Non-smart­phones the new protest state­ment

The Detroit News - - News - BY SCOTT EN­MAN Tri­bune In­ter­ac­tive

New York – Ex­actly one year ago, Ro­man Co­chet swapped his $500 iPhone 7 for a $30 LG flip phone.

Over­whelmed by con­stant alerts, Co­chet felt his time was dis­rupted, his cre­ativ­ity drained. His flip doesn’t do email, In­sta­gram, Face­book, Uber or news alerts. The 30-year-old Parisian painter, who lives in Brook­lyn, said he re­grets noth­ing.

“With a smart­phone, you spend so much time tex­ting, talk­ing, in con­stant com­mu­ni­ca­tion, that you don’t have time to do any­thing else,” Co­chet said. “I’m way more fo­cused now on what I’m do­ing. I’m less dis­tracted.”

In an age where every­one seems glued to their smart­phone, the flip phone is turn­ing into a state­ment of protest and in­di­vid­u­al­ity.

These relics of the 1990s, still in wide use as dis­pos­able “burn­ers” by crooks and FBI in­for­mants, are prized by a wider pop­u­la­tion for their sim­plic­ity, dura­bil­ity and af­ford­abil­ity, not to men­tion their low-tech ap­peal to the bur­geon­ing #DeleteFace­book crowd.

Wait Un­til 8th, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that urges par­ents to de­lay their chil­dren’s smart­phone use un­til eighth grade, has an ad that reads, “Need to get in touch with your child? Buy a flip phone.” The group has col­lected roughly 10,000 sig­na­tures from all 50 states in March.

About 24 mil­lion Amer­i­cans own a non­s­mart­phone, ac­cord­ing to For­rester Re­search. It’s still enough of a nov­elty that celebrity flip phone users are im­me­di­ately outed on Twit­ter and In­sta­gram when spot­ted in the wild.

Flip phone users in­clude Os­car win­ners Daniel Day-Lewis and Frances McDor­mand, pop star Ri­hanna, NFL quar­ter­back An­drew Luck, bil­lion­aire in­vestor War­ren Buf­fett and Vogue edi­tor Anna Win­tour.

Steve Van Din­ter, Ver­i­zon’s pub­lic re­la­tions man­ager for the Great Lakes mar­ket, said there’s def­i­nitely a “sub­set” of cus­tomers who buy flip phones, pri­mar­ily those who work out­doors and need a de­vice that can with­stand drops, cor­ro­sive ma­te­ri­als, wa­ter and other ex­treme con­di­tions.

Ver­i­zon wouldn’t con­tinue to stock them, he said, if there wasn’t “con­sis­tent de­mand.” The lat­est mod­els have ac­cess to 4G LTE, HD voice and the abil­ity to cre­ate a mo­bile hotspot for up to 10 de­vices.

Co­chet said some of his artist friends dis­miss his choice of phone as a hip­ster af­fec­ta­tion, an artist’s as­ceti­cism. But his stu­dio, scat­tered with paint cans and empty beer bot­tles, is now void of a smart­phone’s dis­trac­tions. The phone it­self is a throw­away ob­ject smeared with paint, the key­pad in­dis­cernible.

Co­chet said he’s also be­come more con-

tells the of­fi­cers the two men were wait­ing for him. An of­fi­cer says the men were not com­ply­ing and were be­ing ar­rested for tres­pass­ing.

“Why would they be asked to leave?” Yaffe says. “Does any­body else think this is ridicu­lous? It’s ab­so­lute dis­crim­i­na­tion.”

A woman can be heard in the video say­ing “they didn’t do any­thing, I saw the en­tire thing.”

Philadel­phia Mayor Jim Ken­ney said the city will re­view its guide­lines on how to re­spond to fu­ture re­quests for po­lice as­sis­tance.

Po­lice haven’t an­nounced the names of the men, who were re­leased af­ter the district at­tor­ney’s of­fice said there was lack of ev­i­dence that a crime had been com­mit­ted.

Asked if the in­ci­dent was a case of racism, John­son re­sponded: “Star­bucks was built around the con­cept of a third place where we cre­ate a warm and wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment for all cus­tomers. What I do know is that did not hap­pen in this in­stance. And that is what we’re fo­cused on.”

Philadel­phia-born co­me­dian Kevin Hart had taken to Twit­ter on Mon­day to vent about the ar­rests, say­ing the com­pany failed to take ad­van­tage of an op­por­tu­nity to call out racial pro­fil­ing. He says the em­ployee who called po­lice should have been fired.

On Sun­day he tweeted, “Our city is shin­ing bright like a di­a­mond right now. Please make this sit­u­a­tion right.”

Seat­tle-based Star­bucks had posted a state­ment on Twit­ter over the week­end about the ar­rests, fol­lowed by an apol­ogy from John­son.

“Ev­ery com­pany makes mis­takes, but great com­pa­nies are the ones that learn from those mis­takes and take ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion,” John­son said Mon­day. “And that’s ex­actly what I in­tend to do. We’re re­view­ing all as­pects of this.”

Jacque­line Larma / AP

Star­bucks CEO Kevin John­son said he hopes to meet with the two men who were ar­rested and apol­o­gize face to face.

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