How Starbucks might kill freelancing – or the other way around

Coffee shops and laptops

Rumor has it that Obama’s inauguration speech was written by his gifted young speech writer at a Starbucks. That may well be the most famous piece of work ever produced in a coffee shop, but it’s by far not the only one. When I think about coffee shops, I think of freelancers. And when I think about freelancers, I think of Starbucks. But how much longer will this happy symbiosis last?

What triggered my worries was a story in the Wall Street Journal the other day (sorry, took me a few days to sit down and write this). Some coffee shops in New York have started to limit the availability of WiFi or restricted the hours in which you can have a laptop on your desk.

The reasons for this backlash aren’t that hard to guess. Tons of people come to coffee shops to have one cup of tea, no sugar, and then spend the rest of their visit working on whatever they’re working on as freelancers. Hence, other people have no place to sit and enjoy their double chocolate muffin and vanilla latte. The recession may have made the situation worse, as some freelancers probably canceled their home broadband connection for good (if not their entire rental agreement). Ironically enough, the same coffee shops that now suffer the burden of too many freelancing, space-wasting customers once invited them in as a nice strategy to attract business.

I’m wondering how it actually happened that freelancing is now so closely associated with coffee shops? Was it coffee shops first and suddenly everyone thought, “Oh, brilliant… let me freelance, now that I can hang out at this coffee shop all day and night”. Or was it freelancers first until one morning over a cup of coffee some business school graduate thought “Oh, brilliant… all those freelancers want to hang out at a coffee shop all day and night”. Hen and egg thingy, I guess.

Now that coffee shops are restricting the use of laptops, will freelancing die? And without freelancing, will coffee shops die? The consequences will probably not be that severe, I must admit. But let me close with some cultural studies snobbery by saying that what we are is what we drink is what we write is what we are… right?!

93 responses to “How Starbucks might kill freelancing – or the other way around

  1. No, it won’t. Freelance writing in coffee shops not only predates broadband and the Internet, it predates typewriters and telegraphy.

  2. Very interesting. Will bookmark your site

  3. Well, don´t go to Starbucks. I mean, go and get to know your local coffee shop, non-chain one, encourage them to get a wifi-connection if they haven´t got one already. And surprise, enjoy hospitality as you become a regular.

    I´ve never experienced true kindness when visiting a chain as the employees are all about the business for obvious reason and the company, duh, as well. When a family starts a coffe shop there´s a different story, still within the frames of a sustainable business though. They need regulars and more importantly they enjoy seeing you – they invest time, money and care in the place. It serves as a second living room. Who would you invite to yours? Would you dare kicking out the people you´re fond of just because you´ve invented a rule to maximize your income?

    Support your local dealer😉

  4. Good post btw🙂

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  6. I see no reason for freelancing to die without the relationship to Starbucks and other cafes. One doesn’t need to be in a coffee shop or online to write at their laptop. If worse comes to worse, there’s always the free wi-fi in the parking lots of Staples, Future Shop and Best Buy. And as maxsohl commented, there’s always independent family-run coffee shops.

    • I’m with triciajune on this one. I’ve never looked at coffee shop customers (Starbux, Caribou, or other local spots) with laptop in tow and thought, “freelancer.”

      I have, however, thought, “student? self-employed?”

      What I’m more curious about are the people who bring SAT, GRE, LSAT, and other study aids. It’s not a mystery what they’re doing at the coffee shop, but I’m always tempted to ask, “So, you wanna be a lawyer/doctor/grad student/etc etc?”

  7. Per the content licensing rights, I’m reposting at http://www.coffeeindenver.com tomorrow. Fun thoughts Sebastian🙂

  8. A few things:

    The WSJ article only gives examples of how local coffee shops (Cocoa Bar, Naidre’s) are cutting the wifi. Starbucks isn’t. In fact, there’s a quote that says that Starbucks is actually keeping it because it helps them expand:

    ‘For some, the growing number of laptop-carrying customers with time on their hands is reason to expand. “I had to add more outlets and higher speed” in early June, says Sebastian Simsch, 40, the co-owner of Seattle Coffee Works. Starbucks Corp. coffee houses […]’

    So if anything, it isn’t Starbucks who might kill the freelancers, and it isn’t Starbucks who is kicking customers out.

