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

C from Marietta

August 5th, 2011
10:22 am

I go to Starbucks all the time. I am laughing reading this drama. It’s NO WHERE near as bad you as your making it out to be. I have open seats everytime I go. I think you folks just love to whine and complain about anything and everything. BTW.. If you think Duncan Donuts has better coffee. Your crazy.

Barack Obama

August 5th, 2011
10:28 am

I will have the AG look into this immediately. It sounds like discrimination and I will make sure my people (Blacks and Muslims) will continue to get FREE electricity and internet from those racist people at Starbucks. I might even force them to give my brothers (Blacks and Muslims) free coffee and charge white people double. Now thats some Hope & Change we can get behind.

GRAY GHOST OR WHITE KNIGHT

August 5th, 2011
10:29 am

Enter your comments here

Rational

August 5th, 2011
10:34 am

YES. This makes sense … it’s a business trying to make money. It’s not for the officeless to take advantage of the situation then run off the paying customers. How about a timer on the free internet? Barnes & Noble should not be a library for the non-paying either.

GREY GHOST OR WHITE KNIGHT

August 5th, 2011
10:35 am

The old Georgia Tech eatery in the basement of the Admin building had no chairs just standing height tables.

The Germans call them Schnell Imbess ?? quick eat.

Never a crowd.

No reason to go now

August 5th, 2011
10:39 am

You mean to tell me that that the only reason to go to Starbucks now is for over-brewed, over-priced coffee? That will be all she wrote Star*ucks.

wayne robinson

August 5th, 2011
10:41 am

I’m always amazed at the selfish lack of respect so many people show doing stuff like this. Starbucks is providing an atmosphere to attract people to come and enjoy a coffee, not providing office space. But some people are just oblivious to good manners and doing what’s fair and right. They should be ticketed and sent to manners school.

David B.

August 5th, 2011
10:43 am

While I don’t even like Starbuck’s coffee, I can’t blame them or any other coffee shop for doing this. The commenter in the article is right.

john

August 5th, 2011
10:53 am

You guys are pricks! First of all, starbucks coffee sucks. The expresso taste like dirt compared to other places in the city (octane). Next, the only people who are going into starbucks are young kids trying to be hip and business people who are to rushed to smell the roses. When i go to a coffeeshop its to study and relax. Im not one of the people who sits there and doesnt order tho. I generally spend around 20 dollars on food and drink in a period of 5-6 hours of studying. So the way i see it, im adding to the environment by making it not suck as much, and Im spending way more than you corporate suit dicks and your lattes or your annoying kids and their frappacinos. Maybe you should take your arse to mcdonalds and get their coffee. Or keep going to starbucks cause im not gonna have to look at your annoying faces.

HP

August 5th, 2011
10:54 am

Panera is notorious for this. I have a tray full of the $15 lunch I just bought and can’t find a place to sit because all the tables are taken up by people and their laptops, bags, etc…And NO food or drinks purchased there. It’s not right, point blank.

Answer Man

August 5th, 2011
10:54 am

Good for Starbucks – make it stick, and Panera too.

Many of these lap top using table hogs more than likely are pretending to still have a job. They leave the house and make their spouse or significant other think that they are going to the office or going to call on clients when in fact they are “hiding” out until it is time to go home. Hard to believe they could be “working”.

Either that, or they are fulfilling a need to have others see them as hard working, technically savvy contributing members of society.

Sorry, but a big fail on both of these scenarios. Plus you are all a pain in the *ss to the rest of us, so the next time you see some real “customers” staring at you you’ll know what we are thinking.

I'm just sayin'...

August 5th, 2011
10:57 am

Starbucks is in the business to make money. Undoubtedly, making themselves an internet cafe was a ploy to draw customers who’d continuously load up on their coffee and food during their “visit”. Unfortunately, the thinktank at Starbucks did not factor in the “what ifs”– such as “what if people only buy 1 cup and stay all day.” You’ve got to keep in mind that Starbucks has business expenses, folks.

Business 101: If you’re not making money, you’re losing it.

If you can’t understand the world of business, then consider how you’d feel if someone camped out at your house all day, ate up your food, ran the tv all day long, washed loads of laundry, and then only left you a couple of dollars. Yes, it’s an exaggerated example, but it’s the same concept. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

The Starbucks issue would make a great case study for an MBA program.

acof

August 5th, 2011
11:07 am

The level of whining is simply tremendous. Starbucks sloths are, to quote that amazing philosopher Homer Simpson, “people who use big words to sound smart.” I applaud the effort to remove the tiny-glasses, turtle necks, and psuedo-intellectual conversations…i want a damn coffee and don’t want to be burdened with someone regurgitating what Hannity said last night about Obama and the “debt ceiling” as if the d-bag who is spewing this garbage out understands it. Get your coffee, get out.

