Space jack

The times when a tool of the trade doubles as an enabler of the trade itself, a way of claiming scarce space – and therefore a way to carry on said trade. In highly space-constrained Hong Kong, considering how space for people already is scarce, space for vehicles is particularly so.

Of course, for those who rely upon four wheels to get around, it is inevitable that some of those wheels will eventually require maintenance. This morning, walking down Jaffe Road in Wan Chai while out on an errand, I was lucky enough to spot some unique object congregation and space claim behaviors. 

Jaffe Road, like many streets in Wan Chai, is dense with small businesses like small grocery stores, trade shops, cafes, and restaurants that both depend upon goods deliveries by cargo trucks and are frequented by car-driving patrons stopping for breakfast or squeezing in some morning errands before carrying on with their day. This spatial scarcity naturally inflates the value of a parking space along the street.

To stave off would-be occupants, jacks are arranged to literally hold space for potential patrons of tire repair shops, simultaneously acting as a form of advertising for their services. When a customer appears, the team of workers in the employ of the tire shop quickly repurpose the protected space into an on-street tire-maintenance workshop. The family of jacks is quickly rearranged to accommodate a patron as soon as they pull up, with one of them getting pressed into service while the remainders yield the claimed space to accommodate the customer’s vehicle.

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