Many NYC Starbucks Locations About To Put An End To ‘Squatters’

Coffee Giant, Customers Have Had Just About Enough Of You Hogging Seats

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — They’re called Starbucks “squatters.” You know, those folks with their laptops who take all the seats and never seem to leave.

But, as CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport, reports the coffee house giant has a plan brewing to fix that.

You know how some Starbucks customers and their computers like to make a permanent home in the coffee emporium, hogging up all the seats for hours, mooching off the free Wi-Fi and preventing you from sitting down and enjoying the latte you paid $5 for?

Well, now some Starbucks in New York City are reportedly pulling the plug on that idea, actually covering up their electrical outlets to discourage squatters.

WCBS 880’s Monica Miller Reports From Midtown

“Customers are asking (for it). They just purchased a latte and a pastry and there is nowhere to sit down in some of these high-volume stores,” Starbucks spokesperson Alan Hilowitz said.

“People actually live here. You know what I’m saying?” added Alan Glowko of Astoria.

It is a move that has some Starbucks regulars saying … it’s about time.

“If there’s no more space to sit, they should get up and leave,” said Katie Krug of Burlington, Vt.

“I mean, you can’t use their electricity for like eight hours. I mean honestly,” Glowko added.

Still others say for what they’re paying for coffee they should be able to stay as long as they like.

“If people want to sit there and relax they should be able to,” one person said.

At some other coffee shops in the city, like Doma in the West Village, they let you use your laptop here for as long as you like if the store is not too busy on week days up until 5 p.m. The catch is you have to have your own Wi-Fi.

At Grumpy’s, employees said there are no laptops allowed, period. That’s the policy.

As for Starbucks, the decision to pull the plug is reportedly up to individual stores thought to be only in New York.

It’s an idea brewed much the like the coffee — for customer satisfaction.

Employees at some smaller Starbucks locations told Rapoport privately that electrical outlets will not be blocked in their stores because seating space is not an issue.

Do you like this idea? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Mark

    @Michael Axel

    Some net-books have battery life of nine hours!

  • junkscience

    I would like a rule that would allow a waiting patron to trip anyone walking away with their coffee if they had more than three modifiers to their coffee order. You know “a bold, lente, low fat, macchiato , with cinnamon and extra chocolate sprinkles.

  • The Cryptojournalist

    This is the most metaphysically white whine in the history of the Internet.

    • ryan

      You misused the word metaphysically

      • African America is racist

        He misused all his words.

  • Store Brand

    The price of a half dozen starbucks coffees would pay for broadband at home…

  • Malachi

    That is the least of the problems with Starbucks..I was the pest control guy for years and have tons photos to prove it….Any body wanna see some nasty stuff ? Email me at…You will be drinking water for the rest of your life!!!! Seat hogging is the best of your troubles in NY Starbucks!!!

  • Garth

    This is no worse than going to McDonalds or Burger King, and having all the seniors sitting around for hours or days sharing a ‘sr.s discount coffee.’ People tend to move in to an establishment when something is free or heavily discounted. I have always felt, that if you are in any restaurant or coffee house for more than an hour, you are merely taking advantage of the system, or to cheap to turn on your own ac or heat. I worked in a diner several years ago, and we always shuffled people out after an hour if they were not ordering and politely told them we needed to get ready for either the lunch or dinner crowd. Tougher for Starbucks, since all the computer nerds, love buying a latte, and setting up camp for days with their laptops and numerous cell phones. The unwritten rule is one hour, but get a New Yorker to obey that……

  • James Benoit

    This reminds me of the movie “Caddyshack” where Judge Smails –

    walking through the country club lounge sees to guys playing gin and yells

    “DON’T YOU PEOPLE HAVE HOMES!” and they get up and run because he’s the president of the country club. People, enjoy the ambiance of SB for awhile – then GO HOME!

  • Mark M.

    Who knew that so many so called “conservatives” have all sorts of ideas of how long a customer should be able to stay at starbucks, or how much they should order, or when the wifi should be turned off. Have you guys considered a career in Urban Planning so you can pursue your obviously untapped passion for Social Engineering or otherwise telling other people what to do with THEIR customers? I only ask because there aren’t many “Committee For Public Safety” openings available anymore, but I’m sure there will be if enough people think like these small minded, deeply out of touch people do. A coffeehouse is more than a place to get coffee. It’s a place that welcomes laptops because some people do more than check their email or play farmville with them.

    Bet you any amount of money that Starbucks executives that actually know something about keeping the customers coming in will kill this “brilliant” idea as soon as they hear of it.

