An interesting news story reports that Yantai Park in Shangdong province, eastern China has installed coin-operated park benches that allows visitors to relax in the park only if they input coins for that privilege, or else metal spikes will ‘encourage’ the imposter to stand instead.
Peter Grosz from The Colbert Report recently shared this news tidbit on NPR’s hilariously funny Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me radio show as part of their trivia game “Bluff the Listener“, where the caller contestant has to guess which unbelievable news story is ‘true’. You guessed it, Peter Grosz’s story was the correct answer, and he explains it this way:
Life in China can be hard. There’s pollution, an authoritarian regime watching your every move. They only have two HBOs. Sometimes the only solace from your troubles is a relaxing afternoon in the park.
Well, not anymore. Visitors to Yantai Park in Shandong Province must now pay for the privilege of just sitting there and watching the world go by. Each of the park’s benches has been fitted with a coin-operated timer that must be fed like a parking meter. But if you try and sit too long without ponying up, dozens of short, sharp spikes shoot out of the bench, right into your keister.
Just when you thought the Chinese government couldn’t get any more repressive, they are literally going medieval on people’s asses.
The Chinese government got this idea of coin-operated park benches after seeing an art installation by German artist Fabian Brunsing where he created a similar bench as a protest against the commercialization of modern life. The irony must’ve somehow been lost in translation.
Would you pay for the privilege of sitting on park benches? They look rather dangerous to me, I would maybe prefer to sit on the grass.