A consultant on telephone use is calling for better etiquette around cell phone use in business environments.
Mary Jane Copps offers training and advice on effective use of the telephone, through her company, The Phone Lady. Recently, she's found that she is getting more questions about cell phones.
"Cell phones going off in meetings, cell phones and driving, and then cell phones in the retail environment," she says.
For example, grocery clerks texting while a lineup is stalled at the checkout counter.
"You want to get your groceries scanned; they continue to text on their cell phones."
Steve MacGowen, who works in retail, says it's often customers who are rude, talking to someone else on the phone while the clerk is trying to serve that person.
"You pick up the phone and start talking, I walk away," he says.
But not everyone can walk away. When a bank customer won't get off the phone, it can cause frustration in the lineup and confusion at the wicket.
"So the teller is at a loss," says Copps. The Phone Lady says cell phones have proliferated without any conversation about rules or etiquette. She says that conversation is sorely needed, so we can develop manners about how not to disrupt a business meeting, or even a bank lineup.
"Maybe there needs to be a sign: If you are on the phone when it's your turn, the teller is going to take the next person behind you," says Copps.