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Portable Shut-The-Fuck-Up-ers


Cell phone jammers hit the streets (and buses) of New York, where people are a little too free with free speech:

Unsuspecting cellphone users may find themselves saying that more often now that cellphone jammers — illegal gizmos that interfere with signals and cut off reception — are selling like hotcakes on the streets of New York.

"I bought one online, and I love it," said one jammer owner fed up with the din of dumb conversations and rock-and-roll ringtones.

"I use it on the bus all the time. I always zap the idiots who discuss what they want from the Chinese restaurant so that everyone can hear them. Why is that necessary?"

He added, "I can't throw the phones out the window, so this is the next best thing."

In lieu of illegal mechanical devices, I sometimes like to register my protest by joining in the rude phoner's loud, obnoxious fun. Last week, at Whole Foods, I was pleasantly lost in thought, when some chick turned into the aisle, shouting her dull life into her phone. I looked straight at her, sans aggression, and said, loudly, "THAT IS SO FASCINATING."

"Hold on," she says, pulling the phone to her chest and turning to me. "I'm sorry, what did you say."


She rolled her eyes and went back to her call. I kept it up as I moved down the aisle. "NO, REALLY, I'VE NEVER HEARD ANYTHING SOOOO INTERESTING!"

Not surprisingly, she remained on the phone. But, at least I got some live entertainment in exchange for the live interruption.

Posted by aalkon at February 22, 2005 8:26 AM


Never heard of these gizmos--that's a great idea!

The following were paid ads on google, right on top of the page:

Posted by: Lawaneke at February 22, 2005 9:56 AM

What I love is when you join in to a loud conversation and they say without irony, "This is a private conversation."

Posted by: Deirdre at February 22, 2005 1:53 PM

And what a FASCINATING story. No, I mean it. It's really FASCINATING. No, seriously. I'm FASCINATED by this. Total sincerity aqui.

Posted by: Mao See Tung-kis at February 22, 2005 9:37 PM

When I move back to the States I am planning on buying one of those jammer things. They sound fantastic.

Posted by: Jason Stone at February 23, 2005 6:02 AM

I can't wait to get one!

Posted by: Patrick at February 23, 2005 7:28 AM

Gives a new twist of Marley to 'we be jammin'. I jammed the sheriff, but I did not jam no deputy.

Posted by: allan at February 23, 2005 9:21 AM

Wow. I live in LA too, but the cell phone thing doesn't bother me near as much as it seems to be bothering you folks. Maybe you should spend the money you were gonna spend on a jammer on a massage or something and just relax. Live and let live, eh?

Posted by: Charlie at February 23, 2005 6:00 PM

Charlie, I wouldn't brag about living desensitized.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 23, 2005 11:01 PM

It's never anyone interesting or amusing who forces you to participate in their lives.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at February 23, 2005 11:02 PM

I found this at today and thought of you...

Saturday, February 26, 2005

"Interesting solution to irritating cellphone users": Via IPList.

There is one technique I have used successfully to alleviate the annoyance.

When someone talks on their cell phone, pull out a pen and paper and take notes. I do this in airports, especially. Usually folks move away, but if they ask, you remind them that it is a public space and all conversations are in the public domain and may be used by journalists or bloggers.

If someone is arguing on the phone with a boy/girlfriend or spouse, you can suggest that [insert name overheard] might be available for a date. If they are talking business, just do a Marlowe, look professional and don't deny you are an industrial spy.

It is funny that many people seem to think they have the right to a private conversation as they are shouting all over a public place. They hate it when people listen in. And taking notes? They can get very annoyed about that!

The pen is mightier than the phone! Try it, I think you'll be impressed, or at least amused, by the reaction. And you'll enjoy more peace and quiet.

IMHO, it also sounds like an interesting way to get the crap beat out of you...
posted by Paul Hsieh on 4:01 PM

Posted by: Terry at February 26, 2005 11:51 PM

I wish I had been that bold when I had to hear some chick, who wouldn't move her fat ass so that I could reach for a can of chili at Vons, say, "Guess who I hooked up with last night?" Eeeeeewww! Has the world gone Jerry Springer on me? People seem to think other people don't mind hearing their crap.

You're right, if they're willing to spill their personal info to us, we should be in on the converstations too - as unfacinating as they are.

Posted by: Michele at March 18, 2005 1:18 PM

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