Will

August 5th, 2011
11:07 am

I can’t believe some of the comments on here, people saying if they pull the plug then they are done with starbucks. your kidding me right? Have some of you all worked in the restaurant/retail business before, Its almost always hard or impossible to tell someone no because it will make customer service look bad, so b/c of that people naturally assume its ok to soak up the free wifi/power. I applaud Starbucks for pulling the plug, sure they could charge a fee to use extended WiFi or power usage. But the point of the hotspots was supposed to be a temp place to check email while sipping your coffee, not to spend an entire morning there as your office

Answer Man

August 5th, 2011
11:11 am

Hey John, ever heard of a library? Maybe you should park your “arse” there unless you can’t stand the quiet and need a lot of attention.

Spending $20 in a 6-7 hour period in a coffee shop is not going to keep the place in business, believe me. And when the place goes out of business you will be one of the first to complain about how there are no “decent” places where you can get a coffee and a sandwich.

There’s a bigger picture here, step back a little and try to see it.

acof

August 5th, 2011
11:12 am

Hey David — Did you just write “We are not hermits, we are people that need to interact, watch, laugh, and complain. It’s what we do.”….sorry to burst your Devry-educated bubble, but….yes, you are. Starbucks isn’t in the business of capturing the son’s power so that you can see the latest version of Dungeons N’ Dragons on your over-sized MAC. They sell coffee. We don’t need to be told that “we don’t understand.” We do. What we understand is that turle necks are not appropriate in August, your toyota tercel is too small for the 80 un-funny bumperstickers you have, and no one cares about your louder-than-normal conversation about the plantation workers who harvest Komodo Dragon vs. Pike’s Place. Get your coffee, get back to your mom’s basement, and stop clogging up the place.

JoeV

August 5th, 2011
11:13 am

@john

Wow, we should all be so lucky to be graced by your presence at our local coffee shop. It must be so awesome to single-handedly make an environment “not suck” as much.

You should probably see a doctor about your head being THAT far up your a$$.

Middle ground

August 5th, 2011
11:14 am

I used to go into starbucks and admittedly I am one of those people that would stay usually 45 minutes to an hour and sometimes more like an hour and a half but not often. And possibly get one refill but I would also buy one of their overpriced sandwiches if I was going to be there for an hour. But people spending 4 or 8 hours in there and basically making the place their freaking office. All it takes is a few bad apples to ruin it for everyone.

As to the people complaining about going in and wanting to sit down and enjoy the place without people everywhere with laptops slouched all over? Well all I got to say on that is if they paid for their coffee just like you did they they have a right to take up a seat inside just like you do if all you’re doing is meeting someone there for a coffee. They just don’t have a right to sit there for 2 or 8 hours or more. Otherwise with or without a laptop you’re both taking up a seat and you both paid for a coffee.

Blog referee

August 5th, 2011
11:20 am

acof,

You’re a pretty judgemental and angry person. No point in people being in there for hours on end but you don’t have any right to tell people to get their coffee and get out of the store. If people want to relax for 30 minutes or so to enjoy their coffee and check some email then so be it. That was the whole intent of starbucks granting wi fi access to begin with. You got some issues you need to work out.

really?

August 5th, 2011
11:21 am

Really? People are mad that there are no printers at Starbucks? And it’s annoying to have kids running all around while you work on your finances? You do realize that it’s a coffee shop and not your personal office??

Blog referee

August 5th, 2011
11:25 am

Sorry, but a big fail on both of these scenarios. Plus you are all a pain in the *ss to the rest of us, so the next time you see some real “customers” staring at you you’ll know what we are thinking.- Answr man

Answer man,

Just another judgemental person. How exactly are you going to differentiate between those of us that stop in for 30 minutes and the jerkoffs who do spend hours on end? Yeah. I know that some are obvious like the ones that bring file cabinets in. But what about the others that just have a notebook and their laptop and bag? Who the hell died and made you judge of who is abusing the practice and who isn’t and who made you and acof the judges of who is a loser, who has a job, and who is faking work. Ya’ll need to get a grip and let go of some of that pent up frustration.

McCoy Group Inc.

August 5th, 2011
11:25 am

I applaud Starbucks… I hope other cyber cafe’s do the same. Something that started good and then turned bad is about to become a thing of the past. People (who are not really customers) think that it’s ok to sit in a cafe for hours a day and pay nothing. The people this affects are not the people Starbucks will miss… Think about it…. they were not paying customers anyway….

