February 20, 2007
The trouble with coffee shops with wireless
There’s really no trouble with any business that provides it’s customers with free wireless service. The problem is when the business won’t provide you power.
Fido’s staff are outgoing and friendly, the service rocks. I ordered a coffee and the Huevos Rancheros, everything was perfect. I had checked before I arrived that they had wireless, because I knew I would be arriving really early.
I went ahead and ordered my food and coffee. Then I began to scan the building for a power outlet. Yes, like many, my laptop batteries blow. I think I was beginning to annoy people as I gawked under their tables and booths.
I finally found an outlet with a free table. I set up shop there and plugged in my machine. No power. I tried the other plug, still no power. I asked the waitress and she explained that they no longer provide power.
Here’s the issue. If you are going to advertise that your business provides Wifi, you should probably consider providing power for those seeking it. She and the manager both explained that the trouble is freeloaders.
Those freeloaders come in the morning and purchase a coffee, then they sit there all day online. Having worked in restaurants I completely understood the situation. No food sales equals no profit (and no tip for the server).
I’ve never considered this conundrum before. I’m sure this is a problem at most coffee shops/cafes/bars/etc. that provide free wireless. I’m not sure how they handle it.
My solution is that in the back of Fido there are some stand up tables. I suggested they install some power outlets there and remove the tall stools. This way those that need power will need to stand up. This will get tiring after a while and they’ll be forced to leave.
In the mean time, I know I need to start searching Ebay for a new battery for this ole’ laptop. I’ll be back to Fido, as I said, they place is great and I recommend it.