Ice cubes to Eskimos.
To that list of doomed sales propositions you may now add: etiquette to cell phone yappers.
The Cell Zone is a phoneless phone booth built to give users a quiet place where they can conduct their conversations in private.
Of course, if you’ve ever encountered a member of the target population–on a train, in a restaurant, at a cafe–you’ll appreciate the challenge that Woburn, Mass.-based Cell Zone faces. These people, for the most part, don’t care what they’re saying or who’s hearing them say it.
Undaunted, the three brothers behind the idea — Michael, Tony and Steven Salemi — market manfully on, pitching their product to restaurants, discos, libraries and other locales at either end of the loud-quiet spectrum.
Each Cell Zone retails for $2,400 to $3,500. The makers figure buyers can quickly recoup their cost by selling advertising space inside and outside the mobile-phone booth (though Salemi Industries wants a cut of any ad revenue).
The Salemis estimate their potential market is at least 750,000. That’s the number of restaurants and nightclubs in the U.S. To fit different decors, the Cell Zone is available in several design motifs, including wood veneer.
But all Cell Zones come with a clear plastic door. “Customers don’t want anything going on inside there” other than conversation, Michael Salemi says.
To which we say: Hey, if you’re going to design a space where people can be rude, why not go all the way?