James Complains About People Who Just Stop In Front Of Him To Use Their Phones


I could have made this post about the horrors of having hiccups. Because I have hiccups as I’m writing this. But I didn’t know I was going to have hiccups before I sat down, so even though hiccups are the worst thing ever, I’m going to eschew the opportunity to rant about the misery they are currently inflicting on me because I’d already decided to pretend to be annoyed about something else.

And that something is people who stop directly in front of me without any justifiable reason for doing so.

It’s a phenomenon I’ve been experiencing a lot lately and it’s mystifying.

It happened today. Mrs Proclaims and I were popping into our local Waitrose to get some essentials (yogurts, sparkling water and mixed peppers to be precise, none of which are ‘essentials’ now I think about it, but all of which suggest a marginally healthier lifestyle that either of us actually lead).  A man was walking in front of us and then all of sudden just stopped in the doorway to check his phone. His phone wasn’t even ringing. He seemed to be either checking a message or writing a message. Apparently he couldn’t wait until he’d actually entered the shop; he deemed the shop entrance to be the best place to carry out this activity.

Being inherently quite polite, Mrs Proclaims and I stood and waited for a few seconds. Then we waited a few seconds more. Eventually I was moved to ask him to get out of the way, which I managed with surprising politeness, because my instinctive reaction was to swing the metal shopping basket in my hand at his head.

I could let this go as a one-off incident, involving one ignorant individual, if it wasn’t the second time this had happened to me in the space of a week.

For it was but a few days ago that Mrs Proclaims and I were impeded by a different man, in a different shop, also because he had stopped to use his mobile phone. The only difference was that we were attempting to leave the shop rather than enter.

So is this now a thing in our society? Is it ok just to stop wherever you want to in order to send a text message or interact with social media. Because that doesn’t seem like it should be ok. It seems actually quite rude.

But what is the correct response? Do I continue to turn the other cheek, remain passive and polite and navigate my way around these oblivious obstacles, or is it time to take action?

Maybe I should impound their phones. Technically that would be theft, but maybe the law needs to change. If people can’t be trusted with electronic devices then maybe it is time to introduce some kind of ‘Citizens Confiscation’ edict.

Now I think about it, annoyingly obstructing my path is only one example of the abuse of mobile technology. There are loads of ignorant and antisocial behaviours caused by these devices.

The next time I meet a friend and they spend more time on their phone than they do talking to me, I’m just going to take it off them.

If I hear anyone having a phone conversation that is excessively loud on a train then I’m going to exercise my right to repossess.

And the next time I hear someone playing music on their mobile in a public space without using headphones – then I may just opt to relocate their device to an orifice of their choosing…

Unless I happen to have the same taste in music. I might let them off with a verbal warning in that scenario.

  27 comments for “James Complains About People Who Just Stop In Front Of Him To Use Their Phones

  1. August 31, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    I agree. It is rude, crude, and socially unacceptable as far as I am concerned. The solution? I have no idea. Yours may actually start a movement of protest once initiated. “Did you see how that man acted with that rude phonester? I’m gonna do that as well.” Let me know the results if any come your way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • August 31, 2015 at 5:06 pm

      Sadly I’m just posturing on my blog. I’m not brave enough to take any kind of meaningful action in real life.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. August 31, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    This happened to me in the week except I wasn’t looking where I was going and walked straight into the back of the unexpected stopper, much to his apparent disgust. I apologised and wandered off all flustered but the more I thought about it, the more annoyed I got that I was the recipient of the “bloody idiot”.

    I therefore think that Citizens Confiscation is an excellent idea. That’d definitely learn ‘em.

    Liked by 3 people

    • August 31, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      That’s the worst – when the ignorant idiots blame us. Ok Citizen’s Confiscation is officially a thing and you are entitled to enforce it at your will. If any ‘legal’ issues arise, just point them in my direction…

      Liked by 1 person

      • August 31, 2015 at 6:24 pm

        YAY!!! Citizen’s Confiscation is official!!! I hereby propose that James write all new laws and also that he be given the authority to rewrite any and all existing ones of his choosing.

        Liked by 2 people

      • August 31, 2015 at 7:07 pm

        It’s a brave new world…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. August 31, 2015 at 8:28 pm

    I am with you all the way, James.

    Meanwhile, I am trying to teach my daughter not to do that without a phone because she loves to stop suddenly to look at animals in trees or to pick up an interesting rock. I end up having to swerve to avoid hitting her. Then she sees adults who stop suddenly to check their phones. Mixed Message Central.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 31, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      Had I known this epidemic was impacting on the welfare of children I would have taken a stand earlier. We must stop these monsters!

