There may be more than one way to prevent people from hogging public benches at the Yantai Park in Shangdong province, eastern China too long, but park officials believe they have uncovered the best solution; namely, fitted steel spikes on a coin-operated timer.

The process is simple and very direct; kind of like that old board game, Truth or Consequences. If a park visitor lingers too long on a public bench without putting money into the meter, dozens of sharp little spikes come up to meet and greet in places where conferences are not usually held.

Although the spikes are not long enough to cause serous injury, they are not comfortable either, and aye, there is the rub (or shall we say, point).

“We have to make sure the facilities are shared out evenly and this seems like a fair way to stop people grabbing a bench at dawn and staying there all day,” said one park official.

This situation reflects a much bigger civic problem that grows with each passing day. The public parks in China are terribly overcrowded with millions of people seeking comfort from the unrelenting heat from the cities. There are not enough parks or benches and too many people who need them.

The park officials in China Park bosses got the idea from an art installation in Germany where sculptor, Fabian Brunsing, created a similar bench. His was meant as a parody representing the over-commercialization of modern life.

“He thought he was exaggerating. He didn’t foresee that a very practical country like China might actually use them for real,” said one critic.

Well, they say art usually does imitate life and it looks like the same is also true the other way around.

Talk about a pain in the ass!

What do YOU think about this?




M Dee Dubroff is the penname of this freelance writer and former teacher originally from Brooklyn, New York. A writer of ghostly and horror fiction, she has branched out into the world of humorous non fiction writing and maintains eight web sites covering a wide variety of topics. She also writes feature articles for several local newspapers. Her book entitled: A Taste of Funny, and her website, Eat, Drink And Really Be Merry ( feature many well researched and humorous articles on the subject of food and drink.