with the cell phones it's all about courtesy. It doesn't take much to be neighborly.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
  21. Kay

    Wow don't you all sound so very brave. My husband is one of those people who tends to speak very loudly into his cell phone. Actually, he is just kind of loud in general. He answers calls at restaurants and in stores, pretty much everywhere. No one has ever said ONE WORD to him. So, I think must of ya'll are just BSing. Either that, or the idea of confronting a 6'5" 180 pound fella will just SHUT YOU UP!!!!
    I mean, really, don't you have better things to focus on when you are out to eat?
    The fact that I don't let loud people or noisy children bother me shows that I have outstanding manners. Thanks MOM!

    September 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
    • onwisconson

      Sorry, Kay, but my husband's 6'5" and 225 lbs of pure muscle. He'd politely ask your husband to be quiet. He also wouldn't be afraid of him. Nor would I and I'm only 5' 11". Actually, I'm the one you don't want to tangle with. We went out for our anniversary and were seated beside a very large man who decided to have a one-way conversation at the top of his lungs in a very upscale Asian place in our city. He was rude to my husband but he folded to me. I don't lower myself to these people's level; I don't curse or in any way degrade myself. I simply get my point across.

      It is incredibly rude to use a cell phone in a nice restaurant and impinge upon others' fine dining experience, especially in this economy when luxuries are few and far between.

      Perhaps your mother taught you manners. Maybe you should spend some time imparting these lovely ways to your mate.

      September 13, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
  22. MJB

    Cell phones are a pain you know where. At the doctors offices and various medical facilities. Some people are sick and do not need all this loud talking mostly about nothing. The stores going down the isles speaking very loud running into things and people. Cars are so bad. People just do not pay attention. Hit other cars, run into objects and have even killed people. Stop it people. Have some civility.

    September 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  23. Phil

    Loud conversations via cell phone don't bother me as much anymore simply because I live in a large city whereby people no longer talk to each other either via cell phone or in person. Nowadays it's all about texting each other or others, even if you are with your friends, this as well as playing with your apps, again, with your friends. Now ask me this, which is ruder: loud cell phone conversations or NO conversations while with your friends?

    September 13, 2010 at 11:48 am |
    • Amber

      More annoying: the little audible beeps as people receive one text after another.

      September 13, 2010 at 12:43 pm |
  24. JC

    I live in NYC. Restaurant, subway, street, you name it and people are talking loudly everywhere on cell phones. As most have mentioned, your cell phone convenience, is my inconvenience, especially in a restaurant. If you feel you must hold a LOUD conversation about Jenny's husband sleeping with the cleaning woman, then expect me to join into conversation and give my opinion. You don't like it? No problem, you can go to another restaurant, subway car, or across the street.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:37 am |
  25. Bubba

    I take off my shoe, hold it up to my ear, and start screaming "Chief? I can't hear you, Chief! Are you under the Cone of Silence? Can you hear me NOW? Can you hear me NOW? Can you hear me NOW? Can you hear me NOW? Can you hear me NOW?" No one even notices; they are all lost in their own autistic cellphone worlds.

    September 13, 2010 at 11:34 am |
  26. Disgruntled Cashier

    Not only is it annoying to have to endure an obnoxious cellphone user as a patron, but also as an employee. I can't tell you how many times I've had customers order from me while on their phone or bluetooth. It's SO rude!!!

    September 13, 2010 at 11:12 am |
  27. Arlee

    I find people that talk loudly on cell phones have the most boring life, same way that the person next to you at the intersection that has the passenger window open for no reason is always the person that has no taste in music as well.
    You never over hear a good coversation and never hear good music next to you at the intersection. Those are the same people.

    September 13, 2010 at 10:50 am |
  28. ClareBear

    Join in the conversation. If it was a private converation, it would be held in a private place, or a least in an "indoor voice".

    September 13, 2010 at 10:46 am |
  29. Craig Thelonius

    Portable Cell Phone Jammer. One of the best investments I have ever made.

    September 13, 2010 at 10:33 am |
  30. Phyllis McKay

    I participate in the conversation!

    September 13, 2010 at 10:17 am |
  31. Kathleen

    What I love to see in a nice restaurant is 2 people come in together (say on a date), sit down, pull out their phones and start talking or texting other people. Hardly even say a word to each other. Utterly fascinating! Can't you just leave it be for an hour? Is anything SO important that it can't wait a short while?

    What I'd really like to get is one of the those cell phone blockers to zap people's calls. They're illegal and they're expensive...but somehow, so worth it!!!

    September 13, 2010 at 10:10 am |
  32. gemalo

    I ask them to keep it down or go outside, as I calmly take out my gun, and start seeing how many rounds are in the magazine. They usually hang up.

    September 13, 2010 at 9:38 am |
  33. Texrat the Crypticum Keeper

    I usually mock them. Most are too stupid or narcissistic to realize or care though.

    September 13, 2010 at 9:33 am |
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