In a society where you can order dinner, get a ride, rent out a room in your home, find a parking space, and hire someone to walk your dog — all with the click of a button — I suppose it was only a matter of time before we found ways to utilize the sharing economy for even the most menial of life's tasks.
Last week, news of a new app spread like wildfire in cities across the U.S. A new service called Pooper promised to provide on-demand dog-poo pickup with the tap of an app. After paying a small monthly fee (ranging from $15/month for two scoops per day to $35/month for unlimited scoops,) users simply had to snap a pic of their dog's business before walking away — confident in the knowledge that a "scooper" would be along shortly to pick it up.
Tens of thousands of people visited the Pooper website within a week. Tens of thousands.
Finally, dog owners could put their dog's poop "in someone else's hands."
There was only one problem. It was all just a big joke. Or actually, it was an "art project."
Pooper's creators, Ben Becker and Elliot Glass, were not after a punch line. The creative design and advertising executives were trying to make a point. "Pooper is in fact a piece of art that is satirizing our app-obsessed world. Specifically, the increasing reliance on the gig-based economy to do stuff for us that we could easily do for ourselves," Becker admitted in an interview with Fast Company.
The fact that so many people believed an app connecting "poopers" (dog owners,) with "scoopers" is a testament to how much we so desperately want our phones to help us take care of all of life's problems. And more than 70 percent of the people who signed up for the Pooper email list were interested in scooper positions, a testament to how desperate the job market has become.
Becker and Glass plan to create more Pooper-style art projects in the future to get people talking about the sharing economy and what we should and shouldn't be willing to expect from our phones.
"You don’t have to drive yourself these days. You don’t have to get your own food. You don’t even have to run your own errands or hang your own shelves," said Becker. "As it continues this way, we’re just wondering, where do you draw the line? Where do we as a society even care about drawing that line? We just wanted to spark that conversation in an entertaining way and see where it goes."