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Don’t Text in the Theater or the Ninjas Will Get You. We’re Serious. Ninjas.

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Texting is certainly useful: you can shoot someone a quick message to keep them updated on your ETA, have a casual conversation in a quiet manner, and send information like directions and addresses with the tap of a finger. No question. However, there’s a time and a place for texting, and sadly, many people seem to have missed that memo. That cold glow glaring in the row in front of you at the movie theater. The friend who was supposed to be hanging out with you but has spent the whole evening hunched over their phone having a thumb-tastic conversation with an absent party. Even though it’s communication, it often comes at the expense of communicating with the people who are actually in front of you, and from experiencing what’s happening right now in the real world. And if you’re driving, it’s also really, really dangerous. 

To combat inappropriate texting, some people, including police and private businesses, are taking matters into their own hands in some bizarre–and genius–ways. Check out a few anti-texting measures.  

1.) This chef’s disapproval.

In Bucato, chef Evan Funke has banned all cell phone use outside of designated cell phone use areas. He got tired of the constant texting and Instagramming and amateur food photography, calling the habits “gastro ADD.” Instead of spamming their friends with images of their meals, he hopes that the ban will encourage diners to enjoy their food, and their company, in the real world.

2.) Hobos.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police constable Bryan Martell stands on the side of the road with a cardboard sign in Chilliwack, BC. Most drivers assume he’s panhandling, but on closer inspection, his sign has a very different message. If he spots a driver texting, he radios his fellow officers and the driver is pulled over and ticketed. After just one day of the “Hobo Cop” tactic, 21 drivers were ticketed and countless others got verbal warnings. In British Columbia, any handheld electronic device is illegal to operate while driving.

3.) Rewards.

Opting to go for the carrot option (as opposed to the stick), movie theater chain Cinemark unveiled a new app that rewards moviegoers for abstaining from cell phone use during a film. At the start of a movie, users click on the Cinemark app, setting it to “Cinemode,” which monitors whether or not the phone is used for the duration of the movie. If moviegoers can resist the urge to text or update their status, they receive a discount on their next tickets.

(Can we also talk about how the girl in the purple scarf shows up three times in this picture?)

4.) Thumb socks.

Similar to those things they put on kids to discourage thumb-sucking or nail-biting, these thumb socks make it impossible to text, preventing those who otherwise would not be able to control themselves from texting while doing other, more important activities, like not killing everyone while driving. We think being mandated to wear brightly-colored thumb condoms is a suitable punishment for texting and driving.

5.) Ninjas.

Yes, ninjas. Fed up with rude movie goers, a London theater decided to employ volunteer ninjas to scare the texters, talkers, seat kickers and popcorn throwers straight. The ninjas are just average moviegoers who are given free admission in exchange for their services. They’re also given black morphsuits so they can sneak up on people for added effect.

6.) Games.

“Phone Stack,” also known as “Don’t Be A D*ck During Meals With Friends,” is a game that encourages ignoring your phone and instead spending quality time with your friends, and was developed by a 20-year-old woman who goes by Stephie. After ordering, everyone in the group places their phone face down on the table in a stack. The phones can ring and buzz all they want, but the present company must ignore them. If someone cracks and grabs their phone like a bug to a zapper, that person has to pick up the bill.

7.) Placebos.

Kind of like how quitting smokers chew on things to wean themselves of oral fixation, the NoPhone is meant to be a similar stepping stone from the addiction of cell phones. Manual fixation? It’s just a piece of plastic that’s shaped like an iPhone, but phone junkies can cradle it and feel like they’re still holding a phone. It was initially designed as a joke, but it actually caught on, with people requesting NoPhones of their own. One step at a time.

8.) Beer.

Brazilian ad agency Fischer & Friends developed the Offline Glass after coming to the conclusion that being out at a bar with someone who won’t get off their phone is really, really annoying. The glass is a simply beer glass, but with an indent in the base that makes it only able to stand upright if it can lean on a mobile phone. It was unveiled at the Salve Jorge bar in Sao Paolo.

9.) Texting guns.

The texting gun picks up the frequency of text messages (which is different than that of a phone call or data transfer) so police can pick out drivers who throw caution to the wind and send messages while driving. It’s a good idea, but not without some issues. For one thing, it’s possible that a passenger could be texting, rather than the driver, and there’s no word about automated text responses, either (such as “I’m driving and unable to answer right now”).

Which do you think is the best way? We vote ninjas, but then, we always vote ninjas. 



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