Now you too can talk privately on the phone in a crowd of people while looking like Bane

To cleanse the palate, watching this video reminds me of something Shaquille O’Neal once said about being a garbage free-throw shooter. You should try shooting underhanded, Rick Barry told him. Barry himself used that form to spectacular success at the line in his career and studies support the claim that it produces a more accurate shot than an overhand toss. But despite the fact that pros normally will use any competitive advantage available, hardly anyone uses the underhand shot.


Why? Because, as Shaq told Barry, it looks ridiculous. I’d rather shoot zero and look cool, he said, than shoot successfully and look like a “sissy,” in Barry’s own words. Sometimes an effective solution to a problem fails to catch on because it’s simply too demeaning.

You see where I’m going with this?

Before you ask, yes, this is a real product:

I work in offices all over the world, and I constantly experience this problem first-hand. In order to make a private phone call, I have to get up and find somewhere quiet. This means unplugging my laptop from power and the external monitor. Packing up my laptop, mouse, notepad, pen, phone, and headphones. Getting up and rushing to a private place. Reorganizing my things in an empty conference room. These steps are inefficient and frankly ridiculous.

My coworkers do the same thing. In fact, in researching the problem, I discovered that it’s prevalent in offices everywhere. Many people describe a scene like this: “I run and find a room. If none are available, I go to the balcony. If it’s too cold out, I go to the stairwell, but the cell service is terrible.”

It’s 2018 – we shouldn’t have to live like this anymore!

If you and your co-workers are packed like sardines into a tiny office with no partitions, particularly if the business involves frequent phone calling, I can understand how desperate times might call for desperate measures. (How expensive are thin partitions, though?) I can’t understand it in any other context. How often do you find yourself in a crowded place and have to make a personal call that both cannot wait and is so intensely personal that it can’t risk being overheard, such that you’d prefer to wrap this digital feebag around your head and chat in full view of people gawking at you like you’re nuts?


Texting exists for a reason.

My favorite part of the video is the bit towards the end where they note that it’s compatible with all phone apps. Uh, yeah: It’s a piece of plastic with a slot for you to slide your headphone mic in. Why wouldn’t it be compatible with Skype?

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David Strom 3:00 PM | May 20, 2024