‘Pokemon GO’ is So Popular Businesses Are Posting Warning Signs

by David Jagneaux • July 8th, 2016

Last night, at dinner with my wife, I sat at the table of the restaurant, picking at my shrimp quesadilla, and caught a Pidgey. Throughout our meal, I checked my phone more than usual, traded in some Pokemon for bits of candy, and continued to check my phone as I walked to my car. That night, after I got home, I dropped some incense to attract more of them to my apartment, while I lay in bed, enjoying the sight of my Pokedex slowly filling itself over time. Naturally, this is what Pokemon GO has done to my life.

I was relatively harsh on Pokemon GO the last time I played it just a short while ago pre-release and not much has changed with the game from a gameplay perspective. But part of the issue with a game like this, one that requires you to go out into the world, interact, and explore, is that when you’re alone, you feel very alone. You’re alone both digitally, and physically.

Now that Pokemon GO is available for the general public (unless you’re plagued by the prevalent server issues) it’s one of the most infectiously addicting things you can do on a smartphone. It’s just a few days after release and not only are people entranced at dinner tables like me, but businesses are having to take special measures and precautions as well.

For your reference, in the game, it uses the real world as the game map. Certain locations – such as parks, restaurants, businesses, and other physical points of interest – are tagged as locations in the game that players need to visit. This means that players will be encouraged to physically visit those places, in the real world, to get items and catch Pokemon inside the game world.

A Dairy Queen fast-food restaurant noticed such a high influx of people coming inside that they posted a sign on their door stating that “Pokemon are for paying customers only” although it’s unclear if this is meant to be taken seriously or not.

pokemon clothing store sign

Alternatively, this indie clothing store posted the sign shown above beckoning people to come inside, get some pokeballs, and check out some of their items. Some companies are even cracking down on their employees that have been caught playing when they should be working – that’s how addicting it’s already getting.

And if you’re in the military, you probably shouldn’t let your Sergeant catch you playing when you’re at the gym, although he seemed a bit curious about it himself in this email.

An Australian police station took very direct measures, going as far as asking that people please do not actually come inside the station to interact with the game’s features. In a humorous statement, they said: “Please be advised that you don’t actually have to step inside in order to gain the pokeballs. It’s also a good idea to look up, away from your phone and both ways before crossing the street. That Sandshrew isn’t going anywhere fast.” This 911 dispatcher even documented a case of a complaint issued against a “suspect” for being suspicious while wandering aimlessly, outside, entranced by the game.

It’s not all silliness though, as some situations are a bit more dire than others. For example, the official Twitter account for Washington State’s Department of Transportation issued a warning about playing Pokemon GO and driving. A ridiculously dangerous idea that I’m baffled needs to be explicitly regarded.

Furthermore, a children’s hospital in Columbus, Ohio is cautioning staff that people playing the game have been spotted exploring restricted areas of the hospital in search of wandering Pokemon. Innocent enough, sure, but those restricted areas are restricted for safety reasons, not just because they like keeping doors locked. And just recently, it was reported that a young woman came across an actual dead body in a river while exploring for Pokemon.

We of course advise everyone to pay attention to their surroundings and stay safe, it’s pretty incredible to see a single game, mere days after its release, take the world by storm and impact so many people and businesses in sweeping ways. It’ll be exciting to see how the trend evolves as time continues.

You can even add the location of Pokemon on this handy map, directly from Google, to help others catch those pesky critters.

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What's your reaction?
  • Brian Stevenson

    “But part of the issue with a game like this, one that requires you to go out into the world, interact, and explore, is that when you’re alone, you feel very alone. You’re alone both digitally, and physically.”

    I know what you mean. I’ve been seeing all the awesome stories on Facebook for days now, and I’m just sitting here, disabled, like “well…that looks fun…”

    But alas. It’s not like normal people shouldn’t have cool things because we can’t. Sucks though.

    • If you don’t mind me asking, what is your disability? If you’re really interested in the game, chances are there may be a way for you to work around it and find a way to enjoy it!

    • AlfonsoML

      Given that this is mostly based on Ingress and people with different disabilities have been playing it since early betas, as long as you can (and want) to move around the streets I would say that you can play it.
      The only requirement for Ingress is a mobile with a data plan and your ability and willingness to go to the different places, it doesn’t matter if you walk slowly or if you use a wheel chair, even blind people have been playing Ingress, so if you’re interested you should give it a try. After all it might turn out that you don’t like the game, now it’s the frency with a new game but many people will give up after a few days, and others will love it and play it for years

  • Does this app broadcast your (or more importantly, your child’s) location as they wander around outside?

    • Skylar Rees (Gooselord)

      No, only you can see your location. It’s kind of like google maps in that way, it can track your GPS signal, but it doesn’t broadcast it to anyone else.

      • Tyler Bryant

        What’s stopping someone with the proper knowledge from getting that information? So long as you have any device that records location to any degree on your person or in your home there will always be someone capable of finding these things out.

        • Aaron Weingartner

          That’s a perpetual threat for anyone carrying a smartphone. Using a specific game like Go does not change that. If you’re gonna be paranoid about it at least address it in the right manner.

          The problem you are talking about ends up tethering itself to the network security of the cell service you are using since that’s what’s used to send the game data back and forth. If people are jacking your cell signal then you and an entire corporation have way bigger problems than someone looking at your Go data.

          • Tyler Bryant

            I know that, I was stating this to bring the point up. The app makes no difference in someone’s ability to find you unless it were open source (even then, open source is pretty good about it)

    • Hanley Leung

      some muggers are playing pokespots in secluded locations and then jumping the people that show up

      • Natalie River Smith

        That happened once. ONCE. See, there’s a thing about placing a lure at a Pokestop… you can be all by yourself at the stop and put out a lure, and before you know it, there’s 20 people there. Not very conducive to “jumping” someone and robbing them.

  • Nick Borelli

    That store sign is photoshopped and was never up anywhere, FYI.

  • Robert Walker

    Some folks are so dumb. This DQ could take advantage of having a Pokemon. They could have had a party, hosted a fan club. Gave free samples. Built up their business by embracing the Pokemon. No, they put up a stupid sign

    • cheesie_burrito

      The Problem here is respect and common sense. How many people go into that dairy queen and sit at a table and farm the pokestop for a couple of hours without spending a penny in the shop. I understand why the owner put the sign up, how has all of those people taking up his dining room space affected his business when paying customers dont have a place to sit.

      Have you noticed the cemeteries with no trespassing and no gaming signs up? we have a couple locally that we have found, have you noticed how much garbage is left at the pokestop hot spots.

      Last night I saw a car pulled onto the lawn of a church because the gym they were fighting was too far from the street or parking lot. These guys sat in the car idling at 10pm in the middle of a churches front yard.

      While most are respectful in their quest, the few give the rest of us a bad name and ruin opportunities.

  • Anigasan G

    Pokemon Go will ruin everything!!!

  • Jay Janssen

    Its all an absolute joke! You want exercise? Go for a walk or run. You want to be social? Go out and talk to someone. Seriously, stop walking out into traffic, disrupting peoples dinners on patios and acting like its life or death if you catch a figment of someones imagination.