Let's Talk About


6 years ago by


My phone battery is always dying.

I’m that person who’s always asking the waiter if they maybe, pretty please have a charger that I can borrow. (I’m still in the stone ages with an iPhone 5, which dies in about ten minutes.)(Ok, maybe eleven.)
And you know, I’m kind of sorry but I really did need to charge my dead phone.

You know, you might as well bury yourself under a rock and denounce society altogether these days if your phone dies. Even though your friends said they’d meet you at that café, the wait for a table might have been too long so they went somewhere else and they texted but you’ll never get it…

So I’m lost and alone, and I’m already working out how many cats I should get for my new life in solitude (haha).

But I do feel really bad sometimes, and I can tell that it annoys people — I see that why don’t you have your sh*t together and your phone charged? look that you’re giving me… So what is actually acceptable? Is it bad to ask a random stranger if I can charge up for a few minutes? Is that just pure desperation?

Or, if I have my charger with me, can I just plug it in anywhere?
(My friend once found an electrical socket in the ceiling of a bar, stood on a stool to plug it in – no joke.)

What’s the etiquette?


Add yours
  • I have an iPhone 5 that threatens to die every time I use it so I ALWAYS have a portable battery charger in my bag that goes wherever my phone goes. That said, I think it’s okay to charge wherever and whenever you can but if you lose your phone that way it’ll all be on you :o

  • a plug on a ceiling?? sorry for being off-topic, but i can’t get over THAT! :)


  • Our phone dying once in a while is our only chance to really disconnect. Let’s take this opportunity #digitaldetox ;-)

  • I also have an iPhone 5 (and refuse to upgrade)– the etiquette is to carry a charger with you to make sure your phone is charged or just deal with it being uncharged. It’s rude to ask people to charge your phone. The world keeps turning even if our phones are inaccessible.

  • I believe our phone battery dying once in a while is our only chance to really disconnect… I am happy that my phone has limits, because I don’t! ;-)

  • Solmari July, 30 2015, 12:38 / Reply

    Neada, I had the same problem for a different reason, my kids! Buy a portable battery charger. It will change your life. I bought the Altec Lansing 4,000mAh Portable USB Power Bank, it charges my phone (also an Iphone 5) up to two full charges & it is small enough to fit in most bags.

  • I always carry a small portable charger that gives 5 or so charges before it has to be recharged. Comes in really handy and strangers don’t have to be inconvenienced. As for the digital disconnect comment from Lea — my phone may be with me but it’s usually in my bag not my hand. So, guess that makes me semi-disconnected!

  • One of the things i do to counteract the tendency to stop thinking or planning in advance as a result of technology dependence to to monitor my battery and plan accordingly. I have mastered this so I am at the point where I never leave my house without a fully charged battery. I do carry my charger in the event I get stranded for hours and hours (I have an IPhone 5 too). Id I am out and my phone dies I must admit it creates some anxiety. But I have decided to use that as an opportunity to take a brief break.

    Accidental Icon

  • I don’t have a mobile phone. I used to have one and tossed it because of various concerns, but particularly privacy — too many things happened that felt “stalkerish”.

    I don’t miss it a bit. It’s the same as the “olden” days — when meeting with friends, we make plans and do our best to stick to them — and, if it doesn’t work out? Oh well, c’est la vie! I find it works better and less time is wasted because people don’t assume that everything can be changed at the last minute.

    Same for work. I’ve been in meetings where everyone is texting under the table. It’s disrespectful, and a complete waste of time.

  • Joanna July, 30 2015, 2:49 / Reply

    Yes, I do think it’s a bit rude (see also: gauche, desperate) asking a random stranger to charge your phone. If you know your phone is always dying, then buy a portable phone charger. It’s that simple. That way, you’re not *that person* asking a stranger for a favor or looking around helplessly for an outlet in a public space not intended for mass phone-charging. And when some other desperate person needs *their* phone to be charged, you can be their battery savior….who knows, s/he may even marvel at just how much you have your shit together. ;-)

  • Carry around a battery pack, or two, along with your charger. When in the office or at home or a coffee shop–anywhere easy to charge–charge. Let it power down when out and about. Then, the external batteries will save you. I have an iphone 5, too, and this works for me even all day long in cities with minimal charging.

  • I never hesitate to ask for a charge. I even know a list of places where I can sit and eat something while charging phone. And I have much worse – iphone4. I love it, wotks really great still. But I can’t use it all day long. But two days ago I tried to find plug in cafe, and some guy offered me power bank. It’s portable charger that everyone’s in comments talking. I knew about the existence. But it’s like where burried in my brain so I forgot and it was a discover. But I’m completely confused because I can’t decide which one to buy cause there is so many.

  • I have an iphone 6 and I have the same problem!


