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Wireless Networking

Some LA Coffee Shops Are Taking Wi-Fi Off the Menu 312

Posted by kdawson
from the cup-of-bits-to-go dept.
As New York is putting Wi-Fi on wheels, reader Hugh Pickens notes a counter trend in Los Angeles coffee shops. (We remarked on a similar backlash in Seattle in 2005.) "Coffee shops were the retail pioneers of Wi-Fi, but Jessica Guynn reports in the LA Times that now some owners are pulling the plug after finding that Wi-Fi freeloaders who camp out all day nursing a single cup of coffee are a drain on the bottom line. Other owners strive to preserve a friendly vibe and keep their establishments from turning into 'Matrix'-like zombie shacks where people type and don't talk. 'There is now a market niche for not having Wi-Fi,' says Bryant Simon. After Dan and Nathalie Drozdenko turned off the Wi-Fi at their Los Angeles cafe, the complaints poured in, but so did the compliments: Lots of customers appreciated a wireless cup of joe at the Downbeat Cafe, a popular lunch spot in Echo Park. 'People come here because we don't offer it. They know they can get their work done and not get distracted.'"
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Some LA Coffee Shops Are Taking Wi-Fi Off the Menu

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 09, 2010 @08:20AM (#33187270)

    Yeah, like that "novel" they've been "working on."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 09, 2010 @08:22AM (#33187278)

    Piff, noobs just can't handle the power of wireless freedom.

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Monday August 09, 2010 @08:31AM (#33187324)
    "I'm sorry boss, how was I supposed to know you'd sent me the big file by email to work on during lunch? The coffee shop didn't have WIFI so I couldn't connect and see my email!"
  • by ciderbrew (1860166) on Monday August 09, 2010 @08:31AM (#33187326)

    This shit isn't hard.

    Drink less coffee.

    I'm almost sorry for that one. Almost...

  • by wickerprints (1094741) on Monday August 09, 2010 @08:40AM (#33187394)

    The greater Los Angeles area is huge. If you looked up "urban sprawl" in the dictionary, you'd find a picture of LA. Consequently, services like WiFi and GSM/CDMA are not as heavily concentrated as they are in cities like San Francisco or New York, where the population density is higher. In general, I find the idea of being able to drive around the city and expect to find open access points to be laughable. So where does that leave those annoying Hollywood hipsters and aspiring screenwriters? They can't be "discovered" if they stay at home, but they can't write their next big screenplay if they go out. That's why you see them crowding around the Starbucks and Coffee Beans plaguing nearly every street corner, trying to strike some self-imagined balance of trendiness and importance.

    If more shops shut down their WiFi, that would further concentrate these pretentious jerks in those shops that still offer a connection. Maybe that's not such a bad thing--you'd know which places to avoid. There's nothing wrong with spending a half hour in your local coffee shop having a drink and a snack while checking up on news or whatever floats your online boat. But really, who has nothing better to do with their day than to spend all of it huddled over their laptop, browsing the web, in a noisy and crowded coffee shop? I see students use coffee shops like it was an annex to their dorm room--wearing pajamas, headphones on, textbooks sprawled everywhere. That's just beyond sad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 09, 2010 @10:26AM (#33188462)

    WiFi at these places is a privilege, not a right. You don't get to just buy a $2 drink, take over a table and hog it for hours during the busier part of the day. These cafes should have made it clear that if you want to stay during the busier time, that's fine and welcome, but you WILL be buying food and/or a steady supply of coffee.

    That's certainly what I did when I used to beam wifi to the sbux across the street from my house back in 2001, but because I'm a stubborn learner it took me two days to learn that (a) they have decaf espresso and (b) I really needed to switch to the decaf after noon.

  • by mellon (7048) on Monday August 09, 2010 @10:31AM (#33188532) Homepage

    The "friend and regular" problem is trivially solved: you give them a new pin whenever they ask for one. The scammy freeloader knows better than to complain, and if they do, you just look at them patiently until they shut up. Come on, you work in a coffee shop--you haven't perfected the superior stare yet?

  • by Wolfger (96957) <wolfger AT gmail DOT com> on Monday August 09, 2010 @11:24AM (#33189382) Homepage
    There's nothing even remotely resembling this in any of the Matrix movies (or animes).
  • by StikyPad (445176) on Monday August 09, 2010 @11:25AM (#33189412) Homepage

    Yeah, coffee's super addictive. I remember when I was homeless, I used to scrape together any change I could find just to get my next java fix. When things were really bad, I'd break into coffee bars and steal bags of their strongest brew. Fortunately, unlike heroin, the price of a cup of coffee is only loosely tied to its strength. A strong cup of sludge may not taste as good, but honestly, that's like complaining that your china white is too clumpy.

  • by An ominous Cow art (320322) on Monday August 09, 2010 @12:48PM (#33190858) Journal

    You joke, but the one time that an office I work in has ever been broken in to, the only thing that was stolen was the coffee. All the expensive computers, monitors and printers were untouched.

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