I first began working in the hospitality industry in 2009. Being a naturally shy and introverted person, I would never speak up if a customer were to act rudely towards me, a co-worker or another customer. I was always polite and calm. However, last year during the summer holidays, something happened that may or may not have sparked a decrease in tolerance for other people’s vulgarity. It was a Sunday, which means the busiest day of the week. People were coming from the coast on their way back to ACT and they just can’t go two hours without a stop over at the Braidwood Bakery- the half way point. Anyway, the day was going quite smoothly until a middle aged man in a suit was next at my registrar. As I said “Hello, how are you, what would you like today?”, his phone rang. Whenever this usually happens, the customer either a) ignores the call altogether or b) answers, says “I’ll call you back”, then hangs up. This was not the case for the businessman. He answers the call without first even answering my question. I remember thinking that I was the rude one for trying to ask him what his order was while he was having a chat to his mate on the phone. Then something just clicked. I summoned the next person in line and took their order. To say that this caused a riot is a definite understatement. After abusing me and the customer I served, the man demanded to see my manager. Of course, she was on my side and simply said that no one will get served if they are speaking on their phone.
This incident made me realise that somehow, people feel that talking on a cell phone isolates them from people in their immediate vicinity. But, unfortunately for them and their unwilling listeners, they are anything but isolated.
The good news is, I came across a wikihow page that describes how to use your cell phone in public