A guy walks into a bar–have you heard this joke before?–and something hilarious happens, but nobody notices because they’re all on their phones. Like most “guy who walks into a bar” jokes, it’s really not very funny. But phones have disrupted one of the only niches in our society in which face-to-face interaction can still reign: bars and restaurants.
There is an alternative. The Offline Glass, by Mauricio Perussi, Melissa Pottker, and Fischer&Friends, is a low-fi way to stop any friend from using their phone. It’s essentially just a glass with half a bottom, so if your iPhone isn’t laying on the counter, perfectly wedged in its gap, your beer will spill all over the bar.
Of course, for the clever drinkers amongst you, there are probably conceivable workarounds. Wedge a cocktail napkin in there. Just hold your phone and beer at the same time. “We do not intend to [actually] solve the problem,” clarifies Art Director Mauricio Perussi. “The Offline Glass is just a funny way to annoy friends who only have eyes for their cellphones.”
But even though the glass is a novelty, that doesn’t mean it’s not a well-conceived, well-designed idea. Something about its low-fi, analog solution begs you to use the honor system and play by its rules. In fact, not only has it been a “success” in the Salve Jorge Bar (Sao Paulo, Brazil), where the glasses have been field tested for a month, patrons have been stealing them in surprising numbers. It’s almost like a cry (or maybe a drunk dial?) for help.
The glasses are in production for wider sale, but there is no price or availability information yet.