Why do telephones get priority?

22 June, 2010

For some strange reason people will jump to answer a ringing telephone. There’s something about the urgency of that shrill ring and the knowledge that if you don’t pick up it’ll stop ringing that compels people to ignore logic and go running.

For example, in the video store today I wait in the queue for a few minutes then it’s my turn to be served. I present at the counter and hand over my DVDs when the store phone rings. Suddenly I’m forced to wait while the customer who’s calling gets priority service and essentially jumps to the front of the line. But no one else sees it that way. It’s treated like something different, that it’s ok. If someone jumped the queue in the store they’d get anything from an evil eye to a punch in the face. But if you use the telephone it’s fine.

I don’t mind, I’m not impatient … but it just strikes me as really odd.

One comment

  1. I differ in one respect: I do mind it. 😉 I think it’s not just odd, but rude – exactly as you’ve described. Weird that everywhere it’s the same: shops, restaurants, conversations even.

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