    • James Benoit

      Dude, calm down, Starbucks is a PRIVATE BUSINESS responding to complaints from their CUSTOMERS.

      Not EVERYTHING has to be about more “gob’mint.” Starbucks is implementing a MARKET SOLUTION to a MARKET PROBLEM. Dang.

    • gnubi

      @Mark It’s more like SB realizes they have a problem. That must come from a perception that they are losing business. Low table turnover is bad for a restaurant and inconvenient for customers. Businesses have a right to set conditions for their patrons. “Conservatives” support that right. Consumers have a right to set their own conditions for patronizing an establishment – they’re sharing that here. We all have the right to take our business elsewhere.

  • Jerzey Boy

    SB, run by a bunch of liberal thinking types; Sure, we will give free Wi-Fi to our customers. They will love us and buy stuff.
    HA! The wisdom that if you offer something for less than it costs to provide, the demand will overtake the supply.
    Just like the US Gov giving away just about ever service needed by mankind. To much demand is now killing the US like it is killing SB and Greece, Italy, Spain, you name it.

    • LG

      Oh STOP it with the “government is taking away” BS. You probably voted for that moron in Trenton, too.

      The greedy U.S. corporations have given away American jobs because they refuse to pay for COL raises and benefits to U.S. workers since these so-called “perks” which are necessities in life (despite what Santorum says) would cut into their “God-given right” to make overly inflated profits.

      Do NOT blame your so-called “liberal thinkers” for issues in any industry. A society protects and serves its people and the people pay into the society (it’s called taxes), but this is lost on the “conservative thinkers” who just want to line their pockets on the backs of the middle class. Greed and power runs this country instead of service and freedom. And the fact that anyone would make a comment about “giving away service” (as if it’s not a good thing to serve your people) makes that person most un-American. I blame you for Chris Christie.

  • Jaes

    old news is old. McDonald’s did this when they brought in free WiFi. Peets opts for the receipt method. Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf goes for the 2 hour limit (automatic log off.)

  • Matt

    I’m way ahead of this whole friggin’ discussion-

    I finally got so p*ssed at not having a seat last month at 4Bux that I went and poured that Dixie cup of black glory right into some guys outlet- Sure sparks were flying and the guy threw some choice words at me, but it got him to leave! (said something about d*mn commies or somethin-)

  • JM in San Diego CA

    Laptop batteries are getting better all the time. Some tablets will even hang in there for eight hours. Hard to foil those bums by cutting the cord — they don’t need it.

  • Timothy

    One of the things that makes Starbucks attractive is that people can get a drink and do a little work.

    NOBODY is sitting there for 5 hours. Give me a break.

    I DO use Starbucks and hang out for an hour on my laptop. And if they try to stop me, they’re going to lose a ten year-long customer.

  • malcom

    these are the same hippies and liberals who walk around the store and ‘sample’ fruit and vegatables. instead of buying . LMAO

  • malcom

    ey everyone, look at me, look at me. i’m typing someing, is everyone watching?? i’m blogging how I hate rich people, white people, even though Im white, and how I hate people who don’t spend enough money to pay for my benefits. UGH!!!!!!!!!!

    • Don't kill the goose, Starbucks

      Actually dude, I am a tea party conservative and I am working when I’m sitting here, I’m running a business and paying taxes and spending money on food and drink.

  • Daren Scot Wilson

    I’m no networking expert, but maybe each wifi connection could gradually throttle down. Full speed the first hour, then less bandwidth as time goes on, for each user. Very few of those laptop users are doing anything offline. If most of them get the hint, gently not with a sudden cutoff, the situation could improve.

    • Prof Frink

      It’s simple. There’s free firmware for just about any router that will give a MAC address xx minutes. Just enough time for them to email some maggots at the ACLU to start up a class acton law suit. That’s a “m” in that worm word in the previous sentence, not a “f”, but…

    • Kozlowski

      Hey I like your bandwidth idea. If you add in a way to reduce their “real world” bandwidth, as in their seating and table area, you have a winner!

      Just make their seat & table shrink after an hour or so ;)

    • JM in San Diego CA

      I got free WiFi at an airport recently, but it was only good for a half hour,IIRC. I could have subscribed to any of several specific additional terms, up to a full day.

      So, we know that timing your users is possible for a WiFi provider.

  • ed

    The Democrats are the ones that order decaffeinated lattes made with soy, not milk.

    • JasonS

      I couldn’t agree more.

    • LARRY

      is that… an insult? Work on those.

