Friday, November 13, 2009

Readers Respond to Coffee House Brew Ha Ha

Yesterday's post about my coffee house run-in with a woman who refused to take her cell phone conversation outside drew a huge amount of traffic to my blog and a huge response from you readers with your own opinions.

Traffic wise, it was one of the biggest days ever on my blog, certainly probably the most traffic I've ever gotten on a post where the subject wasn't the Santa Barbara News-Press. The column got over 1,300 reads on Edhat. Over 2,200 page views overall.

And as for the response, well, I picked the wrong day to spend over four hours behind the wheel (not talking on my cell phone I might add) because the comments sent to me were plentiful and steady. Over 50 e-mails and comments sent to me directly or through the form on my blog. And of course, a long day spent on the road driving to and from L.A. meant little opportunity to acknowledge people's messages.

The overwhelming majority of you thought I was right to say something. Those who took issue with how I handled the situation were troubled by my use of the "B" word. If I had it to do over again I wouldn't use it. But let's face it, the cell phone yakker's cavalier dismissal of my objections to her rudeness made me angry, and when you're angry stuff gets said.

Here's what some of you had to say:

"Kudos to you for speaking up. Politeness seems to be an endangered species." Devon Capshaw

"Craig - I'm with you on the "bitter old fart" category. And I thank you for being the one who had the cajones to actually say something." Catherine Duvendeck

"I'm with you 100% regarding the cell phone oaf. I believe that the use of cell phones in a high volume manner that involves innocent bystanders is one of the signs of the crumbling of civilization as we know it. The frequency in which I am subjected to this rudeness in airport lobbys, on planes, in hotel lobbys, etc is astounding, particularly when the exceedingly personal nature of what we often hear is considered." Jan Greben

"If you don't want social interaction, stay at home on your own comfy chair." Ben Burleson

"Craig: I too go into the Good Cup on occasion, and I am around your age. I think you know the answer to your own question. You were right to ask her to talk outside. You were wrong to call her a (w)itch. Why? Because using that word was not only rude, it was demeaning. You had the opportunity to make an important point and you only adopted (and topped) the sort of behavior you wanted to stop. I would have "accidentally" spilled my cup of coffee on her!" Anonymous

"I would have "accidentally" spilled my cup of coffee on her!" Anonymous

"Amen regarding cell phone use. We all need to step up and teach our village idiots manners in public. I've heard more than I need and that was only half of the conversation!" Laurie Mundy

"As you know, society is self-regulating for the most part. If you didn't say something she would go on being rude and thinking that everything was fine. At least you made her think, and, hopefully, she brought up this incident to some of her friends or colleagues, and perhaps someone else also called her on her extremely rude and selfish behavior. She may, just may, think twice about having loud cellular conversations in quiet venues in the future. I think you did the right thing, including the "witch" comment. :)" Teresa Eggemeyer"

Totally agree with you making a comment to the "witch" in the coffee shop. We now live in a world where everyone thinks that they have a "right" to be an asshole. There are no more manners or politeness anymore. It is all about 'I am the most important thing in the world'. Who told all of these people that they are so special?! They are not." Mark Purcell

"Thank you, thank you, thank you, for saying something to the rude "witch" with the cell phone. I'm so sick and tired of having to be subject to someone else's life drama via their cell phone conversations. More enlightened citizens need to be as proactive as you and maybe we can get these self important numb skulls to realize there are others in the world who would just like to have a little peace and quiet. Just so you know, I personally don't own a cell phone and have had little cause to think I, or most other people actually need to be able to be immediately contacted for anything. We have turned into a bunch of instant gratification addicts. Thanks for speaking out." B. Hunt

"You were right to ask her to take her call outside, but you'll never garner sympathy if you call someone a "rude *itch." Once you start calling names, you immediately lose the high road. Just roll your eyes and be the better man." Hillary

There are more than 80 other comments posted at Edhat.

A couple of commenters over there wondered if I would have said anything had it been two people having a loud conversation in the coffee house. Probably not. For some reason, it's just not the same, even though volume wise it may be indistinguishable from someone talking loudly into their phone. We expect people to come and meet at converse at coffee houses, that's what they're for. But, they are not some mass free form phone booth.

And what's offensive or impolite is not judged solely by the volume of noise it creates. Suppose there was a couple sitting in the coffee house kissing and making out? Would the rest of us be expected to put up with that? I know what my response would have been. "Get a room!"

P.S. Thanks to reader "Edman" who came up with the name for today's post.
© 2009 by Craig Smith and