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Tech-Unfriendly Cafes Say No Kindles Allowed 375

Posted by timothy
from the and-no-coffee-either dept.
theodp writes "At the risk of pulling-a-Groupon, I have a dream that one day my children will not be judged by their e-readers, but by the content of their character. The NY Times' Virginia Heffernan complains that many indie New York City cafes now heavily restrict, or ban outright, the use of Kindles, Nooks and iPads. Evidently, she says, too many coffee shops have had their ambience wrecked when itinerant word processors with laptops turn the tables into office space. Full-dress computers are one thing, says Heffernan, but banning devices the size of books is going too far, and it's anathema to the character and history of cafes. By contrast, Starbucks offers free, one-click, unlimited wireless service to their patrons, making it in Heffernan's eyes 'a flawed franchise that is squarely in the public good.'"
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Tech-Unfriendly Cafes Say No Kindles Allowed

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  • It's a free country (Score:4, Informative)

    by Relyx (52619) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @11:32AM (#35186724)

    Those cafes are quite free to ban eReaders, iPads and the like. Whether it will actually be enforced is another question entirely. Even if the management comes down hard, there is nothing stopping their customers going elsewhere.

    • by guyminuslife (1349809) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @11:34AM (#35186740)

      That's not the point.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Yeah, it is.
        - In a free country the Citizen owning the shop can ban any damn thing he wants to ban, just as I can invite your into my home, but ban you from wearing shoes.

        • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:01PM (#35186980)

          It's a cop-out and intellectual laziness to just say the cafe/shop owners can do whatever they want--we already know that. The discussion of weighing the benefits versus the disadvantages is nonetheless an interesting one. And, perhaps such discussions will give cafe owners food for thought in making their business decisions.

          • by Runaway1956 (1322357) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:20PM (#35187124) Homepage Journal
            Alright, I won't cop out. Cafe owners are in business for the same reason most other people are in business: to make a living, or money. Having been a truck driver for years, I spent MANY an hour in truck stop diners, reading the news, reading a book, or just killing time in some other manner. Uncountable hours. But - I wouldn't DREAM of sitting in the diner during their lunch rush hour, taking up space, while I read another chapter or six of Asimov's Foundation. As friendly and chummy as most truck stop waitresses, managers, and owners are toward truck driver's needs - THEY NEED THAT SPACE at rush hour! The average cafe desperately needs all the space available during meal times. And, between meals, many cafes are frantically busy with cleaning up, and preparing for the next onslaught. That is to say, unless the owner makes a policy of welcoming the idle into his establishment, his business space is BUSINESS space. Of course, I know how valuable it is to court those idle people with time to kill, reading a book. Make them welcome today, let them slurp coffee as long as they want, and they'll come back when they are hungry. Some places, anyway. All the same - if you want them to welcome your little distractions, you should take the time to educate them about how your distraction might benefit them in some way. I mean - do you stop at that cafe 3 or more times a week? Are the waitresses familiar with you? Have you ever TALKED to the manager? No, no, and no? Well - this seems to to indicate that you have little, if any value to the store owner. Hey, I'll bet that if you eat at the same restaurant every week, at least twice, the manager WILL remember you before long. Then, ban or no ban, if you pull your reader out for thirty minutes during non-rush hours, he ain't gonna say a WORD to you about it. In short - stop expecting a free ride. You gotta give a little to get a little in this world.
          • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @02:01PM (#35187806) Journal
            It's a difficult balance. No one wants to go into an empty cafe, but no one wants to go into a completely full one either. There have been some psychological studies on this, and I forget the exact number but I vaguely remember somewhere about 60% full being optimal for encouraging people in. This means that when you're less than half full, it's a good idea to encourage people to stay - give free refills to regular customers or don't complain if they stay and read without ordering anymore. On the other hand, once you're more than about three quarters full, you want to start encouraging people to leave (although not in a way that discourages them from coming back).
          • My wife works as an architect and we visited a cafe which she had worked on. We met the owner and she complemented him on his uncomfortable seats. Apparently he went through several iterations before he got the formula right. Too comfortable and people say to chat and stop buying. Not comfortable enough and people don't stay long enough to buy enough food. He doesn't want people sitting for hours with a laptop. The space they are using should be earning good money.

        • Our forebears, men like John Quincy Adams, worked tirelessly until slavery was extinguished. - Michelle Bachmann

          Maybe people reading history textbooks should get a pass and be allowed to read. There seems to be some need. I get the attempt at humor and any and all politicians are fair game. But perhaps Bachmann did something few expected and actually made an accurate historical reference.