    This is not to defend Starbucks but just to be factually accurate.

    That being said, I think local coffee shops aren’t realizing the importance of the wifi and of keeping their coffee shops a ‘freelancer haven’. Not only will they not get more customers, but they will drive them away.

    Maybe it’s worth considering becoming a freelancer in Mauritius?

    • For full disclosure:
      Seattle Coffee Works is NOT part of Starbucks Corporation.

      We have indeed a very liberal WiFi policy here at Seattle Coffee Works, and we have expanded.

      Come visit us at 107 Pike Street in downtown Seattle, Washington, USA.

  9. Full disclosure, I’m at Starbucks employee who doesn’t care if you abuse us for our WiFi.🙂

    My first comment is that the article focuses more on the indie shops, who I’ve noticed in my area are doing the restrictions. At my store, you either need an AT&T account or a registered Starbucks card ($5 minimum) for 2 free hours.

    I always write my blog from my local coffee shop, (mainly because I have an inability to write in my house — so many other things to do, like watch TV, read books, clean the grill…) but I always sequester myself into a small corner, taking the smallest table. Order at least two drinks and a meal, and of course tip generously. I find some basic courtesy goes a long way in curbing any animosity.

  10. It’s actually strange how this is working out in America, because the situation seems like the opposite in Europe–internet cafes are doing quite well there, and people can still go in, sit down, have a coffee and cake or whatever. Maybe the solution is to actually meet the needs of this niche and bring something like FloCafe to the U.S. so that the Starbucks isn’t closed to coffee drinkers.

  11. It makes sense to boot the campers. Restaurants make their money by turning tables, gotta keep the people moving. If someone comes in and there’s no place to sit, they might take business elsewhere.

    I don’t like the ‘one-size fits all’ policy, and think it should be handled intelligently on a case by case basis. If there are no customers, then whats the harm in having someone working and sipping coffee?

  12. I think there are a number of shops that offer free WIFI other than Starbucks so although there may be a slight hitch, everyone will eventually find an alternative access point…perhaps at a competing chain or local coffee shop. If all else fails, the local library probably offers free wifi as well.

  13. I like maxsohl’s suggestion of moving it over to a welcoming, independent coffee shop — that’s a win-win!

    But those folks could probably afford broadband at home if they weren’t spending $5 on a cup of coffee every day…
    Just sayin’. (Of course, you did mention buying only one cup of tea, which is a little different.)

    Nice post!

  14. Your thoughts made me laugh because I’m guilty of this too.. tea, no sugar.🙂 But I do think we’re not the only people setting up shop away from whatever rathole we call home. One of my affluent accountant-type friends visits his starbucks a lot too, the only difference is that he’s making lots of money sitting there, while I’m making next to none.
    I do agree with maxsohl, that we should support our local shops, but if the coffeeshop IS losing money because your poor, tattered ass is sitting there on a buck-98 all afternoon, wouldn’t you rather see Starbucks go under before your indie guys? Use them for culture and good coffee.. go to Starbucks if you’ve got work to be done.

  15. Look for wifi to be offered on the Ala Carte menu soon! FTW!

  16. This is an amazing post.
    Good writing.

  17. “Now that coffee shops are restricting the use of laptops, will freelancing die? And without freelancing, will coffee shops die? …what we are is what we drink is what we write is what we are… right?!”

    Those are all much too much generalised thoughts.
    I doubt much, that the pattern in particular places in New York, Boston, Los Angeles or Portland have changed much. And considering the strong wave of things-to-go, it is pretty much quite the same, as it was 5 years or so ago.
    Secondly, which places are we speaking of? USA? Germany? Italy? Vienna?

    Coffee consumption keeps going up.

