Starbucks pulling plug on laptop users?

Starbucks is well-known for coffee, but laptop users love their juice — electrical juice.

After 4 days and only 3 Cafe Americanos, the Starbucks manager had a bad feeling about this guy.

After 4 days and only 3 Cafe Americanos, the Starbucks manager had a bad feeling about this guy.

Now, a rumor is floating amongst the Interwebs that New York City Starbucks locations are replacing electrical sockets with blank faceplates, effectively pulling the plug on laptop (ab)users plagued with poor battery performance.

The Seattle-based caffeine pusher did not immediately return a request for comment.

I can see the need to DC AC hogs, but I know a lot of folks, including some of my favorite reporters I never see anymore, use Starbucks as a transient office.

Starbucks Gossip provides the following jolt:

If you are one of those people who uses Starbucks as their office, sits in a store for 8+ hours a day, putting all your files on a table, using a separate chair for your laptop case/ suitcase enjoying unlimited free refills with your Starbucks card, asking for cups of water and refuse to to move until you are good and ready all for the $1.85 you pay as “rent,” then perhaps your actions will answer your questions [about covering the outlets].

An AJC reporter who shall remain nameless tells me she recently lost her connection after 30 minutes at another local coffee shop, so it looks likes Starbucks is not alone in trying to prevent prolonged PC parking.

Starbucks seems to go out of their way to be friendly, so this is a perilous PR path, if true. After all, we can get coffee and electricity at work, if it comes to that.

211 comments Add your comment

Jim

August 4th, 2011
6:21 pm

I’m tired of going to Starbucks only to have to wade through a plethora of slouching slobs. I applaud Starbucks for cutting the cord… and I encourage them to implement a 30min wifi disconnect. If you need more than 30mins, you need an office.

Atari

August 4th, 2011
8:48 pm

While I’m not one of those *ahem* “fine patrons” who parks himself at S’Bucks for hours on end, eating up several tables with office work, I do happen to kill time at S’Bucks while I work on other projects (like I’m doing now), often for an hour or more. The difference here is that I don’t carry a power supply, plug in, and strew my belongings all over the tables. I use my own power, in my own battery, that I charged at home or at the office. If I’m working on multimedia, I might pull out a small USB mouse, but ONLY if needed. That’s as far as it goes.

There’s got to be a happy medium somewhere. 30-60 min disconnect during peak hours? Cover up the faceplates? How about charging a nominal fee to plug in? I’d be down with that!

Jonny

August 5th, 2011
4:58 am

I used to use Starbucks for work all the time. However, I got sick of that place. They do not have printers and it is so hard to find power!!! It is also distracting to have kids running around you while you are trying to work on your personal finances. I recently signed up for a co-working space in downtown Atlanta called 200 Office. It is great! It is located in the old Macy’s building next to the Peachtree Center Marta station. So now I do not sit in traffic and waste gas all day. Plus I am super excited to be next to all of my downtown clients in such a great area. I think this place will become a hit especially with the Rising Roll Cafe inside .Goodbye Starbucks and Hello 200 Office!!!

bikerron1

August 5th, 2011
5:15 am

They start pulling plug, I pull the plug. Not buy coffee there.

Deb

August 5th, 2011
5:45 am

This is the ever present coffee shop dilemma. What do you do with the folks who live in your shop and do little to generate revenue? This move makes perfect sense and for the 99% of Starbucks customers who don’t use it as an office, we will continue to buy our coffee there. Perhaps there will even be a table where we can sit and enjoy it. If one stops to consider the scale of the issue, then Starbucks is taking a considerable hit to it’s bottom line. I don’t think they will miss the daily $2.00 of revenue from the campers who boycott because they don’t get free unlimited WiFi and table space. Go for it!

ROBERT

August 5th, 2011
5:45 am

It’s a shame when things are offered for customers, then you have the abusers that ruin for others. Stay home and do your work, brew your own coffee. Starbucks wont lose any sllep over these people.

Slovenly

August 5th, 2011
5:48 am

I don’t buy coffee at Starbucks or eat at Panera because you have to slog through a sea of aging hipsters tethered to their laptops that never get up.

