Is it rude to use your mobile phone at the till?

Published Tuesday, Jul 9 2013, 15:01 BST  |  By  |  9 comments
A checkout assistant at Sainsbury's refused to serve a customer who was talking on her phone, sparking a heated online debate. Was she right?

Woman talking on phone at till

© Getty Images

Is it rude to use your phone at the till?

YES says Andrew Saxton, Reveal's chief sub-editor, 47

Andrew Saxton, Reveal Chief Sub Editor

© Reveal

"Hoo-bloody-rah! Someone's made a stand at last against ill-mannered mobile use.

I did a mental three cheers for the checkout assistant at a London branch of Sainsbury's who told a customer she wouldn't serve her unless she came off her phone. It's astonishing that we've come to a point where people expect to use their mobiles anywhere, without regard for whoever they may be communicating with.

It's basic manners to engage with fellow humans in a shop (or any other place). I find it's more often than not a pleasure to talk to someone who's just doing their job.Mobile phones have transformed the way we communicate – in many ways, for good. But the way people use phones these days is often rude and even dangerous. A night in the pub is punctuated with people gazing at screens rather than talking and having a laugh, people cross roads without looking because they're staring at their mobiles and families have stopped talking at home because everyone's on the bloody internet. Arrgh!

We have to make a stand – when guests come to my house for dinner, they're told to put phones away. If you can't sit and enjoy food and company without the need to tweet, email or text, you need to change your behaviour! And if you're so addicted, take the phone to the loo.

I'm glad the young lady in Sainsbury's said what she did. An outbreak of decency and politeness is long overdue."

NO says Reveal's Acting Senior Celebrity Writer Emma Hunt, 27

Senior Celebrity Writer, Emma Hunt

© Reveal

"At the risk of sounding obnoxious, I can generally be found on the phone during a shopping spree.

Yep – I'm one of those. But you can't blame me. The queues are so long, I've got better things to do than inspect other people's shopping baskets, so I use the bit of downtime in an otherwise packed day to make urgent phone calls.

While entering my PIN, I might be catching up with Mum, who I've got four missed calls from. While packing my shopping, I could be arranging my long overdue dental appointment. It's the ultimate form of multi-tasking.

The only time I usually get to go shopping is during a quick lunch break during a busy day in the office, which means trying to cram in picking up voicemails, ringing Dad or arranging that haircut – calls that can't be made in the office, as most of us can probably relate to. Including the checkout girl herself who, I'll bet, when she went on her own lunch break, was checking in with the babysitter while paying for her meal deal.

While I'd love to be able to curl up on the sofa with my phone to make all my calls, I simply don't have the spare time. I always make sure to acknowledge the cashier, though, saying hello and smiling, and telling the person on the phone to bear with me as I'm at the till. And I haven't yet been told to get off the blower.

Oh, hold on a sec, I must just take this call..."

Is it rude to use your mobile phone at the till?
YES - I agree with Andrew70.98%
NO - I agree with Emma29.02%

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