A new coffee shop in China helps you unplug.
A backlash against today’s proliferation of speedy and concise tweets, status updates and emails, and our skim-and-pass-along communication habits, slow communication was a concept we highlighted in our 100 Things to Watch in 2010. As we outlined yesterday, snail mail is experiencing a renaissance. In China, Retro Time Store, operating in five locations around the country, provides a way for its customers to participate in this idea.
Step inside and you’ll find all the common fixtures of a modern coffee/bookshop—hip young people sipping on foamy drinks, seated in oversized armchairs alongside friends, with laptops and smartphones in tow—along with a meticulously organized wall of self-addressed envelopes adorned with a big “Do not touch” sign in English and Chinese. Guests are encouraged to pause and handwrite a postcard to the future; Retro will place it in the mail at the customer’s chosen date. (I wrote a card to my future self dated one year from now.)
As more aspects of life become digitized and real-time, watch for ideas such as Retro Time Store that not only help feed our craving for the physical and tactile but also encourage us to think less about the immediate and more about the longer view.