We Can't Let These App-Holes Take Over SF
In the six years since the App Store opened for business, developers have slowly but surely been running out of good ideas. Yeah, Flappy Bird was dope, and that iFart deal was a cultural breakthrough, but lately we've been suffering through a growing wave of terribly selfish “middleman loophole” app concepts. The first of these app-holes that we reported on was MonkeyParking, which promotes users to squat in open parking spots, waiting for a desperate sucker to plunk down a couple bucks for the privilege of using that bit of city street. Then, as SFist and CBS 5 reported, came ReservationHop, an app that pre-books restaurant reservations and then scalps them to the hungry masses, inconveniencing both patrons and restaurants alike.
These “services” based on usurping basic public amenities for profit are causing some righteous anger, and yet this trend of hawking scarcity shows little trace of slowing down, while the instigators show no sign of caring. In response to the city telling MonkeyParking to cut out its clearly illegal leasing-structure, MP just flipped San Francisco the bird and kept on keeping on, because if you’re already making money off of being a jerk, what do you care what the city attorney thinks? Hell, let’s just apply the same principle to every aspect of society in San Francisco. How about a team of go-getters who’ll wait in public bathroom stalls around the city, and for a minor fee, will allow you the privilege of relieving yourself in the comfort of your own stall? Just look for the brown moustache slung over the edge of the stall door. Or maybe the transportation savvy can “pre-book” every Muni and BART seat, only giving them up to those who are willing to pay for a resting space, pregnant women be damned. How about scalping doctor’s visits, and hair stylist appointments? Anywhere with a free vacancy is up for grabs, right? Screw it, what’s so illegal about locking up people's bikes on the street and forcing them to pay some app-hole a fee to unlock them?
Seriously, though, even the short term effects of these idiotic, exploitative ideas are negative for everybody but the app makers. Our taxes already pay for some of the things these apps are selling many times over – should we really be letting some douchebag with a startup idea charge us for them?
These companies should be boycotted by everyone who’d prefer to live in a normal city instead of the paranoid, pay-private-companies-for-everything-San Francisco we could become.
Update: Conscientious drivers of SF, rejoice! After the CEO of Monkey Parking swore to never take down the inconsiderate app, even going so far as to fly to SF from his Rome HQ, the 29-year-old developer has finally disabled San Francisco access, as announced via a blog post. He maintains that the service is useful, and that they'll work to "avoid any future misunderstandings." But it really doesn't matter, as Apple was already geared to remove the app on July 20th. Score one for public parking!
Got a tip for The Bold Italic? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.