Derrick

August 5th, 2011
5:51 am

And why their at it, why not remove the chairs? That would really solve the problem of anyone hanging out too long. After all, a coffee shop is not meant to spend time in.

Justine

August 5th, 2011
6:14 am

I never like starbucks. Felt they exploited poor in foreign countries and tried to cover it up with useless charities which only help a minute few. Personally I use Mickey Ds. And fortunately I do not always have to go inside. I have a power adapter for my vehicle and I use it when on the road. But here is the thing. People spend too much time connected. We are slowly loosing all areas of civility because we no longer have decent conversations. By the way, where have all the walk in and have a [liquor] drink and quick meal bars gone. Are there any more bar and grills left in this country. Wow

An Observer

August 5th, 2011
6:14 am

Hoorah for Starbucks! Caribou, Panera, are you watching? Nothing worse than going into a COFFEE shop and not being able to sit and enjoy your COFFEE, because the place is littered with laptop slugs who take up enough space for four, sitting for hours on end with a long empty cup.

shaggy

August 5th, 2011
6:20 am

I don’t go to Starbucks, because it has ALWAYS sucked. Why would I want to waste my time sharing oxygen with arrogant and obnoxious people, slurping an overpriced tub of filth?
If I want a cup of coffee, I will get one from practically anywhere but this pretentious place. Dunkin Donuts is MUCH better coffee, and that is ALL I want, coffee. I do my work in environments suited for….well, work.

pfffft

August 5th, 2011
6:37 am

you d-bags that are complaining about losing your free office just because you bought a cup of coffee are pathetic. the table and wifi were a gift that you abused so you deserve it being taken away. you will whine, but all you complainers will be 1st in line monday morning s usual.

willydoit?

August 5th, 2011
6:51 am

It’s kind of ironic that this Seattle based company has had enough of the freeloaders taking up space and using free electricity. I thought the folks from Washington state were a bunch of liberals that like to give away money?
Oh wait a minute, they only like to give away “other peoples” money!!

David Quinn

August 5th, 2011
6:52 am

Nobody gets it here. Starbucks is cultural and a meeting place for disconnected home workers. Sure, some people use Starbucks as an office. Some use it as a convenient meeting place. Others use it because it just sucks to work at home all the time. We are not hermits, we are people that need to interact, watch, laugh, and complain. It’s what we do.

This is about power consumption and the rates that drag profits down. It’s not just the laptops, it’s the use of AC when the lobby is filled. Starbucks needs to take action. Convert the stores to DC based LED lighting that dims when the sun is bright, Add transparent solar printed with Starbucks logos to the windows and generate DC power in the store. Add Wind power via VAWT technology. Let the laptop users then connect via renewable power and add Starbucks DC power connectors for laptops. Don’t change the culture of people needing people to feel alive. We love our Starbucks even when we only stop in for a quick restroom visit.

If it’s truly about the small percentage of disconnected office workers that take up loads of tablespace why not add Starbucks office where you can subscribe or rent office space for a short period. Add a couple of conference rooms, etc. Most of the retail shops have existing empty space and the company would create additional economic value.

Please don’t submit to the excesses of a few or the rants of some that want the cup but not the crowd. Solve the problem of consumption through innovation and create some economic leadership in the process.

Just sayinn

August 5th, 2011
6:53 am

Let’s face it. We live in a society that’s becoming more uncivilized every day. More and more people care about no one but themselves and don’t give a hoot if anyone else is inconvenienced. I see it in not only the mess we have in traffic, but also in the mess people leave in public restrooms.

Kamal M.

August 5th, 2011
6:57 am

Why not making those patrons pay for electricity use, if they want to plug in their phone or computer? Is that called double dipping ( in a good way) or, for Starbucks, another way to make money? Use a kind of timer on those plugs, so that they it shuts off automatically after a certain time of use.

Covers Dixie like the Dew

August 5th, 2011
7:01 am

Maxwell House will do.

Brandon

August 5th, 2011
7:08 am

I get so annoyed when I purchase a beverage at my local Starbucks but cannot find a seat while someone is sitting there with their laptop, a box of Chinese takeout, and a cup of ice water. These people need to be kept in check… at least purchase a coffee!

getreal

August 5th, 2011
7:16 am

starbucks—a coffee shop, not an office.