Michelle Obama

August 5th, 2011
11:26 am

Starbucks gives me the poopsquirts

Chris

August 5th, 2011
11:29 am

Justine, your’e spot on. Start the new social revolution. Remove Wifi from all cafes, coffee shops, and pubs and let’s see if people are in fact social? If someone wants to be tethered to the net, will they stay home for that. Besides, iPhones are putting a sunset on PCs in the coming years. The only other step will be to figure out how to deter people from spreading out thier paper files in public places.

The community organizer

August 5th, 2011
11:29 am

I will appoint a coffee czar to look into this matter. I want to make sure an evil corporation like starbucks isn’t abusing the people. And if my czar finds out that the rumor is true that starbucks is not providing printers for the customers then I will have the czar refer the case to Attorney General Eric Holder over at the department of payback.

not quite

August 5th, 2011
11:32 am

Besides, iPhones are putting a sunset on PCs in the coming years

Nope. Not quite. I love my top of the line Droid and look stuff up all the time on the internet when I don’t have my laptop. But the bottom line is that it won’t replace the speed of a laptop connection nor the dependability and it will never replace the big screen that a laptop gives us.

Samantha

August 5th, 2011
11:34 am

Good! I’m happy they are pulling the plug on laptop users. It’s a shame how they just walk into a starbucks and sometimes actually order something and sit for hours on end using their laptops. If you can’t afford a new battery then you don’t need a laptop! Electricity is high as he!! is hott…I can only imagine how much money Starbucks will save when they block all of their outlets. Good for you Starbucks! :)

Roger

August 5th, 2011
11:41 am

Power to the People – sorry I was out doing something worthwhile and could not get back to you. A $2.00 cup of coffee is a $2.00 cup of coffee. We both know what you are and God bless the world that will have to forever live with leeches like you and your ilk!

MrLiberty

August 5th, 2011
11:41 am

An unfortunate though not expected response to our “I want everything for nothing” american culture. Good for Starbucks for making a prudent decision. Their business model is also unfortunately based on the Federal Reserve created financial bubble so who knows how long they will ultimately last, but certainly cutting off the parasites may prolong their existence.

cm

August 5th, 2011
11:44 am

smart decision

rastus brown

August 5th, 2011
11:51 am

Dey owes us a place to sits and use hour computers. Some places even gives discounts to us.

godoggo

August 5th, 2011
11:54 am

I’ve always wondered how much change in “power use” of the average Starbucks store over the last 10 years ? Im sure 20 fold !

In order to make it an entitlement….You need to hire “Jesse lovechild Jackson” and his Rainbow Push coalition…..he can do a shakedown on Starbucks like he has done with other Atlanta Corporations to settle race initiatives…….If in any way it affects minorities of any kind…..he can make it an “Entitilement”…..and we can all have “Common ground”….can i get an Amen ?

jt

August 5th, 2011
11:56 am

Guess these people will have to go back to their Mother’s basement and in their underwear!!

What a bunch of “Nerds”

doug

August 5th, 2011
12:06 pm

Why doesn’t somebody in the establishment have the balls to put these losers out. “We have the right to refuse service to anyone”. After all..who cares if they don’t comeback…they are not spending money anyway!

furious styles

August 5th, 2011
12:34 pm

HAHAHA, You see what happened to Borders! Too many people parking and not buying anything, taking up space and using up power. Coffee houses take notice or suffer the same fate.

Sick-n-Tired

August 5th, 2011
12:39 pm

Unlike the Government, at least Starbucks is doing something about their so called “entitlement” crowd. It’s not Starbucks place to give these freeloaders a free office. Now, if Obama and stupid liberals will learn the same lesson. It’s not the taxpayers responsibility to keep paying higher taxes to fund all these entitlement programs for all the lazy bums (seniors excluded. They worked all their life for the SS and pay medicare and medicine premiums like current workers pay insurance premiums)! I’m talking about the rest of the population. Get a job!

Grits

August 5th, 2011
12:48 pm

I hope Subway will too.

Say What???

August 5th, 2011
1:06 pm

Holy cow…. Please tell me “Power to the People” is simply a troll who is trying to stir the pot. No one can really have that type of opinion and openly voice it, right? If not, this country is doomed.

For those who do think like “power”, I am curious to see where our arguments diverge. Tell me which of these statements you disagree with and that might help me:

1. Starbucks is a business not a charity. Yes or No
2. The purpose of a business is to make a profit. Yes or No
3. A business makes a profit by selling their goods and services for more than it costs them to make or provide them (Profit Margin). Yes or No
4. To grow a business, a company needs to grow its profit Yes or No
5. To grow their profit, a company needs to sell more product/services or increase their profit margin by lowering their costs or raising their prices. Yes or No

Okay, now on to specifics about Starbucks:
6. Starbuck’s main source of profit comes from selling coffee and food items: Yes or No
7. In order for Starbucks to increase their profit, they need to sell more coffee and food: Yes or No
8. Customers who come into Starbucks with the intent to buy a beverage/snack and spend a short amount of time in the store enjoying their purchase may take their business elsewhere if there are no available seats: Yes or No
9. Turning away repeat customers will hurt the business: Yes or No
10. That lost business cannot be made up with customers who sit for hours, who only purchase one beverage: Yes or No

Thank you for your comments. I really want to see where we differ….

