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Teenager Repellant
November 29, 2005 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Teenager Repellant. Teenager Repellant. Kids loitering outside of your store? A Welsh inventor has created a device that emits a noise particularly irritating to those under 20 years of age (and no, it's not classical music.)
posted by fet (65 comments total)

 
It sounds like a pile of fuming bullshit, but then again even if its was true I guess that talking to them isn't not even considered as an option and I wonder why.
posted by elpapacito at 8:02 AM on November 29, 2005


The whole article reads like a Family Guy script:

Some shops, for example, use "zit lamps," which drive teenagers away by casting a blue light onto their spotty skin, accentuating any whiteheads and other blemishes.

I can't help but read that in the voice of one of the newsanchors.
posted by odinsdream at 8:08 AM on November 29, 2005


"By way of demonstration, he emitted a batlike squeak that was indeed bothersome."
posted by shoepal at 8:09 AM on November 29, 2005


Robert Gough, who said he could hear the noise even though he is 34, described it as "a pulsating chirp," the sort you might hear if you suffered from tinnitus. By way of demonstration, he emitted a batlike squeak that was indeed bothersome.

Why bother buying the The Mosquito, when you can just hire Robert Gough to stand at the door way and squeak!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:09 AM on November 29, 2005


"...indeed bothersome."

Only in Wales.
posted by iamck at 8:12 AM on November 29, 2005


Not bullshit:

When I was maybe about 13 or 14, my parents bought one of those "sonic pest repellant" devices that you plug into a standard outlet and, supposedly, it drives all of the mice away. I could hear that damn thing constantly, despite the fact that the package claimed that it was inaudible to humans. My parents (being about 40 years old at the time) heard nothing but wound up taking my word for it that it was unbearably irritating and wound up discontinuing the use of the device.
posted by Jon-o at 8:14 AM on November 29, 2005


They already do something similar in Canada. Anywhere they don't want kids hanging around they play Classical Music.
posted by srboisvert at 8:18 AM on November 29, 2005


So, it would drive a non-trivial number of Mefites away, which may be construed as a good or bad thing, depending. :)
posted by unixrat at 8:19 AM on November 29, 2005


I think that it would be only the exceptional twenty- and thirty-somethings that would be driven away by this. Teenagers are (un)surprisingly stubborn, especially when they realize you're trying to drive them away.
posted by Plutor at 8:25 AM on November 29, 2005


did srboisvert steal his joke from the post itself? smooth.
posted by papakwanz at 8:25 AM on November 29, 2005


So, how long would it be before your in-store employees, who are mostly 25 or under, quietly turned the thing off because it was too annoying?
posted by unreason at 8:25 AM on November 29, 2005


i'd pronounce "Gough" like "GOFF" rather than "GUFF"...?
posted by atticus at 8:28 AM on November 29, 2005


The classical music repellant was shown to work on the skater kids behind the supermarket in Santa Cruz, last I heard.

Although, like the high frequency pest repellants, the pests probably acclimate with time.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:32 AM on November 29, 2005


This is a double from a week or so ago.
posted by fire&wings at 8:33 AM on November 29, 2005


At our local mall the entryway constantly blares out in a very chipper voice: "Hi! Welcome to Shopping Town Southcenter. You're parked near the food court! Hi! Welcome..."

I can barely stand hearing it 1.5 times on the approach to the door, and I've noticed the teenagers don't hang around the entrance anymore.
posted by agropyron at 8:33 AM on November 29, 2005


Teenager: Repellant!
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:35 AM on November 29, 2005


i'd pronounce "Gough" like "GOFF" rather than "GUFF"...?

I'd be more likely to pronounce it "GO"
posted by antifuse at 8:44 AM on November 29, 2005


did srboisvert steal his joke from the post itself? smooth.

