Magazine article Management Today

The Menace of Mobiles

Magazine article Management Today

The Menace of Mobiles

Article excerpt

When should mobile phones be seen but not heard in public?

Opera lovers at Covent Garden were subjected to two chirps from mobile phones during a performance recently and, as might be expected, they reacted with the horror of a latter-day Bateman cartoon. But with the British mobile phone population about to top eight million - up from one million in 1991 - the march of this very public kind of private communication seems unstoppable. Naturally, opposition to what many regard as a menace has grown along with the phone population and an increasing number of establishments are banning the mobile from their premises.

Escape from the ubiquitous talking machines is available in the UK on Great Western Trains which, following a successful three-month trial period - prompted by complaints - has decided to introduce two carriages, one each for first and second class, where people can escape the gadgets. 'This is a quiet environment,' says the notice. 'Please refrain from using mobile phones, personal stereos and holding loud meetings.' However, you still see motorists nattering away as they navigate traffic with one hand, although the police can stop drivers using phones. The charge is careless driving.

Naturally, polite society shuns mobiles. At London's exclusive clubs they are seen as ruining the atmosphere of quiet sociability. The Garrick forbids their use anywhere. 'They are non-things, along with cameras, business papers and laptops,' concurs Graham Snell, secretary of Brook's. …

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