      Liked by 2 people

      • September 1, 2015 at 3:50 pm

        I grew up outside of Philadelphia. Northeasterners don’t do passive-aggressive. We do aggressive-aggressive. The Midwest does passive-aggressive. It jars people when you are direct.

        Liked by 1 person

      • September 1, 2015 at 3:51 pm

        When I lived in England, I was a bitch on wheels.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. weebluebirdie
    August 31, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    So far I’ve just glared at these types, and spat out an excuse me. Quite like the idea of deliberately bumping into them with an, ‘oh, are you stopping here?’ and with any luck I’ll perfect the Accidental Nudge which makes them drop their phone down a drain.

    Liked by 3 people

    • August 31, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      The Accidental Nudge is a great move when executed properly, but should never be entered into lightly…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. September 1, 2015 at 9:45 am

    What irritates me is people on public transport talking loudly on a mobile. I cannot belive how for the whole bus journey thay can talk loudly on their mobile. As for people standing still, I haven’t come across this lately but I do see pople walkinmg down the road chatting on their mobiles. I can only assume its mindless banter but it is very annoying.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. September 1, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    I agree, completely unacceptable behaviour! Particularly the on the train music one… that happens all the time! The one exception I’ve experienced where it was ok was when a 60 year old guy with a massive beard and an Iron Maiden vest played heavy metal the entire time on a 11am train trip… for some reason this seemed like the exact right thing to do and we should all just quit being so square….

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 1, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      Always room for exceptions to any rule. Basically if I’m not annoyed, it’s ok…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. September 1, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Just yesterday I was eating lunch at a small restaurant and a woman was carrying on a phone conversation. She had the phone pressed to her ear, but it was ON SPEAKER! She was talking quietly but the other side of the conversation was being blared for all of us to hear! No one (myself included) had the guts to say anything to her. :-/

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 1, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      I think in that scenario my pity for her would outweigh my annoyance, but I wouldn’t have said anything either…


      • September 1, 2015 at 9:43 pm

        I think that’s exactly why no one said anything. My curmudgeonly half thought “you should at least learn how to use the thing before you start annoying the public with it!”
        I do like your confiscation idea. Can we add holding up giant iPads to take photos to this too? My last batch of vacation photos includes more pictures of people’s iPads being held up in the air than of the actual sites.

        Liked by 1 person

      • September 1, 2015 at 9:53 pm

        Absolutely – iPads being held up in the air is extremely annoying. I once attended a concert where someone in front of me was filming the concert on their iPad and therefore watching it through their iPad. It was pretty big act so I’m pretty sure there is online footage of other gigs they have performed, so I wonder why this person didn’t just stay home and watch that on their iPad for free…

        Liked by 2 people

  8. September 4, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Funny. And I completely agree with all of it. What else annoys me is when people conduct their transactions while on the phone. Not only is it rude to the cashier, but it is blatantly obvious if I am behind such a person that they are simply not that important that they need to be on their phone in that situation. I am all for taking action with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. September 4, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Good reason to get upset. I broke up with a friend because every time we met, she’d engage in loooong conversations with her husband on the phone, about what type of cheese to buy and what tv shows to watch the next day… and they live together!!! Why…? I don’t get it. I decided I had better things to do than sit there waiting for her attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    • September 5, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      I applaud your decision 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. March 31, 2020 at 11:34 am

    I only recently acquired one of these dumbphone things. If you’re interested, I blogged about my experiences. In one of the comments I received, I was taught a new word: ‘meanderthal’, which is a perfect moniker for one who exhibits the behaviour of those unsocial types you’re ranting about here — and, on the spot, I vowed to never be one myself, so I hope never to be the target of your ire.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 31, 2020 at 11:53 am

      I love the word ‘meanderthal’! My wife is a mere 35 years old and only joined the smartphone revolution in recent times. But she’s as bad as the rest of them now. Enjoyed your post immensely but you already have 48 comments sitting there so won’t trouble it with more than a ‘like’. Thanks for making me revisit some of my old posts though – I’m enjoying this random feature you’ve shared with us all!

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 31, 2020 at 12:00 pm

        Oh, please; never let a mass of comments prevent you leaving your own!

        Glad you’re enjoying the ?random thingy. I find it an interesting diversion for when the WordPress reader fails to give me a new post to go visit 🙂


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