  18. Cool post. I think they somehow go hand in hand as it is easy access that makes it soo great. Convenience is a important factor in freelancing, as you work where you can for as long as you can, and if you can get a quick pick-me-up all the better.

  19. I believe that if coffe shops want to stay in business they should find other way to cut back. Kicking people our is not they way to do it

  20. I’ve never worked in a coffee shop, surely this can be quite distracting. I’ve never really understood how someone would want to sit and work inside a shop full of noisy people, but heh, thats just my point of view.

    If Starbucks won’t respect these guys coming in to work on their premises and use their internet all day long, virtually for free. I guess I don’t really blame them.

  21. I thinck that sturbucks, don’t know what potential market segment is freelancing, they are oriented only to sell food.

  22. My local café has attracted a whole new breed of customer since I encouraged him to install wifi. He loves the professionals / freelancers who while away their day sipping coffee and buying his snacks.

  23. Great article! Our local starbucks hasn’t begun doing this yet. I still see many people with laptops. Sometimes I go to the local coffee shops and write. Even if they begin to do this, there’s always libraries. In fact, our library has a coffee shop in it. :o)

  24. Let me first of all compliment you for your thoughts and the way you expressed them.

    I don’t think freelance will die, but I had a side thought on this story: why do coffee shops (and sometimes other categories) go from one extreme to another? Wouldn’t it make more business sense to give a one-hour connection voucher to whomever buys, say, a latte or something similar? Add one-hour if you buy a muffin and double up if you come with a friend, and so forth.
    Given the current trend, I believe that freelancers would also appreciate this option.

  25. I haven’t spent a day writing in a Starbucks yet, mainly because my old laptop is heavy and has no battery life, but I can see the allure of it. Writing is a lonely business! At a Starbucks, you get the WiFi, the coffee, and maybe a little socialization to boot.

  26. I think there are a lot of genuinely good writers who started writing in Starbucks, and now all the geek chic bloggers and writers are hoping the creativity will rub off on them. Silly posers.

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  28. It seems that as a freelance writer, you would want to be more thrifty with your coffee purchasing decisions. Star Bucks is so over priced, I’m not sure how anyone justifies shopping there.

  29. Guess I should be relieved I’m a Luddite scribbling in my notebook with my bite-dented pencil! But yes, for some reason, nothing sparks the writing neurons like sitting in a cafe. Except maybe having a deadline.🙂

  30. “That may well be the most famous piece of work ever produced in a coffee shop…”

    I think not! Hemingway wrote most of his early stuff in cafes in Paris, as did many of his contemporaries.

    Also, while I can’t speak to things in the EU, in the US a lot of smaller coffee shops, particularly in urban areas offer free wifi, probably to compete with Starbucks.

  31. Good post. I don’t think Starbucks will kick the bucket soon though. They’ve got a whole army of call center workers, skinny-latte-ordering shoppers and PAs patronizing them.

  32. As long as there are pens, there will be writers.

  33. Rumor has it that Obama’s inauguration speech was written by his gifted young speech writer at a Starbucks. That may well be the most famous piece of work ever produced in a coffee shop …

    Um, Harry Potter, anyone?

    Anyway, where did writers of yore do their work when not at home? Whether in a tavern, in a diner, on a train ride, in the park, there were a million opportunities.

    In defence of Starbucks and indie shops both; if you went to a bar when they had their busy time and nursed a “house special” for a while, while typing away at a four-seater table, see how long before you’re booted. Why is a coffee shop different? It’s a way of providing a living for owner and employees; that’s the purpose of the business. I’ve seen a number of indie shops fail because people camped there for free, or brought in food and drink, or kids took the place over, made a ruckus, and drove off the paying adults.

    I’m sure they don’t care if they have wi-fi squatters at low ebb – they’re probably happy to have people in both as window dressing to look busy and draw more people, and as a robbery deterrent.

    But saying coffee shops are now killing freelancing is stupid.

  34. Obama’s inauguration speech was rambling and disconnected. There was no central idea. It sounded like it was written in a Starbucks, to be honest.