Like crunchy peanut (butter)
posted by srboisvert at 8:47 AM on November 29, 2005


Secret Life of Gravy: jinx!
posted by shoepal at 8:52 AM on November 29, 2005


for a rate to be negotiated i would stand outside any shop emitting such sounds as "get a job!", "you need a haircut!" and "does your mother know you're wearing that?"
posted by quonsar at 9:00 AM on November 29, 2005


Televisions - well, tube screens - whistle at 17 KHz, and that doesn't drive the kids away. Quite the opposite, it would seem.
posted by Triode at 9:03 AM on November 29, 2005


I remember being about 10 yrs old and my dad brought home one an electronic dog whistle device. He would push it sometimes to freak the cat out. And I could hear it and it bothered me - it was almost... painful? Not because it was too loud, it was just like a knife peircing my skull. I got all twitchy feeling whenever he pressed that button.

Dad was oblivious to the noise and would not believe that I could hear it. One supper time I recall him holding the device under the table where I couldn't see it and pushing it at random intervals to see if I'd notice or not. And he wanted to terrorize our poor cat. It pissed me off that he wouldn't believe me, and that he kept making that annoying/painful noise.
posted by raedyn at 9:05 AM on November 29, 2005


The McDonalds in downtown Seattle used to have a group of rough-looking kids that hung around it all the time, intimidating passers-by. Then the store started to play country music through small speakers hidden in the awning. The kids vanished; poof!
posted by Pecinpah at 9:06 AM on November 29, 2005


I wonder if you'd still be able to hear it. When I was a kid, I could detect a faint high-pitched whine from a TV set when it was turned on, but I'm over 40 now and don't hear high-frequency noises quite so well.
posted by alumshubby at 9:10 AM on November 29, 2005


elpapacito: you've obviously never been to Barry.

I'll go there tomorrow and, if I survive (not sure which will kill me first, the teenagers or the bothersome chirping), I'll report back on whether I can hear anything.
posted by nylon at 9:11 AM on November 29, 2005


By way of demonstration, he emitted a batlike squeak that was indeed bothersome.

Why is it this reads exactly like sketch comedy news reports?
posted by soviet sleepover at 9:32 AM on November 29, 2005


he emitted a batlike squeak that was indeed bothersome

Does this fellow post on MetaFilter? Several MeFites have this ability.
posted by fandango_matt at 9:38 AM on November 29, 2005


There's a new age store in downtown Seattle that blares crappy new age music out of shitty little speakers in front of their store. I don't know if it's to draw people in or to repel teenagers, but I feel very, very bad for the people that have to use the bus stop that's also located directly in front of the store.
posted by stet at 9:52 AM on November 29, 2005


alumshubby: Keep in mind TV sets have improved since then too.
posted by fvw at 10:19 AM on November 29, 2005


This guy's intent is essentially to punish - through genunie physical discomfort - all young people for the bad behavior of a few of them. No one seems to have a problem with that. Why not?

I like the "unhip music" approach better.
posted by Western Infidels at 10:48 AM on November 29, 2005


I used to hear a high frequency whine any time I went to a large shopping mall. There would be those who would scoff at what I called "That Mall Noise", but it was annoying enough to want to avoid. Older now, I don't hear it, but it's left me with a lifetime dislike of shopping, which could be a good thing.
posted by Wylie Kyoto at 10:59 AM on November 29, 2005


Couldn't you just play the same song on a continuous loop all day and night? That way you're not annoying the shoppers who are just coming and going, only those that choose to hang around.
posted by shoepal at 11:00 AM on November 29, 2005


That way you're not annoying the shoppers who are just coming and going

... and the staff, of course.
posted by anastasiav at 11:23 AM on November 29, 2005


Alumshubby: I wonder if you'd still be able to hear it. When I was a kid, I could detect a faint high-pitched whine from a TV set when it was turned on, but I'm over 40 now and don't hear high-frequency noises quite so well.

Yeah I remember that as a young teenager. A brain piercing high pitched whine that would begin as soon as the TV was turned on. I'd become oblivious to it after a while and engrossed in the program (Love Boat / Fantasy Island back to back on Saturday night made pretty sweet TV watching for a kid getting annihilated with an onslaught of Primo hormones). I remember thinking that the engineers at Philco were complete morons for designing such a lame TV. Little did I know, they probably had no idea what they were doing to kids and pets everywhere.