Mad Russian

August 5th, 2011
7:21 am

Thank goodness I do the one thing foreign to most of these long-term PC parkers, actually read a book where you flip pages while enjoying my beverage. Many privately owned, smaller shops will have a standard set of expectations for users such as spending a specific amount of money during a time period otherwise you’re cut off. This is why Starbucks and others should have a random pass code with a time limit. I wonder how many plebes are losing their minds over this change?

alohatliu

August 5th, 2011
7:25 am

Perhaps Starbucks needs to employ the tactics of coffee houses overseas where I buy my coffee and am given a code to use the Wifi for 30-60 minutes then it shuts off and I have to make another purchase to get another code if I want to stay online. When your customer is costing you more (electricity for one) then they spend this is just not good business sense.

Michael

August 5th, 2011
7:33 am

I agree totally with Starbucks pulling the plug on laptop users. It’s a Coffee Shop not an office.

Dixie Normuss

August 5th, 2011
7:34 am

Serves all your Starbucks Snobs right. Who in their f ‘ ing right mind would willingly pay $5.00 for a cup of coffee just to be seen with a Starbucks cup. You know you do it so don’t even go there. My spouse drinks coffee which he makes at home for about 30 cents a cup including cream and sugar. What a bunch of IDIOTS you people are.

willydoit?

August 5th, 2011
7:38 am

@David Quinn
Maybe Starbucks should power their entire store on stardust and dreams!

How about we just let the power companies build a few more coal plants? The cost of electricity will come down and then you can use all the power you want for your one cup of coffee a day.

john s

August 5th, 2011
7:39 am

WAAAAAAAAAAAA! It’s a place for business, not a dang home office. Get your coffee and go home, you round-shouldered parkers!!

AVarner Man

August 5th, 2011
7:39 am

The Starbucks PC use situation is typical of us humans. Give us something free (electricity) and we’ll take advantage of it and then it becomes a “right.” I agree with Starbucks because of all the reasons mentioned in these comments.

Roger

August 5th, 2011
7:39 am

I am sick of these self-absorbed, self-centered, freeloaders infringing upon legitimate customers, as well as the businesses. I avoid Starbucks and Panera, except for takeout, and just get pissed off whenever I stop by Barnes & Noble and see the “campers” in every seat.

Get a life in your own premises, and stop invading everyone else’s territory.

GRS

August 5th, 2011
7:51 am

I work from home. It’s nice to have a change in office scenery and a place to meet clients and vendors. The coffee and pastries are welcoming fuel to stay energized while working on projects.

Power to the People

August 5th, 2011
7:54 am

I am what some of you call a “freeloader”. You guys need to get a life. I go to Starbucks to get some work done. It might take 1 hour it might take 6 hrs. But what I don’t need is the hurried business people with their disapproving stares or their whining sounds because I am taking up a four person table with my stuff. Get over it people, this is a free country! I was there first! They can cover the plates if they want, I will bring an extension cord and find an outlet somewhere. I am thinking we set up a boycott outside of the Mall of Ga location this weekend. Who is with me?

Katz

August 5th, 2011
7:55 am

Their coffee sucks. It ALWAYS tastes burnt. On top of that, most of the time, they can’t keep the grounds out. You may not have noticed if you bury your coffee under 800 calories of fat and sugar.

On the plus side… they have water and internet

Stop the Freeloaders

August 5th, 2011
7:57 am

Why not have folks buy a Starbucks card that works foe coffee AND Internet service? If your truly there for your home away from home, you shouldn’t have an issue with this. Even 2 bucks every half hour of service would stop these people from taking advantage of this.

bg

August 5th, 2011
7:57 am

Starbucks has the absolute worst coffee in the world. How could anybody like their Bitter Burnt tasting coffee?

Old Geezer

August 5th, 2011
7:58 am

Bus in the thugs from Atlanta who will steal laptops while the owner is typing on them and this problem will solve itself.

