telephone box

More minor phone annoyances

Following on from my post about telephone etiquette, I thought of some more random things that annoy me about the way people use the phone. So here they are:

1. People who send text messages during gym classes, or answer their phones. Come on, it’s ONE HOUR, surely you can survive that long without using the phone? I mean, I manage to last that long without checking my email, and I check my email constantly, so I know you can do it too. Fair enough if you have an emergency, but some people at our gym answer their phones during every single class, and they’ve never once had to leave the class as a result of what was said to them on the phone/by text message, so I’m going to assume it wasn’t THAT much of an emergency.

2. People who answer the phone while you’re visiting them, and then have a long conversation with the person on the other end, while you sit there looking on like a dumbass. Extra points if the person frequently roars with laughter while pointing to their handset and making faces to indicate that “OMG, this is the Best! Phonecall! Ever!” If I wanted to sit silently staring at the wall for half an hour, I’d do it at home, thanks. Is it really so hard to say, “Look, I have company right now, I’ll call you later”? Apparently.

3. Retail workers who answer the phone when there’s a long line of people standing waiting to pay. The people who are actually IN your store waiting to buy something should come before the one who calls to ask you eighteen questions about your stock. If you must answer the phone to them (and I understand it’s annoying to let the phone ring), THEY’RE the ones who should be put on hold.

4. People who phone you to tell you they’ve just sent you an email.

5. People who phone you five minutes after sending you an email to ask why you haven’t answered it yet.

6. A possibly controversial one, but: people with a non-urgent enquiry who call your home phone and, getting no answer, immediately call your mobile. If I’m not at home, I’m out. If I’m out, I’m probably busy doing something. If I’m busy doing something, I probably don’t want to be disturbed while I’m doing it. (And yes, I know the whole point of  MOBILE phones is so that people can reach you when you’re, er, mobile, but I still view this as an “only if you really HAVE to speak to me rightthatveryminute” thing. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but this need for near-constant communication just irks me.)

7. People who use their phones in movie theatres. Seriously, that should be an arrestable offence.

8. People who phone you about a work-related matter you’ve specifically asked them to email you about. And then say, “I know you asked me to email you, but I thought it would be easier if I just called instead.” Well, it may be easier for YOU, but it’s not easier for me. That’s why I asked you to email me. If it was easier to do whatever -it-is by phone, I’d have asked you to phone me.  (This doesn’t happen so much now, but when I used to freelance, I much preferred people to put the instructions for their project in writing, so I could be totally clear about what they wanted, and so they couldn’t come back to me two weeks later and say, “oh, but I really wanted you to do it THIS way…” It was fine for them to have an initial phonecall to discuss the thing, obviously, but when it came to them giving me long lists of complicated instructions, I needed them in writing, because no, it just wasn’t easier for me to struggle to write them all down/remember them with the phone lodged beneath my chin and the person talking nineteen-to-the-dozen on the other end.)

9. People who phone you really late at night. Look, it’s nice that you were thinking of me, but if it’s later than about 10pm, I’m going to assume someone just died.

10. People who call you really early in the morning. And then say, “Oh, sorry, were you sleeping?” Well, it’s 8am on a Sunday morning and I’ve been working all week, so… yeah. Extra points if they then smugly say, “Oh, I’ve been up for HOURS, I just can’t lie in bed all day!”

11. People who call you and then eat something noisily with their mouth right next to the receiver. If there was a “detonate” button on the phone, I’d use it on these people.

Any more?

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  • Emmao414


    Haha, nope, I think you have covered just about every base! Totally agree with all of them, phones suck!

    May 1, 2009
    • Emmao414


      Actually, just thought of one. People who phone your house phone, and then ask ‘where are you?’. My sister does this to me every single time she phones my house. A symptom of mobile technology, that people omit to believe someone is actually sitting on their sofa, painting their nails and drinking tea??

      May 1, 2009
  • Excellent post!

    I have a couple more. I’m not sure how common these are, but they certainly seem to happen to me a lot (maybe it’s just the people I know…?!):

    1) The person who phones me from work (and while I’m working, though I’m at home, which in some people’s heads = not working) for a quick chat, but then proceeds to suddenly needs to do some computer work while on the phone with me, muttering half to themselves and half to me about what they’re doing. If you have work to do, then don’t phone me. Phone me when you have a break. Plus, now, instead of me doing my work, I have to stand here and listen to you do your work. What’s up with that?!

