For squares

Have you ever tried to explain Foursquare to the yokels?

Yesterday Ashley and I ate at a Pizza Hut back near where I grew up. To appropriately set the scene techno-smarts-wise, let me just add here that until about a year ago my hometown was a cell-phone-reception dead zone. You’d be inclined to think that the farmers just didn’t want to sell their land. The truth is fair simpler: they likely didn’t understand what cell phones are.

When I checked in on Foursquare and I found I was the mayor. Furthermore, Pizza Hut advertised a special in which the mayor was entitled to a free order of breadsticks with purchase of a large pizza.

Breadsticks of Awesome, that is!

But first I found I had to get the staff to understand what I was talking about. I imagine people had this problem since way back when someone invented a hammer and tried to get Urg to use it instead of a rock.

But Foursquare isn’t as obvious a tool as a hammer. In fact, when you get right down to it, it sounds rather silly:

“You see, there’s this website – a social website – called Foursquare. People use the website and cell-phone apps to check-in at places they visit and whoever has the most check-ins becomes the mayor.”

To me and likely to you, this makes sense.

But to someone who’s never heard of it? Well, the manager’s response is about the best way to put it: “This Pizza Hut don’t have no mayor.”

A lot of people will wonder why you’re basically telling the world where you are and where you’ve been. Valid questions, sure. But social media isn’t exclusively about being useful; it’s also about letting users have a bit of fun.

Checking in on Foursquare is essentially pointless. It does next to nothing. Sure you get badges for certain things, but other than the kid who checked in at the North Pole, these badges are certainly equally meaningless. And even the North-Pole kid probably has something a bit more significant from his trip than a digital representation of what looks like a Boy Scout badge.



As i tried to explain myself to the staff, I got little more than blank stares. Even the twentyish dude who looked like he’d probably at least heard of an iPhone had no idea what I was talking about. The manager tried to tell me it was a fake coupon and then ran through a list of the coupons that they honor.

I ordered the breadsticks anyway, mostly just to get everyone away from the table.

Then a very curious thing happened. Our waitress implied that she’d get us free breadsticks just for the hassle. Then the twentyish dude did pretty much the same thing. For a while there were thought we were going to get a couple of free orders even though I was unable to effectively explain a) what Foursquare is and b) that it wasn’t a fake coupon.

Finally though the manager came over and told me that the coupon is legitimate. I gave a completely logical response: “I know.” She then said more stuff and other stuff about some fake Facebook coupon making the rounds, but I’d ceased to care. I wanted breadsticks; I was getting breadsticks. That they finally stopped harassing me about a promotion their company offers and decided to honor the offer was only a bonus.

Then another very curios thing happened. The twentyish dude came by and told us it was legit. Then our waitress came by to make sure we knew they were going to honor the coupon because it was totally legit.

I began to expect even the other patrons would come by one at a time to tell me that the deal was on the up-and-up.

But again, I ceased to care. The much-debated breadsticks had arrived, followed shortly by the pizza, and I turned my attention to my extraordinarily legitimate belly.

And for the record, hard-earned, well-won breadsitcks do taste better!


One comment on “For squares

  1. Pingback: going out with gowalla « a heap of broken images

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