          FYI. I am pro historical literacy not pro Bachmann.

          "Adams was elected a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts after leaving office, the only president ever to do so, serving for the last 17 years of his life with far greater s

    • by confused one (671304) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @11:35AM (#35186742)
      You've hit the nail on the head. If Cafe X bans the tablets then they'll see their customers walk down the street to Cafe Y, which welcomes them. There's nothing that says you have to do business with the cafe that bans the devices.
      • Absolutely.

        I think this has more to do with economics than ambiance. People with multifunction devices are more likely to plant themselves to a seat than a customer with a paperback. I'm sure there are people with traditional books that spend all day at a cafe, but they are outnumbered by the people with the electronic devices. More new customers equate to more revenue.

        I also think that as soon as more customers go to a competitor in sufficient numbers that generates empty seats, the cafe owner would reco

        • by jonsmirl (114798)

          I've walked out of Starbucks dozens of times since there are no seats to enjoy my coffee. I don't want to use my electronics, I'm trying to drink a cup of coffee. A couple of Starbucks near me are always occupied with long-term seat sitters and I won't visit them any more. I've come back two hours later and the same people are still in the seats.

      • Or cafe X will see an uptick in business as their tables turn quicker. Either way, it's the free market economy at its best.

        (Side note: this only works because in a place like NYC, there is a lot of competition. If you lived in a small town with only one coffeeshop, then this would be a completely different deal. (I'm looking at you Time Warner Cable.))

        • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:18PM (#35187106)

          Or cafe X will see an uptick in business as their tables turn quicker. Either way, it's the free market economy at its best.

          (Side note: this only works because in a place like NYC, there is a lot of competition. If you lived in a small town with only one coffeeshop, then this would be a completely different deal. (I'm looking at you Time Warner Cable.))

          But even in a small town, the store owner would be in their right to not allow kindles and other devices. A small town, probably has a smaller coffee shop, which probably has fewer seats that need to be turned over just as quickly as in NYC to be profitable. I've lived in a town of 30,000 that had a Panera's coffee shop. It was next to impossible to eat their during normal lunch hours because of their free wifi and all of the college kids sitting around on their laptops with a cup of coffee for hours on end. $2 for a cup of coffee for 3 or 4 hours of internet wasn't a bad deal for the kids, but it sure impacted business for the store.

          Their solution? During the lunch hours 11:00 - 1:30, you could only use laptops in one relatively small section of the place. They even had free internet terminals at some of the tables if you wanted. It turns out that the same amount of people were using the internet, but instead of one per table or booth, they all shared the tables and booths in that area. In that way, the store could still serve it's paying customers.

          The whole point of the above story is that it impacts even small towns.

          • by OnlyJedi (709288)
            The other point is that there is a happy medium between a shop being overrun by customers buying one coffee and staying for 3-4 hours, and the same shop banning all electronic devices, books, newspapers, and anything else that might keep customers in the store for longer. Your local Panera's seems to have found one such happy medium.
        • I'm quite familiar with small towns and the sole restaurants that serve them. Some serve better food than others - some have better service than others - and some actually reserve a table or group of tables for the general riff-raff. (Old men playing checkers, loggers off work due to weather, whatever, the riff-raff) There are some restaurants that will WELCOME a guy coming in, sitting in the community area, ordering a cup of coffee, then checking his email, maybe browsing a bit, checking in at the offic
      • Coffee shops used to be about going to meet people, sitting down with a good cup of coffee or tea. Now, if my local Starbucks is any example, its a computer room. You can't get a table in my local Starbucks a few hours after they open because they are all hogged by laptop wielding customers. It really ruins the idea behind what these places used to (granted Starbucks ain't all that great for many people). Instead of hearing people talking, that background sound which shows life of the establishment, al

    • by Joe U (443617)

      So, I can read a book, but not a Kindle?

      Kindle goes in book jacket cover, problem solved.

      • by thomasdz (178114) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @11:46AM (#35186832)

        Yes, you can read a book, but at MY cafe, only books that have been handwritten on velum are allowed... I don't allow any of them high-falootin' printing press -produced monstrosities. I demand my customers use the written word as God meant it to be used... produced by monks.
         

