The Speaker Phone Menace

Has anyone else noticed a growing phenomenon of people using their mobile phones like walkie-talkies? In other words, they switch the phone onto ‘speaker’ and then talk into it like you could a dictaphone, as opposed to holding it up to your ear.

It’s an exceptionally annoying habit. Not only do you get to listen to both sides of the conversation, but the fact that in a noisy street it is clearly hard to hear from a tinny speaker what the other person is saying, people tend to shout even more loudly than they do when using mobiles normally.

Up until this morning, I thought it was just some emerging ‘yoof’ habit, as most of the people I’ve seen doing it have been spotty oiks. But this morning my ears were invaded by some 40-something Scottish woman having some bizarre conversation with a colleague about what sounded like management consultancy stuff.

Anyone else encountering this? Can anyone explain it?


  1. I find it hard to hear people when they’re on mobile speakerphone. My bete noire is da yoof insisting on playing bloody MP3s on their phones at full volume on the bus. Was it just because the Walkman lacked a speaker that this didn’t happen before? I suppose these phones are more akin small ghetto blasters…

  2. I’ve encountered that phenomenon as well, but at least I understand it – it’s a means of self expression. Whether having a public conversation with your mum about whether you’ve done your homework yet achieves the same thing, I’m highly sceptical.

  3. Funny you should blog this – today at Hampstead Heath station I saw the most horrifically chavvy couple, with what looked like the female’s OAP mother, all on their phones and all talking this way. It was very irritating, but preferable to whatever MP3 the male started playing for their toddler (in pushchair), which was some cockney-sounding bloke shouting something about “Ya cahnt!” and “Fack orf!” repeatedly. He was holding the phone right down in front of the baby and smiling at her, and I just wanted to cry for the child…and smack the parents.

  4. I blame “The APprentice” which was where I first saw people doing it.

    Slightly off topic, but has anyone been watching the This Life repeats on BBC2…? The huuuuge mobile phone Delilah was using last night really dated it.

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