Privacy: Cell-Phone Sanctuaries
It may sound like an oxymoron: “A phone booth for the mobile world.” But that’s the slogan Salemi Industries of Woburn, Mass., is using to push its “cell-phone booths” to libraries, stadiums, nightclubs and restaurants in response to complaints about blabbermouths and privacy concerns.
The Cell Zone is priced between $2400 and $3500, and stands about seven feet tall. The cylindrical steel booths block 30 to 40 decibels of noise. U.S. Cellular purchased two of them for a summer music festival that the wireless carrier is sponsoring in Milwaukee; Michael Salemi says he has about 100 more orders in the works. AtlantaPhoneBooths.com and C.P. Booth of Ft. Wayne, Ind., offer retro-style options (think Clark Kent’s changing station) with modern ventilation systems. Cell-phone booths may revive a “bygone era of privacy,” says Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of July’s National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. But do public yappers really care about annoying others? “Some people are just going to be jerks,” says AtlantaPhoneBooth’s founder Steve Konsin, whose booths cost $4500. “It’s important that you give people the option of being courteous.”