        • Vellum? You're a progressive, right? What is wrong with good old papyrus?
          • by thomasdz (178114)

            Papyrus? If I used that for writing, what would I use for toilet paper???

            • Well, I heard that those Egyptians use their left hand to wipe, then wipe their hand in the sand. That's one reason they generally only eat with their right hand. Of course, you can't believe everything that you hear, either, LOL
    • by morari (1080535)

      Who really cares though? I go to cafes to eat and drink, not play with my Nook or check my e-mail.

      • by Patch86 (1465427)

        Not to criticise you (I'm sure plenty of people think similarly) but it's sad that that's the way people view these sorts of places these days.

        I visited the island Jersey a few years back, which has a sort of 60s-Britain-meets-modern-France vibe. I remember a cafe where there were school kids playing chess, and old guys playing cards, and people reading books, and a guy doing paperwork with a laptop. I'm sure they were only buying as many drinks as they wanted, but they all seemed pretty settled in. A lot o

  • I know this is difficult, but if you don't like it, don't patronize the place there.
  • Starbucks advert? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fantomas (94850) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @11:36AM (#35186752)

    To summarise the article: indie cafes bad, but on the First of Some Month Starbucks will give you free internet for as long as you want. Not "a major chain of coffee houses" but STARBUCKS.

    How much was this person being paid to plug a company's offerings?

    • To summarise the article: indie cafes bad, but on the First of Some Month Starbucks will give you free internet for as long as you want. Not "a major chain of coffee houses" but STARBUCKS.

      How much was this person being paid to plug a company's offerings?

      I feel the opposite way. When an article obfuscatorily refers to "a major player in the [whatever] industry" I think it sounds weirder than when they just say which particular business they mean.

    • To summarise the article: indie cafes bad, but on the First of Some Month Starbucks will give you free internet for as long as you want. Not "a major chain of coffee houses" but STARBUCKS.

      How much was this person being paid to plug a company's offerings?

      Let's just stop putting the name of ANY corporation in Slashdot comments. We can talk about a fruit distributor's smartphone offering and how it is now available on a CDMA network. Hell, we might as well go all the way and stop using names altogether... like how a large North American country's national law enforcement bureau is requesting telephone records of its citizens, and how the aforementioned country has proposed budgetary cuts to their space program, weather programs, nuclear energy research, and t

  • Do they ban books? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @11:37AM (#35186764)

    As long as they ban books, magazines and other reading materials that's a good policy - I hate going to my local coffee shop for a quick drink and snack only to find that half of the tables are taken over by 3 person study groups who pushed 4 tiny tables together to make room for their books and papers, or rows of people on their laptops (some working, some just idling browsing the 'net, and that guy in the corner browsing porn).

    But to ban a Kindle or Nook just because it's electronic seems like a stretch -- browsing is not a joy on either of those platforms, so it's not like someone is going to be spending hours answering his work email. Though he may spend hours reading an eBook, just like he would do with a paper book if he didn't have a Kindle.

  • [citation needed] (Score:4, Insightful)

    by StDoodle (1041630) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @11:37AM (#35186766)
    Now, I'm not saying I doubt that there are cafes banning such devices. But cafes -- especially indie establishments -- have a long history of having their individual, quirky policies. Is this one or two cafes that have banned said devices, and only said devices? Have the cafes in question banned all extended table-takeover "loitering" (for whatever that means in such a place)? I just find it rather difficult to get worked up over a post with so little information behind it. (Ok, a small amount of info on cafe history... but without the present situation clarified, what good is that?)
    • Please, sir, be reasonable: requiring "facts", "citations", or (perish the thought) "evidence" of the sort that would earn a passing grade in Stats101 would be the absolute death of the sort of op-ed "journalism" that pads out newspapers across the land. How could you be so cruel?

      Were it not for allowing their scribbling hacks to inflate personal grudges and tiny-value-of-N anecdotes into "trends", the NYT would probably have to do something comparatively expensive, like actual investigative reporting, t
    • They also tend to go out of business in droves, then blame it on the corporate shops and their homogenous atmosphere(s).

      Quirky? How cute.... and essentially droll. I understand the need for turning tables, yet the thought of some over-caffienated jerk hovering over me as I try to finish a chapter is just a little too much. You remember Seinfeld's Soup Nazi? Welcome to NYC. Have a nice fucking day, and take your little Kindle with you.

