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Cell Phone Use In Public Restrooms

4 Ratings: -4.7
The behavior of using a cell phone in public restrooms


Tags: Cell Phones, Social Networking, Manners, Public Restrooms
1 review about Cell Phone Use In Public Restrooms

PSA: Don't take that call when you're in the stall

  • Apr 26, 2010
Every now and then, I come across one of those "unwritten rules" that apparently needs to be written down and broadcast on TV as Public Service Announcements because common sense/common courtesy completely escapes some people.  In this case, I'm talking about cellphone use in public restrooms (sure, you shouldn't need to talk on your cellphone in a private restroom, either, but I'll choose my battles).

Somehow, in the erra of Twitters, email, Facebook, instant messaging, etc, some people completely lack the ability to be "unavailable" for the amount of time it takes to care of their most essential business.  In fact, when nature calls, it's all too often that that call turns into a conference call. 

There's essentially three primary offenders, who are all most likely one and the same.
  1. The guy that is on a call before he enters the restroom and decides he can't wait a few minutes to wrap up his call, so he continues the conversation in the bathroom.
  2. The guy who is in the middle of doing business and feels the need to answer the phone ringing in his pocket.
  3. Finally, the guy who initiates a call from the restroom.  Seriously??  You couldn't wait until you got out?  

You're Not That Important
Thanks to the excellent acoustics in restrooms, it's very easy for everyone present to hear your side of the conversation.  Not once have I heard someone give instructions for saving a life or suddenly remember where the terrorists are planning their attack.  I'd almost even give a pass for someone trying to get a last minute trade in before the market closed.  Yet, I've never overheard a bathroom phone call that was even remotely time-sensitive.  I have a feeling that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates never had to take a phone call in the bathroom, so chances are, neither do you.

For Your Health
It's amazing that some people pick the least sanitary part of their entire day to reach into their pocket and put something right up next to their face and mouth.  I'm not a huge germophobe, but that even grosses me out.  The last thing your hand touched before you put it up next to your face was most likely a bathroom door handle, a toilet seat, or a flush handle.  And if you're cavalier about chattin' on the phone in a public bathroom, you're probably not super likely to wash your hands on your way out, either.  Remind me never to borrow anyone else's phone...ever!

You're Being Rude
This one is multifaceted.  While you're chatting away about "hey, whatcha doin' this weekend", the rest of us are conflicted by our own sense of decency.  Despite the fact that you brought this upon yourself, we ask ourselves, "is it rude to flush"?  I say flush away.  Make sure that the person on the other end of the line knows that they're being called from a bathroom, and eventually (hopefully) someone (with decency) will call the offender out.  "Dude, are you calling me from a bathroom??"

On other side of the stall, I feel that bathrooms are meant to provide some sort of "client/restroom confidentiality".  Once someone takes a phone call into the restrooms, they've essentially wiretapped your fortress of solitude.  And who knows who could be on other end of the line?  The person who takes a phone call into the restroom is acting selfishly and could cause undo anxiety for other patrons.

Fortunately, There's a Solution
The best part about this problem is that the solution is very simple -- Don't take phone calls in the bathroom!  Unfortunately, there apparently needs to be education about the matter.  I feel like a few celebrity PSA's along with a clever "anti-cellphone" icon on the restroom doors would go a long way.  If things continue to progress in the wrong direction, we may need to escalate the fight by using technology to block cellular signals in restrooms.

Here's one cautionary video:

I hope you'll join the fight with me, and God willing, we may be able to end BPC (bathroom phone calls) in our lifetime!

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March 16, 2011
This is hilarious! Thanks for this very important PSA. I couldn't agree more and it's so incredibly self-indulgent and rude behavior that maybe we should stick those anti-cellphone stickers on bathroom doors. I like that rule.
December 16, 2010
When confronted by this behaviour, I seem to flush multiple times. I cannot imagine what the person on the other side of the conversation is thinking, but there should be no doubt that the caller is in the bathroom. :-)
June 26, 2010
If this is all we have to worry about in life we have it made. Seriously, people in America take the whole bathroom thing way to serious. In most other countries, it is just ignored. It's personal business. It may not be for me, but I really don't care if someone does it or not. It can actually be entertaining. Instead of reading a magazine you can listen to your entertainment.
April 29, 2010
Never ever shake hand with a man who just got out of the loo!!! LOL...
April 27, 2010
hahaha... great take Andrew. I wish i would have read this PSA many years ago because i was an offender and ended up paying the ultimate price... Motorola StarTec in the urinal. true story.
April 27, 2010
This is so true and very funny. What really kills me is when people call you from the bathroom and you can hear everything going on in the background. I once had a potential girlfriend who I was talking to and suddenly I can hear the toilet flush. I ask her why she didn't just call me back later, rather than staying on the phone to chat while sitting on the john. After finding out that she was extremely lazy and apparently had no sense of propriety, I decided that it clearly wasn't going to work out. Official ruling: no second date for her!
April 27, 2010
It's great to hear that you took action on this! If we all were passive on this, people would assume that it was appropriate behavior. Kudos on setting a precedent!
April 27, 2010
Well, I don't know about you but I find it very hard to concentrate on a conversation with the sound of someone tinkling in the background. Not good!
April 27, 2010
Between your review and the Male Restroom Etiquette video that @Count_Orlok_22 added, I've been learning way more about the mens room on Lunch than I've ever needed to know.  So that's what happens in there!

...Though I guess this one applies to women, too, and I could not have said it better myself nor in such great detail.  Bravo, Andrew.  Preach it!
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