Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Can you watch my computer?"   posted by Razib @ 9/22/2009 03:12:00 PM

While traveling I've often had the experience where I'm sitting on my laptop at a Starbucks or some other establishment, and someone gets up to go to the restroom and asks if I could watch their computer. These are people whose only connection with me is that they have been sitting next to me for a period of time as we were both on the computer, and I never see these people again after that encounter. And we never talk aside from a perfunctory "thanks." A notebook computer is small, so it is totally feasible that it could be stolen (though it is more common to hear of people simply leaving their laptop somewhere). The resale value is usually not trivial. So the danger of theft is real. My question is this: is this sort of behavior cross-cultural? I've had this happen to me in small towns as well as New York City.