A cellphone ban in theaters?
Do people have the right to text or talk at the movies? Some theater owners and patrons don't think so.
Next time we go to the movies, we're taking Washington Post personal-finance columnist Michelle Singletary with us.
When a woman sitting near Singletary at the theater kept checking her very bright cellphone screen, and ignored her polite request that she stop, Singletary enlisted the help of a cop who worked at the theater. He told the woman to stop or hit the road.
The woman had rebuffed Singletary, saying, "I pay my cell bill, so I can use it whenever I want."
Is that so? And didn't Michelle just pay to enjoy a movie without having your bright light flashing in her face?
Now Singletary is asking her readers: "What do you think of a zero-tolerance ban in movie theaters and other public places?"
We felt compelled to share this with you because it's a pet peeve of ours too. We're having a hard time remembering a social function we've been to in recent years where others weren't constantly checking their phones or texting when they were ostensibly engaged in face-to-face conversation with other people. It's so rude. But we often feel we're in the minority. Post continues after video.
Singletary says the Wehrenberg theater chain in Missouri requires that all cellphones be turned off or put on vibrate in the theater. Violate the ban and you'll be booted out without a refund.
And she adds this: "Last year, a woman in Chicago sued a movie theater after the armrest hit her in the head as she was bending down to talk on her phone."
(Singletary cut Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu some slack for violating the NFL's ban on cellphone use on the field when she learned he had called his wife to tell her the extent of his on-field injury.)
Others also feel entitled to talk or text, no matter how disruptive their cellphone behavior is. ABC News reported about a woman who left an expletive-filled complaint on the voice mail of a Texas theater chain that had kicked her out for violating its texting ban. "They used (an expletive-deleted version) as the public service announcement they play before films to encourage people to keep quiet," ABC News said.
Should more theaters ban cellphone use of any kind? Or do theaters have enough to worry about -- online streaming, release of movies to premium subscribers only weeks after their theater debut, to name a few -- without potentially ticking off customers who can't put their phones down?
More on MSN Money:
FCC should allow any place where an admission is paid to use a local cell phone signal blocker. Sadly, most people have no consideration for others, so expecting them to act civilized and not talk on the cell phone is not going to happen.
Ban people who have to talk through out the movie as well.
in theater and in movies, part of the experience is called "bridging the gulf, or the suspension of disbelief". to have a rude, self absorbed individual use a cell phone is disruptive to the thought process of anyone near by.
the use should be banned. period.
Absolutely ban cell phones in theatres. The world can function for a couple hours without your consultation or Facebook updates. If its important, take it outside, show others some respect.
My girlfriend can't go more than five minutes without checking Facebook on her phone and it ticks me off more than anything else she does; especially when we are trying to watch a movie. We are 6 years apart in age (me 27, her 21) but miles apart in values. She dropped her phone in a puddle last year and cried like she did when her grandma died; I forget where mine is all the time and never have a second thought about it..
I wonder how we ever survived going to the movies back when there were NO CELL PHONES? My goodness, it's a wonder we ever made it out of the house, let alone through a 2 hour movie. As I read comments on here, I am appalled by the number of folks who feel it's the other guys' fault if they object to the bright lights of a cell phone in a dark movie theatre! I am heartened, though, by the majority here who seem to agree with a ban.
Back in the day, we had emergencies, we had kids at home, we had folks on call, and we all managed to go to the movies occassionally anyhow. Ridiculous. Turn them off. NO ONE is that important!
The constant use of cell phones everywhere needs to be addressed, but the movies are right at the top of the list. I was at a movie recently and this gal a few seats down from me turned on her phone several times to check messages. What is SO important that it can't wait two hours? And if is that important, then stay home! The light from the phone screen can be very distracting and, of course, it gets even worse if they start texting or talking. I just think the way that these devices have taken over people's lives is sad. And it's even sadder that some people's behavior with them is making life more annoying for those who aren't so obsessed!
I asked this woman a couple of times to turn it off, but she could have cared less.
I do agree that once the movie starts cell phones need to be off. I have had to answer my cell at the theater more than once when I am on call...I get up and leave the theater to actually call back and deal with whatever the emergency is. I also turn the brightness level down on the screen so that when it goes off I can get an idea of who it is without disturbing those around me. There are very few other reasons for using the cell during the actual movie.
Because I work with high school students through a high school youth group I understand how instinctive it is for them to instantly respond to each other...they think they will 'die' if they have to leave the phone off for any period of time or not immediately reply to a text. Funny thing is we ban those same phones from some of our more popular weeklong events. Within the first day they have forgotten all about having to constantly check their phones or constantly text...
Moreover, when their phones break, run out of juice, get stolen, shut off for lack of payment, or taken by parents: no one dies...there are really NO issues where someone is going to suffer irreparable harm from no phone for a couple of hours. At 53 I remember 'back in the day'. We had one land line to the house and no answering machine. Yet we managed to have a very full life and communicate with all of our friends just fine.
I think you will find the parents more resistant than the teens to shutting off the phones. I would urge every theater to have a damping field that blocks cell phone signals. I would leave their number on my service and if there was an emergency they could call the theater and they would come get me...that's how we used to do it in the old days...lol...
Parents: get over it...you don't need to be attached at the hip to your kids 24/7...a call before the movie and a call when it is done is adequate...
Adults: you are NOT that important...trust me, you don't need to be plugged in 24/7...much less for 2 hrs for a movie...relax, turn the phone off...
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