I am “sharing” this extract from a column written by the excellent David Slack in the Sunday Star Times in New Zealand. Sharing is a word we use on the internet when we actually mean stealing.
Sharing is also a word Airbnb hosts use when they mean roughly the same thing when it’s applied to your already shared facilities in your apartment blocks.
This is seriously funny (or it would be if it wasn’t the shape of things to come when we are all forced to share our homes with travellers from exotic overseas countries like … um … NZ). You can read David’s whole column here – I think it sums up the conflicted feeling a lot of us have about Airbnb.
People use the word “disruption” to describe the most excellent price you pay for your car ride with Uber and the mighty price you pay for your Airbnb apartment, but an equally valid word might be destruction.
I used Airbnb to stay in Sydney this week because someone had taken every last hotel room. What I booked was a nice apartment near Martin Place. What I got was a small debacle. “Your apartment is not yet available,” said the urgent text message, “because the last occupant has caused a problem.”
Oh really: what kind of problem? Well, for reasons not at all clear to anyone, he had wrecked the front door and then tried to hide the evidence by taking the bathroom door off its hinges and hanging it where the front door should go. The bathroom door was smaller, had no lock, and left a large gap in the place where your security and peace of mind is supposed to be.
Not to worry, the builder was coming, and in the meantime, the apartment owner had found a sort of a bed for me. But the first night came and went, and no builder, and next morning still no builder, and it wasn’t until the end of the second day that I found myself sitting in the wreckage of a Martin Place apartment as the builders, new to the city and Australia, hauled a new door up to the 12th floor, bored it out, fitted a deadbolt and a handle and hinges and hung it and painted it and made all the neighbours irate.
The instructions you get when you book into an Airbnb often run along the lines of “please don’t tell the neighbours or the concierge that you are here with Airbnb. Tell them you are visiting your friend Donny.” Neighbours don’t like Airbnb because it is disruptive and they can see that it may be driving prices up and out of reach and I can’t blame them.
I’ve always thought when the revolution came I’d be on the side that wanted change. Right now I’m wondering which side I should be on, and feeling as lost as an Uber driver in Wellington.
– Sunday Star Times