      • by PCM2 (4486) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @05:03PM (#35188894) Homepage

        One of the things San Francisco is doing now is that, when developers want to put up big new office buildings, they have to include a certain amount of "public space" in their designs. I know a couple of buildings that do this, and the result is a really nice, large, open space in the lobby, surrounded by glass, with lots of tables and chairs and some plants, where anybody can go in and sit for free. So if the local coffee shop really wants me to buy my coffee and get the fuck out, then by all means... I'll take it up the road.

        Ah, but that's just the thing. Most coffee shops don't just want you to buy your coffee and get the fuck out, because a coffee shop with no people in it seems cold and uninviting, and it makes you wonder whether there's something wrong with the coffee. The traditional coffee shop atmosphere is one where people sip, read, quietly talk, study, and maybe do a little work. So they need a certain number of people doing just that.

        When I hear about coffee shops making up rules to kick those people out, though, I can only assume that it must be because times are flush. Lucky you -- enjoy it while you can. Cuz you opened a coffee shop in NYC, pal. Hipster trends come and go -- by definition -- and I guarantee you, your coffee won't taste as good as the next guy's in a couple years' time, no matter what you do. You might start wishing you still had some of those customers you alienated, back when it was still cool to pretend people didn't want Nooks and Kindles.

  • by Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @11:38AM (#35186772)

    where I could use my soldering iron and dremel. Also, the walls would be lined with component and fastener bins.

    • I am interested in your idea and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

      No seriously - a combination cafe/hackerspace would be awesome.
    • by wertarbyte (811674) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @11:59AM (#35186960) Homepage
      There is a location here in the city of Essen, germany that resembles your idea: http://www.unperfekthaus.de/e/ [unperfekthaus.de] It's a building housing an interesting combination of a restauraunt, art studio, electronic laboratory, stage etc. You can use most of the equipment for free, provided that you do it openly and thus allow spectators, each paying an entry fee of 5,5 EUR which includes an unlimited supply of coffee and soft drinks. Quite nice for hanging out, learning for an exam or soldering together some new devices. Of course, WLAN connectivity is available as well :-)
    • where I could use my soldering iron and dremel. Also, the walls would be lined with component and fastener bins.

      And we shall call it Radio Snack.

      • "Okay that will be one dielectric latte' ... would you like batteries with that? no... okay, can I have your ZIP code please?"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Imagine, people just maybe reading paper books, having good conversations with friends, being on dates, or just soaking up the smell of roasted coffee and the light perfume of the pleasant woman in the sweater next to you. No clickety-clack, no heads down and eyes glued to a screen, no thumbs frenetically moving over a tiny unearthly rectange, more people over 60 feeling at ease and not alienated, etc.

    Nothing wrong with full-on hardcore technology style cafes, either. It's just a choice.

  • by newcastlejon (1483695) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @11:43AM (#35186804)

    I can understand people wanting to avoid the sound of spiders scratching behind earbuds, or bright flashing colours in the corner of one's eye but why ban silent, monochromatic book replacements? This sort of café sounds to me like a gathering place of pompous poseurs (possibly goateed) sat there with tattered - by their previous owners - copies of Milne spouting neo-luddite claptrap.

    Here endeth the rant. If these places want to alienate paying customers then that's their right; it's just a shame there probably won't be another article on their inevitable going out of business. Of course, collecting all this sort [youtube.com] just makes it that much easier to avoid them, so I'm at best ambivalent about the whole thing.

    P.S. I figure if the only source is a paywalled opinion piece then it shouldn't count as news...

  • Turn off the wi-fi (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qwerty shrdlu (799408) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @11:43AM (#35186806)
    If they don't want these people hanging out, why go to the trouble of luring them in?
    • by TheABomb (180342)

      Because if they don't offer it, the customers will go to Starbucks, where the 700% markup on a cup of coffee makes up for the lost business the seatwarmers bring in?

  • by Neil_Brown (1568845) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @11:43AM (#35186810) Homepage

    If it's made clear before I parted with money for a drink that something non-obvious is prohibited, then I've no problem at all - I can simply take my patronage elsewhere.

    If it's only after I've bought a drink and sat down to read that I'm told, then I'm likely to be less impressed, but, at the end of the day, it's not really something I'm going to worry too much about - at worst, if I really do need to read something, I can walk out.

    Since I tend to get a bottle of water, and maybe something to eat, I probably haven't lost much either, since I'll take them with me, but I could understand why someone who's not using a takeaway cup might be loathe to leave their (often expensive) coffee behind, but, I do try not to get riled over a few pounds if I can avoid it. Life is too short.

