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Wearing airpods at the service counter

"Roger"

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An etiquette columnist was asked about wearing airpods at a service counter after the questioner had been refused service at a coffee shop while he had an airpod in his ear. The columnist was uncompromising in saying it was rude, that the person behind the counter was a person and should not be treated as someone who did not deserve one's full attention. Many readers objected saying that as long as the airpods were not on at the moment, what's the difference?

I tend to agree with the columnist. Even if the airpod was not on, the customer should act and appear like the service person is worthy of his attention, but I bet many Tuggers will disagree with me.
 

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An etiquette columnist was asked about wearing airpods at a service counter after the questioner had been refused service at a coffee shop while he had an airpod in his ear. The columnist was uncompromising in saying it was rude, that the person behind the counter was a person and should not be treated as someone who did not deserve one's full attention. Many readers objected saying that as long as the airpods were not on at the moment, what's the difference?

I tend to agree with the columnist. Even if the airpod was not on, the customer should act and appear like the service person is worthy of his attention, but I bet many Tuggers will disagree with me.
I disagree. It’s the same when the first Bluetooth earpieces came out for cell phones. People walked around with them still in the ear. Some still do..... AirPods are not coming out of my ears all the time. It’s easier to keep them in. Not to mention sometimes you forget they are in your ear so I don’t fault someone for keeping them in.
 

bnoble

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IMO: wearing two while talking to someone else is rude, whether they are on or not. Wearing one is iffy, but I personally would not do it. I own a pair; it takes all of two seconds to take them out and put them back in and that seems like a simple enough courtesy to extend to someone with whom you are talking.
 

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I have the airpods pro and I typically leave both in If I have ambient noise on and not noise canceling. They adjust extremely well to ambient noise and allow you to hear the person you are speaking to very well. If I do have trouble hearing someone, I quickly take one out.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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IMO: wearing two while talking to someone else is rude, whether they are on or not. Wearing one is iffy, but I personally would not do it. I own a pair; it takes all of two seconds to take them out and put them back in and that seems like a simple enough courtesy to extend to someone with whom you are talking.
Not two seconds for me. I need to add silicon wing tips and I have two cases. It’s a process to take the silicon tips off and put them in the case while putting AirPods in their case without dropping;g and losing one or the other. For me they stay in. Maybe I’ll take one out just to show good measure but if it’s going To be a quick conversation like an order and I’m not on the phone or listening to music then fine. If the conversation is moving past 10 seconds then one comes out to show I’m listening
 

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If it was obvious the wearer had audio coming through the airpods, I would consider it rude. If they were paused/silent, I don't have a problem with it. If I don't have the case on my person (it might be in my car, or at home if I'm stopping for coffee at the end of a run), I would find it no less inconsiderate to take out the things that were just in my ears and fumble with them in my hands while trying to pay for a brief transaction. If I were having a longer conversation with someone than simply a coffee/counter transaction, I would take them out.
 

DaveNV

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I think it has everything to do with the attitude and presentation of the person wearing them. If they are focused on the person behind the counter, ready and involved in giving/receiving their order, then the presence of AirPods is a non-issue. But if they are distracted, negligent, and not paying attention to what is happening around them, then I think it's rude. ("Hang up and drive" in a sense.) The person behind the counter is performing a service, yes, but they are not your servant.

Dave
 

pedro47

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I think it has everything to do with the attitude and presentation of the person wearing them. If they are focused on the person behind the counter, ready and involved in giving/receiving their order, then the presence of AirPods is a non-issue. But if they are distracted, negligent, and not paying attention to what is happening around them, then I think it's rude. ("Hang up and drive" in a sense.) The person behind the counter is performing a service, yes, but they are not your servant.

Dave
I agree, they are not your servant.
 

davidvel

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I think it has everything to do with the attitude and presentation of the person wearing them. If they are focused on the person behind the counter, ready and involved in giving/receiving their order, then the presence of AirPods is a non-issue. But if they are distracted, negligent, and not paying attention to what is happening around them, then I think it's rude. ("Hang up and drive" in a sense.) The person behind the counter is performing a service, yes, but they are not your servant.

