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

Ron H.

August 5th, 2011
8:45 am

Power to the People,

$2 cup of coffee in 6 hours? LOL. You probably burnt up a buck or two of electricity (depending on your laptop) per hour…

free stuff

August 5th, 2011
8:45 am

I want more free stuff from starbucks and the government. I shouldn’t have to pay for it.

Techmom

August 5th, 2011
8:46 am

I’ve had to resort to sitting at McDonald’s or Starbuck’s on the couple occasions my power/internet were out for hours at home (I work from home). And I’ve purposely stopped at a McDonald’s or Starbucks while we were traveling to check some work messages. I have an iPhone and can usually find what I need online that way but there are occasions when I have to sign on the VPN to get to what I need. But I’ve probably done that a handful of times in the 8 years I’ve worked from home. And I I always buy something while I’m there.

I think they could print a wifi code and a bar code on each cup that then becomes active for 60 minutes after it’s been scanned. Want another 60 minutes? Buy another cup of something (or go sit outside in your car where you’re still close enough to get wifi without sucking up power or using their space).

Traci

August 5th, 2011
8:47 am

Seize the Day! Create a business where people can do this – “hang around” get business done. Or perhaps their is a mini-charger a Starbucks can sell.

Am I the only who sees $$ in this? Our do you just wanna complain about it?

JohnF

August 5th, 2011
8:47 am

Good for Starbucks..hope my local coffee shop in Brookhaven does the same thing. Most of the people taking up space in coffee shops with their electronics are losers and posers. If you have that much to do on a laptop, go home!

AJS

August 5th, 2011
8:47 am

Good for Starbucks. IF I stop by, it is for a cup of much needed coffee, and to check e-mails, and respond accordinly, check and update my outlook, that statement-”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.” – says it all, if you need to do that much work, it should be done at the office, or home, or hotel room, it’s too bad, but more of the same, the few ruin it for the many

Rebecca

August 5th, 2011
8:49 am

While I am not normally a Starbuck’s couch potato, I did use their WIFI for a 3 hour class that I could not miss while traveling to a funeral. So though I do not agree with the folks who are living at a table all day, I would like the availability even if I was paying a connection fee.

Often if I am traveling, Starbucks is the only place I know I can check in with job and family. But I can always go ‘old school’ and use a pay phone- if any still exist!

thedudebythething

August 5th, 2011
8:54 am

I have never seen the point in sitting in Starbucks (or any place for that matter) long enough to need a power supply. If you are in with a group and your surfing the Net, that’s one thing, but to go in so you can “work”? Thats just stupid. Work from home, or for that matter, get a broadband wifi card and work from the park…but get out of Starbucks….

Patrick

August 5th, 2011
8:57 am

If you “home” workers need an office for meetings, etc. there are always those SOHO shops that have a conference room FOR RENT.

And Power to the People, that $2 cup of coffee still makes you a freeloader when you are using many times that in “freebies.”

I Love Life Cereal

August 5th, 2011
8:59 am

After all, we can get coffee and electricity at work, if it comes to that.

That statement is not technically correct.

You cannot get Starbucks-quality coffee at work.

Once again, a few losers with no consideration are ruining a good thing for the rest of us. (Internet freeloaders)

Rob

August 5th, 2011
8:59 am

The idea of buying wifi time with a barcode on the side of a cup is clever but not practical for most (my netbook does not read barcodes). I do think some sort of code on a receipt might do the trick and give Starbucks control over wifi time sales. If you buy a cup of coffee and 30 minutes of time your code will be on your receipt together with what you paid for it. The best idea is to allow people to set up accounts online that can be used at any Starbucks. Each Starbucks could have their own rates, etc. Then log in and pay for use. And the online account could keep up with the charges.

Power to the People

August 5th, 2011
9:00 am

Hey Ron H,

You are probably one of those drive by customers that pop in order something look around in disgust at the locals and leave. We don’t want you there, Starbucks has created a community atmosphere and it should be our RIGHT to enjoy our coffee and work as long as we want. I think someone needs to send an email to Congress. In fact when I get in to Starbucks later this morning I will send the email from there! Imagine the irony.

