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

dan

August 5th, 2011
1:45 pm

I was in the Starbucks about six months ago off of exit 8 up 400 in the morning and the place was packed. I got a seat barely next to a group of 6 in the corner who all had laptops up and were conducting a meeting. I thought this was crazy? I guess letting others know about your operations is not a secret? I thought I should have given my input about the pending layoffs they were having in Savannah offices?

hotinatlanta

August 5th, 2011
1:48 pm

If you don’t have to work in an official office, work at home. That way you have the luxury of your own coffee, work in your PJs, eat when & what you want. Pay for your own internet connection like the rest of us do. Quit sucking off these companies who are nice enough to “LOAN” you their WiFi. You don’t have that right. I experienced this issue at a Panera’s at lunch on a work day. There were 3 of us who couldn’t get a table because there were several people who took up tables/booths for 4 and there was only one person – using the WiFi and power. Just Rude!!!!! It truly has become an “You Owe Me” society.

john

August 5th, 2011
1:51 pm

You go Starbucks. Chiselers be gone.

Ghostrider

August 5th, 2011
1:56 pm

If I were a Manager of one of these establishments I throw your your useless A$$es out. What a bunch of scumbags.

Honest Abe

August 5th, 2011
1:57 pm

I wish somebody would pull Starbucks’s plug.

Garth

August 5th, 2011
2:01 pm

Starbucks’ coffee is some of the worst in the world. I guess junkies bought it just to hook up their electronics. So many people are wasting their lives away in this overpriced neo-hippie joint.

jay

August 5th, 2011
2:07 pm

If you’re part of the group complaining about StarBucks using blank faceplates to cover their power outlets, you’re probably the reason why they’ve come to the conclusion that its necessary to do that. StarBucks isnt the public library. The public library is the public library. I see people go into Starbucks, not buy Jack and go to sleep on the couch or play on the internet.

Morenike

August 5th, 2011
2:08 pm

This makes perfectly good sense. And I am amazed at the craziness of people who actually think that it is okay for them to go sit in any restaurant, eatery, bar or grille and use up electricity. Get a grip. Charge up your own dang computer and connections! Let’s get real here. They should have done this a long time ago.

Bravo, Starbucks

August 5th, 2011
2:09 pm

I hope the rumors are true. I buy starbucks coffee/food through the drive thru becuase I am so tired of interrupting the work day of so many people who use Starbucks as an office. Where we live, Starbucks closed down two of its larger “traditional” coffee shops in favor of opening up the much smaller units with the drive thrus. Bravo! I think 30 minute wi-fi cutoff is a bit short – should be an hour. Also, I’m all for power hogs paying for the charge, even if it’s just a buck or two. If people are making money while working at starbucks, why shouldn’t starbucks recoup costs too?

Hindu Elvis Pimp

August 5th, 2011
2:12 pm

The coffee at Starbucks is horrible. The only reason people go to Starbucks is to tap keys on their lap top, trying to make everyone else they are writing a screen play or novel.

We don’t believe it. Find a home.

It’s almost as bad as the yuppies that come in on a Sunday morning with the newspaper to read. They are not doing it for fun, they are doing it for the attention. How the hell is Starbucks more comfortable than your home?

Tony

August 5th, 2011
2:21 pm

I once had an interview in a Starbucks in the Airport. That was the strangest place I’ve ever done that. Maybe someone could make money on the side by bringing a wireless printer to Starbucks and then charging 25 cents a page to anyone that wants to use it.

Kelly

August 5th, 2011
2:24 pm

Starbucks is a convenient place to meet a client as they are everywhere. I do go there to meet clients, I always buy $4.00+ cup of coffee for me and my client(s)t, and stay no more than an hour. I kind of thought that was one of the drawing factors of Starbucks.

Diversity BLOWS

August 5th, 2011
2:25 pm

Coffee, particularly Cappuccino, is an EXCEPTIONAL laxative.

How can anyone, even worthless 0bama Lovers, sit at table for 8 hours straight after consuming one or more without having to go defecate?

cuppa joe

August 5th, 2011
2:31 pm

No one will miss these slugs. Starbucks won’t lose any money.

cuppa joe

August 5th, 2011
2:34 pm

I think the 30 min limit is a little short. You should at least get a half hour.

Michael

August 5th, 2011
2:39 pm

So much Hatorade.

john

August 5th, 2011
2:39 pm

i dont see how your just assuming everyone in there that is working is just buying one drink. Like i said, most people i know who study in coffeeshops do so in order to get out of the house and actually get work done, and whats the problem if they are actually buying things. like i said you guys are pricks, just find a starbucks with a drive through. Problem solved then you dont have to get your fat asses out of the car to get your coffee.

What makes you better because your only there for a few mins. The way i see it, your taking up the seats from the people who actually have things to do and are buying more than one coffee.

crackbaby

August 5th, 2011
2:41 pm

It would be better if the slugs were simply asked to leave out loud in front of paying patrons. If they make a scene, call the cops. Any establishment can refuse service provide it doesn’t break the law (racial discrimination, etc.).

