Markets in Everything (Apologies to Tyler Cowen)


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, and for $20 or so, gets a cozy 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 bouncing 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.

NEXT: The Needles and the Damage Done

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  1. So, you wanted to invent a hotel chain that rented rooms by the hour? We already have plenty of those…

  2. Hmm, sounds like a loser. I am not a napper anyway, but I would not want to nap in some pod; I’d want to be at home. Just move to southern Spain and have yourself a siesta every day.

  3. I had the same idea when I worked for a law firm. It was feast or famine in terms of billable hours.

    I had no venture capital, so instead, during the famines (or after feasting on a all-nighter), I just closed my door, shoved a heavy box in front of it and went to sleep.

  4. If you made the separate, soundproof rooms big enough for two and put them at airports, there’d be no more Larry Craigs. Not only would you make a mint with two sets of consumers (the tired and the horny), but you’d eliminate a public nuisance and, if you provided condoms, be able to claim you were providing a public health benefit.

    Pimp: I think the point is that these need to be small establishments, just big enough to fit inside one of the retail slots at an airport. And be high-tech enough to ensure that no customer misses his flight.

  5. I would come to your store, Radley.

    Dogs that just manage to look up when you enter the room, flop their tails twice on the floor, then lie back down.


    My favorite: the “warm weather/windows open/Phish playing quietly” nap.

  6. Not very interested in hopping in one of those masturbation stations

  7. I had the same idea when I worked for a law firm. It was feast or famine in terms of billable hours.

    I used to nap at my desk. I had a high-backed chair that faced away from the door, and I would prop one hand on the mouse, and the other on a book on my leg. Worked like a charm.

  8. Fuck, I always thought this would be great on commuter campuses, like the one I was on. Since most people lived far from school (and inevitably be exhausted by the trip), they’d crash in hallways and cafeterias, only to be hassled awake by security. Even a big room with private dividers would have sufficed.

    I’m actually surprised no student unions have added such a thing to their public funds wishlist.

  9. Nothing new here.

    I’ve seen sleeping rooms and napping furniture in international airports for at least a decade.

  10. I love that idea. Perhaps, for an extra charge, you could provide customers with a warm, purring cat. Dogs are cool, but it’s hard to beat cats for a warm ball of burring goodness.

    Of course, you could also provide women to cuddle with (but not boink). Sort of a nap-time geisha.

  11. Even since I spent time living in a country where it was normal practice to go home for a couple hours for a meal and a nap, I’ve thought the American practice of working eight (or god forbid, more) straight hours was cruel and unusual punishment. We pride ourselves as “hard workers” but there’s a reason everyone’s walking around like a zombie by 3PM or so.

  12. Re: Disgruntled
    When has cuddling not led to boinking? Seriously.

    And I’ll put my vote in for a hammock in the summer on the hudson with dylan on and a dark beer.

  13. I had the idea of a storefront 10 minute massage joint in business districts. No funny stuff, just neck and shoulders. I saw that somebody was starting that up within a month after I thought of it.

  14. When has cuddling not led to boinking? Seriously. Plenty of times. Trust me on this: being able to cuddle with no expectation of sex is good for your relationship.

  15. Radley’s shilling for Big Sleep!

    (Sorry, I had to say that.)

  16. Nothing new here
    Ah but what if we offer one of those San Antonio “Heroin injection kits” for a nominal fee? Then I think we’d be on to something.

    My billion dollar Idea: Liquefied fast food. Basically a burger joint that’s drive through only. The menu is typical but everything is run through a bar blender and poured in a cup before it’s served. So you take the whole combo meal (beef patties, sauce, lettuce, cheese, tomato, buns along with fries, soda and ice) and liquefy it. Typical order: “I’ll have a beef combo, extra thin easy on the salt”

  17. Even a big room with private dividers would have sufficed.

    Isn’t that what the “study carrels” in the library are for?

  18. When has cuddling not led to boinking? Seriously.

    Cuddling != foreplay.

  19. I had a million dollar idea once:

    Elvis Chess Set.

  20. One of the libraries at my giant state university had a tiny room off the beaten path (I think it was the “Polish Collection Room”) that nobody used for anything other than napping. What a lifesaver that was.