I Love Life Cereal

August 5th, 2011
9:03 am

And another thing, what about the clowns who take up limited airport terminal restaurant seating by sitting there on their large arses and reading a book?

Nothing infuriates me more than a rough travel session, and yet I can’t sit down for a moment for a decent meal in one of the few decent restaurant airports because some douche thinks they can make it there “cozy little library.” ENOUGH!!!

Mid Town Joe

August 5th, 2011
9:03 am

Give the slugs free coffee and charge them $20 to sit and slurp.

cassandra pegsmen lawyer

August 5th, 2011
9:05 am

Power to the People

August 5th, 2011
9:06 am

This is a perfect example of what is happening in America that I am writing my book about. It is time for the rich to give back. Like shelter and food, internet has now become a necessary item not a privilage. If businesses start forcing people out who need to use the internet then we should build facilities that allow for those of us not fortunate enough to work in some ivory tower to find a cool quiet place to work.

o-O

August 5th, 2011
9:11 am

i agree with this during peak hours, however at night when most people are home they should reopen the wifi

Jessica

August 5th, 2011
9:12 am

I don’t use Starbucks as a replacement office, but there are some times when I can’t get started on a paper or research project at home, and I need the disconnect from my living environment that Starbucks offers. I spent a week solid at Starbucks writing a final paper for one of my classes last year, and I managed to pump that paper out in half the time it would have taken me surrounded by the distractions of my home. Without the Starbucks, I would have been languishing away in our very cold, very inhospitable library, where there’s no coffee and no good atmosphere (and no sunlight…).

I don’t think disconnecting laptop users is the answer. Most batteries will only last for 3-5 hours these days, depending on the use, and while some users may be spending a lot of time at Starbucks and not really doing anything, it won’t help if Starbucks appears to become unfriendly to laptop users. Heck, the same could be said for people who bring books and hog the tables NEXT TO the power outlets, so that laptop users who would like to get some work done but have little battery power cannot. There’s no easy solution here, and cutting off the power completely to laptop or other electronic users would just send them to another coffee shop (I’m thinking Caribou in Toco Hills or Einsteins in the morning).

Additionally, there was a time when Starbucks DID charge for WiFi, and eventually they went to a free system where everyone could use it. It’s a good system, and unless you’re streaming video or playing computer games, you really don’t need to limit anyone’s use of the WiFi. If you’re going to do something bandwidth-intensive, there are cyber-cafe’s that are popping up around the city that offer an environment specifically for people who want to use their computers for high-bandwidth media and drink coffee at the same time.

Like another user said, if they start blocking access to laptop power ports OR if they start kicking users off the WiFi after a set amount of time, the solution for the user is to stop buying Starbucks coffee. That’ll get the message across pretty quickly.

DebDoes

August 5th, 2011
9:14 am

I too used Panera as a virtual office from time to time….I moved around though (inside/out), etc. and didn’t take up table space needed for b’fast/lunch people. I agree, they need to pull the plug if people are camping out there all day and hogging the tables/space. Go home and work from there!

truth hurts

August 5th, 2011
9:14 am

freeloader, moocher, user, socialist, scammer, etc…hope Starbucks does toss these vagrants out. It’s is the biggest problem in America today..the entitlement syndrome. Good riddance to them all….wherever they squat.

Shannana

August 5th, 2011
9:14 am

Waffle House is in touch with this issue, too. Before smoking was banned in all Georgia restaurants, and Waffle House was one of the few places to still allow it, folks would come in, buy their coffee, get refills all day long and take up the booths SMOKING. Nons-smoking improved their business!

SB Luv

August 5th, 2011
9:15 am

All of you that are threatening to boycott SB if they pull the plug – good! Glad you’ll be gone. Those of us who are circling the parking lots looking for a space to run in and grab a coffee will finally be able to park. They should also consider implementing several “10 minute parking” spaces for those of us on the run.

