A Cautionary Tale for Obnoxious Cel Phone Talkers

Local blogger Amy Alkon appearing tonight on Nightline
click here to watch the news clip

You know the type – the females often wear Uggs, or the males who wear those Bluetooth headsets even when both hands are free and they’re not driving. But what makes them impossible to ignore is that they talk at an above average volume in public, usually at some local coffee house while you’re trying to concentrate on writing.

Tonight on Nightline, blogger Amy Alkon will likely be defending herself – not from being one of the cell phone talkers, but for outing one on her Advice Goddess blog. The story made its way to the Wall Street Journal last week:

Last month, Eva Burgess was eating breakfast at the Rose Cafe in Venice, Calif., when she remembered she needed to make an appointment with her eye doctor. So the New York theater director got on her cellphone and booked a date.

Almost immediately, she started receiving “weird and creepy” calls directing her to a blog. There, under the posting “Eva Burgess Is Getting Glasses!” her name, cellphone number and other details mentioned in her call to the doctor’s office were posted, along with the admonition, “next time, you might take your business outside.” The offended blogger had been sitting next to Ms. Burgess in the cafe.


For unknown reasons, the WSJ fails to identify Amy Alkon as the offended blogger. Just as well – the incident appears in the potentially libelously titled piece “The Snoop Next Door” – Amy wasn’t making efforts to listen in on the chat, she just couldn’t avoid it.

I wonder if Nightline’s angle will be on whether or not Amy’s actions were irresponsible? Or whether or not the whole thing should be used as a cautionary tale warning people to be careful what they talk about in public?

While I think both are the truly worthy talking points, I have to admit what I really hope happens is that those discourteous Ugg wearin’, Bluetooth headset sportin’, obnoxious cel phone talkin’ people will realize they piss a lot of us.

…h/t Cathy Seipp

UPDATE (1/20/07, 11:07am): After the broadcast, Amy writes that she was hit with a volley of both fan and hate mail.

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9 Replies to “A Cautionary Tale for Obnoxious Cel Phone Talkers”

  1. Well, I think that is pretty obnoxious. She wasn’t yapping on the phone about last night’s conquest or complaining to a friend about an obnoxious coworker. She was making an appointment! I wouldn’t feel bad about a possible invasion of privacy if the person was being a total douche, but making an opthamological isn’t the same thing as whining about the valet.

  2. Posting a phone number on the internet? That’s what I call an over-reaction! Would Ms. Alkon had been as offended if a couple of people in line were having a conversation (not on a cell phone) that she could hear? If she didn’t want to hear other people’s conversations, maybe she should have stayed at home where the PUBLIC doesn’t have conversations around her.

  3. Well, after being forced to hear BOTH SIDES of a yelled conversation about a woman’s vaginal problems via a loud obnoxious woman using a Nextel walkie-talkie phone in my former doctor’s office, I can’t say that posting about it a blog is a bad thing. Maybe posting the woman’s phone number is not a very smart thing to do, but now the offender knows that yelling into a cellphone in a cafe will be noticed by others. I only wish that the walkie-talkie woman I was subjected to would have announced her phone number to the room, because YES ABSOLUTELY I would have posted it on the internet. That bitch would have deserved it 100% for antagonizing a full waiting room containing children with her foul mouth.

  4. Looking at Ms. Alkon’s smug visage in the above photo, I find it hard to believe that she’s never been rude, obnoxious or annoying in public. I’m just sayin’.

  5. I remember the issue Alkon had with SUVs a while back where she baited their owners with insulting messages and her phone number that she left on their windshields. Some of the responses she got were hilarious.

    I have been simultaneously awed and terrified by that woman ever since.

  6. The question is would she have posted someone’s telephone number if the woman had been talking to another dinner next to Ms. Alkon?

    If the woman was talking exceptionally loud, then that’s one thing to complain about but most cell phones you can talk on at a reasonable volume and be heard clearly.

    It’s one thing to complain, though posting someone’s contact information online without their consent is far ruder than loud talking in a resturant.

  7. According the Nightline piece (I added a link to watch at the top of the post), there’s a word that defines what Alkon is doing: Blogslapping.
    Blogslapping is using your blog to out, or slap, people who engage in behaviour you don’t agree with it.

  8. Here’s a novel idea: if someone in a public place is behaving in a way that disturbs you, why now politely ask them to stop?

    Oh, sure, it doesn’t give you the same sense of power and smug self-righteousness that you’d get if you used your big tough blog to spread their personal information all over the place, but it may actually, you know, be a little more immediately effective.

    Bullying is bullying, whether it takes place online or not, and this is just bullying and it’s wrong.

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