Hmmn. Those Bastards. Class action lawsuit anyone??
posted by Skygazer at 11:37 AM on November 29, 2005


I used to hear a high frequency whine any time I went to a large shopping mall.
posted by Wylie Kyoto


I have a teenager--I don't have to go anywhere to hear that high frequency whine.
posted by leftcoastbob at 1:06 PM on November 29, 2005


Western Infidels, Bad music would "punish" everyone else too, as does agropyron's mall enterance.

"Punish" is a loaded word & an exaggeration. Imagine designing a homework submission website. Is it best to (a) try to find the sound/font/colors for responces to wrong answers which induce quickest learning, likely through "punishment", or (b) just remain blissfully ignorant of such details, so as not to "punish." What if the site is not educational? etc. People should do what works. Trying to make broken ideas work which causes the most direct harm.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:25 PM on November 29, 2005


If your worried about uses of such technology, wait until McDonalds builds devices to make kids stay around and/or eat more. OTOH, What if you can find sounds which keep kids from talking in classes and/or make them focus more?

Sadly, such sounds may be too far outside the human hearing range for one to embed music or talking. One can imagine some pretty amusing nefarious uses in high school classes.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:40 PM on November 29, 2005


This is a double from a week or so ago.

Geez. Thanks. I thought I was going nuts. Even the comments are eerily similar ... I can't seem to find the thread, though.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:38 PM on November 29, 2005


A department store near me has speakers by the escalators that tell how to use the escalator. "Please hold on to the handrails while on the escalator. Do not put shopping carts on the escalator. Blahblahblahblah escalator. Yaddayaddayadda escalator." Ugh, makes me wanna run up it as fast as i can.
posted by daninnj at 7:03 PM on November 29, 2005


The train station I exit and enter each morning and evening plays similar instructional recordings all the way along the three long escalators that lead to my platform.

This drove me nuts until I started interpreting certain couplets, like "Do not run up or down the escalator . . . You may harm yourself and/or others", as two separate instructions.
posted by Absit Invidia at 10:02 PM on November 29, 2005


What, does it loop subliminal phrases over and over? Things like "get a job", "clean your room", "do your homework" ?? Ought to. Not that it would work.
posted by keptwench at 6:25 AM on November 30, 2005


jeffburdges: ...Bad music would "punish" everyone else too, as does agropyron's mall enterance.

Music, as a matter of taste, is unlikely to be distasteful to all. In any case, the music is at least perceived (if not enjoyed) equally by all, not merely by some underclass who are subjected to it merely because of their involuntary membership in that underclass.

"Punish" is a loaded word & an exaggeration. Imagine designing a homework submission website. Is it best to (a) try to find the sound/font/colors for responces to wrong answers which induce quickest learning, likely through "punishment"...

If "punish" is loaded, what's more accurate? "Sadism?" "Torture?" The story describes the sound as so physically uncomfortable that teens literally plug their ears and flee. I don't know about you, but when I was a teenager, I'd just about rather die than do something so un-macho. So I'm imagining this noise as profoundly uncomfortable. Do you really believe that choosing an ugly website font is comparably offensive?

How bizarre to compare this machine to an educational device of any sort - what lesson do you imagine this noisemaker is teaching? That adults regard teenagers and cockroaches as equals? Do you imagine that this will encourage teens to be happier, better-adjusted, and more civil to others?
posted by Western Infidels at 6:56 AM on November 30, 2005


I can perfectly imagine the sound produced, because the descriptions match, spot on, the rat deflectors in front of one shop on the way to the station. It's a high pitched repeated chirp, and annoying as hell. I think the "put fingers in ears and flee" is a bit of artistic overstatement (though I can't be sure, as I'm 31, and I might not hear quite as much as the teens), but if it's anything like the rat deflector, it's more a matter of incredible annoyance than profound physical discomfort.

Western Infidels : "Do you imagine that this will encourage teens to be happier, better-adjusted, and more civil to others?"

Of course not. They're teens. Nothing can encourage them to do so. They will then become cocky university students, and then move on to adulthood, where they will be assholes in their own houses, instead of in front of shops.
posted by Bugbread at 8:35 AM on November 30, 2005


I wonder how people would react if someone developed an annoy-away device that only blacks could hear? That only fat people could hear? That only senior citizens could hear?