  35. Why don’t these freelancers spend the money they are using for coffee on a broadband connection at home? A coffee a day could cost $4. The person might purchase multiple coffees while there. Isn’t this common sense?

    I second the idea of supporting the smaller coffee shops rather than Starbucks. If the freelancer is working during non peak hours, it shouldn’t be a problem. A freelancer can probably see when he or she is needlessly taking over space that other patrons could use.

  36. I was astounded when I read that coffee shops would no longer allow laptop users to use their laptops in the shop. I agree that laptop users are a valuable customer base (whether they are writers, graphic designers, accountants, or students getting work done) and the shops should be aware of this. As a writer, artist and graphic design freelancer, I have often gone to coffee shops or related locations because it is a great alternate location to get creative work done, while also being around people. (Much better than sitting in my office or studio alone.) Coffee shops are places where ideas are inspired and exchanged — and I think that these shops should realize this and be proud that a speech, design or song was written, created or composed and inspired at their shop.

  37. It sounded like it was written in a Starbucks, to be honest.

    Although I didn’t hear the speech (I don’t care about it ;p), that line was golden. Here’s a penny.

    About the post, just a little thought of mine.

    If you can’t write in coffee shops anymore, why don’t you go, buy your coffee or coffee-maker, and write somewhere else. Has anybody ever thought of that?

    I can’t understand how can you write in such a noisy environment as a coffee shop, sheesh! They are making $2 profit daily from you and you sit there and waste their bandwith while someone who can make double the profit, drink it for 5 mins and leave after that can’t take a seat because you sit there for 3h trying to write something and you don’t have an inspiration because the same guy/s whine about not having a place to sit!

    Starbucks is not the only place where you can write freely!

    Freelancing ≠ coffee shops

  38. commercialspeech

    In Austin, the dynamic is moving the opposite direction. The proliferation of wifi means that customers have come to expect it and you’re viewed as out of step if you don’t have it. Just today a business contact chose Austin Java for lunch tomorrow because of the free wifi.

    Even some Starbucks offers it free in Austin, or no one will go there. Hell, even Chick-fil-A has free wifi.

  39. I get more work done in coffee shops that DON’T have wi-fi. That said, I don’t want my neighborhood ‘Bux deciding to pull the plug. Ideas percolate in coffee shops.

  40. Don’t Spill Coffee on your Laptop

    I’ll never forget watching a guy spill coffee on his laptop and cursing at his clumsiness with a ton of creative expletives. Did that end his young writing career?

    I’ll never know for sure, but I’m sure the Best Buy, next door is glad there is a Starbucks in their center.

  41. what about poor students who can’t afford to have broadband access in their cramped overpriced studio on the 7th floor (no lift). where will they use the internet now? i was one not long ago and i spent long hours at my local coffee shop using wifi

  42. i don’t think the absence of wifi will kill the writer. I don’t think it will ruin Starbuck’s business either. Sure, wifi is an added plus, but I don’t think that it is the deal breaker for coffee shops. Most people go there for the coffee, not the wifi.

    This article did bring up a question in my mind, however. If coffee shop employees get irritated with people staying using wifi, are they equally irritated by the people going there to study or write with the traditional pen and paper?

    That’s something I have always wondered…

    Great article!

  43. I agree with Flo. If anything, the decision by the local coffee shops helps Starbucks. Former coffee shop users will now “have to” go to a Starbucks if they want to work in that type of environment. Free WiFi is a major part of the Starbucks Experience, and if they have to make room new laptop users, they will. I’m presently writing this note in a Starbucks, and the tables are filled with caramel frappuccinos and skinny lattes– and laptops. Point being that the vast majority of laptop/internet users at Starbucks purchase drinks and/or food.

  44. How about broadband access in 5-star hotels?

    In Sydney Australia, Sheraton not long ago was promoting their free WiFi access in the lounge area. Sheraton on The Park in Sydney for example, has fabulous atmosphere + free WiFi access + coffee shop next to the business center. Not hard to see many freelancers bringing their laptops and sit there for hours without disturbance from shop owners.

