Rent a Conversation

In 1973, entrepreneurs Richard and Christine Braunlich launched a business called Conversation. The idea was that it would allow people to pay to have a conversation with an expert "conversationalist." $5 for the first half-hour, and $3 for each additional half-hour. Some details from the SF Examiner (Feb 11, 1973):

The couple rented space in a commercial building at 445 Colusa Ave. in October, invested their entire savings, and spent hours redecorating and rebuilding the interior...
So far, however, the talkers have been few and far between — only about 40 customers have dropped in since Conversation opened.
About 60 percent of the customers have been women, the Braunliches report, and they talk about subjects ranging from poetry to small family problems.
Sitting in one of 14 tiny booths, customers can talk to one of 20 employees, who are called, appropriately enough, conversationalists.

And more details from the Moline Dispatch (Feb 13, 1973):

The conversationalists, who work part-time, collect half of a client's fee. The other half of the fee goes to the business. One of the first customers was a lonely divorcee new to the area, according to Engel Devendorf, a marketing executive now working at Conversation.
"She left her two kids at a movie and was here when the door opened," he said. "She just wanted to chat with somebody alive, warm and wiggling. Boy, did she want to talk."
Another woman explained that her husband was a nice guy but boring, and she needed to converse with somebody else once in a while...
"Lots of people with problems don't need professional help, but they do need to talk them over," Devendorf said. "They can go to the hairdresser, a bar or a coffee shop, but some are too shy."
At Conversation, persons with serious psychological difficulties are referred to professionals.

Evidently the business didn't succeed.

San Francisco Examiner - Feb 11, 1973

     Posted By: Alex - Tue Oct 15, 2019
     Category: Business | Jobs and Occupations | Psychology | 1970s

Or you can have an argument:
Posted by S. Norman on 10/15/19 at 07:20 AM
Colusa Ave is over by Bezerkley. Maybe you have to factor something in for that.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 10/15/19 at 03:17 PM
With all the non-profit organizations that send conversationalists to people's homes for free, they could not compete, especially with the rising rent of the tiny booths space. Maybe if they had a team of travelling conversationalists touring backwater places and high-end nursing homes, they could revive the business. They would only need the one tiny office for accounting and HR and a good marketing team to show how they are better than your run-of-the-mill volunteer.
Posted by Yudith on 10/16/19 at 06:20 AM
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