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Mobile morons are pig ignorant.

Byline: Tony Parsons

SMART phones have made all of us more stupid - those clever little devices may connect you to the digital world but they disconnect you from everything that truly matters, such as the real world, your loved ones and your manners.

When Jo Clarke, a 26-year-old property manager, was told by a Sainsbury's checkout lady that she would not be served unless she turned off her mobile phone, who do you reckon was treated like the victim?

Inevitably, it was Ms Clarke, who has been lavished with grovelling apologies and gift vouchers by the supermarket.

As if being asked to turn off your mobile phone while you interact with another human being was like being told to sell your granny into slavery.

But what about the worker? What about the poor lady toiling on the checkout desk of a supermarket who has to face yet another boorish customer who can't put down her smart phone for five minutes?


Those of us who cringe at the way the mobile phone has become the comfort blanket of the modern world will feel that Sainsbury's employee is the real victim.

Whatever happened to good manners? Whatever happened to politeness?

Whatever happened to all those kind, considerate age-old British virtues? The mobile phone annihilated the lot of them.

Jo Clarke is predictably outraged at being asked to turn off her mobile phone for a few seconds.

Unimpressed by Sainsbury's grovelling apologies and generous gift vouchers, Jo has vowed to take her custom to Waitrose - where she will presumably jibber banalities on her mobile phone when she is doing her weekly shop.

Now I can understand how some urgent message might require you to drop everything and start texting, Tweeting and emailing like some digital dervish. But a wise man once said that you should never ever look at your mobile phone unless you have the time to deal with whatever problem it may reveal. Sane words. But nobody is listening.

And what of Jo Clarke, the patron saint of moronic mobile phone users?

When she blanked the lady attempting to serve her in Sainsbury's, what was she actually rabbiting on about that was so important?

Had she just won the Lottery? Or received some world-shattering diagnosis from her doctor?

Were aliens landing in the Sainsbury's car park?

"I just phoned my brother to tell him I was about to leave," says Clarke. "He was waiting so I just gave him a quick call. I couldn't believe how rude she was!"

Pot. Kettle. Black.

Everywhere we see mothers pushing - and spilling - their babies from pushchairs as they update their single status on Facebook. We see young couples gloomily gawping at their Nokias while their love grows cold and forgotten between them. Families ignore each other to frown at their iPhones.

We see mindlessly tweeting pedestrians walking into lampposts, the businessman shrieking into his BlackBerry on a crowded train, and hordes of idiot drivers staring at the tiny little screen in their hands rather than the tiny little children on that zebra crossing up ahead.


It is not only dangerous. It is shockingly rude. But manners don't seem to matter to the British people in quite the way they did before.

If they did, then Jo Clarke would understand that using your phone when you are interacting with another human being means you have the manners of a barnyard pig.

And I can't help thinking that the best things in life are going to waste while we are all texting, emailing and checking our Twitter timeline.

We are all staring into our mobile phones when we could be looking into the eyes of the people we love.

We must be mad.

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 6, 2013

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