DEAR ABBY: I believe that if you call someone using a speakerphone, you should immediately inform the person you're calling that the conversation isn't private. My husband called me at work recently from our home using the speakerphone. Our children were within earshot. I commented that I was going shopping after work to buy a video game system as a Christmas gift for our son. My son heard me, and now I feel that I can't get it for him because it will no longer be a "surprise."
My husband thinks it's no big deal and doesn't feel he should have to tell the person he's calling that the conversation could be overheard.
Personally, I will from now on assume that I am on speakerphone when someone calls me until I know otherwise. But I think you would do us all a favor by alerting people to proper speakerphone etiquette. -- AGGRAVATED IN DEVILLE, LA.
DEAR AGGRAVATED: I don't blame you for being upset. Speakerphone etiquette? To allow others to listen in is a breach of trust and privacy. When I receive a phone call, I assume that the call is private -- and I'm sure my feelings are shared by at least 90 percent of the population. People should not have to "assume" they are on a speakerphone every time they take or make a phone call. Your husband owes you an apology.
P.S. Buy the video game system for your son anyway. If you don't, he'll be "surprised" -- and disappointed -- that you didn't.