Would we all just laugh and snark about those, too? Would we be as willing to acknowledge that we consider each of those segments of the population as sub-human, worthy of no consideration or respect?
posted by Western Infidels at 12:07 PM on December 3, 2005


Western Infidels : "I wonder how people would react if someone developed an annoy-away device that only blacks could hear? That only fat people could hear? That only senior citizens could hear?

Would we all just laugh and snark about those, too? Would we be as willing to acknowledge that we consider each of those segments of the population as sub-human, worthy of no consideration or respect?"


1) They'd probably be pissed.
2) They'd probably be pissed, but not as much as #1.
3) They'd probably be pissed more then #2, but not as much as #1.
4) Some people would. In general, MeFites would not laugh and snark about #1 or #3. However, #2 would be a pretty split issue.
5) Unanswerable, as you're begging the question.

Any more I can help you with?
posted by Bugbread at 1:51 PM on December 3, 2005


How cool, let's treat all kids like animals to be repelled, so that they won't behave like animals, yay. I predict a lot of success for this lovely approach.

Perhaps even a few smashed windows. Then blame it on the noise driving you crazy.
posted by funambulist at 2:30 PM on December 3, 2005


> How cool, let's treat all kids like animals to be repelled

It's not aimed at all kids. No one has declared intent to follow kids around town blasting kids with this thing. It just bothers kids who loiter outside the store. You could instead treat them like adult loiterers and have them fined or arrested, but I think this is better.

Also, remember that for every teenage loiterer it repels, there are probably a number of non-loitering kids who can now get in unmolested to buy something. They won't like the noise any more than the loiters like it, but shopping kids aren't staying and they won't be bothered on the way in and out by the kids who otherwise crowd the doors.

I like that noise box and I'll be buying one if loud or destructive kids ever decide our corner is a good place to congregate at night. It's like pigeon spikes. The pigeons can (and will) go hang about somewhere else.

If the problem were not loud, abusive, threatening teenagers but loud, abusive, threatening middle-agers, I would be all for a similar device that made only middle-agers find the store railing an unpleasant place at which to sit and spit.

I don't like the classical music approach: I like classical music but I wouldn't want someone playing his or her selection of it or any music outdoors all the time. Also, there's always the chance Alex and his droogs would show up and demand a little of the Ludwig Van, and unfortunate store emplyees, a la the Ludovico Technique, might start to associate classical music with teenage loiterers. And that would be a sin.
posted by pracowity at 4:12 PM on December 3, 2005


Unanswerable, as you're begging the question.

It would be begging the question if I was assuming something (that MeFites regard teens as sub-human, and that they're not afriad to say so) when framing my own question. But I'm not assuming anything - posters to this thread have been pretty clear when stating their position:

Of course not. They're teens. Nothing can encourage them to [be happier, better-adjusted, and more civil to others].

My question is a serious one. Would you (or other MeFites) defend a device that made extremely annoying noises that only a black person could hear, with the express purpose of preventing any blacks from congregating in some place? Would you explain to me that black people simply cannot be reasoned with, that there is no way to get them to be civil, simply because they're black? In short, would you have written:

Of course not. They're black. Nothing can encourage them to [be happier, better-adjusted, and more civil to others].


It's not aimed at all kids.

That's true. It's only aimed at every single person under the age of 20 or so (including every baby, toddler, primary schooler, "tweeny," etc) within earshot, whether they have any intention of loitering or not.

It just bothers kids who loiter outside the store. You could instead treat them like adult loiterers and have them fined or arrested...

The treatment for adult loiterers appears to be: go ahead and loiter. This device was designed not to irritate adults, after all. Do you know any adult who's been fined for loitering? I don't.


I realize full well that this isn't an Earth-shaking issue. I realize that these machines won't literally deafen anyone. But I'm surprised to see how many people seem to think it's a good idea, or even funny, to single out all kids for special annoyances, when it's so clear that singling out any other involuntary-membership demographic for similar treatment would be incredibly offensive.

