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Laptop Squatters Who Buy More Than Coffee

So far, the Starbucks cafes in the High Desert haven’t limited WiFi used by laptop customers like some around the country have done. Cafe and coffee shop owners in New York, Florida, California and probably plenty of other states have been discouraging “laptop squatters” from  camping out all day. One cafe owner’s revenue increase of 30% since doing so has been reported repeatedly. Those owners who show their displeasure of laptop users by limiting WiFi access and available plugins may be seeing positive results of other customers. But laptop users are consumers who have needs as well as others. Why not find ways to cater to their needs instead of ousting the consumers from the cafes?

I have a blog meetup group that meets at various  places including a bookstore, Panera Bread, and at some of the Starbucks cafes. The bloggers buy coffee, pastries, and other items on the menus, not just a small coffee for the duration of the visit. Panera Bread has a wide variety of lunch choices, and numerous times some of the bloggers have stayed for lunch.

Ideally, a section in coffee shops intended just for the laptop squatters would work well. Provide plenty of outlets, WiFi, and a specific number of tables and chairs. When that section is full, additional laptop users that enter would have to either exit or wait until a table comes open. This would leave the main section of the coffee shop available for all who do not have laptops. A couple of my friends who are not laptop users quickly voiced their opinions today when I brought up this topic. One recommended laptop cafes, and the other friend said the laptop users should have to buy something every hour. I agree with the laptop cafe. I don’t feel that the squatters should be forced to buy something every hour. I’ve observed other groups just chatting for hours at a time without computers and haven’t noticed them jumping up every hour to make another purchase.

What is your opinion?


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  1. August 25, 2013    

    I have wondered how the coffee shops feel about this. I was in Perks this week for coffee and a chicken wrap with a friend. We chatted for a couple of hours. There was a man in the corner who was there when we arrived and when we left, and he never got out of his chair.

    When I was in college in 1990 – 1994, I teamed up with a classmate once for an all day study sessions for a geology final. We had breakfast lunch and dinner at the local Carl’s Jr. a family with 2 children came in and started to sit by us. The husband said, “Wait, these two are studying.” The wife looked around for a better spot and said, “Everyone is studying.” But when ya sit all day, ya gotta have food, so I doubt CJ’s minded too much.

  2. August 26, 2013    

    I’m sure there are plenty of people who sit all day like the man in the corner who never got out of his chair. It’s true, though, that we gotta have food even when we sit all day. In fact, I spoke with a Starbucks manager this past weekend who mentioned that. He said even the ones who stay all day get hungry. He said they don’t have a problem at their store.

  3. Just a HD Mom's Gravatar Just a HD Mom
    August 26, 2013    

    Internet cafes are all over the place, just not in this area. And yes, you are charged for using internet or the computers the café provides. I’ve been to various Starbucks (not here) and they have charged for using the internet. I think the business needs to cater to the needs of the community they are servicing. If it makes sense, great. But if creating time limits, incurring charges, or developing rules results in driving away customers then I doubt anyone is going to be making those kinds of changes. Especially when customers have the option of going someplace else without those kinds of restrictions.

  4. August 27, 2013    

    True! Internet cafes are great. I agree with you, Just a HD Mom – catering to the needs of the community is what business is all about!

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