Paying patrons (non-slugs) should break out in applause when it happens.

Alatsea

August 5th, 2011
2:43 pm

More parasites that need to be told pack your c r a p up and hit the road.

Night Stalker

August 5th, 2011
2:44 pm

Let Starbuck’s do whatever they believe is in the best interest of their employees, owners and shareholders. The moochers will find another place to leech until evetually every place is forced to address this problem.

Steve

August 5th, 2011
2:45 pm

This whole thing kills me, especially all the ones from people of the freeloading mindset that this kind of thing creates. David Quinn’s was an especially laughable pile of enviro-hipster nonsense. You people don’t seem to get it. Starbucks is not a library. It is not funded by our tax money. They do not owe us anything beyond what we pay for. No business should be expected to provide services to their patrons that they can not afford to provide, especially not in this economy, NOR should they try to innovate just to be able to continue to provide a level of comfort that appeases those with am entitlement/welfare mentality that is entirely divorced from reality. If those of you who sponge off Starbucks for 8 hours at a time are going to boycott, then I say great because it’s been my experience that people like yourselves often lack dignity, class, and common decency in other regards as well. Maybe you should all just do the world a favor and stop leaving the house.

Michael

August 5th, 2011
2:46 pm

We have the entitlement babies hogging seats and outlets and even more entitlement babies complaining that they cannot get a seat. Yet the second set of entitlement babies must go there every day to witness this repetition.

This all sounds like the typical Scotch-Irish American work ethic thing where “Someone doesn’t work as hard as I do and therefore doesn’t deserve ____________”

rexdogma

August 5th, 2011
2:46 pm

30 minutes would be good. You should see all the slugs camped out at your local library running their companies on the tax payers dime. Not only hogging the power supply but also using the libraries computers for hours at a time.

Keeping It Real = Rubbish

August 5th, 2011
2:48 pm

If it weren’t for welfare, shoplifting and/or smash-and-grab antics, many of these MARTA-riding freeloaders wouldn’t have laptops to suck up power from Starbucks in the first place.

Ever wonder how many of OUR hard-earned tax dollars, re-distributed to the lazy and bottom-feeders of society as part of “government assistance,” go to buy Starbucks Coffee or contraband?

Roekest

August 5th, 2011
2:49 pm

Let’s take it further: let Starbucks just kneecap the “slouching slobs” if they go over 30 mins. Why pull the plug when you can just cripple the SOBs? Sends a more…concise message.

uncleduh

August 5th, 2011
2:52 pm

I’m recently unemployed and rely on the free wifi at Star Bucks so I can watch my George Lopez reruns.

Will this affect me?

Jennifer

August 5th, 2011
3:01 pm

Remember when going to a coffee shop was a social experience? When you could meet a friend for coffee and conversation as well as make new friends there, too? Now coffeeshops are filled with laptops. People don’t look at each other but at a screen. Their “friends” are on Facebook. I don’t feel comfortable going to any coffee shops anymore because the “patrons” act like I’m intruding on their work. I met a girlfriend at a coffee shop at 10 AM, and we were speaking to each other in a normal tone of voice. Literally ALL the other patrons had laptops and several glared at us for having the audacity to have a conversation. It’s a social environment, not an office!

Ghostrider

August 5th, 2011
3:02 pm

@ john

John you can’t acutally think it’s ok to go to any establishment and sit for hours at a time. You are the BIGGEST LOSER, why dont you go and get a JOB and pay your own internet and power bill. Now go back to Mommy’s basement you worthless P.O.S.

acowa

August 5th, 2011
3:08 pm

Now all of the slobs can move to McDonalds…where they belong in the first place.

10Cent

August 5th, 2011
3:09 pm

Just get a french press buy some decent coffee and get your work done at the public library

Saundra Taylor

August 5th, 2011
3:12 pm

I don’t drink coffee so I do not go to Starbucks but can understand their problem with the people who use it as an office. Panera Bread has the same problem. It is troubling that as a paying lunch customer I can’t find a place to sit due to office setups. I have even experienced meetings with 4-6 people taking up several tables and not eating. All the free loaders need to move on from these places after a limited amount of time.

emptycup

August 5th, 2011
3:13 pm

I owned a coffee shop where I had to deal with the same freeloaders. They would come in at opening and use my shop for a office all day buying a small cup of coffee and getting free refills. I finally had enough and when I approached them they usually commented I’ll never come back here again. Hurt my feelings

woodrow

August 5th, 2011
3:18 pm

Starbucks claim to fame is their ‘atmosphere’. Now we see that abuse of that ‘atmosphere’ is causing them to question their business model. It will be interesting to see how they survive just being a ordinary coffee shop. I actually like Dunkin Donuts coffee better.

DrKnome

August 5th, 2011
3:19 pm

A little bit of etiquette would go a long way.

I spend 1-6 hours/session at a local independent coffee shop 2-3 days/week. When my schedule at the office permits. I’m more productive there with the reading/writings tasks of my job than the office or at home. It also helps me wait out rush hour, saving 15 minutes on my morning commute. But …

I know the staff. They know me.