    2) The person who phones me at home from a mobile phone while driving (on a hands-free thing thankfully) then berates me for having a problem with MY phone because there’s noise on the line and it keeps breaking up. It seriously took me at least 15 minutes to convince someone the other day that the problem was with the mobile phone signal and NOT with my land line!

    May 1, 2009
  • People how call *you* and then ask who you are! Thats’ my job! You rang me! You’re meant to know who I am.

    And people who call my mobile, and then say “sorry to bother you” every single time they call. It’s nice that they don’t want to disturb, but they’re not sorry. Otherwise they would have rang. They’d have let me carry on skiving like I am this morning.

    People who have call waiting. STOP IT! It’s sort of fine if I called them, but when people call me, and then put me on hold I want to kill them.

    People (my mother) who talk to animals or babies while you’re on the phone to them. FFS – You can’t see how cute they are being over the phone! I love my mother, but a ten minute conversation with her lasts twice that because of all the kitten talk.

    People who put you on speaker phone because they can’t be bothered to hold the phone. Like it’s that difficult to hold a damn phone.

    People who call you on a train, but then say “I might get cut off” becasue they know there’s a tunnel. And then you have to sit there and do the “hello, hello…you’re break….hello” thing. It’s just as annoying to listen to while you’re on said train too.

    I should stop now. I appear to have hijacked your comments section for my own personal rant.

    I should stop now.

    Siany´s last blog post..Swine Flu? Some piggies are cute!

    May 1, 2009
  • Just remembered a lovely old lady we used to know, who used to get up really early in the mornings (I mean like 5am early!), and then call us on Saturdays at about 6am to discuss plans for the Sunday church service 🙂

    Oh, and another: When I used to do corporate work, I often used to have to switch my phone off while in a meeting, but I was very good at phoning people back straight away if they left a message on voice mail. If I just received a missed call, especially if it was a number I didn’t recognise or it said “withheld”, I didn’t (or couldn’t) call back. I assumed that if the person didn’t leave a message that it wasn’t urgent. But… it was amazing the number of times I’d then get a panicked call later with the person saying “where have you been, I’ve been trying to get hold of you all day, this is urgent!”.

    May 1, 2009
  • I have to disagree with #3. the people in a store know there is a phone ringing but the person on the phone doesn't know there's a queue of people. Definitely answer, take an initial enquiry and then ask them to hold.

    I do have another. People who call from a witheld number (i screen), listen to the whole answer-phone message…and then hang up

    <abbr>LizSara´s last blog post..Could you carry Carrie?</abbr>

    May 1, 2009
  • I so completely agree with #2. I HATE when people do this and my best friend does this ALL the time, it's just beyound annoying. I could strangle her!:D (ok, not really, but when it's a never-ending call the thought does come to mind..)

    and the last one? just gross..

    ohh btw, how do I get my picture to appear next to the comment? The gray missing-photograph thing is just too disturbing:D

    <abbr>Veronika´s last blog post..How to.. find the right jeans</abbr>

    May 1, 2009
      • thanks Amber and Veronika, I should have a picture now (I hope)

        <abbr>Louise´s last blog post..Cup Cake</abbr>

        May 4, 2009
  • You forgot to include people who DON'T hang up even when you tell them you're busy. And it's plenty awkward to have to ask them to please hang up. Multiple times. I know too many people like this. Maybe I have some kind of magnetic power.

    May 1, 2009
  • This list is perfect, kids should have to learn it at school.

    Regarding #3, I don't know if it applies everywhere, but when I worked for the Co-Op, we were told to prioritise answering phones over serving customers. My manager put it to me as "the people on the phone can hang up and therefore not buy anything, the people in store can wait". Not nice, but maybe an explanation? I did think it was rude as hell, though.

    I just don't GET the over-reliance on phones. Emails are easier for all concerned, and if you need "real time" replies, use Skype or MSN. It's a damn sight easier to not say something idiotic if you have to type it!

    <abbr>Toni´s last blog post..Clickthroughitis* Today</abbr>

    May 1, 2009
  • Kate


    Probably just me, but when I pick up someone else’s line at work and am expected to know everything about their job.