      • Mo

        It’s a truism. Google it.

  • Chicago Nick

    Freaking deadbeats everywhere. To these people what’s yours and mine is theirs. Freaking liberals who probably claim ‘they live off the grid’ and then hump off our electricity and wifi. Deadbeats.

    Who carries their laptop into a public eatery and spends more than 20 minutes there? A DEADBEAT who doesn’t have their electric turned on most likely.

    • JasonS

      You got that right.

    • James Benoit

      HA! Exactly.

      It’s this guy – who got laid off from his “green energy” fantasy job : “By Honey, going to work! See you tonight.”

      Then – it’s off to Starbucks.

      • ryan

        Cause people that work low paying jobs are obviously worthless. Not you though, never you. As long as you make enough money you are free to look down on people for mundane reasons. Congrats.

  • TWC

    I would think that homeless people using Starbucks barthrooms in NYC would be a bigger problem than actual customers.

    Their location on Houston Street (near Sullivan) absolutely blows my mind.

    There is a handwritten sign that separates two different lines “Customers” and “Bathroom” … guess which line is shorter every single time?

    • Tickyul Horrific

      Yep, same thing in San Diego, bums sit in Starbucks all day and “order” ice water……while scamming the free electricity.

  • mcnb

    Actually, they already do this at some Starbucks locations in Singapore where students spend hours indoors to enjoy not only the wireless but the air conditioning.

  • RRH

    I am a “squatter”. I don’t go everyday. I move between the library, friends offices, clients offices, coffee shops, my car, the park, kinkos, barnes and nobles, etc. I can’t speak for everyone but I do this when I’m working on a project and end up spending quite a bit of money there. I tip generously. The staff are all sweet to me and others like me, offering us samples and often enjoy the community created by it. I pay for highspeed at home. I also pay for mobile wireless when I need high speed. I often hear disparaging remarks, usually by old people who think we’re all chatting or playing “pacman” when we’re actually working and contributing to society. Often, while we’re “mooching” we’re working for non profits, causes, we’re teachers, researchers, journalists, writers, etc. I get up when people need seats, and I move on. But if seats are good I’ll stay for as long as I need to. I personally don’t think SB would ever have a problem with this and dont think any of this “news” will pan out. SB is a crack den and it’s good business to keep your addicts close. It’s also good business to offer cheap or free refills in order to up the addictions. And for the rest, there is no better advertising than a too few seats. You’re going to buy your coffee anyway.

    One thing that annoys me here is how all of my fellow working class folks worrying so much for the electrical bill for a billion dollar industry. It’s about time we stop pretending we’re shareholders.

    SB also happens to be the only place a New Yorker can use a restroom in public. Truly. If you don’t think that was a planned strategy for them to increase foot traffic, and worried about the cost of their water utilities, hand dryer, tissue, soap, and cleaning, you obviously have little idea how corporations don’t do things that are not profitable. Having 8 of 10 people use SB only for the bathroom without buying something makes money. So does having a liberal policy on guests. If that wasn’t true, and you figured out a vast flaw in a multinational’s profit system, SB has bigger problems than seats.

    • Chicago Nick

      Ya know, most of us out here just pay our own freight, it has nothing to do with “feeling like a shareholder’ as you describe. It’s called pulling your own weight and not being a parasite on others’ time and dimes. Try it sometime.

      • Mark M.

        Starbucks isn’t an entitlement program. It’s a business, and when I’m there I’m not a parasite, I’m a paying customer, and guess what, the cost of the wifi was priced into the cost of a cup of coffee. So, if you’re going to pretend to be conservative, you might want to learn about these subtle differences, dipstick.

        It ain’t your time, and it ain’t your dime. Do you think that SB offers these things because they want to save money, or to compete with other places that offer the same thing? My house, which I paid for last I checked, “offers” the same thing, but I still pay for the wifi whereever I work, in the prices I pay to frequent THEIR establishment.

        Another thing you might figure out is that some people use their laptops for more than playing farmville, and if you don’t than I bet there is a tremendous amount of overhead in your line of work which probably means your company is only in business because your company’s sucking at the taxpayer’s teat.

  • attilathehun

    I say let Starbucks run the US’s welfare programs.

  • stacie

    silly lazy LIBERAL’s need to get a JOB!!!!!

    • JasonS

      Sing it sister!

    • ryan

      Yah sister! Sitting at Starbucks working on your computer means you have no job. In fact, forget all those commercials bragging about their facilities that offer a nice quiet place to work and free wi-fi to help people complete their work and keep them buying coffee for as long as possible. Disregard all of that ‘i am a paying costumer’ bull.