Power to the People

August 5th, 2011
9:16 am

Ghostrider,

It is rich fat cats like you that need to be taxed in to oblivion. I have a house, one of the few govt assistance programs that actually works.

Evil Emperor Zurg

August 5th, 2011
9:19 am

“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.”

As a business owner who relies on table occupancy, I can tell you that this type of customer SUCKS, as they are milking a 2 dollar cup of joe while other paying customers go elsewhere because they can’t get a table. Sorry, slackers, there’s this little thing called “consideration” that your parents didn’t instill in you very well. Get your coffee, drink it and then leave. That’s what the business wants.

Ghostrider

August 5th, 2011
9:20 am

@Power to the People

And your point ???? I have a house to, married 25 years no kids, 2 cars and Wife who dosen’t work. That dosen’t give you the right to sit in Starbucks for hours at a time.

Evil Emperor Zurg

August 5th, 2011
9:21 am

One more thing: if you want to sit on your laptop for hours, do it at home. There is no need for you to “be seen” by anyone in public slouched over your laptop. Bunch of narcissists!

D man

August 5th, 2011
9:22 am

Good job Starbucks… It’s about time…

DW

August 5th, 2011
9:23 am

I’m glad they are pulling the plug. Starbucks is a business and I don’t blame them getting sick of people abusing the perks they offer. Look at what happened to Borders? Too many freeloaders out there. What you think you’re justified to use their space because you paid $2 for a cup of coffee? Get real.

Power to the People

August 5th, 2011
9:26 am

Ghostrider,

A wife that sits at home and you have TWO cars???? You should get charged a premium idiot tax.

Pippi Longstockings

August 5th, 2011
9:34 am

@ Jonny
“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…”

SUCH A SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT YOU HAVE THERE!!! Starbucks is NOT your personal space!

But speaking of sick, I noticed over the last year or so that every time I drink that powerful Starbucks coffee, I start feeling sick. I don’t feel like that with Dunkin Donuts coffee.

Scott

August 5th, 2011
9:36 am

Jonny said:
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.”

Are you kidding me?? You got sick of the place, A COFFEE SHOP, because they don’t have printers? You got tired of people with kids and noise while you tried to WORK? It’s a coffee shop for crying out loud. It’s not office space for you. Why should Starbucks supply you with power or a printer for you to work. I’m glad you got sick of the place and found some place more appropriate to your needs. I get sick of trying to enjoy a cup of coffee where people like you are taking up all the tables and chairs and I have to get my coffee to go.
I think Starbucks is making the right decision on this one. I would go a step further and limit the time using power and charge a fee for it. Once your battery charge is gone…pay up. The unlimited refills would be changed too.

Power to the People

August 5th, 2011
9:38 am

Off to Starbucks to get to work, hopefully I won’t see any of you idiots there buying your coffee and giving us your stare of superiority. We don’t need you!

Ghostrider

August 5th, 2011
9:40 am

@ Power to the People

My Wife dosen’t have to work, I like having her there when I leave and when I get Home. I’t not my fault your a loser. :)

Barack Obama

August 5th, 2011
9:46 am

Starbucks is for metrosexual hipster posers. The losers that hang out there need to grow up, get a real job, and drink real coffee.

entitlement

August 5th, 2011
9:48 am

Let’s see……can we call these “beings” Treehuggers ??
Now I get it. I can park 20 spaces from another vehicle and when I return to my truck, someone is parked next to me. Yeah, a treehugger or SB office worker :lol:

Tony

August 5th, 2011
9:48 am

Starbucks is a good place to go number two since the turlets are all single seaters and you can lock the door. You’ll be happy that you know this one day while you’re in the store cause their coffee is so strong that you’ll visit the turlet.

addictivis

August 5th, 2011
9:49 am

Starbucks in Midtown was once a nice place to relax and enjoy a coffee while reading the paper. The patrons were mostly the same set, and decent people could feel comfortable together.

