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R U a "Wi-fi Squatter"?
Old 08-06-2011, 10:11 AM   #1
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R U a "Wi-fi Squatter"?

Many New York City Starbucks Locations About To Put An End To Squatters « CBS New York

This is a practice that seems to be getting out of hand in many areas, IMHO.

While DW/me did enjoy going to the local Parena Bread, but have stopped due to the "rudeness" of those sitting at the tables (many of them college students) and using the wi-fi. Their tables are clean and I question if they ever bought anything, at all.

So there we stand, with our trays in hand, and not a place to sit ...

How is it in your area, and your thoughts?
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:20 AM   #2
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I'd add Panera to the mix as well. There was one day I went in there on a busy weekend and could not find an available table for my family to sit and eat because of all the people hanging out to conduct business and/or use the free wifi- very few of them were actually eating.
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:27 AM   #3
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It's the same around here.

I'll bet that on balance, this is a profitable thing for the coffee shops. For every person who buys nothing or buys a coffee and sits for hours, there are several who would not be there were there no free Internet.

My bands used to play at coffee shops, but too often, we'd look out at the audience, and everyone would be in cyberspace, with headphones in.
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:29 AM   #4
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I think it's reasonable to provide free wi-fi but not provide electrical outlet to power the laptop. This could limit laptop use to 1 - 2 hours for most users.

I was recently in a McDonald's in Branson, MO and the outlets did not have power.

During my roadtrips (once a month or so), I do frequent more McDonald's for the free wi-fi, but my kids enjoy the food too. We don't go there much otherwise.

How is it different when people meet at Denny's, etc. to conduct business for hours over coffee or small meal? I know real estate investors that use restaurants as their office without a laptop, so it's not always the wi-fi. This is bad as it impacts table turnover and tips for the wait staff.
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Old 08-06-2011, 11:00 AM   #5
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My bands used to play at coffee shops, but too often, we'd look out at the audience, and everyone would be in cyberspace, with headphones in.
Hopefully, that was not a reflection on the music you were providing! ...

Seriously, we do have a lot of colleges/university's in our area and even though they provide the students with wi-fi, I believe a lot of them just want to "get out" and rather than stay on the campus, drop by the local eatery that provides free wi-fi.

That dosen't make it easy for us "townies"...
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Old 08-06-2011, 11:03 AM   #6
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Hopefully, that was not a reflection on the music you were providing! ...

lol
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Old 08-06-2011, 12:29 PM   #7
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I say it's about time.

There have been many stories in the press in the past couple of years of independent coffee shops struggling to make ends meet due to wifi squatters. They come in, buy their 99 cent cup of coffee and don't leave. Due to the unemployment crisis, many have cut off their internet at home so they use the local coffee shop/panera as their office.

If you are going to take up a table at least spend money as the business owner has to make money as well
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Old 08-06-2011, 12:45 PM   #8
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Starbucks used to offer free wi fi for 1 -2 hours only if you were a registered rewards/gift card member and made a purchase. They decided to market free wi fi all the time, hoping they could attract more people to the store and get them to stick around longer. Obviously, this was a marketing ploy to combat McDonalds, because it got McD's to also offer free wi fi too. Maybe it's something they regret for the really busy locations, but I still see a lot of Starbucks that always seem empty.
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Old 08-06-2011, 12:56 PM   #9
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Here, there are local restaurants and local coffee places that are much better than the chain restaurants. Generally the local places do not have wireless, or if they do, then they do not attract loiterers.

We have never been to a Starbucks here (though I went once or twice by myself, years ago). Why Starbucks, when we can instead order cafe au lait and beignets at Morning Call? I'm not sure if we even have Panera here. At any rate, like many/most New Orleanians we don't usually go to chain restaurants or coffee places. I do not recall ever having been inconvenienced by anyone on a laptop in public in New Orleans.
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:46 PM   #10
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So there we stand, with our trays in hand, and not a place to sit ...

How is it in your area, and your thoughts?
Something like this at Chicago's Michigan Ave right in front of Millenium Park. There were 4 of us and only 2 seats are available. Fortunately, the couple that don't have the laptop left when they saw our dilemna.
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:25 PM   #11
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How is it different when people meet at Denny's, etc. to conduct business for hours over coffee or small meal?
I think that Internet surfing is likely to last longer than business meetings.
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Old 08-06-2011, 09:27 PM   #12
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Why don't they require some sort of log in (like many hotels do) that limit wi-fi time to an hour or two?
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:40 PM   #13
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Why don't they require some sort of log in (like many hotels do) that limit wi-fi time to an hour or two?
+1
Or time based on amount of purchase.
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Old 08-06-2011, 10:58 PM   #14
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Why are we trying to tell private businesses how to manage their business? If one coffee shop is too busy, go to another. They are not public utilities.

Anyway, I like looking at the young women, even if I have to stand to do it. Better than sitting and looking at the bunch of crabby middle aged people.

Ha
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:05 AM   #15
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Didn't Barnes & Noble have a similar situation when they created a lot of space for reading, only to be taken over by people reading magazines they didn't buy and studying with the textbooks they also didn't purchase? This bothered their regular customers and after a couple of years they cut back.

When this happens to us we just go elsewhere. It's not like there's a shortage of coffeeshops (or bookstores).
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:16 AM   #16
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The local Panera has their wifi setup to automatically time a session out after 30 minutes, between 11am and 2pm. The starbucks next door has unlimited wifi though, so someone can just switch networks to get around the timer.

Offer a free or unlimited service and people will use it. Starbucks knows this and like a previous poster said, has a solution. They decided it was better to have the squatters.

No electrical outlet isn't that big of a deal. Bump down the screen brightness on the laptop, turn off the audio, put the processor in power save mode, and you're rocking a 3-4 hour battery life on a typical laptop anyway.
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:18 AM   #17
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Why are we trying to tell private businesses how to manage their business? If one coffee shop is too busy, go to another. They are not public utilities.
That's fine if you live in an urban area; however for us (more specifically DW) our quick eatery of choice (Panera Bread) is just down the road, but another is many miles away.

And no, we're not moving to a "city"; we enjoy our "semi-city" life ...
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:20 AM   #18
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:30 AM   #19
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That's fine if you live in an urban area; however for us (more specifically DW) our quick eatery of choice (Panera Bread) is just down the road, but another is many miles away.

And no, we're not moving to a "city"; we enjoy our "semi-city" life ...
If you haven't already done so, you should tell the management at the Panera that you want to eat there but can't. Also their corporate office. Businesses are often very responsive to customer complaints, especially when delivered in a proactive way.
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Old 08-07-2011, 08:46 AM   #20
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Businesses are often very responsive to customer complaints, especially when delivered in a proactive way.
We have; results have been - well none ...
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