I was passing through the baggage claim at LaGuardia Airport when I stumbled on a terribly odd contraption mounted to a wall.
From a distance, I had no idea what it was. At first, it
resembled those tired-looking ATM machines you often see in New York City delis, with a screen, keyboard and credit card reader. But its black handset also resembled a retro payphone. Yet it also had
a black industrial-grade box with a peephole, bolted to the top.
WTF was this?
As I got close, it displayed signage: “Pay Email -- Read, Write, Send & Surf.”
And that black box bolted to the top read “Skype Video Phone.”
Apparently, I had stumbled into the world’s ugliest Internet communication appliance.
I couldn’t have dreamed someone could design something so awkward and eye-soring. Steve Jobs would not have approved.
Moreover, it was a ripoff! The pricing schedule read: 35 cents a minute, credit/debit cards accepted with $5 minimum charge, and $1 minimum for cash.
With the ubiquity of smartphones, it seems its only utility is novelty.
So I took out my own smartphone and shot this picture to share on Twitter.
This begs the questions: Who would ever pay money to use one of these contraptions? Or build, run and maintain them?
Perhaps the mystery is better left unsolved.