Posted by: Diane | January 17, 2012

The Phone Stack

Have you heard of this ingenious, new game? It’s called, “The Phone Stack.”  According to the creator, this game is a “buzzing, flashing reminder of every phone-etiquette rule the world seems to have forgotten. The purpose of the game is to get everyone off their phones, free from twitter/fb/texting/phoning and to encourage  focused, “be all there” conversations.

It works like this: as everyone arrives at a restaurant, (or wherever the group of people are meeting to have a meal together)  each person places his/her phone facedown in the center of the table. As the meal progresses, everyone present will hear various texts and emails arriving and the point it that everybody will do absolutely nothing. Of course, everyone will be super tempted to grab their phone but all will be bound by the single, all-important rule of the phone stack.

Whoever picks up their phone will foot the bill. If the bill comes before anyone has flipped over their phone,  everybody is declared a winner and pays for their own meal.

Interesting idea, huh? If you want to read on about some rather pathetic objections to the game, you can click here and  be amused.

I think the birth of this game is an indication that people are becoming increasingly aggravated by the lack of cell phone etiquette practised by others but the reality is that we’re all to blame.  If you have a cell phone, most likely you’ve violated some abstruse guideline to proper cell phone usage. I know I have – and right at this moment, I’m feeling rather guilty about it. I know better because I’m a real stickler about the art of listening.

I think we do a lot of “hearing” but not much “listening” in our culture. Life is so instant and people are easily distracted but everyone needs other peoples’ ears.  Everybody wants to be carefully listened to but it’s not a skill that comes naturally to most of us and cellphones have definitely not helped us improve in this area of good listening skills.

I like this game and I think with a little creativity, we could adapt it to other arenas of life.  How about at the dinner table or on a date?  How about hangin’ out with friends or quality time with family? We don’t need to be buying everybody’s meals but putting some effort into prioritizing focused,  face-to-face interaction will sure go a long way.

We all need to do a little more listening and a little less texting.

…everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  James 1.9 NIV


  1. Not only cell phones are very distracting and the cause of rudeness…for example when I went on oovoo with someone expecting her full attention but she looked at someone talking to her at her end and then she received a big parcel and continued to open the box and looked thru while I wait. Hmm How rude. I had to wave at her to get her attention (she s deaf) to tell her that I am very busy and had to go. My other friend went thru the same thing…her friend on oovoo was watching tv while my friend tried to talk to her! Where did the manners go? I like idea of the game but for real like making a rule when I meet people to get our full attention.

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