A tragic story has surfaced recently about a woman who used Airbnb to rent her house to a stranger only to come home to find it ransacked and destroyed. Interestingly, it happened in late June, but we are now just starting to hear the fallout of this unfortunate event. TechCrunch has the details here and her full story is here. Will one bad apple ruin the batch?
This is truly terrible, but my intention is to not bring more unwanted attention to this poor woman. I am more interested in the Airbnb phenomenon – renting out your own personal space (house) to total strangers – growing at a surprising rate.
Let me restate it:
People are, for a measly $50 or $100, letting total strangers stay their houses, apartments, condos, cottages or whatever and trusting everything will be fine.
That is quite a leap of faith.
With no previous knowledge, connection or interaction with these so-called ‘renters’, people are still choosing to do it. Again, total strangers! Some people are present when the renter is there, meaning they let a stranger sleep on their couch (or other places) for some extra money, others choose to only rent out their space when they are gone. Either way, it really is quite amazing if you think about it.
Sitting back and thinking about it for a second, if this continues and becomes standard procedure, it will be a phenomenal movement forward for our society. Sociologically speaking, trust is the base of human interaction. When I meet you on a street corner, I trust you will look me in the eye, shake my hand and I generally believe I will be safe in our interaction. But, that is only a our ‘public encounter’, with scores of other strangers around to (hopefully) come to my aide if something tragic or unwanted was to happen. How people act in public is quiet different than behind closed doors.
Airbnb, in promoting us renting out our personal space to total strangers, is going against the human grain of what has been socially accepted behaviour for hundreds, maybe thousands of years. We teach our children to not talk to strangers, yet they now see mum and Dad or sister open their house to one for $50? We intuitively lock our doors every night for our own safety, yet we are telling some random dude where to find the hidden key?
I am not sure how this story will end, but I am curious how you feel. Would You Trust A Total Stranger In Your Own Bed?
I’m not asking to come into your house but if you want to follow me, go here.