I was recently shopping at Target on a weekday morning, not so much for the holidays but because my underwear and socks are hanging together by threads and I happened to have the day off.
Anyway, a friend of mine called me just as I got to the megastore within the mall, and I put on my handsfree device so we could chat while I shopped. We were talking while I was comparing two socks I was thinking about buying, when this woman suddenly yelled at me:
"You're being really obnoxious!"
I looked up in total shock. This middle aged woman was standing in front of me, glaring at me angrily.
"What?" I said.
"You're just being really obnoxious," she said. "I'm trying to focus on shopping and I can't concentrate because you're talking on the phone. It's really obnoxious."
I think there was a time when I would have mumbled an apology, but maybe it's just that I'm older or maybe it was my friend on the phone saying, "What the hell?" Or maybe it was another shopper who was looking at that woman and shaking her head like she couldn't believe it. But I wasn't going to be yelled at for OMG talking on the phone at a department store.
"So you're saying I'm not allowed to talk at Target?" I shot back. "So if I had a friend standing next to me, we wouldn't be allowed to speak?"
"That's different," she said. "What you're doing is obnoxious."
"How is it different?" I said. "Are we all just supposed to shop in absolute silence so that you can concentrate? Nobody is allowed to talk in this whole store?"
"Look, I'm sorry I said anything," the woman finally said.
"Yeah, happy holidays," I said.
I mean, WTF? I get that there are times when being on your phone would be obnoxious. Like, if I were on a train, where we were all trapped there, I wouldn't talk on my phone. But I was at a huge store that was noisy as hell already, and in all likelihood, if she hadn't said something, I would have moved on in about two minutes anyway. I mean, how long can you spend looking at socks?
I would never consider going up to a complete stranger and criticizing their behavior. Speaking of obnoxious.