Overheard on CNN.com: Is it OK to do that?
A New York Philharmonic performance was underscored by a ringing cell phone, causing the conductor to stop the music.
January 13th, 2012
07:39 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Is it OK to do that?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Quick! Three great conversations, and three simple questions. Share your thoughts below.

Situation 1

Ringing tones of famed Philharmonic silenced by ringing cell phone

You're at the symphony and that dreaded iPhone marimba ringtone goes off, which has been known to arouse morning-alarm panic in some folks. That happened at the New York Philharmonic on Tuesday night, disrupting a haunting performance. How do you deal with situations like that? Is this OK?

sadie456: "This gent was simply arrogant. He allowed his phone to ring for three or four minutes, did not ask anyone for assistance and remained mute when challenged. I think he should have been ejected and banned from returning."

MikeSW: "At the other end of the spectrum, my grandfather halted a play by laughing so loudly and long (it was a comedy) that the entire cast stopped, turned and bowed to him, and then continued with the play. My grandmother was so mortified she never attended another play with him."

Rbnlegnds101: "He was overcome by an appropriate reaction to the performance. The actors could only take it as a compliment. Laughing at a comedy is appropriate. A musical ringtone at a concert, on the other hand, is not."

Situation 2

Why your grandma steals sugar packets

People sometimes grab a few extra sugar packets, condiments and other items that are sitting out for the taking. Is this OK?

Rocky: "I paid for it. The price of salt and ketchup was included with my fries. Is it theft if I use the salt on my ice cream instead? No. How many times have I bought a bottle of ketchup to keep in the hotel fridge because the local whatever ALWAYS forgets to include ketchup, or I keep a bottle of soy sauce because the cheapskate Chinese restaurant only provides two tiny packets of soy for an entire family dinner? They know you don't want to hold up the huge drive-through line checking for ketchup. Do they deliberately short you a straw and sugar? You people saying that taking one extra is theft need to get a life. Is the restaurant committing theft by deception?"

Todd: "No, you didn't pay for it. You paid for your meal. Those extras are at the restaurant's expense to help make their customers more comfortable. When they figure out their profits they figure that a particular percentage of people will use so much condiments. If you just go and take it to bring it home, you are no longer using these to enhance your experience at the restaurant, you are just misusing their generousness, causing them to tighten their rules and making everyone else suffer. Companies wouldn't have to nickel and dime us so much if people stopped trying to abuse the system and get freebies when they are not meant to be freebies."

Some shared fond family memories of such things.

PDXmum: "Good lord, my grandmother used to embarrass the h*ll out of us going out to eat by bringing sandwich baggies in her purse (ones she had used previously washed out, mind you) and taking home leftovers. By leftovers I mean the butter we didn't use at a pancake breakfast, or bones from steaks for her dog, buffet leftovers on her plate, etc. I guess raising eight kids and living through the Depression just never left her."

Others said taking extras is getting harder.

Nevander: "They've already started to crack down at most fast food places. Not long ago if French fries were part of your order, a handful of ketchup would be in the bag – no question. Now, you must ask for it and then they want to know exactly how many packets you want."

This commenter laid down the law.

Mush: "Condiment rules: If you take condiments home to use with leftover food, you must use them with food from the same establishment. Therefore, you must have a system for ensuring this happens. In the case where the packets are only labeled with a generic brand like "Heinz", one option is to put them in separate bins. Each bin would be marked with the restaurant name where its contents came from. Another option is to combine all like condiments together in their own bin, such as ketchup, mustard, etc., and then use a computer spreadsheet set up to keep track of how many packets in a bin came from each specific establishment. When you take home food from a particular establishment and use a condiment on it, then you decrement the count of that condiment from that establishment. If you go below zero and have to "borrow" the condiment from another establishment in the same bin, someone here must be able to come up with an algorithm to fairly re-balance that condiment, because it's too difficult for my brain right now."

Situation 3

Tall flier decries extra leg room fee

An airline passenger says he shouldn't have to pay for a seat that offers him more leg room because he is a tall person. Vertically blessed ones, should you be able to request more leg room free of charge? Is this OK?

jeeeeeves: "They are effectively milking tall people for more revenue. Everyone should have the ability to fly comfortably without being subject to extra fees, it's not like they chose to be tall."