      • LG

        Well conservatives think you are a patsy for soliciting such a place. It speaks to “character and family values” to consort with those who would offer anything for free.

        Don’t worry–we might have a “savior.” It’s possible that the governor of Texas can get us out of our economic issues with his fast-track connections to God. Since he’s abandoned our system of government, it seems our only hope.

      • ryan

        Rick Perry? Man you guys are turning this country into something like Iraq.

  • fa-q

    How many horrible puns can you have in one story

  • Kiba

    And remember, the next time you get robbed of your last pay-check dont call the cops, call your local A.C.L.U.

    • LG

      Actually, I was robbed of a great deal of my last pay-check because of the governor of NJ, but you seem to think you know who is responsible for everything, so I’ll just blindly listen to you.

      • LG stands for "leftist goober"

        as you blindly repeat whatever leftist propaganda your brain’s been washed with

      • ryan

        Yes, because thinking differently than you makes us stupid and sheep.

      • LG

        “as you blindly repeat whatever leftist propaganda your brain’s been washed with”
        No, I’m pretty sure the governor proposed and signed his laws into affect and took money out of my paycheck. This isn’t a repeat of anything–this is a reality. I actually do understand what all those silly numbers in my paycheck mean despite what you think.

        I love the insult, using my name to call me a name. Such maturity on the part of the right, once again! Thanks for the entertainment.

  • Clay

    Everyone seem very fixated on “squatters” with laptops. What about “squatters” that sit and read their book all day. You can’t time them out. You can’t cover electric plugs to get them to leave. I see as many of these people as I do the laptop users.
    On a side note, I work out of my house. One day my internet went down and I needed to work that day. I knew I could go to a Starbucks, order a few coffees and be good for the day. It saved my day and I paid for several rounds of coffee. I imagine most are the same way. rarely do I see the same people with their laptops every day.

    • mary miller

      I think Borders had the same problem..people reading magazines, books, etc for free..and not buying anything, or going home and ordering books from Amazon..a person can hang out all day at a Borders/Barnes and Noble and not buy a thing!

    • Connie Trowbridge-Geldreich

      In a SB’s close to my house we have a family that comes everyday and takes 3 tables. They stay the entire day and run their business. I have lived in this part of Seattle for almost 3 years and they still come daily. They even bring their smaller children who play and swing from the rafters after while from boredom. Is internet so expensive at home if your running a business. Oh and they have multiple cell phones spread out across the tables that non stop ring. I have never been able to get a seat at that SB. Enough is enough! I have never complained but others have and the management has trouble removing them for a couple of reasons. One being they do not speak a bit of English and they just won’t go!

      • gnubi

        This is incredible. Management at the SB should grow a pair and order them out and tell them never to return. The business has that right. The police could be involved, if it comes to that.

  • Kiba

    Typical failure of a liberal “give everyone everything they want, never say no to anyone for anything” idea. Hey libs, grow-up for Christ sakes! I hate to be the one to break it to you but you are not going to save the world M-Kay? When some of you get older and some dead beat you just had to try to help as a doo-gooder sees the oppertunity to sue you back to the stone age and all you will be able to do is go off whimpering “how could they do that to me maaaaan”, Stop living in a fantasy world fools, these ppl will turn on you or anyone else like a snake in the grass.

    • JasonS

      Well said.

    • LG

      Wow, such skill in reasoning! I see you didn’t take up the country on its offer to provide you with an education, after all.

      It seems that extremists tend to think everyone else is an extremist, too. Sad.

      • yippeekayay

        here’s some extremism for you, friend: “pull my finger”

    • Kaiser Puppydog

      Amen. Mark Twain had a similar observation that if you show kindness and help a stray and hungry dog, it won’t bite you. That is the principal difference between dog and man.

  • drose

    Yeah Jeff, your so smart and awesome, I think they are all black as well and mexican. Kinda like a blexican, all them dummy mooching off us cool dudes Jeff. High five broham.

    • james

      Jef is probably is more acurate than you would like to admit.

    • kettlekorn

      A NYC Starbucks, well drose, how about you give me 5 bucks for every lefty democrat in a NYC starbucks and I’ll give you 10 bucks for every right wing republican at any random store at any random time in NYC and let’s see who ends up with more money. Hell, I’ll be able to retire as a millionaire in about two weeks if you took me up on that offer. Unfortunate for you drose, you are not smart or awesome as Jeff is, you are more like…..delusional.