And I doubt it will work, on top of it all. If the problem loiterers in question are actual vandals, I imagine the annoying squawker box would quickly become vandalism target number one.
posted by Western Infidels at 11:18 PM on December 3, 2005


It's like pigeon spikes.

well, pracowity, there you go, you made my point for me about treating kids like animals.

What a lot of reactionary crap really. Western Infidel is absolutely right.

And I doubt it will work, on top of it all. If the problem loiterers in question are actual vandals, I imagine the annoying squawker box would quickly become vandalism target number one.

Exactly, and it would be well deserved too.
posted by funambulist at 5:03 AM on December 4, 2005


Western Infidels : "I wonder how people would react if someone developed an annoy-away device that only blacks could hear? That only fat people could hear? That only senior citizens could hear?

Would we all just laugh and snark about those, too? Would we be as willing to acknowledge that we consider each of those segments of the population as sub-human, worthy of no consideration or respect?"


Western Infidels "It would be begging the question if I was assuming something (that MeFites regard teens as sub-human, and that they're not afriad to say so) when framing my own question.

No, it's begging the question because you were assuming something (that MeFites regard blacks, fat people, and senior citizens as sub-human) when you framed the question. If it makes it easier, think of the possible answers:

1) Yes, we would be as willing to acknowledge that we consider them subhuman.
2) No, we would not be as willing to acknowledge that we consider them subhuman.

Both show that you're making an assumption that you say you aren't making.

Western Infidels : "The treatment for adult loiterers appears to be: go ahead and loiter. This device was designed not to irritate adults, after all. Do you know any adult who's been fined for loitering? I don't."

I don't know on what basis you make your first assumption. Hopefully, it's not the second ("This device was designed not to irritate adults"), because witness the fact that in my old apartment I put out roach poison, but not rat poison, and it wasn't the case that my message was: "Hey, rats, go ahead and loiter". Instead, it was just that I had a problem with loitering roaches, but not rats. And to your final question, yes, I know an adult fined for loitering.
posted by Bugbread at 4:28 PM on December 4, 2005


You could instead treat them like adult loiterers and have them fined or arrested, but I think this is better. - pracowity

Ha! Like the police will come arrest someone for loitering? I couldn't get them to come when people were passing counterfiet currency ($100 bills), using stolen cerdit cards, or asking me "Does it look like I was shot? He tried to shoot me, am I bleeding?".

(They did come when we were being held up, and when a young man was being beaten by 7 other guys in the parking lot, and a few other times. Man, am I ever glad to not work there anymore.)
posted by raedyn at 8:40 AM on December 5, 2005


funambulist: there you go, you made my point for me about treating kids like animals.

Yeah, sure, and putting fences around property is treating kids like wolves, feeding kids is treating kids like cats, and training kids is treating kids like dogs. Everything is so, so horrible, so brutal. How will teenagers ever survive if they cannot stand around in front of the 7-11?
posted by pracowity at 9:11 AM on December 5, 2005


Yes, pracowity, exactly my words... not at all straw men, nope.

You could have also added that I think kids should be allowed to shoplift, otherwise it's a suppression of their civil liberties.
posted by funambulist at 9:34 AM on December 5, 2005


That, too.

(So I guess the old tradition of putting actual spikes on fences is also bad, right?)
posted by pracowity at 12:25 PM on December 5, 2005


Oh, of course, as are doors. Doors are oppressive instruments of imperialism and suspicion. Walls, too. Houses and shops should be open on all sides.

So, pracowity, I guess you think the moon landing never happened? Oops, sorry, did I just put completely unrelated words in your mouth?
posted by funambulist at 12:34 PM on December 5, 2005


Then if all these other reasonable approaches to keeping pests away are acceptable to you, what's wrong with a little harmless noise to shoo away the ne'er-do-wells? It wouldn't keep you off your own perch at the convenience store, would it?
posted by pracowity at 2:11 PM on December 5, 2005


...

oh yeah you've convinced me now. Spikes, pests, fences, anti-teenager noise devices, why didn't I see that before? It's all connected, dude! staring me right in the face, but I needed that watertight logic to see it. Thanks.