Finally, let’s move on to Starbucks customer:
8. Starbucks customer can be broken down into to main groups: (A) Those who come in, purchase a beverage and/or snack, leave or spend a short about of time reading, talking with friends, or sufing the internet for a short (30 mins or less) period of time; and (B) Those who come in, purchase a beverage and/ or snack, sit down at a table, plug in their computer and work/ surf for long periods of time (1 hour or longer).
9.

Say What???

August 5th, 2011
1:07 pm

Oops… I meant to delete everything after “Thank you for your comments”…. Sorry about that…

Matt

August 5th, 2011
1:13 pm

Lingering is rude at any restaurant/cafe. I work at a breakfast and brunch restaurant, and people camp out all the time, ignoring the line of customers waiting for a seat, and stay for up to 2 hours after they’ve finished eating. Go home you slobs, and let some other customers use that table!

My restaurant has free WiFi as well so I expect to see a few of the people mentioned in this article after a while.

BW

August 5th, 2011
1:18 pm

Good. I hate those hipsters that are a drain on society. Send all those beatnick freeloaders elsewhere. Just as long as they don’t migrate over to the Dunkin’ Donuts. Then I would have to run over their feet in the parking lot.

James

August 5th, 2011
1:25 pm

are you kidding? You don’t know this is true but you publish anyway. The ajc is a tabloid……

YFI

August 5th, 2011
1:26 pm

Power to the People, you are pathetic with your “I was there first”. You sound like what you probably are a whining geek. The hurried business people with their disapproving stares are there to actually BUY something, rather than to free ride on a business’s utilities and take up space. If you need to get work done, do it at home, at school or at an office. Starbuck’s like Panera, is an eating establishment – not a branch office for you.

Pat

August 5th, 2011
1:29 pm

pull the plug on the moochers.

tom

August 5th, 2011
1:41 pm

I must admit, I used to visit Starbucks for this purpose. But it was maybe for an hour at a time. We’ve all seen these people in starbucks before, it gets annoying b/c you know they aren’t buying anything.

Peachy Pie

August 5th, 2011
1:41 pm

I am an almost daily visitor to Starbucks, I purchase, tip and verbalize my appreciation to the employees.

Can someone tell the guy who sits plugged in for hours, buys nothing, demands unlimited cups of water, and expects his outdoor table to be free of pollen and other debris to take his parasitic behaviors elsewhere. In addition, for the fellow with the iMac, printer and 23″ monitor, get a dolly and wheel your mobile office to a more appropriate location. And tell the artist that he can pack up the canvas, brushes, paints and water cups and ride on to the SW Arts Ctr on New Hope Rd. And to the freeloaders who came in with a Pizza Hut pizza, why did you come in, purchased nothing but left with 4 free cups of water? OMG! Moreover, to the obnoxious, free loading chess players, across the street you will find the nice gazebo courtesy of Fulton Co. And ma’am, the McDonald’s supersized lunch bag, may I take one of the two tables you are occupying?

Bucks can go back to the old days of two hrs free wifi per day for paying card holding customers

Real Estate Dudw

August 5th, 2011
1:42 pm

I use Starbuck’s to meet clients at since where I show property is no were near our office and I may get the laptop out some, BUT….I normally spend $20 for my clients and myself on coffee and we are normally gone in 20 or 30 mins…..

I think that is what they indented the wifi service to be used for.

Jon

August 5th, 2011
1:42 pm

There is a solution: Coworking. Think of it as like working in Starbucks, without the overpriced burnt coffee and the freeloading. Co-working spaces are tailor-made for people like me who by choice or necessity work remotely but dislike the isolation of working at home.

There are several fantastic co-working spaces in Atlanta, like Strongbox West and Ignition Alley – check one out!

Hmmmmmm

August 5th, 2011
1:42 pm

Anybody Stupid enough to pay 4 dollars for a cup of coffee needs to be able to use their AC….. Jim, don’t let the little things bother you…… Good Grief, get a LIFE!

Karin

August 5th, 2011
1:42 pm

Wow- i have used Starbucks and Panera Bread for internet connection (no more 10 mins)
Did not know ppl were using coffee shops as offices.