    Maybe theses will be another hot spots for freelancers!

  45. Thank you; very well written and with great style. I enjoyed reading this.

    Your post reminds me of stories my mother tells me of Poland; there were rare weekends when she and a few other teens from the farming areas would get together in the nearest town, 2 hours away. They were poor, and could only afford one espresso each. They would sip the tiniest sips of espresso, and after the liquid was consumed, they would slowly eat the grounds, just so they would be considered still “patronizing”, and could sit around longer.

    Their meetings at cafes allowed for an exchange of ideas, stories, inspirations, and these were experiences that cannot be replaced with any others. “Freelancing” won’t die due to the enforcement of any restrictions at Starbucks or any other establishment, but if the enforcements are harsh and widespread, I think it will affect individual people’s “cafe experiences”.

    Thank you for this great post.

  46. I do my best work at home. This is where I can crank up the TV , CD, and the computer radio station and write. That’s my two cents for what it is worth. http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

  47. At what Starbuck locations are you all finding FREE WiFi? I live in Atlanta and everyone I go to charges or you have to pay AT&T or whomever they use. I do some of my best writing in Starbucks and other coffee shops. I have my own broadband through Verizon so their offering of WiFi is neither here nor there for me. I love their iced green tea. As for the story, I read it too. I agree if people aren’t paying for food or drinks but using up the free wifi, shops should limit them. I’m also one who has problems with people using Barnes & Noble and Borders as their own free library. So eh.

  48. Hi Sebastian!

    Great post.

    I’ve been blogging about people working out of their local coffee shop for a while now and what seems to be apparent is that historically coffee shops or coffeehouses were the birthplaces for many a corporation (e.g. Lloyds of London) and home to many a writer. I’m sure that history will show writers will find a place to camp out, somewhere, even if every coffee shop gives them the boot. However, I find that unlikely.

    Once city-wide WiFi becomes the norm, I’m sure that people will be hanging out in all sorts of places other than the coffee shop to write and do business.

    Right now there are co-working lounges specifically set up for folks who want an office without the office, but they feel the coffee shop is a little to informal for them. Wifi and coffee are all part of the membership fee.

    When it comes to the coffee shop office, there is the thorny issue of buying enough coffee (and goodies) to justify your parking in a coffee shop for hours at a time. A good rule of thumb is buy something once an hour plus tip generously, clean up after yourself and don’t talk loudly on your cell phone.

    Keep up the good work, Sebastian!

    Cheers,
    Lori

  49. Completely inaccurate headline as many people have already pointed out. WSJ specifically said that Sbux is NOT limiting wifi. This sloppy reporting simply gives bloggers a poor name.

  50. Incidentally…was this post written at a coffee shop on a laptop next to your cup of tea, no sugar? *LOL* I enjoyed this post very much!

    Also enjoyed the nitpick-y-ness of some commenters who are quick to point out inconsequential itty bitty details that do not detract from the context of the post as a whole…meh, those are probably the space-wasters who are reading your post while hogging a table that someone else could be sitting at🙂

  51. goooooood post!!!

  52. sleeplessincanada

    But where will those top-dollar business execs have their meetings now that they can’t enjoy their non-fat, no-whip, caramel macchiatos without their Mac Book Pros?

    But seriously, I do enjoy writing in coffee shops – Starbucks being a favorite. However, as much as I enjoy it, I don’t think being IN a coffee shop necessarily makes someone a better writer.

    Sure – it does provide a quick-fix for writers block and even cures the symptoms of procrastination. But coffee shops shouldn’t be something for writers to depend on. I know coffee-shop writing worked wonders for JK Rowling, but sitting in a bedroom with a view wasn’t too shabby for Jane Austen either.

    And when all else fails – just flock over to the nearest public library. With your thermos of Bucky’s coffee, of course.😉

  53. If there’s no laptops allowed… Not only freelancers die…

    Businesses too… Imagine a sales meeting at somewhere else, without the chance to buy your potential clients a good cuppa… Or at somewhere noisy and such…

  54. nice post… that got me thinking. I used to work at a Starbucks in Vancouver, and we’d get all sorts of wonderfuls that would come in, buy one large coffee and nurse it for hours and hours, everyday!