  • by iceT (68610) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @11:52AM (#35186886)

    I'd wager it's not the device... or the table space that a laptop takes up... It's way more physical than that...

    It's about CHAIRS and WIFI.

    No one wants to go sit in a coffee shop and when you get there, there are no seats because people have 'set up shop' and are there for the long haul. They want you to enjoy your coffee, and LEAVE. Same goes for WIFI. What once was a sales feature to get you INTO the store: Free WiFi, is now something that KEEPS you in the store, but doesn't make any more money for the shops. How many people drink cup after cup of coffee the entire 2-3 hours they're sitting there? nope. they got one $2 cup of coffee, and then tie up the seats and the wifi for hours. And their WiFi is probably over taxed because of it...

    Books don't consume WiFi, and most people don't read a book for hours.

    • by Anonymous Psychopath (18031) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:08PM (#35187022) Homepage

      I'd wager it's not the device... or the table space that a laptop takes up... It's way more physical than that...

      It's about CHAIRS and WIFI.

      No one wants to go sit in a coffee shop and when you get there, there are no seats because people have 'set up shop' and are there for the long haul. They want you to enjoy your coffee, and LEAVE. Same goes for WIFI. What once was a sales feature to get you INTO the store: Free WiFi, is now something that KEEPS you in the store, but doesn't make any more money for the shops. How many people drink cup after cup of coffee the entire 2-3 hours they're sitting there? nope. they got one $2 cup of coffee, and then tie up the seats and the wifi for hours. And their WiFi is probably over taxed because of it...

      Books don't consume WiFi, and most people don't read a book for hours.

      Your entire argument assumes that the largest coffee chain in the US can't do simple math. *$ offers free, unlimited wifi for a reason. What do you think that reason is?

      • by Zakabog (603757)

        Starbucks are generally much larger than an indie coffee shop, plus not offering free wifi would hurt their business a lot more than it would help.

      • It's not that much of a problem until customers are being turned away because there's nowhere to sit. Maybe you can use the "simple math" to figure out how to cover expenses (with a little left over) when your tables are returning $2-3 per hour at peak times. Note too that they tend to be located in high-traffic locations where rents are high.

        It's a bit like airline pricing. The airline may be better off selling you a cheap ticket for a seat that would otherwise be empty, but you're not going to get that fa

      • by OnlyJedi (709288)
        Perhaps that reason is that Starbucks has economies of scale in place that small independent coffee shops don't. I'm sure Starbucks got a great deal from AT&T to provide the WiFi service, and is paying far less per month per store than any cafe would from their local ISP.
    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Kindles don't "consume WiFi" either, unless you're using it to browse the web, in which case you really ought to get a more appropriate tool for the job.

      Basically, Kindles are interchangeable with books and newspapers. If the cafe's okay with books, there's no reason to ban Kindles (or Nooks or any other dedicated e-reader).

    • by OnlyJedi (709288)
      e-readers don't normally consume WiFi either. Most have built-in 3G, and even the ones that don't only use WiFi when purchasing new books and the occasional web browsing. And here's a tip: most people don't buy e-readers for web browsing.
    • You might notice that Starbucks, which is a wildly successful corporation, offers free WiFi and welcomes people to sit and play on the computer. Why is that? Well because the drinks and snacks are tempting to people. If they buy a drink and have nothing to do, they'll leave when their drink is done. Fine, and that result works for Starbucks, but it would be better if the bought MORE drinks. If they stay, there's a good chance they will do so.

      Will they all do it? No, but then that is true of anyone who comes

    • I imagine a coffee shop with timers on each chair. Put in a quarter to sit in a chair for 10 minutes. Two quarters for 15 minutes. Three for 22.5. Four for 33.75, etc. The more quarters you put in, the less you get out of it.

      At the end of the time, the chair emits a soft ding and raises a flag. Put in more quarters for more time. Want to stay 30 minutes? No problem. Want to stay an hour? Reconsider your options.

  • by boguslinks (1117203) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:07PM (#35187014)
    Would it have been too much trouble for the author of the Times piece to actually name a place that is prohibiting Kindles? She managed to get in her Charbucks plug without naming any of the villains.
    • Iris Cafe (Facebook) [facebook.com]: First, the good news! Fall has brought everyone back to the neighborhood and the cafe is bustling with customers old and new! Sadly, this means we are no longer able to offer wifi/computer use at tables. We understand that means some of you will have to go elsewhere, but we hope you'll come by for a coffee or a meal when possible!