    • bryan

      this is why our credit was downgraded. what happened to being a moderate

    • Tom

      Wrong, Bryan. The vaunted moderates were the real winners in the debt deal- no real spending cuts like the tea party wanted and no tax hikes like the left wanted.

    • dinglepoop

      Actually, the locations that are having a problem are all in NYC. So yeah, all Democrats I’m sure.

    • DaddyStarbucks

      Jeff is correct NOT because it’s a Starbucks, but because it’s NYC. Therefore, 80% of the clientele are probably democrats. At the ones where I go, 80% are Republican.

      I often hog a Starbucks chair for about 3 hours, but NEVER when there is standing room only. And I’ve tipped the employees with $20 Groupons to pizza and sushi joints.

      If Starbucks is serious, they should limit the wifi access to 2 hours, or limit the number of people that can log on to their internet to a few people at a time.

    • charlie

      this just in: groupons don’t pay the rent, you cheap, worthless dbag.

      tip = cash/money. only cash. ever. deviation from $$ has never, ever, ever been an option in any situation ever.

  • Harlowe Thrombey

    Starbucks would have a lot more room if they got rid of the candy, mugs, “gifts” and tchotchke that they prominently display in the middle of the most crowded areas.

  • Sleep Number

    I see no reason to ever go into a Starbucks and sit and surf on my notebook. I love their coffee but drink it at home. I guess it may be the trendy thing to do, being seen at Starbucks, but I could care less.

    • RRH

      You are very out of touch.

  • Joe

    Thank goodness that at least some of the yankees haven’t moved to NC yet. Our Starbucks pay us to sit there and use the electricity by offering free coffee refills.

  • Ph.D

    The Starbucks at or around Union Square are known as
    the NYU student union lounge,remove these students and NYU
    goes broke as they go to Duke.

  • Jay

    they should add more seating.. then they could rule the world.

  • Cup a Joe

    If they want to charge 5 bucks for a coffee, you should be able to sit there as long as you want. In fact, they want you to sit there. It’s encouraged. Free Wi-Fi, free refills if you remain in the the store… Sbux has finally lost its charm as a growth company, got big, and realized that it needs to squeeze every buck out of consumers in order to continue to make earnings forcasts and keep the stockholders happy. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, but it’s really what is going on here, a change in policy designed to generate more income.

  • Joe Mamma

    Anybody who pays $5 for coffee is an idiot to begin with.

  • Marvin

    I used to go in with my son, spend $30 on coffee and breakfast for us….sit down with my laptop for 10 minutes of review….only to find the wifi wasn’t working at all. Smart thing to do would be to check first….but that wasn’t the point. The wifi was free and I considered myself a paying customer. We quit going, found an alternative and our Starbucks consumption is now verrry minimal. Don’t offer wifi if you are going to impeade it’s delivery. And BTW….limiting access to battery power only is the smartest thing they could do to address the issue. Disrupting the wifi is unacceptable.

  • Squatter

    I am one of the people who spend hours at Starbucks (not in NY) leaching their power. I used to go to Starbucks specifically because they DIDN’T provide free WIFI so it was easier to find a seat. I use it like an office to do some writing – all I need is power to keep me going.

    However, I’m actually not a coffee drinker – I only order a $5 drink to justify my seat. So if they cut off my power I won’t be going back. Or at least, I’ll have to purchase a backup battery for my laptop :P

    It remains to be seen if this actually affects the number of seats available. If you kick one guy with a laptop out because 10 people want a seat, that still leaves 9 people without seats.

    Or maybe there will be more seats available simply because those regular customers who spend 5 hours a day, 3 or 4 days a week every week won’t be there any more. Do that math and see if it stacks up against your power bill.

  • toblers

    We met at Starbucks. Not at the same Starbucks but we saw each other at different Starbucks across the street from each other. –Meg Swan, Best in Show

  • Yes Sure

    People… They not taking the Wi-Fi away, just the power outlets. Buy your latte, sit with your laptop and when your battery runs out you leave.

    Sounds like a good compromise.

  • TYIA

    Follow the gold.

    Who has the right to dictate company policy? The man whose pockets support the enterprise. If SB is losing money (for any reason) then the bean counters will weigh in on options to recover lost profits or losing business strategies. Period.

    What amazes me is the number of people who have nothing better to do than follow this stream of comments to this point. My excuse? I’m working on my doctorate concerning misguided passion. Please, PLEASE assist me by finding something to say in reply. TYIA (Thank You In Advance).

