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


August 7th, 2011
4:47 pm

Congrats for Starbucks for having the guts to buck the freeloaders and tell them they are not worth the money they are making the company lose! And they ARE losing the company money! I have walked in for lunch and every table was filled and I have left WITHOUT buying lunch because the freeloaders had their offices spread over the tables.

They just need to throw the breaker that conrols the outlets at the tables every once in a while! PROBLEM SOLVED!


August 7th, 2011
4:47 pm

2 bad 4 all the crybabies & hooray 4 Starbucks!! The loafers who spend their lives there need 2 get off their butts & move toward a better life. I love Starbucks but some of them are sooooo messy & unappealing I choose not 2 go back!!:-(

Johann Lohrmann

August 7th, 2011
7:52 pm

Panera Bread does limit usage during peak hours. (At least in some Atlanta stores). I’m fine with that. Mind you, I’m not parking there for 4 or 5 hours. This is a business and they are in the business to make money. Internet access is a bonus and not a right.

Jon Coward

August 8th, 2011
12:50 pm

Many Entrepreneurs would be out of business if they didn’t have this resource. It all comes back to Starbucks in terms of loyal customers. Go ahead and cut the juice. Don’t surprised if revenues actually go down a bit. For the person who said whoever uses more than 30 minutes of WI_FI needs an office obviously works for someone who provides an office or has a labor job that doesn’t require one. Offices aren’t cheap. Rent can be the difference between staying open and building versus closing and starving. I am not just speculating… my business was spawned via coffee shops and now we have an office. But we still use Starbucks for many client meetings because I am used to “being there”.


August 9th, 2011
1:52 pm

I get my Starbucks at the drive-thru. I avoid the people who congregate there and drink my coffee at home. I might sit and have cup when I’m on the road, but that’s it. I don’t care for the atmosphere, so I avoid it. Period.


August 9th, 2011
7:24 pm

Good. Kick the lazy cheap bums out into the street. The amount of electricity they use is far more than the $2 they spend for a small cup of coffee. When I use to work in the restaurant at the JW Marriott at Lenox Mall, we had this bum who would park himself in the restaurant for hours at a time on a regular basis. Cheap rat. Like one person said, they should get rid of the tables. While they at it, they should have wifi available only a hour a day or limit usage to no more than an hour or two daily so those no account, no good, miserly snakes in the grass can man up and pay for their internet service and office space instead of free loading.


August 10th, 2011
1:00 pm

I am glad that Starbucks wants to pull the plugs on the people who sit at the tables…i have stopped going to Starbucks because of that. I walk in and people are everywhere…Plus the lines are long….the baristas are slower than hell…

Crime Beat

August 11th, 2011
10:53 pm

dump the cheap slobs getting one cup of coffee and taking up space for hours—to cheap to get a real office.

work it

August 11th, 2011
11:01 pm

It’s too hard to work at the library–too loud and too many bums/homeless around there sleeping,hustling money. That’s why I run my business out of starbucks. I always try to buy a cup of coffee during the day to give them some money for the time I’m using the space, etc.


August 19th, 2011
7:16 pm

Anyone ever try connecting to ATT wifi at a starbucks? good luck there too, with bandwidth hogging freeloaders aplenty

A. B.

August 22nd, 2011
7:46 am

I use Starbucks frequently as an office. I tip heavily and if I’m there during meal times, buy a meal. At other times, I buy a large latte. If I spend the day there, I may spend $15+. The folks know me by name and seem happy to see me.

If it’s empty, I may spread out a little, but I put stuff away when the place starts to fill up. I very seldom see the place so full that there’s not a table for someone who wants it.

I get more done at Starbucks than isolated in a quiet home.

Yes, I am an “aging hipster” and, yes, I don’t have a regular office, so I may be a “loser” as more than one writer put it. Sorry. I exist. I decided not to die when I turned 50. That’s a decision everyone faces sooner or later and it will be interesting to see how others handle it when it comes to them.

I see other folks using that same Starbucks as an office, too. They’re friendly and they’re also buying stuff while they’re there. I’ve gotten to know some of them.

If Starbucks covers up the outlets, it’s their right. I won’t go away mad, but I will be disappointed and I won’t be back very often.