INTERESTING ... Coffee shops are taking Wi-Fi off the menu

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user 26

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Jun 2, 2008
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[h1]Coffee shops are taking Wi-Fi off the menu[/h1][h2]To stimulate sales, coffeehouses are pulling the plug on the Net.[/h2]excerpt "We had big parties or family groups who wanted to eat but had no room," said Jean Paul Coupal, who runs the cafe with his mother, Nancy. "They were getting upset about it. They felt the whole place was being taken over by techies."
Coffee shops were the retail pioneers of Wi-Fi, flipping the switch to lure customers. But now some owners are pulling the plug. They're finding that Wi-Fi freeloaders who camp out all day nursing a single cup of coffee are a drain on the bottom line. Others want to preserve a friendly vibe and keep their establishments from turning into "Matrix"-like zombie shacks where people type and don't talk."
the article actually gives two sides to this story .....
Hm. I went into the coffee shop section of one of the BIG bookstores last month (maybe June...?) and was surprised to find that unless one is a member of the discount club, there is a daily fee for accessing wifi there. But, perhaps that isn't such a bad system, actually. For (just) a year's free access, the discount club fee was a bargain.
it made me think of a little general store i know that offered free wifi but stopped. it's in a vacation area with lots of rental cottages on generators, that have no cell phone signals and no wifi. most vacationing people with laptops would come in, buy a breakfast, linger over coffee, check their email and leave. they really enjoyed the general store atmosphere and got a kick out of the locals and the lobster'men' and being able to access the internet.
but the (now retired) store owners had a problem with a particular family of adults who would come in every other day or more, line up five laptops along the counter that has stools and park there for 3 or 4 hours ... they'd buy a coffee and maybe a bagel. maybe. taking up space that could have been used by folks who wandered in and would like to sit and eat. most of that family spent 3 months up there every summer at a place they OWN. a very prominent and well to do family who could pay for internet access at their summer place. when the store owners locked down the wifi with a password, that family actually angrily demanded the password since they were 'such good customers'. (the store owners did not give the password) unreal.
I heard about this going back to the end of last year.....
Makes sense for the shop owners to do away with wifi or if it's possible to limit an individuals time on the network.
The only time we had ever used this type of service was during a mini getaway. The town we were in is not known for staying up with the times. Most places there do not take CCs and do not have WiFi. We were directed to a little coffee house. We had to purchase something (of course we had planned on do that) in order to get the password. I can not remember how long but it was only good for a certain period of time - an hour maybe? Then if you wanted more time, you had to buy something else. That is a good way to keep freeloaders from taking up your prime spaces.
McD has free Wifi here. For a while it was a pay service that you signed up and got a password, don't know exactly how it worked but guess it did not go over well. Now it is free.
Our local coffee shop has WiFi and they used to have a guest computer. They got rid of the computer almost right was like a non-paying customer magnet. You were supposed to purchase something for x amount of time of use but since they were always busy, there was no way to police it. People would park there forever. The laptop users now are loyal customers and come and go. (Lots of students...)
Our whole downtown business area is actually a WiFi Hotspot.
Fortunately, when I was in the UK you could get free WiFi access at FiveBucks if you bought their coffee card and registered with them. It was the only way I could check the rez system and emails without spending the $15/day at our hotel.

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