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Etiquitte Tips for Using Your Cell Phone at Salons and Other Places

When is it wrong to use your cell phone in public? There are many situations when you should let your calls go to voicemail such as when you're at a salon, doctors office, movie theater or gym. If you need to respond, do so via text and don't bother others around you.

Woman checks her phone while a hairdresser works on her hair.

Do you obsessively use your phone? Do you panic when you think you have left home without your phone or tablet? Many of us are so attached to our phones and tablets that we can’t imagine being separated from our mobile appendages.

We are so used to having instant communications that we have a hard time giving up phones in places where they shouldn’t be like at the dentist, doctor, movie theater, out for dinner with friends, the gym, and even at the hair and nail salon?  I bet we all can remember seeing groups of people together, but none are talking to each other because they are all on their cell phone either talking or texting.

But is using your phone in these and other scenarios proper? Is it rude? Or Does it depend on how you are using your phone? Let us explore this topic in more depth and see what etiquette tells us about using our phones and tablets in public.

What Does Etiquette tell Us About Using Our Phone in Public Places

I cannot tell you how many times I have been in the nail or hair salon only to have someone next to me using their “outdoor” voice to talk on their cell phone. It seems its often private conversations, that aren’t appropriate in front of an audience. It is extremely annoying to other customers and I’m sure the nail technician or stylist find it even more annoying. I’ve always made a point of putting my phone on mute and resist the urge to talk on the phone. But what does etiquette say about this ever-increasing trend?

Using Your Phone at the Salon

A man checks his phone while getting a haircut.

According to InStyle Magazine, “the majority of hairstylists consider it rude when a client is on the phone during their service.” Stylists have a tough job as they need to make sure your haircut is cut precisely the way you want it to be and that’s difficult to achieve if you’re looking down or leaning your head to one side. Unless you’re holding your head straight, it could affect the cut, style, or highlight of your hair.

If you are waiting for an urgent call, you may want to mention that to your stylist before they begin your salon procedure. Even at that, you should make it as brief as possible. Most stylists agree that rather than speak on the phone—especially if they have the speaker on—they would much prefer you to text.

They mention that often people are still on the clock and running out for a haircut during work hours. So, it is understood that they may need to conduct some work, while they’re getting their hair done. Stylists also say, if a call is going to be long, that the client should take the call away from the stylists’ station and take the call in a hallway or in private.

Remember, a stylist needs your feedback as you are getting your hair done, so they are looking to have a conversation with you about the process, so talking on the phone can hamper them doing their job to the best of their ability.

Be Sensitive to Others Around You

A woman checks her phone while getting a manicure.

Hosa, Future Healthcare Professionals, provided other tips for using your phone at the right/wrong time and when it is best to turn your phone off altogether.

  • Do not take a call if you are engaged in a face-to-face conversation with someone unless it is an emergency. The person you are talking to in person may feel slighted and disrespected if you take a phone call during a conversation. If it is urgent, ask them if you can take the call but make it a quick call.
  • Don’t offend others by texting during a conversation, wait until the conversation is over before you start texting.
  • Keep your voice at a minimum. Use your indoor voice and speak softly into the phone. No one wants to hear your conversation, especially one that is personal or unpleasant. Save those for when you are in private.
  • Do not have private conversations when others are around, it makes it uncomfortable for those around you and you may be spilling the beans on private information that no one else needs to know.
  • When you are in public places, put your phone ringer on silent. This includes restaurants, movies, gathers, gyms, and salons. Many gyms, such as Planet Fitness ask that people refrain from talking on their phones unless they are in the lobby area.

Do not check

Cropped image of a person's hands holding a smartphone while getting a manicure.

  • Your messages when you’re in a dark theater. Any brightness can be distracting to others in the theater.
  • Though it is illegal in many states today, do not talk on the phone while you’re driving. This is causing more and more accidents due to distracted driving. A phone conversation can disrupt your driving leading to accidents. At no time should you ever text while driving.
  • Be sensitive to others, if they’ve brought up a fact that you don’t believe, don’t grab your phone and use Google to prove them wrong. It is just plain rude.

Be a Responsible Phone User

Young people on a call on their smartphones.

Many of us have a hard time remembering life without cell phones. Many people never existed before the cell phone and cannot understand how we ever communicated without them.

It is important to be a responsible cell phone user and be respectful of those around you when using your phone in a public place.

There are some places that we mentioned earlier were cell phones are OK to use. You would not want to use your phone to have a conversation in a doctor’s office, but texting won’t disrupt others waiting for their appointment. The same goes for gyms if you are working out and want to text that’s fine as long as you’re not hampering anyone else’s workout. For instance, if someone is waiting for a piece of equipment and you’re not using it and responding to text messages, let them use the equipment and save your texting for later.

What it comes down to is using your common sense. In a hair salon, discuss your hair or nail needs with the stylist of nail technician of else you may not get the final result you are looking for.

Remember being in situations when people were on their cell phone in inappropriate situations, speaking too loudly and having private conversations. Chances are they made you uncomfortable, so don’t do these things yourself.  Do your best not to be a repeat offender.




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