    I would love to try this out. I hope they open one down by Wall Street.

  21. My million-dollar idea was a record store that *wasn’t* grouped into a zillion different genres, just one big A-Z.

  22. Warren,

    Maybe a large cartoon mamabird on a swing-away arm could just vomit it straight into your mouth. Less post-consumer waste. The greenies will go nuts for it.

  23. I hate phish played at anything more than 2, but joe’s nap sounds great, and it’s only 11:21.

  24. Elvis Chess Set.

    I like it. He’s the King!

    My million-dollar idea was…Netflix. Seriously, I was thinking that mailing DVDs would rock, and then they came out and I was sad for me.

  25. Also, I’m a side- or stomach-sleeper, so those pods look like no fun at all.

    Also, Also, is that swarthy gentleman a certified naptime pod-warmer?

  26. Trust me on this: being able to cuddle with no expectation of sex is good for your relationship.

    Key word is “relationship.” Somehow cuddling doesn’t work with someone you don’t have experience with.

    Dogs are cool, but it’s hard to beat cats for a warm ball of burring goodness.

    Obviously you haven’t met the feline that lives in my house. Claws and fangs. But my cousin (who lives with us) loves him.

    Back in architecture school I had to design a minimall with three businesses. I chose adult theater, massage parlor, and lawyer’s office. I got points for making the parking lot huge.

    No link?

  27. They have had rent-by-the-hour sleeping pods in Japan for decades.

    Most Americans get around the sleep-cycle problem by medicating themselves awake in the morning and to sleep at night. So far there have been no notable side effects, other than the national epidemic of not making sense.

  28. Hell, I don’t need the promise of a good siesta to want to move to southern Spain. Wife and I are probably going there for our tenth anniversary. The real question is whether we come back.

  29. Pretty sure I read about this a year or 2 ago.

  30. This place has been around for a couple years, I’ve been trying to get my boss to buy one for at least a year.

  31. I say bring the new NYC pay toilets and these contraptions together into one service that lets you fall asleep while taking a massive dump.

  32. There was a similar store in the Mall of America a couple of years ago. close after a couple of months though.

  33. Jay,

    You mean they stole my idea? Bastards!

  34. I say bring the new NYC pay toilets and these contraptions together into one service that lets you fall asleep while taking a massive dump.

    Oh, you mean a “public toilet”. But they’re already free!

  35. Damn you Imus! I was halfway reading through the description before I realized that Radley wasn’t talking about specialty hair salons for African American women. Grrrrr…

  36. Rhywun,

    No. This would be a place that encouraged and supported taking a massive dump and falling asleep, not one merely tolerated it, a la Starbucks.

  37. 60-90 minutes of interruption-free snoozing

    I do that in my cubicle and nobody notices.
    The trick is doing it with your eyes open.

  38. Holding a phone adds to the ruse.

  39. I’ve had two ideas.

    One was basically a super-hypermart. That is, one giant store that attempted to sell every variety of every man made item on earth. You walk in, and no matter what you were looking for, no matter how obscure, they would have it. Of course, the store would be huge and probably twenty stories or so, and could only be justified in very large, urban areas. Somewhere in greater Los Angeles would be perfect; somewhere in NYC would be good too.

    The second was a Made-in-the-USA store. Everything sold in the store would be made in America (with very minimal exceptions that would be clearly marked; for example consumables used in an American made item, or items where there were absolutely none to be found that were made in America). Not that I really care all that much about imported vs. domestic products, but lots of people do, so it’s a good gimmick.

    People I’ve mentioned the two ideas to seem to think the second one is the better of the two.

  40. I was not aware we were still manufacturing actual product.

  41. This reminds me of “tanking”, as in Altered States fame. There used to be “tanking” salons back in the ’70s, but they never took off.

    I remember talk of tanking franchises being sold as get rich quick schemes back then a la windmill farms and Amway.

  42. it’s hard to beat cats

    You libertarians pretend that tough problems are easy to solve, but on the other hand…

  43. I always wanted to try one of those isolation tanks. Floating naked in brine sounds like a blast.

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