I sit at a one person table.

I’m self-conscious about being a freeloader. If the place got full and I was not consuming, I would leave.

I try to buy a coffee every hour or so (coffee is $2, refills are $1). If I’m there through lunch, I buy lunch ($8+). These costs are well worth it for my improved productivity. And I do recognize them as costs. I make sure to tip every day.

They are a business. If my activities are hurting their business (customers have nowhere to sit for lunch or have a conversation over coffee), they should ask me to move. I try to put myself in their shoes.

Munzir

August 5th, 2011
3:23 pm

All Starbucks has to do is impose a two hour limit on internet users. Just like some Atlanta Bread Company shops give you the code on the receipt for wifi, Starbucks should do the same. This is fair as they will still maintain business. If people want to stay longer, then people can buy another coffee for the next two hours. Starbucks use to have a two hour limit. But I don’t know what made them change.

But it does encourage business at Starbucks, when they offer free wifi. Or else I would be sitting at home and enjoying coffee at home. I am more tempted to go to Starbucks and have a cup of coffee with free wifi. Plus, I can tolerate others working on their laptops, keeping the noise pollution down.

Blondie

August 5th, 2011
3:25 pm

I have the perfect solution for this… Starbucks should get the Smarte Carte’s Rapid Charge Kiosk. They have them at airports for phones and PDA’s and it’s only $3 to charge. They could get one for laptops and tablets. $5 per charge. Boom, problem solved. It would also crowd all the loafers into one corner of the store.

Jim

August 5th, 2011
3:30 pm

Sounds fair. I sometimes will turn around and leave a Starbucks because too many people have set up camp and there is no place to sit. They should have a couple of tables they can rent by the hour for those who want to stay all day.

Ghostrider

August 5th, 2011
3:30 pm

@ DrKnome

Glad to hear someone has common sense.

Jan

August 5th, 2011
3:34 pm

Good for Starbucks, I guess we are some of the few who meet for Latte’s and a few minutes of friendship a couple of times a month. I applaud them for doing this because sometimes it’s hard to find a place to sit for all the “offices” that are scattered amongst all the tables. I hope our local Starbucks is one of the ones who unplugs.

Office Hog

August 5th, 2011
3:38 pm

The thing that annoys me most is that they don’t have faxes and the printer situation is simply atrocious!

Say What???

August 5th, 2011
5:01 pm

Dr.Knome, the difference between you and the others is that you are courteous and considerate of others. God Bless you, my friend. You just gave me a modicum of hope for our society.

Boss Hog

August 5th, 2011
5:20 pm

Before I retired (at 48) I used to hang out at a breakfast place in suburban Chicago. I’d plug into the wall, tunnel into my clients’ servers and do maintenance for about an hour. I tipped well and got visits from everyone who worked, managed or owned there. My laptop and cellphone were my office. Maybe put on a suit twice a month if I had to go into the city.

john

August 5th, 2011
8:56 pm

99% Deb? Really? I am in a Starbucks right now, and of the 12 patrons, 9 have laptops open. I come to this Starbucks nearly every day. I like the environment. I spend $5 -10. I stay for an hour or so, usually. My $1500 a year for 520 hours may not be much, but multiply that by how many of us? Per store. I was at a Chick fil a recently and apologized for staying longer than an hour. The manager said with a smile, “That’s fine, stay as long as you like and get refills if you want. A full room is a great ad.” He gets it.

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Answer Man

August 6th, 2011
12:35 pm

Per Blog referee “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.”

Answer: The same person that made you the “Blog referee “.

If people look at these “lap top table hogs” and see them as officious, lazy, inconsiderate, rude, anti-social, smarmy, unemployed, etc. whether they have been there for 8 minutes or 8 hours it is their judgement, and they are entitled to it. Unfortunately all lap top users in eating establishments are tarred with the same brush provided by the abusers of the priviledge. That’s a fact you’ll have to learn to live with.

Just Wondering

August 6th, 2011
12:51 pm

Has there ever been a lawsuit involving the mis-use of confidential information obtained from someone using a lap-top in a public place such as a Starbucks or Panera?

Would the establishment have any legal liability? Just wondering.

jj

August 7th, 2011
12:48 pm

Unfortunately, many of us no longer have an office.

Mary

August 7th, 2011
1:41 pm

I go to read a book for 30-45 minutes while enjoying my latte. I, too, thought people took advantage of the power source that Starbucks offered. They will not lose too much money as those cheapo’s didn’t buy but one drink the whole time they were there. Thank you, Starbucks!

Rosie

August 7th, 2011
3:19 pm

Look what happened to Borders. Lots of non-revenue-producing customers.

KakNiqueTree

August 7th, 2011
3:40 pm

Sure you can get coffee and electricity @ work, but you can get WAY BETTER coffee & electricity @ SB. They’re doing the right thing. Think it’s time to get rid of the ‘customer is always right’ garbage. Southwest Airlines has done pretty good for themselves not going by that BS. They actually support their employees.