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The Funny Farm & out-of-control Blue Tooth users

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POSTED August 30, 2009 11:49 p.m.

I will never get used to people using Blue Tooth.

I realized this a few months ago as I was jogging down Woodward Avenue. About a block away was a young man standing on the edge of the sidewalk wildly waving his arms about. There was no one around save for an occasional passing car. As I got closer he started pacing back and forth while his hand movements became more erratic. I was getting ready to take evasive action believing I was moving closer by the second to a nut case. Then, as I was maybe 15 strides away he turned toward me and I could hear him raising his voice. This was not a good sign. I stepped out into the street and kept a close eye on traffic in case I had to make a sudden move to get away from him as I passed.

Then as I came closer he turned his head and I saw the telltale Blue Tooth. As I pulled up even with him, it was apparent he was having a hellacious fight with someone – perhaps a girl friend.

That was a unique Blue Tooth encounter.

What is becoming more the norm are store clerks who place a higher priority on staying connected to everyone else but the customer they are waiting on and who one must assume are helping pay their salary so they can afford their cell phones.

The latest was Friday in a convenience store. The clerk was talking on his Blue Tooth as I placed the bottle of Gatorade on the counter. He rang up the purchase without saying a word – to me that is. I looked at the amount on the cash register and laid down a $5 bill. He gave me back my change. I said thank you. He continued talking, not to me, but to whoever was on the phone. My transaction took maybe 70 seconds. Not one word was said to me. Not one. I said two words to him and got no acknowledgment.

No problem. I simply won’t go back into the store. I figure if paying attention to a customer isn’t important to them then my money isn’t either.

About four years ago I tried using Blue Tooth devices right after they came out. It worked fine when I was at my desk doing other tasks while talking to someone, it wasn’t all that great when I was walking around through the building or driving. Most conversations I have require me to occasionally take notes. It deserves my full attention. However, what really concerned me was the impression I was leaving with other people and how intrusive I had allow my cell phone to become thanks to the Blue Tooth.

I have no qualms with people who use the Blue Tooth while they go about their jobs especially if they aren’t interacting with other people. Nor do I believe there is any problem at home or most anywhere else. As for use in public among other people, the jury is still out on that one although I believe the same rules should apply to using a Blue Tooth as it does using only a cell phone - don’t talk so loud that half the store can hear your conversation.

I stopped using the Blue Tooth when it dawned on me I was talking to people while in the bathroom.

There is a time and a place for everything. Talking loud on a cell phone in a restaurant should never be accepted as OK. At the same time people need to take a break from being connected.

Also keep in mind when you’re talking in public on a cell phone – especially one being accessed via a Blue Tooth device – you’re not alone.

Waving your arms wildly and shouting while using a Blue Tooth might just attract the attention of the guys wearing the white coats.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail

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