Darby St takeaway bans mobile phones

TALKING, texting and tweeting can wait a minute, says the owner of a Darby Street takeaway refusing to serve customers using mobile phones.

Darby Street Takeaway co-owner Sandi Luscombe has stuck a sign to the counter telling customers they can talk on their phones or be served, but not both.

‘‘It makes you feel like you’re not even worthy of their time,’’ Mrs Luscombe said.

‘‘You’ve got questions you’ve got to ask them about their order, and if they’re preoccupied on the phone you’re getting half their attention.’’

Mrs Luscombe took her stand six months ago after a phone-absorbed customer wrongly thought she had been overlooked and stormed out.

Customers ordering while listening to iPods are another pet hate, even if they pluck out an earphone.

The store’s policy has won praise from fellow shop owners, who tell Mrs Luscombe they wish they’d thought of it.

Dr Mark Rubin from the University of Newcastle’s School of Psychology said studies found exposure to people talking on phones was more irritating than chat between two people at the same volume.

University of York researchers had studied participants at bus stops and on trains.

‘‘Mobile phone conversations were significantly more noticeable and annoying than face-to-face conversations at the same volume,’’ Dr Rubin said.

There was less research into Mrs Luscombe’s observation that young customers were more likely to breach phone etiquette.

‘‘One plausible possibility is that young people would be more tolerant because they are more accepting of the technology and the norms that surround its use,’’ Dr Rubin said.

‘‘However, it is also quite possible that there is absolutely no age difference here. Rude people might be perceived as rude people by people of all ages.’’

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