No More Perks: Coffee Shops Pull the Plug on Laptops

September 10th, 2009 by Rob Berman Leave a reply »

The Wall Street Journal reported on how the wave of free WiFi in Coffee Shops has crashed on the shores of economic distress.

The cutting of the need to be tied to one place to access the internet has led to a mobile society.  That mobile society wants to be able to work or play when they want and where they want.

Many people have gotten used to taking their laptop with them to Coffee Shops to access the internet for work or school projects.

Are all customers created equally?

Now, they are being joined by an avalanche of job seekers who have cancelled their internet access through the cable or phone company.  Or they are looking for a speedier connection because they downgraded to dial up service as a cost savings measure.

What are job seekers really looking for?

Ultimately, access and some human companionship in their long search for a job.

The owners of the Coffee Shops want to encourage customer turnover in their stores to maximize revenue and profits. Of course, they save on the costs of electricity when the job seekers do not plug into the wall outlets.  The owners are limiting when those job seekers can use a laptop and how long they can do so.

What are they thinking?

The concept seems like a good short term idea to help the Coffee Shops through the economic down turn.

Over to you.   What do you think?

  • What happens to these consumers when they become employed?
  • What will they do with their disposable income?
  • Have Coffee Shops thought tactically instead of strategically?
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  1. Andrew says:

    good site and content!

  2. David Bennett says:

    The WSJ article is a nice find.

    Whether the article presents an accurate picture across all the wifi outlets is a another matter.

    That would require visiting a lot of places, rather than an anecdotal few.

    But I have wondered about time spent and places occupied by surfers, even in good economic times.

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