McRefugees in Shanghai find refuge in fast food joints


Shanghaiist points us to an interesting article (in Chinese) about McRefugees, residents of Shanghai who spend their nights sleeping in McDonalds because they don't have enough money to pay rent.

…[McDonald's] spokesperson Mr. Lu said the store "doesn't explicitly allow it, but doesn't explicitly disallow it." But for all the stores in the Tianyaoqiao Lu area, KFC has the most serious McRefugee problem. "Because there's sofas there, [McDonalds] only has hard stools. In the winter, people will even bring their blankets and bedrolls into the restaurant."

< This is a loosely connected group. Every night after 10pm, they gradually gather here. All they have is a backpack or a canvas bag, or sometimes nothing at all. They usually sit at the farthest booth from the ordering station, and never order a drink. To entertain themselves, they bring kung fu novels, financial or educational books, and leftover newspapers from other customers. After midnight, they are scattered around every corner of the restaurant. Some in the sofaed partitions, using their books or newspapers as pillows, leaning over tables or even using rows of seats as beds.

A similar phenomenon exists in Japan's internet cafes and fast food joints, too. I once met an internet cafe refugee in Tokyo; he used to wait tables at a bar but was having trouble finding work and didn't want to go home to his parents', so he spent most of his evenings sleeping in internet cafe booths or riding around the Yamanote train line.