March 12, 2012

"My homeless hotspot keeps wandering out of range."

"[B]y literally labelling the person as a 'hotspot,' you are priming an affluent, iPad-toting public to think of that person as a commodity."

"If all BBH are doing is turning these people into an aerial and asking them to stand still then they are just treating homeless people the same way the Victorians did when they asked them to hold posters."


Synova said...

They're getting paid, right? At least to the tune of "stand here for a bit and I'll give you a couple bucks", right? And if they aren't paid they can "wander off" and see if someone else wants a stationary hot-spot for a bit.

And what's wrong with holding a poster?

leslyn said...

I thought the same, until I read that they were getting paid $20/day, plus all the donations they could beg. At least show them a modicum of respect and pay them minimum wage. Including begging for donations isn't a charitable act, it's just stingy.

Maybe they should join a union.

Synova said...

Yeah but... it doesn't sound at all like they're asked to do anything for the $20 and they're not begging donations, they're offering a service.

Carnifex said...

My conservative side sez what 2 people agree to do for money, as long as it's legal and doesn't hurt anybody, then it's their business and not mine.

My lapsed Catholic side sez these people need help, not patronizing.

Would there be an objection if the "hotspots" where college students? What about young women in bikinis?

Would the money be better spent to "rent" a spot to hang a router in a store front, or off a telephone pole? Are yuppies so tied to their blackberries that they would pay someone to not wander away, or even follow them around?

The roaming of the hotspot themselves would indicate that the advertising company itself is not going to get the market saturation that they could with a non-mobile hotspot. Better saturation could be had if hobos were assigned areas, and paid to stay there, with flooding occurring at Austins many fairs and celebrations.

My prediction is next week there will be some other outrage to get all huffed about that will indicate the further decline of Western civilization and Mores.

And no one will remember this one.

edutcher said...

Hey, this is how GodZero could say unemployment remained steady.

All the "discouraged workers" are now Federal-designated hotspots.

bagoh20 said...

"Would there be an objection if the "hotspots" where college students? What about young women in bikinis?"

Exactly! The poor have traditionally been most harmed by those thoughtful folks who thought them too helpless to "allow" them to earn what they need. They would prefer the poor stay poor rather than have someone else benefit from them, like any other employment agreement. Nobody feels sorry for the young and hot.

Craig said...

They should equip them with aprons and a cask around their neck full of cappuccino, like a St. Bernard. The St. stands for Starbucks.

Jennifer said...

Clearly a gimmick. Who's going to walk right past a coffee shop with nice comfy chairs and free wifi to hunt down and stand next to a homeless person at $2 a pop for 15 minutes of wifi!?

That said, we are talking about adults with the right to consent to gimmick labor. It's just patronizing to say I find your decision distasteful, Mr. Homeless Person, so sit back, keep your hand out and let me do all that tough thinking for you.

Henry said...

Jennifer wrote: the right to consent to gimmick labor

I like that phrase. Clearly, the right to consent to gimmick labor was established by Schechter Polka Corp. vs. United States.

Dose of Sanity said...

@ Jen:

The people at SXSW might. Crowded convention.

Tibore said...

Feels like a "Stuff White People Like" project too much: The patronization of the poor segment of society who's not being given assistance to actually get out of their situation, but rather a temporary, condesending service task (not even a full fledged job) that at best benefits only those who carry and use smartphone, and has zero impact on the future of the homeless people themselves. No long lasting skills are imparted, and the benefit to those folks goes away when the company does.

On top of that, the company executing the plan is patting itself on the back for generating "insane amount of chatter about this" as well as making the homeless "no longer invisible". From their webpage, you wonder if they're really doing it for the homeless in their town, or to make themselves feel better.

As charity, it comes off as sort of superficial. The company says it's all about the homeless, but how has their condition actually improved? A bit of cash in their pockets is transient benefit at best; it's not like they're suddenly learning cellular network engineering from carrying the devices (on the contrary, the "Hot Spot" functions of devices are nothing more than end-user-land extensions of the cellular network with an end-user-land interface: A checkbox on a device's screen; I've used these myself in the past, and they're no challenge technically to set up. The only marketable skill you teach yourself in using one is helpdesk support ("See the box? Check it...")). Seems to me the biggest benefit has been to the corporate egos, positive stimulation from all the self-stroking their giving themselves. Which is why I call it a "Stuff White People Like" project: It's not really for the homeless, is it? Regardless of what BBH Labs thinks.

Rialby said...

Hey, it's ok 'cause all these hipsters in Austin are Progressives. If this was Columbia, SC and it was the Republican convention, we'd be seeing wall-to-wall coverage on CNNNBCABCCBSMSNBC about how "scary" Republicans are.

Rialby said...

By the way, speaking of Progressives... this morning, when I saw the report that Apple surpassed Exxon as the largest company in the world, I was wondering when the Left will start decrying them for making "too much" in profit. I guess they won't.

Salamandyr said...

As long as the homeless person is getting paid a reasonable fee for his time, I have no problem with this. Aside from the cheekiness of calling them "homeless hotspots", this is no different than hiring high school or college students to pass out fliers or something equally trivial

leslyn said...

Exactly, Salamandyr. It reminds me of several odd jobs I had in college, and of the guy dressed like the Statue of Liberty (??) who waves a sign advertising a major wireless carrier that I pass on my way to work.

The difference is that the "homeless hotspots" were not paid a wage. Instead, they got a $20 bill and were told to get additional money by begging. This exploited them for advertising purposes as homeless, instead of simply allowing them to be workers, and perpetuated the notion that they are really beggars--a kind of setup: "You can take the homeless out of the street, but you can't take the street out of the homeless."

If, back in the day, I was given 20 bucks to do a task, I would expect to know when that 20 bucks was used up and the task was done. If I were told to beg for money to make up the rest of my pay, I'd have found that humiliating and unconscionable.

My father used to say, "All honest work is good work," and he lived that by example. Integral to that belief is that one will be paid an honest wage for an honest day's work--not that one will give an honest day's work but be paid by one's begging.

There is a contract between employer and employee that certain work will be performed for a certain wage. Here there was certain work but no certain wage from the employer; nor even a sales-worker type contract where the employee receives a share of sales. There was only, "Here's 20 bucks; go forth and beg for the rest of your bread."

That's not an "honest" wage. That's humiliation of a person's willingness to work, and exploitation of a person's status in poverty.

Anthony said...

"the same way that pizza places and tax preparers do when they asked them to hold posters."

Fixed that for you. But the pizza places and tax preparers have to pay minimum wage. So do unions when they hire pickets.