      • by cob666 (656740)
        Not offering wifi/computer use at tables is a FAR CRY from not allowing patrons to use eReaders. If its of for me to read a real book then its ok for me to use my eReader.
  • by Manip (656104) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:07PM (#35187020)
    This story sounds so tabloid I'm a little embarrassed that it is appearing on /. I'd read the story, except I can't. So I have to assume she cited no actual examples and basically could just as easily be making the entire thing up. You read these stories ALL THE TIME, it is like the cancer story every other week or the "shock action by authority figure" story you see every day.

    I bet you'd struggle to find more than half a dozen such places in all of New York STATE. Which, frankly, makes for an entirely non-event. I'm sure you can find just as many private clubs that don't let a certain gender or sexual orientation in at all...
  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @12:26PM (#35187148)
    It used to be that people would hang out in diners and Perkins to read the paper, drink coffee, etc... Then kids started coming in with their fancy laptops and their wifi. What they hell do they think they're doing with their new fangled computer thingys!! So the coffee shops saw a niche, took advantage of it and dinners lost a lot of patrons... Now those kids have gotten older, and they themselves don't want kids coming in and annoying them... what are they doing bringing in those new fangeled tablets? Where's the keyboard?!? It's just not right! Get those kids outa here! These sorts of coffee shops will be on the way out the door as soon as the new "Hang out and show off my techno gadget" shop opens.
  • So what? (Score:3, Funny)

    by techoi (1435019) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @01:06PM (#35187486)

    Their business, their rules. And hardly anything new. Victoria's Secret loves it if I bring in my wife...not so much if I bring my video camera...

  • is the Luce Center [si.edu], where, in addition to free wifi, they have a special table set up for laptops. From Wednesday - Sunday they have FREE coffee and tea from 12 - 4 PM. Slightly off topic, but good to know if you are in DC.
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @04:08PM (#35188684) Homepage

    "Many indie New York City cafes now heavily restrict, or ban outright, the use of Kindles, Nooks and iPads."

    That sentence should have been followed by the names of some cafes, and an interview with an owner. But no. So it's just blithering.

    The Times is slipping.

  • by QuincyDurant (943157) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @04:18PM (#35188712)

    These fools have somehow stumbled their way into ~$11 billion in annual revenue by letting people hang out and use computers. But, any day now, one of those Indies that knows more about running coffeehouses is going to blow them away. Caribou Coffee, with 451 stores, offers much better coffee than that unpopular junk sold in Starbucks' 11,000 locations.

    It's really hard to know why anyone would think of emulating a business model as clearly as unsuccessful as Starbucks:

    http://www.wikinvest.com/stock/Starbucks_(SBUX) [wikinvest.com]

    So take your Kindle and shove it where the sun don't shine, partner. We don't need your kind around here.

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @04:33PM (#35188778)
    It makes no mention of which coffee shops are making such bans, and offers no other citations on the "issue". It's mostly a wiki-dump of the history of coffee shops going back to the 16th century. This [nytimes.com] is about the only article I could find noting this "trend" - from August 2010, a lifetime ago tech-wise. The main issue being that some shops banned "computers", either outright or during certain hours, with no differentiation between laptops, tablets, or e-readers (or smartphones for that matter).

    It's a non-issue, a bump in the road. These shops, what few there are, will eventually adjust their policies. Nothing to see here, move along.

    .
  • by Enonu (129798) on Saturday February 12, 2011 @08:21PM (#35189766)

    I've YET to come across a coffee shop that embraces having WIFI at their establishment. It's like they just add it like decoration, and then whine and complain when there's a side-effect on how customers interact with the business. Here's some ideas:

    • Let's me order a drink or snack from my device w/o having to stand at the counter for 10 minutes listening to the espresso grinder and steamer.
    • Had some type of minimums for time spent. I'm totally fine with $5/hr if I'm taking up table space.
    • For that $5/hr, there should be a retractable Ethernet cord and power plug on the table itself. Awesome, nobody is going to trip over my power brick.
    • Hell, how about the ability to change the music like juke-boxes in 50s style-cafes?
    • Add that quarter to change the song to my tab, and let me checkout using paypal or whatever.

    That's just off the top of my head. Come on "indie" coffee shop owners, this is easy. Have your establishment embrace WIFI and the customers who want to use it! Please!

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