Ever since the WiFi became free, swarms of blacks have moved in and created an uncomfortable environment for Whites. These “black professionals and struggling students” hog the space and slouch all day long. They have hideous dredlocks and demeanors. Now, the nice set stays away, or order all their drinks to go.

The bathrooms stink!

Very sad how anything free always attracts the MLK Civil Rights ghetto element and makes the White community miserable. Predictable. But this is Black Ruled Atlanta, so it was just a matter of time before anything that Whites were enjoying would be taken from them.

We don’t feel sorry for miserable Whites in Atlanta. They are a minority in a black ruled city. They deserve it as bad as the blacks can give it.

atlantaphotog

August 5th, 2011
9:52 am

Not that I go somewhere where it costs me $5+ for a coffee beverage anyway, but, they ARE a business and not an office or bedroom. If I owned such a place, I would allow a set amount of internet use time per dollars spent – you spend $10, you get 1 hour (MAX) on the web with it, etc. Business-101.

JoeV

August 5th, 2011
9:53 am

Hey addictivis,

#$*& you

Michelle Obama

August 5th, 2011
9:54 am

Addictivis speaks the truth!

rbag

August 5th, 2011
9:55 am

brad

August 5th, 2011
8:02 am
Old Geezer = racist assh*ole

Old Geezer may be a racist, but he’s right. Racism is coming back, because blacks just haven’t become Lords and Ladies after the Trillions of dollars Whites have invested in their improvement.

Whites have earned the Right of Racism.

“Under the circumstances, racism really is the best option.”

When Whites hear themselves called “racist,” they know that they are being good Patriots.

Unknown

August 5th, 2011
9:56 am

Power to the people,
go to China you stupid Commie!! they would love you there!! you can have one car, one kid, you can work and eat government cheese all day! Socialist prick!

DtwnATL

August 5th, 2011
9:59 am

Jonny,
Is 200 office even opened yet? I was in the space 2 weeks ago and it was no where near completion.

sendoff

August 5th, 2011
10:03 am

I worry about what will happen when the power is pulled from the Afro starbucks patrons.

drudgereport.com

‘Mob’ beatings at WI state fair…

‘Hundreds of young black people beating white people’…

Fairgoers ‘pulled out of cars’…

‘They were just going after white people’…

add14jazz

August 5th, 2011
10:03 am

First, the Fat Boys break up, now this!!!!!

Tony

August 5th, 2011
10:04 am

Forget going to the club to meet someone new, when I want to meet someone new I get a cup and head to Starbucks.

Tee H

August 5th, 2011
10:10 am

Chick-fil-A has good coffee, good eats and free power and Wi-fi (in most locations) – they don’t care how long you stay, they just want to serve while you’re there!

craig

August 5th, 2011
10:13 am

I’m surprised it took so long for this to happen ! I do Starbucks to go only, primarily because you can rarely find a seat for the idiots & their gear taking up a 4 top for hours. Dunkin is the same way, can’t find a place to sit down & eat the donut I just bought.( aging hipsters ? ? ? ours are full of 3rd world cab drivers & Emory pukes)

Clay

August 5th, 2011
10:14 am

I don’t drink coffee and I’ve never visited a Starbucks; but, I think this is a wonderful move. They do not owe you a place to hang out in all day in return for buying a cup of coffee.

Those of you who think they do owe you something are the type of folks who caused Borders to close. In the interviews with “customers” they all talked about how they would hang out, use the WiFi and drink coffee–but none of them ever bought any books. Starbucks is being proactive.

Bufanaquishria

August 5th, 2011
10:17 am

Usually when I go into Starbucky’s every table is occupied by people who appear to have camped out there. Kinda like the bums who hang out in the main Atlanta library all day.

If I’m a franchise owner I need to keep people moving along. In addition to covering the electrical outlets I’d also remove the chairs and install standup tables like you see in some food courts.