In fact, I now think the only thing that's wrong with the brilliant "Teenage Repellant" is that I didn't invent it myself, cos if I'd known there'd be so many people loving the idea, and so many of these people could be shop owners, I could have made some good money.

Problem is, how do you market this in the Parisian banlieues where allegedly it's 25-ish-year-old male Moroccans who loiter around? Oh what to do? someone has to come up with a "20-something Male Moroccan Repellant". Voila, no more riots!

Paging Monsieur Sarkozy...
posted by funambulist at 2:43 PM on December 5, 2005


You wander farther and farther from the point, trying hard to associate something you don't like the idea of (a little noise box) with something big and bad. First, it's treating children like animals, and now, somehow, your're converting teenage Welsh loiters into adult French rioters. Maybe you meant to say that it's a torture device. That's next, right?
posted by pracowity at 4:13 PM on December 5, 2005


This reminds me of what I used to call "mall fatigue," one element of which was, I have to assume, flourcecent light transformers, which emit a high-frequency ring. (not as many florescent lights now in department stores, although still in discount stores..)

This is also why, I've decided, why I find traditional CRT televisions painful...I'm saving up for plasma....
posted by ParisParamus at 4:34 PM on December 5, 2005


Maybe you meant to say that it's a torture device. That's next, right?

Come on, pracowity, now the joke is getting tiresome... No, I was not comparing the French riots with hanging around shops in Wales. Bloody hell, you'd have to be nuts to even think that. The point is this ridiculous idea of a noise targeting all people under 20 years of age targets... all people under 20 years of age, regardless of what they are doing. Get the point of that little poorly sarcastic reference to the Paris banlieues and Sarkozy now? No?

Or should I just not bother anymore and say - "yes, I did mean to say it is torture, that was next, exactly".

Anything else you'd like me to say, please feel free to post it directly to Metafilter through my account, here's the password: teenagerepellant. Cheers.
posted by funambulist at 5:02 PM on December 5, 2005


it's begging the question because you were assuming something (that MeFites regard blacks, fat people, and senior citizens as sub-human) when you framed the question.

No, you've got it quite backwards. If I were to assume something, it's that the typical answer would be "No, of course not, because we don't think of blacks et al. as sub-human." Which, to my surprise, no one has said.

...witness the fact that in my old apartment I put out roach poison, but not rat poison, and it wasn't the case that my message was: "Hey, rats, go ahead and loiter"...

You use roach poison because doing so is easier and cheaper than applying roach poison and rat poison and ant poison and termite poison and mousetraps and flypaper, etc. Yet if it were possible to make a cheap, easy, universal "Pest-B-Gon" product, something as cheap and easy as roach powder but also effective against many other pests, you'd be likely to use it. After all, why not?

In the case of the noise box, the inventor has started with a cheap, easy, universal idea - a painful/annoying sound - and spent considerable time, money, and effort to limit its effectiveness to one segment of the population. That absolutely says something about his - and his customers' - attitude about children vs. adults. If these noises are so very benign, why go to the trouble of ensuring only the young can hear them? Why not take advantage of the opportunity to repel the rare adult loiterer as well?
posted by Western Infidels at 11:03 AM on December 6, 2005


Western Infidels : "No, you've got it quite backwards. If I were to assume something, it's that the typical answer would be 'No, of course not, because we don't think of blacks et al. as sub-human.' Which, to my surprise, no one has said."

That's not quite how begging the question works. For example, given the following question:

"Are you willing to admit that you still beat your wife?"

I forsee the answer being "No, of course not, because I don't beat my wife". However, the fact that I predict that answer doesn't mean that the question is not begging the question that I beat my wife in the first place.

That is, denying the basis of a begged question does not mean that the question was not begged.

Western Infidels : "Yet if it were possible to make a cheap, easy, universal 'Pest-B-Gon' product, something as cheap and easy as roach powder but also effective against many other pests, you'd be likely to use it. After all, why not?"