Dave
I agree. Who cares what's in someone's ears? If the person is ordering their coffee normally it's a non-issue. "Full attention"!!!??? So I should leave my kids in the car so the barista feels important?

Not sure how much attention it takes to order a coffee, but this seems more like an issue of someone being perturbed by something new. But I'll be sure not to wear a hat indoors, white after Labor Day, and put a suit and tie on for my next airline trip. As the kids say "Ok, Boomer!"
 

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I agree. Who cares what's in someone's ears? If the person is ordering their coffee normally it's a non-issue. "Full attention"!!!??? So I should leave my kids in the car so the barista feels important?

Not sure how much attention it takes to order a coffee, but this seems more like an issue of someone being perturbed by something new. But I'll be sure not to wear a hat indoors, white after Labor Day, and put a suit and tie on for my next airline trip. As the kids say "Ok, Boomer!"
Hey, hey, hey! I’m a boomer but I agree with 100%.
 

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Take one of them out to show you are "there with the person"! Just like on an airplane, give the flight attendants the courtesy of removing one when they are there to serve you the beverages and snacks. Keep respect at the top of the list with small considerations!
 

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Take one of them out to show you are "there with the person"! Just like on an airplane, give the flight attendants the courtesy of removing one when they are there to serve you the beverages and snacks. Keep respect at the top of the list with small considerations!
And what about the poeople that have nothing in their ears but still aren’t “there with the person”? I understand that people shouldn’t come to the counter talking on their phones regardless of whether they’re wearing earpods or not. But, if they go to the counter, place their order, and respond to any questions they are asked, it shouldn’t matter that they have earpods in. It’s like the silly “tradition” in the south that you’re supposed to take your hat off indoors. Why? I can do anything with my hat on that I can do with it off. Same with arpods.
 

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No pierced ears, no ear buds -- shudder! Cliff already says I can't hear him, don't know what I'll do when I need hearing aids.
 

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I have waited in line at the grocery store and had the checker carry on a lengthy conversation with the bagger or another clerk and I don't complain. I figure that their job can be pretty demanding. But now "etiquette" decides that I should not only wait patiently, but I should not even wear my earbuds in public? A server in a restaurant feels that they deserve not only my undivided attention but the *appearance* of my undivided attention? Nope. I am going to have to draw the line there. I am unfailingly polite. If you are speaking to me and I am wearing my earbuds, I am going to tap them to turn the sound off, look you in the eyes, and speak to you in a polite tone of voice. But I am not going to take my earbuds out of my ears to make you feel better. I can hear perfectly fine if the sound is off. Of course this is all just conjecture because my hair covers my ears so you can't see if I am wearing earbuds anyway. But I still don't understand the angst of the server in that situation. I do think that it is rude to carry on a phone conversation while at the cash register at Starbucks for example - you have to hang up in that situation - but just having them in your ears? Not a big deal unless someone is overly sensitive.
 

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Take one of them out to show you are "there with the person"! Just like on an airplane, give the flight attendants the courtesy of removing one when they are there to serve you the beverages and snacks. Keep respect at the top of the list with small considerations!

I dont wear earbuds ever, but I've also found flight attendants are getting more rude.

I was on a flight yesterday seated with my young son. When asked for our drink orders, I said we'd have a ginger ale for me and an apple juice for him, both with no ice. I got one cup of half ginger ale half apple juice with ice.

When I asked (politely) if I could have one ginger ale and one apple juice in separate cups without ice, she got really upset and said I could have whatever I wanted if I asked for it, but that was what I ordered. A few minutes later I got a ginger ale and an apple juice, both with ice, and a sarcastic comment that they are primarily here for our safety.

I said please and thank you and made eye contact in every interaction, and I speak North American standard accented English. I would have been upset if I wasn't so confused by the whole experience.
 

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So, now we all need to know how one turns on and off various brands ear buds (tap them) or headphones? We are becoming so self-centered on what is only good for me and don't disturb me. Drives me nuts even at work when coworkers are wearing them. Do something kind for someone everyday no matter how small (and this might be on the small end of things).
 

