Bitterwallet poll - is free wifi ruining the coffee shop experience?
It has been known for some, more or all of the Bitterwallet writers to spend part of their working week in a coffee shop, sucking up free wifi. Yes, we're fully paid-up members of the LMT club - the Latte Mac Twats - ordering the cheapest coffee on the menu in order to check emails and piss about on Facebook.
But although we may only drink a couple of coffees while hogging a table for hours on end, we'll return time and again to our favourite cafes and bookshops, because we don't get any chew about working there. We're loyal customers. The likes of Starbucks has become the second office and, in plenty of instances the primary office, to hipsters and Groupon salesmen and the Shelley Levenes of this world.
Businesses with free wifi secure our business and over time, our loyalty. Those without, don't. But some proprietors aren't fans of people pitching up with their laptop and minimum spends. Take this gentlemen, the owner of a bookshop that doesn't offer wifi. People still sit at his table with their laptops, and it's fair to say he has issues:
...the sight of people going into retail establishments and whipping out a laptop seems akin to public masturbation. What compels them to use their laptops in public? I suspect that there is some sort of exhibitionist behavior at play here. Why can’t they do whatever they are doing at home or back at the office? Or don’t they have homes?
The laptoppers will unashamedly sit for hours nursing a single cup of coffee while immersed in their “work,” or whatever the hell they are doing on their precious devices. An hour or two? That’s a short coffee break for these slackers. I’ve seem some of them hole up for five or six hours. But rarely, if ever, do these digital wankers ever buy an actual book.
It’s just another sign, in my opinion, of the decline of civilized society. Yeah, yeah, all these gadgets are nice and handy — and apparently indispensable for some — but they are also a major contributor to slothful, impolite behavior. It’s time to fight back!
The owner admits some laptop owners are perfectly polite, but that he hasn't space for people wanting to do anything other than buy books and drink coffee. He then describes one lady who asks if there's a power supply for her laptop as a 'wench'. How to win friends and influence people.
The question is - is he right? Has mobile society gone too far? Does the sight of a dozen Mac Books put you off frequenting your closest coffee shop, or is it no more impersonal or impolite than sitting alone reading a book? Your vote and comments please, citizens.