  55. I think JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter at a coffee shop, didn’t she?

  56. great post. ejoyed reading….

  57. Great post and topic. Coffee shops have become what sociologists call a ‘third space’, a place of community and connection, for freelancers and telecommuters. Even if you aren’t chatting it up with other customers, there’s a seense of belonging and connection while you work away on whatever project is at hand.

    We’re currently researching, blogging, and writing a book about the “coffee shop office” trend through our blog at http://coffeeshopoffice.wordpress.com/

  58. I wrote most of my first book in Starbucks , I am writing the second one mostly in Starbucks, and I am in even writing this response in Starbucks. I live in Taipei, where the coffee shop culture is quite different in that it relies on people like me and students who come and spend several hours. Coffee shops, especially Starbucks, are always packed here and almost no one drinks their coffee and goes. I do not think that limiting laptops will become policy-perhaps they looked at the situation in NY and saw that freelancers were killing their business. This decision will likely be made district by district. They could always do what Starbucks has done here-build huge shops with several floors and hundreds of seats.

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  61. I wouldn’t be surprised if coffee shops started to kick people out if they stayed there for too long without buying more than a black coffee. Buying a coffee at Starbucks does not entitle you to spend the rest of your day there.

    I think people write in coffee shops because they are looking for inspiration. They are looking for whatever they can’t find at home. That, and the fact that a lot of people seem to think it’s cool to write at Starbucks.

  62. easy… just go somewhere else…

  63. Interesting post. I’ve certainly used Starbucks and other coffee shops to read and maybe make some notes, but haven’t yet braved the whole laptop/wifi deal.

    I have, however, used coffee shops for meetings, and observed plenty of meetings too. Considering how expensive hiring meeting spaces can be, it’s obviously a good option, but again, it can be a table taken up for some time, with not a lot of purchasing going on. Plus, the added noise you (generally) don’t get with a person alone at their laptop.

    I wonder if this sort of thing will eventually be frowned upon, or maybe is already?

    And how do you really define any restrictions on customers using laptops? Or how long you can spend nursing one drink?

  64. carolinejaneward

    If the internet is no good in a cafe I tend to leave and not return. I also understand that people have to make a living with the coffee shops so i’ll buy another drink if my cup is empty.

    Good will often pays off, often the freelancers keep the shop from looking empty making it seem a more welcoming place.

    Lets hope they don’t start trying to manage us… if they do, could a new agreement evolve that benefits both the coffee shop and the freelancer, like a day-membership to the cafe…

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  66. I agree with carolinejaneward. The REASON for the natural ‘symbiotic’ relationship in the first place…was b/c it was a win-win situation. We have the BEST coffee in town…Look they won’t leave. http://savingmrs.wordpress.com.

  67. Personally, I prefer Olivia’s (local coffeehouse…if you’re in Eustis, it’s worth a trip) because the vibe is better, the coffee is better and I can afford more than one cup of coffee. There’s almost always someone I know to start a conversation with if I’m in that kind of mood, there’s almost always someone I don’t know if I’m in the mood to meet someone new, and Olivia’s fosters creativity. Oh…and she has free Wi-Fi and doesn’t mind if you nurse your coffee as long as someone doesn’t need the seat.

    • Huey.thanks for the vote of support…and you’re right..you can come in and use our wi fi as long as you want with just a cup of coffe or one of our specialty teas if that is your desire because we know you will be back to enjoy everything else we have to offer..like open mic on friday and concerts on saturdays…you’ll be back….thanks

  68. I posit that Cafes are uniquely good catalysts of creativity for a couple of reasons: 1) a change of scenery for those who have been working in a basement for too long, 2) caffeine on tap, 3) noise/busy-ness that isn’t overly distracting.., 4) opportunity for real-life social networking, 5) appealing surroundings: cafes generally thrive on business so have interiors or views that are appealing, 6) for freelancers it can be a good way of establishing a work routine that is separate from a home routine.

