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A Place for Inside-the-Box Thinking

“People can come in here to think,” Mr. Jennings said, sliding into one for an interview. “You can do head-down focus work in here, or call your doctor or your dentist or your girlfriend or your boyfriend.” Even if everybody assumes you are looking for another job.

So Mr. Jennings is in the oasis business. In open-plan offices, the desks are closer together than when cubicles were in fashion. Some offices use the freed-up space for lounges with somewhat more casual furniture — couches or bar-height tables and chairs.

Out where the desks are, the noise level tends to be higher, because there are more people in less space.

Photo

Jeremy Jennings, a Jabbrrbox founder, in one of his creations. “People can come in here to think,” he said.

Credit
Will Glaser/The New York Times

Like a phone booth, Mr. Jennings’s box — a Jabbrrbox, by name — has a door that closes. Unlike a phone booth, Jabbrrbox is strictly B.Y.O.P. There is no built-in phone. The only way a phone gets into a Jabbrrbox is if someone carries one in.

This means you will not hear the thunk of a coin dropping — a nickel or a dime or a quarter, depending on how long ago.

And if you are old enough to remember sitcoms from the 1960s, don’t expect a trap door in the floor to open. That happened, week after week, in the opening credits of “Get Smart.” Agent 86 stepped into a phone booth. Where he plunged to was never explained; presumably, he was on the way to Control, the spy agency he and Agent 99 worked for.

Old-fashioned telephone booths were an urban casualty, doomed by their popularity among bookies, drug runners and vandals. In the mid-1990s, there were 2.6 million public pay phones nationwide, but AT&T dropped out of the pay phone business in 2007. Verizon stuck it out until 2011.

Today only a handful of old-fashioned telephone booths are left…

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