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Seventeen Dollar Suit Worth the Money

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What this generation can learn from a man that sued his date for $17 dollars for being on her phone the entire time.

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Students choosing to look at their phone during teacher lecture.

Students choosing to look at their phone during teacher lecture.

Photo by Gabrielle Larsen

Photo by Gabrielle Larsen

Students choosing to look at their phone during teacher lecture.

We are all aware of our addiction to them. When they are not in our back pockets, they are glued to the palm of our hands. No matter how we try to resist, we can’t get rid of them. Society’s crutch: the cell phone.

Angered by this addiction to cell phones, a Texas man recently filed a petition in a small claims court for his date, who was on her cell phone during the duration of their movie date. Using the theater’s no-cell phone policy as means for his argument, the man asked for $17.31 in damages. He noted that texting during a movie is, “one of [his] biggest pet peeves,” and quite frankly, anyone would be annoyed and utterly disrespected by the on-and-off phone flicker.  

There is a time and a place for using cell phones. Sitting at the beach, walking in the hall and lying in bed are appropriate examples of when and where to use one’s cell phone. There are also times when one shouldn’t use their antisocial device, such as, talking to people, sitting in class, or watching a movie with a date. As technology has exponentially improved and social media has gained popularity over the last 30 years, people have lost the ability to differentiate the appropriate times of using a cell phone. Unfortunately, during a date is not an appropriate time.

We have all been in a situation or a conversation where a person is more intrigued by their phone than by what we are saying, and it stings. It makes us think: “Is what I’m saying not important? Am I not important?” No one wants to feel second place to a cold, hand-held device, so we can understand why this man had to stand up for himself in court. He was on a date, and when you go into a date, you expect the other person to give you their undivided attention, if that, then just plain respect.

Though suing the woman for an infinitesimal $17 dollars is a bit extreme, it unveils the truth behind cell usage in today’s society. These seemingly convenient contraptions subtract from face-to-face interactions. In a 2015 study, “89 percent of Americans said that during their last social interaction, they took out a phone, and 82 percent said that it deteriorated the conversation they were in.” With well over half of the U.S. population’s eyes cemented to their phones, these so called conveniences, are evidently ebbing away human interaction.

Even though cell phones make quick communication infinitely easier, they erode our ability to fabricate friendships. This generation can take something from this date, and that is to use cell phones responsibly and ethically. Even though we shouldn’t have to be reminded when and where to use our phones, we should still take a moment to put ourselves in this man’s shoes. How would you like it if your date fiddled with their phones the entire time?

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Seventeen Dollar Suit Worth the Money