    Them: Can I speak to John?

    Me: I’m sorry, he’s in a meeting/lunch/whatever. Can I take a message?

    Them: Oh well I’m sure you can help…

    I am happy to try and help, but the chances are I won’t be able to. We may be based in the same office, but we all work on different projects (and most of our callers know that). I’m just answering the phone to take a message, mainly because I can’t bear to hear it ring & ring*. I’m simply acting as a human voicemail. So don’t get stroppy with me if I cannot make decisions on their behalf, access their personal schedule or comment on that email conversation the two of you shared this morning.

    *just reminded me of another one. People who get no answer and just let the phone keep ringing. Is it not generally assumed that if they didn’t answer after five or so rings, they are not going to?

    Phew! Thanks for the rant!

    May 1, 2009
  • Stephanie


    Am I the only one who is going to fess up and say "GUITLY!" to the text messaging? Anyone…?OK SO I ADMIT IT. I've done the "I'm-hanging-out-with-a-friend-oh-but-let's-txt-so-and-so-instead".

    One day my boyfriend had had enough. So while we were together and I was text messaging someone else, he politely asked "Can I see your phone for something really quick?" and without thought I turned it over. After a few moments he hands it back and and I was about to resume a text to one of my managers when I saw I'd apparently already sent something that read:


    Of course, he didn't know who he'd sent it to and my manager took no offense but….I done learned muh' lesson.

    May 1, 2009
  • Erik (Sorrento)


    The last one is the worst for me.

    Add to the list; people who call and just as you pick up the phone, they say, "Hold on, I've got another call."

    May 1, 2009
  • Just read a recent Fortean Times (I LOVE reading this magazine, such fabulous ridiculous reading) and a guy in china recently died when a mobile phone exploded in his pocket severing his artery! Although useful, they are aso dangerous! lol

    May 1, 2009
  • I hate all those people. And I hope I never become those people.

    May 2, 2009
  • The one that really makes my blood boil, and makes me most likely to commit violence, is when I'm on the phone and the person in the room with me insists on joining in the conversation: "who are you talking to?", "tell them about …", "no, what actually happened was…". My boyfriend does this all the time and I swear if he wasn't a foot taller than me and twice my size I'd clobber him!

    May 3, 2009
  • but what I really don't get with #2 is that when someone calls me and I'm with someone else at the time, it annoys even me to be on the phone so I keep it as short as possible. Or just say I'm busy and will call back etc. So what's wrong with these people?? 🙂

    <abbr>Veronika´s last blog post..Top ten things to do at a party</abbr>

    May 3, 2009
  • and thanks for the image tip! it works! yeay!

    May 3, 2009
  • Fiona


    Oh, I'm so glad it's not just me who gets a little annoyed at the whole idea of mobiles, and how people expect you to answer a phone call or text immediately… It's very nice of them to worry if I don't reply within the hour, due to family outing/trying to relax/didn't hear the phone, but… I was just watching Britain's Got Talent too loud, you know?

    Jane Austen never had these issues, it was letters or nothing! ha :]

    Mobiles are great for emergencies & similar, but meeting up with people has got to be so much nicer…

    P.S. Love this blog btw, and the fashion police too.

    May 3, 2009
  • 9 and 10 FOR SURE! I got a call at 8 AM on Saturday from the gas company welcoming me, since I just had my service turned on. Um, EIGHT AM ON A SATURDAY? No one is up at that hour. At least no one I know.

    <abbr>Kristabella´s last blog post..Not Enough Hours. Or Packing Tape.</abbr>

    May 4, 2009
  • Moni


    <blockquote cite="comment-4711">


    People how call *you* and then ask who you are! Thats’ my job! You rang me! You’re meant to know who I am.

    My personal pet peeve is the flipside of this: People who answer the phone by just saying "hallo" or "yes" instead of telling me their name. I always feel like a dork having to ask them if I'm actually talking to Mr. or Mrs. XY.

    Yes, I know who I want to call, but how can I be sure I've reached the correct person and not gotten any numbers mixed up or stuff, if the one on the other end won't tell me who he is?

    (I work retail and most of the phone numbers I'm calling are ones that the customers gave me. It's very well possible that they mixed up something or we didn't get it right when we wrote it down.)

    May 26, 2009