Thursday, May 24, 2012

Another sidewalk service: phone charging?

At @uptownalmanac here's a woman offering $5 cell phone charges at her apartment near Dolores Park in San Francisco. Brings up this question about the technological context of homelessness.

People away from home or without homes need places to charge their phones. You've probably seen people with backpacks hovering at open electrical outlets in libraries and subway stations, just the way travelers with carry-on bags do in airports.

And people without money need aboveboard services to sell. Supposing the business-permit issue could be squared with city authorities, there'd be a modest but legitimate profession in charging phones at places like public parks, maybe from a portable power supply. Except, we have this American civic snobbery in the way -- this municipal self-image that bans small-scale street vending as, I don't know, beneath our dignity or something. Can we get over that maybe?

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