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Shit Cell Phone Users (Shouldn’t) Say

We conclude Kempt’s Cell Phone Etiquette Month with what we hope will also conclude the once-delightful, now-grating fascination with “shit people say.” To that (merciful) end, we respectfully present you with: Shit Cell Phone Users (Shouldn’t) Say.

And we’ve all said this shit... “I wasn’t late because I sent a text saying I was late.” WHAT YOU’RE REALLY SAYING: “I gave you five minutes’ notice that I’d be 20 minutes late. Deal with it.” THE FIX: Instead of using your phone to send a text saying that you’re going to be late, use it to set an alarm and leave earlier. THE POINT: The fact that technological advances enable us to do some things better (communicate estimated times of arrival) is no mandate for doing some things worse (respecting people’s time and aversion to sitting alone like an idiot for the better part of an hour). “I’m not sure where we’ll be later. Keep your phone on.” WHAT YOU’RE REALLY SAYING: “Whether we see you later on is of no matter to me and something better will probably come up in the meantime. Also, I plan to blame any mix-up on a fictitious technical snafu.” THE FIX: Offer the courtesy of a proper goodbye or propose a proper plan. Besides, everyone knows nothing is going to happen between now and then that will really prevent you from being at Spring Lounge by 12:30. THE POINT: Make believe it’s 1997: set a plan and stick to it. If you think you might be late, see above. “Let me plug my number into your phone.” WHAT YOU’RE REALLY SAYING: “Let me paw through your personal belongings so that you can contact me since I’m too chicken shit to make the first move.” THE FIX: Have some cards made up or grab a pen and a cocktail napkin. THE POINT: Just as you wouldn’t tug off of someone’s drink or dig through a lady’s purse in search of a breath mint, you generally shouldn’t be handling a stranger’s or semi-stranger’s phone—which is also their camera, notepad and email inbox.

“I don’t check my voicemail.” WHAT YOU’RE REALLY SAYING: The message you left for me is not a priority and I likely won’t spend 20 seconds listening to it. THE FIX: Check your voicemail once a day. Not that hard. THE POINT: You have a cell phone, a cell phone number and an automated woman who, like it or not, is instructing callers to leave a message with the implication that you will eventually receive that message. Stating in your outgoing message that you “don’t check voicemail” and “prefer emails instead” is only ever-so-slightly less dickish than ignoring the message altogether. “I’m running out of battery, call this number—” WHAT YOU’RE REALLY SAYING: Contact a stranger and awkwardly ask if you have the right number before sheepishly requesting to be transferred to the person you’re trying to reach. THE FIX: Cell phone batteries last 24 hours nowadays. Invest in extra chargers: one for overnight, one for the road and one for the car. THE POINT: Your chronic inability to be reached is frustrating and dismissive—don’t blame the battery, which is a thing requiring action on your part. In the event you do run out of power, think ahead and take down contact information you’ll need and make outgoing calls rather than instructing people to call or text a phone number belonging to a stranger (or, worse, someone the person dislikes).

“Let me plug my iPhone into your stereo.” WHAT YOU’RE REALLY SAYING: My taste in music is better than yours. THE FIX: Either stay home and play your own music or wait for your host to request that you play it in their home. THE POINT: Just because you have 20,000 songs in your pocket doesn’t make you Paul Oakenfold.

“BRB, CYA, 2moro, 2nite, GR8, J/K, L8R, LMAO, LOL, OMG, ROTFLMAO, WTF” WHAT YOU’RE REALLY SAYING: I’m a seventh-grade girl. THE FIX: Use your words. THE POINT: You’re an adult addressing another adult. Take an extra three seconds to type out complete words and phrases. You’ll likely discover how generic (and imprecise) these anachronistic sentiments actually are.

We offer the above suggestions to ourselves first. We’re also aware of the somewhat pedantic, Andy Rooney-esque tone. And we’re anything but technophobes: this publication spawned from a company whose primary goal is to improve life by seamlessly integrating cultural information into mobile devices.

Ever-evolving technology, though, must be accompanied by ever-evolving modifications to behavior and social grace. Be accountable. Your word is still your bond, ladies and gentlemen.

Even when you text it.