    Should not be forgotten that the old version of cafes, coffee-houses, were a fountain of creativity when they became popular in the City of London(Lloyds Insurance was dreamed up & created in a coffeehouse in London for example).

    For extra commentary:

    http://randomdribble.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/wifi-coffee-junky-epidemic-and-they-arent-that-interested-in-coffee/
    My take on this

  69. thecomebackgirl

    I’m guilty…of baby sitting my grande caramel latte extra whip no foam, 180 degrees, for HOURS AND HOURS.

    BUT, Im a great tipper. And I do end up buying their overpriced sandwiches LOL..

    AND i gave each of my baristas 20 bucks for christmas. Im hoping that counts for something LOL..

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  71. I am the owner of Caffe’ Portofino in Northport. We offer free WiFi to our customers and never limit the amount of time a user sits and works. Personally, I think the local coffee shop offers a comfortable, friendly and personal alternative to the major coffee chains and therefore attracts many telecommuters and freelancers. I posted a link to your post on my site and can’t wait to hear from my customer base. Thanks for the insight!

  72. Loving this post from NYC.

  73. Interesting indeed. Perhaps sales of those insulated mugs will rise instead and freelancers will find solace and inspiration in other public places with wifi – parks, etc. Anyway, I will link to your site. I like it.

  74. I don’t understand the push to support your local coffee shops. Do these mom and pop stores offer benefits such as 401k, health insurance, tuition assistance? No, most don’t. They support two people…mom and pop. Everybody else gets min. wage and no benefits. How many people in your community do you think Starbucks supports?

  75. @maxsohl I’m not sure I totally agree. While I do agree that we should frequent mom-and-pop coffee houses and support locally-owned businesses, I’ve been to several indy coffee houses who strictly enforce a limit on WiFi usage. In fact, I know of one in particular that does not maintain a WiFi presence, but whose owners get very upset when people use laptops at their tables (another WiFi signal is available in their shop). So when I’m in that part of town, I go across the street to Starbucks.

  76. but, wait up, that means these people are sitting in a starbucks, like , for a whole day…and drinking their coffee?? maybe even…days?? potentially eating there too? i feel faint. that’s more shocking than your subject.

  77. Wow, that will create another business model for coffee shops attracting freelancers allowing long hours of stay when they order a bit expnsive coffee at the shop.

  78. I’m of the opinion late a $3.50 easily buys a few hours of table time at a starbucks. Add on the money they can make off of the wireless services, and I really don’t think this should be a problem.

  79. One time I went to a coffee shop to write and the guy said i couldn’t come in on account of I didn’t have no shoes on so I went outside and bashed up a newspaper machine and put newspaper on my feet and the guy said I still couldn’t come inside so I went around the corner where this hobo was sitting there talking about something and I conked him over the head with a garbage can lid and stoled his shoes. They stunk. Then I went back in the coffee shop and the guy said I could come in if i left everybody alone and I sat down and I wrote the best story in the history of American literature and Canada and then I went home and jacked off.

  80. In Dublin since the recession kicked in the coffee shops are fighting each other hand over fist with discounts to get people inside the door. So if anything, they need attractions like wifi to get bums on seats, any bum, even if the particular bums in question are on them for longer than they might like.

  81. Sorry, forgot to say – great post!

  82. “I am a real American,
    Fight for the rights of every man”

    –Hulk Hogan
    Time Magazine Man of the Year, 1991

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  83. Interesting topic to blog about…i did it a lot about the HUB for creative people in (www.the-hub.net). at a hub you rather have a homebase with creative/innovative people, like a coffee, people are always around. Check out my blog…I will post sth. about your post the next hours.

  84. Pingback: Coffeeshophilosophy! « jannesriemann.de Blog

  85. Pingback: The Starbucks in sheep’s clothing « Stefanie's Blog

  86. Pingback: News You Can Use. « TCK On Broadway

  87. This is great information. I’m starting to get story ideas zooming in my head.

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