  • Antonia July, 30 2015, 3:54 / Reply

    When I had an iPhone I often had to ask for chargers. I’ve found most restaurants in NY actually have iPhone chargers usually at the hostess desk and they are quite fine helping you out. I’ve never gotten a bad vibe! Of course you sometimes need to give them your phone and it’s out of your sight, but that’s what the passcode is there for. Now that I have an android I just carry a charger – most places just don’t have the right one.

  • I feel like suggesting that you should get a portable charger, but you know what I won’t because it happens to me all the “bloody” time!!!


  • Sara de July, 30 2015, 4:32 / Reply

    The portable phone charger is a must. But I also rely on my Mophie phone case which has additional juice! Can’t live without it. That said I always feel awkward having to ask to charge in a public place so I usually refrain unless a full blown emergency is underway… Which of course will be defined very differently by everyone. ..

  • Seriously? Learn to plan ahead or live without it. Humans survived for many years without being digitally connected. First world problems. Either get a portable charger, upgrade your phone, or manage when it’s dead. Almost nothing is so critical that you (or anyone) “must be connected or die!”. I have a 4S that doesn’t hold a charge for long…but long enough for my needs most of the time. And I have a Mophie for when it doesn’t.

  • Caroline July, 31 2015, 6:06

    Totally agree!
    Got an iPhone 3 (it’s become vintage, now), I don’t want to get rid of it because, well, it works. And, if the battery’s dead (which happens a lot because I don’t want to be a slave to my phone), well, too bad§ I probably miss out on a few things, but I also get myself organised beforehand. And nothing deadly has come out of not having my phone with me. So there goes.

  • Either carry a portable charger or additional charged battery. Also, use your phone less? I don’t get it why people must always be connected to wifi. I read my e-mail at the computer and only browse on my phone if I really need to (google maps, rain radar, upload a bike ride with my tracker..).

  • I suggest to invest in a portable charger. Some of them are so small and looks so cool to carry and use around. Portable charger will make your life better.

  • I keep a portable phone charger and my charger just in case. And I try to find places to sit that happens to be close to a plug and just do it without asking. It’s not rude! Do not feel ashamed about needing a charge!
    – Kaitlyn | http://www.TheCrownFox.com

  • We are not the problem, it´s apple that makes this phone that uses too much battery for its development. It is like trying to make a crawling baby jump in a trampoline! seriously, just make one damn good phone design.- you have “all” the good money we pay for this.

  • Moi j’ai trouvé la solution ! J’ai une batterie de téléphone externe, comme ça hop je le recharge sans emm**der personne. Par contre il faut penser à la recharger :p

  • Angele July, 31 2015, 3:08 / Reply

    two Words : portable charger ! This is a life saver ! not exaggerating haha

  • Haha this is hilarious. I recognise myself in the story, because I still have an iPhone 4 (seriously!) and often find myself without phone. Luckily, I know some of my friends’ phone numbers by heart, so I can call them from a restaurant or use someone else’s phone if I need to.

  • Ok – I have some suggestions that will change your life (well, they did for me at least!):

    1. Turn off wi-fi if you’re not at home or work. Lots of power gets used trying to find a wi-fi signal.
    2. Turn off locations services. Again, with GPS constantly finding you = battery drainage.
    3. Turn down your brightness as low as you can stand it.
    4. Double click the home button and manually close apps that are running in the background.
    5. It’s best to let your phone battery drain completely and charge all the way to 100%. Little bursts of charging here or there ruins the life of the battery in the long run.
    6. Worse case scenario – Turn on airplane mode if you know you need to save that little bit of juice for an important call or text later on!!

    I am now able to go all day on a single charge, where as before I would have to charge after about 3 hours. Feel free to thank me later :)

  • honestly, i think the autonomy and charge level is the daily obsession of every single iPhone user !! it’s quite depressing when you come to think about it, but at least i think it became a habit for everyone to have people asking for outlets to charge their phones !

  • I think having to charge your phone is fair, it’s just how it goes these days. We need to stay connected. Unless you’re with your partner or friends and have no other plans or responsibilities that day – then there’s no need to get all neurotic/crazy about it.

    I find charging your phone not a matter of poor etiquette, but how we are glued to our screens 24/7 is so much worse. I know from experience, because I am often like this. But the other day I decided to leave my phone in my bag and just spend quality time with a friend and she just had her phone in her hand the whole time. That’s when I realized how annoying it is. Funny how that works!

  • You should get a mophie charger thingy! So when your phone dies, you can charge it in your purse discreetly…!


  • ” a plat ” problem = easily solved = “don’t leave home without it”= fully charged battery pack+ charger.
    Problem is =Heavy. Also not trend since handbags the size of “small” are the rage.Reminds me of “the days I was little”=mother +grandmother=Tiny handbags.(great grandmother=no handbag=a small basket) Tote bag/ sturdy canvas. Solves my” a plat” problem. Or get a car .Not an option for me.
    No license.No car.

  • Totally off topic, but I’m desperately looking for the perfect winter coat, and would be extremely grately, if you could please, please, please tell me where the model’s coat is from???? Thanks!!

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