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The Bluetooth: Life Line or Out of Line?

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*The story below was submitted to the City Section of the New York Times. The pitch was accepted by my editor on a contingency basis, however she rejected the finished article because she didn't think it offered anything new. You be the judge.


A customer walked into a Brooklyn corner store to purchase a pack of gum. As he approached the register, he was twice called sweetheart by the clerk standing behind the counter. The customer froze for a moment until he realized the clerk was talking on his cell phone through a Bluetooth mobile phone headset—a five-minute phone conversation of 4,000 minutes he used that month.

The Bluetooth headset clips over the ear and functions as both an earpiece and receiver. The teardrop shaped device emits a flashing blue signal like a Christmas light. It is an ornament known to many for the awkward exchanges it inspires rather than its utility as a hands free mode of cell phone conversation.

But, for the men who work long hours in the City’s conveni…