And the same is true of the inventor of this product. If he could make a "loiterer be gone" that worked on all loiterers, he would. However, he can't. Or, rather, he can't make a "loiterers, and loiterers only, be gone". Sure, he could take a universal product, a horrible agonizing noise, and play it in front of his store, but that would get rid of both loiterers and non-loiterers. That doesn't really solve the problem. Instead, he's gone for a middling solution: it leaves the majority of customers (adults), while getting rid of all the loiterers (kids), and a minority of customers (kids). If he had a problem with both child and adult loiterers, he wouldn't use this product. Your assumption is that "he must be A-OK with adult loiterers, since he's using a kid-loiterer prevention only device", and my roach example was just to point out that using this device doesn't necessarily indicate he's fine with adult loiterers, but is possibly because he doesn't have a problem with adult loiterers, and hence has chosen this imperfect solution based on the actual age distribution of loiterers.

No, it isn't perfect, and I'm sure that the inventor, and purchasers, would rather something that affects loiterers of all ages, while completely not affecting customers of all ages. However, this type of product doesn't exist. Much like a universal pest-be-gone doesn't exist. And, therefore, just as my use of a roach-be-gone instead of a rat-be-gone doesn't mean I love rats hanging out, but just means that I have a roach problem, it's unfair to assume that folks using this teenager-be-gone love adult loiterers, but instead would be safer to assume that it just means they have a problem with teenage loiterers and not adult loiterers.
posted by Bugbread at 6:51 PM on December 6, 2005


That is, denying the basis of a begged question does not mean that the question was not begged.

bugbread, I know you'll hate me, but I can't help myself...

Biomechanical Unit Generated for Battle, Rational Exploration and Accurate Destruction

... don't look at me, Gator started it.


Ahem, but anyway, you're wrong, and nitpicking to a ridiculous degree. And you're using circular logic to justify something you already take for granted is justified. You're assuming this invention was a necessity.

All that "he could have invented this and that but" - it doesn't matter in the least that he couldn't invent some universal repellant for all those terrifying loiterers, or all adults, or all old women with arthritis. He invented something specifically targeted at repelling people under 20 outside shops, and if there are shops buying that, then yes, indeed, it does show what they think of that target, of society, of life, of a lot of things. You're saying it only tells us they have a problem with teenage loiterers, but that implies that there is no other possible approach to that matter. Claiming something you're selling is necessary for some social purpose doesn't make it so.

Claiming something is the only available and/or best solution for a problem doesn't make it so either. It only shows you're clever in exploiting that line for your own commercial gain. But it's also monumentally stupid and limited in application from the point of view of retailers, since people under 20 are a precious marketing target. I can't picture the Virgin Megastore adopting this device, can you?

And you're all comparing teenagers to RATS like it was the most obvious thing to do. You've accepted that premise of the invention like it was such a given. That doesn't say anything about anything either, I guess?
posted by funambulist at 3:57 AM on December 7, 2005


That's not quite how begging the question works.

Your idea of "begging the question" seems overly broad to me. There are assumptions behind every use of language. And even if I were to agree that I had been begging the question, that doesn't make the question unanswerable.

The point I was trying to make (that no one would consider a black-repellent or senior-citizen-repellent box acceptable) remains. How is this any different?

If he could make a "loiterer be gone" that worked on all loiterers, he would.

You're kidding, right? Make the squawking audible to all, and there you go. Real customers are busy people on the move, and all that.

while getting rid of all the loiterers (kids)

Weren't you just explaining that you know adults who have actually been fined for loitering?
posted by Western Infidels at 1:29 PM on December 7, 2005


Western Infidels : "The point I was trying to make (that no one would consider a black-repellent or senior-citizen-repellent box acceptable) remains. How is this any different?"

Ah. I was under the impression that there were two points you were trying to make: 1) that no one would consider a black-repellent or senior-citizen-repellent box acceptable, and 2) that the inventor / purchaser doesn't mind adults loitering in front of his shop.

I totally agree with you on 1, and found your logic specious on 2. My comments were meant to address point 2, not point 1, and if that was unclear, I apologize for the resulting miscommunication.
posted by Bugbread at 5:08 PM on December 9, 2005


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