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Net-Cafe (2)

At Cyber Zone I entered on a very hot day. It's an old house, not very attractive but quiet, close to the Foisorul de Foc zone. Inside, the atmosphere was a bliss: the air conditioning is no doubt a great human achievement! There were three rooms: one with the server and the others with three and respectively thirteen computers. (Strange distribution: a booth and another hall with a lucky number!... What would the customers have to say to that?).

Inside there was nobody but a kid playing at a computer and three employees of the club. I started to talk to one of them but when I mentioned the interview he sent me to another colleague and that one to a third one and then I came again to the first: the caretaker.

To stop bothering them, they agreed to answer to me. "A collective interview, in a choir!" I thought. He took the sheet of paper in his hands and he looked at me in disbelief for a moment, trying to avoid answering. When he saw the recorder he was totally blocked. He talked with a sort of vanity mixed with the caution typical for people who rarely encounter mass media persons. (When you think of the fact I didn't have anything to do with any press trust!...).

Finally, he agrees but he wants to express himself in writing!... "He's got the fright!" I thought and smiled to myself. "It was not only my feeling at the Math's class!"... No more than 10 minutes had passed and after doing a team test, he gave the paper back to me; it was a little bit rumpled, a little bit wet with sweat. "Oh! Everybody had the chill!" I thought maybe too content of myself. Here are the answers which are rather short.

Q:When did you start the business? A: February, '99.
Q: What was your capital? A: Not very large.
Q: Alone ? A: No.
Q: How did you get the idea? A: It was the suggestion of a friend.
Q: Have you ever been on the Internet? A: Yes.
Q: What did you like most? A: Everything.
Q: How did you see things before having a building? A: All right.
Q: How do you see things now when everything is installed?
A: As good as before. Q: What would you like more?
A: 10 superb girls, all mine.
Q: What is your equipment? A: Pentium 2 with 333Mhz video plates Vodoo, 4Gb Hard, 64Mb Ram, multimedia. Q: What provider ? A: RDS.
Q: Are you content with the business? A: Not quite.
Q: How many daily consumers do you have? A: About 100.
Q: Do you have enough seats? A: Now yes but we don't know how things will be in the autumn.
Q: What is your program? A: Non stop.
Q: What is the average age of the customers? A: 18-20.
Q: Are the customers Romanian? A: Most of them.
Q: What applications / programs are required mostly? A: We haven't made a statistics.
Q: Do you provide also games or only access to the Internet? A: Games also. Q: How much do they cost? A: 10 thousand lei for games and 25 thousand lei for the Internet.
Q: How do you see the future of this business? A: We cannot make a prediction yet.
Q: Do you think the increasing number of PCs in people's homes can create competition? A: It is possible.
Q: Why yes or no? A: I haven't said either yes or no. Q: Do you make plans? A: Always.
Q: Why do you think the number of computer clubs in Bucharest has increased so much? A: It's modern.

"What if I took out a red marker to have a little bit of fun?" a nasty thought crosses my mind. "Gee, grown-ups are quite emotional!" I think they were accustomed to questionnaires, multiple choice, polls or whatever as every night on TV they broadcast result of investigations on political leaders' or parties' popularity, on the life standards and other complicated things.

Basically, my questions were really genuine and on top of all even the "answering group" would have had some popularity to gain from the interview. How many things they could have said about all the games there and about the high school teenagers' travels on the Internet as they fill the club during the school year. I must admit, it hasn't been a great success, I haven't learnt much but you can try yourselves. They have good games, it's quiet, air conditioned...

Florin Stiuca

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