Markets in Everything (With Apologies to Tyler Cowen)

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

For years I’ve been touting the idea that I swear was going to make me a millionaire:  a national chain of nap stores.  I’ve envisioned my nap shop franchises strategically placed in shopping malls, tourist areas, and next to all-you-can-eat buffets and Cheesecake Factories.  A customer walks in, pays $20 or so, then rent a room for 60-90 minutes of interruption-free snoozing.  Deluxe stores might even have themed rooms.  Think the "fireplace" nap.  Or the "rainy day nap," with piped in audio of say, rain drops bounding off the tin roof of a carport.  There’s the "beach nap," the "hammock nap," the "couch with a baseball game on in the background" nap—the possibilities are endless.

Alas, it looks like someone got wind of my idea.  There’s now a nap store in New York’s Empire State Building.  I don’t know about the "pods."  I guess it make sense in an area where real estate values are high.  But separate rooms would be better.  They also need to have a few lazy old dogs on hand that’ll lay down at your feet.

Hat tip to the Agitatrix.

Incidentally, I’m an expert napper. It’s a skill I picked up in college. I can fall asleep just about anywhere, whenever I need to. And I can wake up exactly when I need to. So if I’m tired, but only have 30 minutes to kill, I can nod off, and snap back awake in a half hour. No alarm clock necessary.

Guess I’m down to my last brilliant business idea. It’s a matchmaking service of sorts. It matches handsome gay men who have ball room dancing skills with straight couples. Here’s how it works: You’re a guy. You have no rhythm. You’re dreading an upcoming wedding, black-tie event, or other social to-do, because you know that there will be dancing, you know that your significant other loves to dance, and you know you’re going to look like a fool. So you call the service, which sends a dashing gay man to either accompany you and your wife/girlfriend to the event, or to meet you there. He then whisks your wife/girlfriend around the dance floor for the fast songs. He gets paid. She gets to dance with a partner who has skills. You get out of dancing, and needn’t worry about the handsome guy dancing with your wife making a move on her. Everybody wins!

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11 Responses to “Markets in Everything (With Apologies to Tyler Cowen)”

  1. #1 |  CK | 

    Just ballparking it here, running it up the flagpole to see who salutes: how are you going to guarantee that the gay dance partner is really gay and not some hetero gigalo flying under false dance shoes as it were? Assuming you can come up with a flawless guarantee of sexuality? How do you plan to answer the first legal action against your firm for sexual discrimination by the usual eclectic assortment of straights and other gender victims?
    Here is a hint from 1941

  2. #2 |  Brian | 

    I’ll be your first customer on the dancing business.

  3. #3 |  memomachine | 


    What’s your hourly rate?

  4. #4 |  drobviousso | 

    Why stop there? Why not include a package where they show up in a SUV that’s got a crock pot full of meatballs, a tray full of warm rolls, and a TV showing the 2005 Pittsburgh/Indy playoff game?

    You’d watch that again, wouldn’t you?

  5. #5 |  divadab | 

    Why not just plain learn to dance? It’s pretty dang fun. And it’s a little titillation, a little flirtation, with no mess! Like in the olden days – they knew how to have a romping good time throwing their bodies (and their partner’s body!) around the dance floor.

    It doesn’t have to be about making a sexual connection. Or at least consummating one. It’s about shared energy, some of it sexual, some of it just plain life energy.

    We “modern” people have allowed ourselves to become disconnected from our bodies to a sad and retarded extent. I say juice it up, jump it up, warm it up! It won’t break when you shake it!

  6. #6 |  Greg N. | 

    I’m an expert napper, too. I’ve moved from the “power nap” to the “caffeine nap,” which works wonders in the late afternoons.

  7. #7 |  Agitatrix | 

    Divadab makes a great point…

    …maybe you should just learn to dance.

  8. #8 |  Frank N Stein | 

    diva and agi,

    It’s called division of labor. I could learn to rebuild a transmission, raise and kill my own cattle, or go to law school when I need to draw up a contract. All of which are preferable to dancing. It’s a great idea, Mr. Balko.

  9. #9 |  Tinker | 

    Dancing with the Guys!: you could call it, but probably some TV type would say he mentioned the idea, back in the dim recesses of your mind and therefore you owe him half. And how would you prevent the guy in question from taking you for a turn around the dance floor? Didn’t think about that, did you?

    My wife nods off to bowling tournaments. She hears the sound of pins falling and her jaw goes slack and she begins to drool. By the time the first bowler has to make a spare, she is OUT.

  10. #10 |  Jet Goodson | 

    Similar to the nap idea, I’ve often wished there were locker hotels in airports. I think they have them in Japan, but I envision a room that is basically enough area for a bed, and maybe only enough height to crawl in (so you can get two stacked), with a foot locker for luggage. Keep them small and cheap. Like closed off bunk beds.

    Maybe I’ve just spent one to many nights in airports though.

  11. #11 |  Bronwyn | 

    Schipol airport has a fantastic shower and nap facility. All my trips between KSA and Boston were made far more tolerable by a shower in a pristine bathroom and a nap in a clean bed.

    The only problem I ever had was disorientation. The rooms have no windows and no nightlights. I remember being awakened from a coma-like slumber, in utter darkness and terrifying confusion, to the sound of the attendant’s frantic knocking on the door, “Miss Ramey! Miss Ramey! You must wake up for your plane!” She had called but in the dark and confusion I could neither locate the phone nor even understand what I was hearing.

    So my suggestion for the napping facility… nightlights.