MarineEngr: "No, it is these so-called victims who are milking all the normal fliers who end up paying higher ticket prices to compensate for the fat guy's "free" extra seat or this tall guy's "free" additional leg room. As a normal size guy why should I pay a higher ticket price and have someone else deriving the benefit for it?"

earthling123: "Every time I fly I wonder in what nightmare am I waking up to: smelly passengers, armrest wrestle, crying babies, reclining seats, luggage fees, extra security, long gate lines, multiple plane stops, high ticket prices, flight delays, awful meals on long flights, strip searches, bag searches. ..."

These are tricky situations. How do you deal? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on CNN.com. Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. banasy©

    Re: leg room dude:
    No, he shouldn't pay extra for the leg room, he should be put in a regular seat and suffer like the reat of us do

    January 13, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Philip

    Yes. If his long legs won't fit in a regular seat, he should pay extra. It's already standard to charge obese people extra if they can't fit in the fedrally mandated size seats. If you are too long or too big around to fit, you pay extra as if for cargo. Big fat boxes cost more to ship than small skinny ones.

    January 13, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. bobcat (in a hat)©

    Unless you are an individual who can afford first class, It's going to be mass transit at it's worse. Don't like to fly like that ? Take a bus, train or drive yourself. You get what you pay for.

    January 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    A mobile phone rang near me during a recital at Carnegie Hall.
    Everybody near the phone complained.
    "I'm a doctor," the woman explained.
    "Everybody here is a doctor," somebody retorted, and, in that area of the hall, it was almost 100% accurate.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Philip

    Hey Joey. I was reading the other day and came accross this article about doctors. Somewhere between 8 and 11% of US doctors refuse to accept obese patients anymore. And not just because of of an obese persons many health problems. Because of malpractice lawsuits brought on ny patients who blame doctors for not fixing something that should have been fixed. There's just too much there for one MD to deal with.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Philip

    I HATE flying in a seat next to an obese person. When I paid for that seat, it was with the understanding that the person sitting next to me would stay out of my seat. "Excuse me ma'am. Is this your arm flab in my seat?". Why do i harp on obesity? Because there is a direct link between our obesity epidemic and our sagging economy. Really. Fat people cost more to move and more to feed...not to mention healthcare costs. Obesity is the number two killer, right behind heart disease. That's a lot of dough.

    January 13, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Philip,
    I answered you. Maybe it'll work it's way through the filter in a few seconds: the filter has done strange tricks today.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©™

    Naw. I was bumped.
    Philip, I didn't know that about MDs' turning away obese patients.
    I mentioned the number of addiction-related cases being treated in hospitals but not having presented as addiction.
    I agree with you about having to sit on a plane next to a fatty pouring into my seat as well as his own. I could not stand myself if I were in that kind of shape.

    January 13, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. TORI©

    @jif,you a fatty never!There's a joke within my family,that one of us always gets stuck sitting next to the smelliest and fattest person on the plane. My mom is the one that wins the prize because she travels so much.When my parents were still together my Dad would be chivelrous and change seats with her. Then the laughter would erupt. Poor tall people get crammed in there. Does Rome Rising make any sense to you?

    January 13, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. banasy©

    I do not like it when somebody's body invades my personal space, no matter if I'm sitting in a theater, riding a train, or flying in an airplane.
    Keep you chubby parts off of me and my area.
    Thank you.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. banasy©

    Oh yes, and men? You do not need to spread your legs so far apart it looks as if you're going to give birth.
    Your junk isn't *that* large, no matter what you tell yourself.
    My arm may develope an uncontrolable spasm that may affect your stuff adversly...

    January 13, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. TORI©

    @banasy,ROFL,isn't that the truth? Add on the snorers and the droolers.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. banasy©

    Forgive the typos. This new phone is hard to get used to and it's very hard to go back; it seems to have a mind of its own.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. banasy©

    @TORI©:
    Yep. Usually drooling on my arm or shoulder...which would be ok is I were *related* to them...

    January 13, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. TORI©

    I've been using my phone today and it is funky and no means to hit reply.

    January 13, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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