I wrote a book about it — which you can still download free (see the sidebar).
Right this very minute, in fact, I’m hunkered down with my laptop at one of our local java joints.
Thank God for Wi-Fi.
But maybe I’d better enjoy this luxury while I still can.
My cynical friend Tom alerted me to a news story at Brand X Daily titled “Bye-bye to Wi-Fi: Coffee Shop Internet Drying Up.”
It seems many smaller shop owners are pulling the plug on Wi-Fi to fight laptop freeloaders who suck up bandwidth and dominate table space all day while they nurse a single cup ’o Joe.
Plus, more socially minded customers resent their friendly neighborhood coffee houses turning into talk-free cyber-zombie salons.
Get a load of some reader comments attached to the news story…
“I agree, wi-fi squatters are low-life sub-humans. You walk in a coffee shop, and all the hobos look at you like, go away this is my ‘work space.’ As a customer, I am always scared away by the nasty mutant bums.”
“I was once asked in Panera in Santa Monica to quiet the kids as people are trying to WORK here. Since when should a cafe have library rules? Go away wifi-ers!”
“There used to be a guy at the Coffee Bean at Sunset and Fairfax who would bring in a power strip, his DESKTOP and a full musical keyboard, and sit there with his headphones on, making music. Seriously.”
OK, as a plugged-in, coffee-guzzlin’ solopreneur, I wanna put in my two cents here.
First, to small coffee house owners, there’s a “happy median” you can pursue here without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
(Hey, how many clichés can YOU stick into just two paragraphs?)
Offer Wi-Fi at only non-peak times of the business day — and advertise those hours.
Give paying customers wireless passwords that expire in an hour or two.
Or just buck up, grow a pair, and throw all slacker-parasites outta your shop.
Now, for you folks who, like me, have “coffee house offices”…
Be mindful of your neighbors.
Lift your head from your computer occasionally.
Take breaks from your internet relationships and engage in some face-to-face action.
And for kryssakes, pay a little rent on your space. Buy coffee and pastries. Often.
Think I’ll pack it up now and go home to my wife.