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So, now we all need to know how one turns on and off various brands ear buds (tap them) or headphones? We are becoming so self-centered on what is only good for me and don't disturb me. Drives me nuts even at work when coworkers are wearing them. Do something kind for someone everyday no matter how small (and this might be on the small end of things).

No, we don't need to know how people turn their earbuds on or off. All we need to know is if their behavior demonstrates appropriate engagement with the interaction at hand. If it does, who cares about the earbuds? What does a performative display of earbud removal add to the interaction?
 

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We've all experienced annoying people who won't get off their phones, and I had another one yesterday. Just ahead of me in line going through a cash register was a fellow having an animated conversation on his phone.....hand gestures and elevated conversation. The clerk was trying to engage with him and he wouldn't until he finished his point, slowing the whole checkout process down. Someone behind me yelled, get off your phone. I don't think he heard them. Just felt like ripping the phone out of his hand....but I let it go! We left the store and headed to the parking lot at the same time, and sure enough his SUV was parked straddling a line.
 

klpca

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I'm all for being kind. But this post was about wearing earbuds at a service counter. I feel that it's just the right thing to do to pay attention to the person who's providing service to you and treat them with respect. But that's all I think that I owe them.

I have a co-worker who's also upset about the fact that I wear ear buds at work. I would strongly prefer not to wear earbuds at work. But my coworker talks loudly on the phone all day long and refuses to close his door (I've asked). I can't deal with the nonstop talking any more, so earbuds it is. When he's not on the phone I take one out so that I can respond to his "just thinking out loud" questions, but once the phone calls start I put it back in and crank up my music. I don't think that I'm the rude one in this situation. I need to get my work done and it requires concentration.
 

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So, now we all need to know how one turns on and off various brands ear buds (tap them) or headphones? We are becoming so self-centered on what is only good for me and don't disturb me. Drives me nuts even at work when coworkers are wearing them. Do something kind for someone everyday no matter how small (and this might be on the small end of things).

I’m all for being kind to people. I wrote about that in another thread just a few days ago. I also know what it feels like for others to dictate how you should look, what you should wear. I remember when males having long hair was considered disrespectful. It wasn’t. I remember when females wearing pants was considered disrespectful. It wasn’t. As I stated above in this thread, I remember when men wearing hats indoors was considered disrespectful. It wasn’t. Time changes, fashion changes,technology changes, etc., etc., etc. Being disrespectful is how you act, not how you look. Doing something kind for someone is also how you act, not how you look. For example, at Starbucks, while wearing my airpods, I can tell the cashier that I want to pay for the person behind me and that person is pleasantly surprised when they place their order. This is something that I and a lot of other people do occasionally. It’s called paying it forward. If you are that person behind me, are you still going to think I am inconsiderate because you don’t think I look like I’m paying attention?

Being kind is a 2 way street. Please give people a chance to be considerate rather than assuming they aren’t because they are wearing air pods.


Harry
 

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Seems an odd thing to get bunched up about.

I've never been one to want constant sound in my ears but many people want it all the time. No problem for me. Are you able to transact business? then what's the problem??

I get more annoyed by people wearing their sunglasses indoors when we're having a conversation. I like to be able to see your eyes.
 

louisianab

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I dont wear earbuds ever, but I've also found flight attendants are getting more rude.

I was on a flight yesterday seated with my young son. When asked for our drink orders, I said we'd have a ginger ale for me and an apple juice for him, both with no ice. I got one cup of half ginger ale half apple juice with ice.

When I asked (politely) if I could have one ginger ale and one apple juice in separate cups without ice, she got really upset and said I could have whatever I wanted if I asked for it, but that was what I ordered. A few minutes later I got a ginger ale and an apple juice, both with ice, and a sarcastic comment that they are primarily here for our safety.

I said please and thank you and made eye contact in every interaction, and I speak North American standard accented English. I would have been upset if I wasn't so confused by the whole experience.
Maybe they were just having a terrible day. Or someone else was super rude. Or they had a horrible thing happen at home and then had to come to work. It's not always related to the customer. (Reasons why I work in the back corner of a lab on an off shift )
 
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