Just Put Down the Phone
I have to admit it, I hate cell phones. Yes, I have one. But I hardly ever use it and don't usually answer it when it rings, beeps or buzzes. (I always call back, though.) I think these little pieces of biohazardous waste are one of, if not, the worst inventions in recent memory. They have not only caused a more insular society (and cancer, it seems), they have increased the rudeness and insensitivity of those who use them. Although there are more (sort of) useful features that come with cell phones these days, the main problem remains - users talking on them - EVERYWHERE.
Recently, however, I came across some tasteful and tactful signs that can help dissuade this menace. Read on.
A few years ago, Coudal Partners (who created the "Society for Handheld Hushing") came out with these kitschy PDF cards that you print, cut-out and flash at or give to those cell phone deviants. They're very clever and, although I've never used them (yet), I think they could go a long way at a café or on the bus. You might get the finger, but that's the chance you take for maintaining some sort of societal order.
You may not only flash a relatively friendly "SHHH" card at an idotic cellphone user, you can also use the check-the-boxes or fill-in-the-blank versions so as to more customize the card for the violator. Regardless, they're clever and, boy, are they needed.
I think these cellphone etiquette cards are too tame for today's conditions. There needs to be a way to "taze" people who don't turn off their phones at a public meeting or other gathering, after being reminded many times. Cellphones' signals should also be shorted-out when being used in close quarters, like buses or in elevators - an eardrum-piercing shriek in the abuser's head would probably suffice.
Let's face it, until the day comes when morons with cellphones realize that their phone calls, especially at high volumes, are really bothersome and that other people don't want to be held hostage by their personal shit, we'll just have to deal with it. Unless we can band together and make real changes.
Like taking the phone and conversation outside with the smokers. Hey, that just may be a workable solution.