I had a similar experience tonight!
I was coming out of Albertson's (a grocery store) and the Salvation Army guy was on his cell phone. I could tell from the conversation, though, that he was talking to another bell ringer to see if that guy was doing as poorly as the Albertson's guy. Evidently, he could still see the bottom of his bucket and was listing the denominations of bills that were in there.
I wonder if they have daily goals or anything...
But, yeah, it struck me, too, that it was odd to me that the S.A. guy was on his cell phone while manning his bell & bucket.