Confessions of a WiFi Loiterer

On Monday $tarbucks announced that they will be offering free Wi-Fi at all stores nationwide beginning July 1st. Yesterday Jeff Bertolucci from PC World offered the following observation in an online piece, called Starbucks' Free Wi-Fi: Bring on the Loafers, Lazies, and Loiterers:
So, Starbucks plans to offer free wireless Internet at all of its U.S. stores starting July 1. It's a friendly gesture, certainly, one that could very well draw more customers to the coffee chain's thousands of outlets. Then again, the Wi-Fi perk may prove a little too successful, particularly if it attracts a particular breed of wireless hound.

You know the type. Offer free Wi-Fi and they will come--and never leave. Equipped with a laptop, cell phone, orthopedic backrest, and possibly even a Tupperware lunch, they'll hunker down in a leather chair or commandeer the best table--the one nearest the AC outlet, naturally. Often they seem to travel in packs; a free-Wi-Fi zone may face an infestation of laptop-toting loafers, a sea of glowing LCDs filling every corner of the coffee house. The neighborhood java hut often becomes their home office away from home.

Sure, some squatters may purchase a small latte, maybe even a bran muffin or a decaf refill after hours of loitering. But their small acts of patronage won't compensate for the ill will they generate, both in the minds of other (irate) customers who can't find an open table, and in the merchant's undernourished coffers.
My response to Jeff.. in the words spoken by Bobby D in Taxi Driver.. "You talkin to me?" Yes, I have been known to squat at $tarbucks chatting with a friend as I suck down a $3-4 latte - sometimes I am $4-thirsty and others $3-thirsty.. and I rarely buy any of their bad eats.. I mean come on.. can't they find a fresh (emphasize fresh) pastry or bagel? Or maybe a few slices of microwaved bacon? Sadly.. unlike their competitor Panera they do not.

I guess I am glad that $tarbucks finally changed their WiFi policy but I do not think that it will change my laptop loitering venue. I will probably still frequent Panera for my morning coffee and bagel - the place offers free WiFi, free refills on my coffee and food that is not stale.

How about you? Are you a WiFi loiterer? Will free WiFi attract you to $tarbucks?

1 comment:

  1. When we were in Tahoe, we couldn't get a connection at the cabin. Starbucks offered us 2 hours free each day. We not only bought latte, scones, but made sure we were not hogging the outlets. Consideration goes a long way, but I'm afraid the people that will love this new free line, will not be so considerate. We'll see!


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