Mr StickyBudz

August 5th, 2011
7:58 am

Working on my laptop at Starbucks is OK but I would much rather work from home where I can take bong hits between important calls. Much more convenient than having to step outside to my car multiple times to use my one hitter.

brad

August 5th, 2011
8:02 am

Old Geezer = racist assh*ole

Relationship Manager

August 5th, 2011
8:03 am

Priviledges to the irresponsible and selfish become entitlements over time.

entitlement

August 5th, 2011
8:05 am

I have a friend who’s a barista at SB. She tells me about all the dressed-up unemployed men who want to seem important. People who are contributing to the GDP are not trying to impress people at a dam coffee shop. You must have a sad existance if you have to pretend to your neighbors that you are actually going into the “office” to work.

Roger

August 5th, 2011
8:05 am

Hey “Power to the People” – You are still a freeloader!

Stop the Freeloaders

August 5th, 2011
8:08 am

bg – everyone has different taste. Dunkin does have better coffee in my opinion, but for some Starbucks is better. The topic is correcting the freeloaders, not who has the best coffee.

Jack

August 5th, 2011
8:13 am

A sign of the times when people start complaining about the lack of a freebie.

Rob

August 5th, 2011
8:14 am

Software is very, very powerful and most people fail to realize that computers can do so much more. And people like choices. Why not allow patrons 15 to 30 minutes free wifi followed by a cost per minute after that? You could even have peak times when the rates for wifi are higher. And make the rates high enough to discourage people that really have no business being there for longer than 30 minutes. If people want to stay and pay take their money. In some of the larger retail spaces you could offer more power options while having no power options in other areas. Personally I think a very good business model could be developed around people that like meeting for coffe and doing a little business or work. But these people should pay for what they get.

DOLL

August 5th, 2011
8:18 am

The Conyers Starbuck is by far the worst. First off there is one guy who is a staple there. He has a massive flat screen the size of a TV, and all this equipment hooked up to it, and parks is junky camper out front! Also, once I went in and seriously these people thought they were having a board meeting in a corporate conference room! They scooted tables together, hauled in boxes of files, and even hooked up a printer.

Here is a link from the Rockdale paper who thought they should praise this guy for “working” in our Starbucks everyday! (Or you can google “Conyers starbucks guy”)

http://www.rockdalecitizen.com/news/headlines/Writer_at__home_at_Starbucks_112439544.html

Power to the People

August 5th, 2011
8:21 am

Roger,

The 2$ cup of coffee I buy disagrees with you idiot!

DebS

August 5th, 2011
8:23 am

It’s a shame that people can’t find a balance/happy medium in their behavior so a business such as Starbucks doesn’t have to resort to such actions (if true).

There are times that I have ensonced myself for several hours at Starbucks to get some work done. BUT I’ve made sure to buy at least one thing for each hour I’m there. Starting with a coffee… then a bottled water. Perhaps a snack or sandwich. Then an Iced T or Hot Chocolate, depending on time of year. Also some mints or gum…

Also, I have tried to take up minimal space, and during crowded times made sure to quickly offer up the extra chair at my table, or even to share my table itself.

And I don’t do this every day. Once every few months, maybe.

If people were not so self-centered and self-involved, they’d see that with a bit of effort they could suit themselves while also making sure they weren’t taking advantage.

p

August 5th, 2011
8:27 am

if you’re complaining here, your life must suck.

Jase

August 5th, 2011
8:28 am

I have free wi-fi for the freeloaders. Center lane of I-285. I also have free coffee after you have been flattened by a 18 wheeler. Have a fantastic day!

FedUp

August 5th, 2011
8:33 am

I totally agree with this approach by Starbucks. It’s becoming a Homeless shelter for those that have no where to go.

Elvis

August 5th, 2011
8:35 am

Hey,her’s a novel idea.Why don’t you stick you lap tops up your rectum untill it reaches your stomach.Quit drinking over priced coffee ,throw away your cell phones and go climb a tree , catch crawdads in a creek,build a fort.Become a partisipant in life instead of a voyer

Ghostrider

August 5th, 2011
8:41 am

What a bunch of scumbags…I hope they pull the plug on you. Starbucks is not your personal office. If it were me I would without a doubt pull the plug.

Traci

August 5th, 2011
8:43 am

Perhaps the answer is in the words — MISSED BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY. Somewhere in this maze of plug in – v non plug in — and people doing business at a coffeee shop, is indeed a Entreprenural Business – or even on Starbucks can call – “Starbucks Biz Centre” . Their is a need to be filled –someone sieze t