  • wey

    they should hire some Norwegian wackos to go in there and clean house, Norwegian style!!

  • Clay

    Everyone seem very fixated on “squatters” with laptops. What about “squatters” that sit and read their book all day. You can’t time them out. You can’t cover electric plugs to get them to leave. I see as many of these people as I do the laptop users.

    On a side note, I work out of my house. One day my internet went down and I needed to work that day. I knew I could go to a Starbucks, order a few coffees and be good for the day. It saved my day and I paid for several rounds of coffee. I imagine most are the same way. rarely do I see the same people with their laptops every day.

  • TruthTeller

    The days of something for nothing are coming to an end, and not just at Starbucks. Get used to it. And if you’re familiar with the story of the grashopper and the ants – this time the ants aren’t going to take you in when it gets cold.

  • CJP

    One of the reasons I NEVER patronize that place. After a couple of times of not being able to sit because some losers are using it as their lounge. If that company doesn’t care about my business they aren’t getting it!

  • norman west

    just shut off the wifi or ask them to leave or call the cops

  • Jim Jammy

    Years ago, people would buy a cup of coffee and enjoy unlimited refills… all day. Shop owners grew wise and finally stopped the unlimited coffee mooching with a single refill for each paid cup of coffee.

    Starbucks should drop the open wi-fi and offer only ethernet connections. Each paid purchase gives you a pass code for a free 20-minute connection. Timed-out screen means it’s time to move on, Biff.

    Better yet… unlimited dial-up.

  • Brian Udell

    All Star Bucks has to do is attach an access code to the receipt. The code allows the customer an allotted amount of time to access the internet. When the time is up they either have to buy another Beverage which will give them another code, buy more time from the online home page, or leave.

    • Suzanne Rajsteter Weeks

      Great Idea, although one issue is that with the SBux “Gold Card” you can enjoy free refills of the Pike’s or House Roast of the day the ENTIRE time you are in the store.

      Still in theory, awesome idea, would like to see something like that implemented!

    • Fluffystein

      that’s quite a good idea

    • Sherry

      That’s a good idea except that it doesn’t address the issue of people staying for hours on end – they could just simply buy more coffee or time on the Net. The way that Panera Bread has addressed the issue in their stores is to limit wi-fi access to 30 min. or an hour, then you can’t log in again for another 2 hours. Starbucks could do the same thing; they could even limit access to 1 hour, once a day. That would be fair I think in some of their busiest locations. I think it’s wise for the company to leave it to each store to decide since traffic varies from one location to the next.

    • Kevin

      People would probably end up bringing in their own internet. For instance, a 3G/4G mobile card or MiFi device.

    • Jeff

      Starbucks customers are mostly Democrats. Mooching off freebies is a way off life.

    • Michael Axel

      I think you’re all missing the point. If you don’t have a power outlet, you can only stay as long as your battery charge allows you to. That’s about 1.5 hours on my laptops. I applaud this idea. I would probably go to Starbucks more, if I knew I had a place to sit for a few. That’s why I go there: to get away, and take a break.

    • Tom Harrigan

      I think Starbucks used to have a policy like that, requiring you to use the pin on ur starbucks giftcard or gold card to use the internet. I think it was about 2 years ago when they changed it to open wifi for everyone. I usually have 3 or 4 cups if I’m sitting their doing work, but refills are a lot cheaper than the initial buy, not including free refills if its a card. The more I drink the less of a profit margin per cup they make off of me.

      If the starbucks are all crowded in certain locations, wouldn’t that be an indication to expand the number of locations in a given area? Maybe get 4 per block instead of only having 2 within my field of vision at all times in NYC :P

    • disque-0-duc

      Perfect solution! Your a smart guy.

    • steve0oh

      That is a great idea. Unfortunately, that “pay for internet access as you buy retail items” I was told is patented and SBucks refused the deal.

    • Rob Martin

      That’s exactly what the #2 coffee chain in the country, Caribou, does here in Minneapolis. With every purchase you get about an hour of complimentary wifi access. The system seems to work, in that it turns “squatters” into repeat customers and eases those who don’t wish to buy multiple items out the door. The main difference in implementing such a system here versus in NYC (where I grew up) is that the time allotments for NYC stores would likely have to be shorter due to the higher traffic-to-space ratio.

    • Right Thinking

      The receipt code was my idea, but Brian can take the credit. I no longer patronize Starbucks. It’s just too expensive for me. I brew my own joe and store it in my handy Nissan thermos that is almost 20 years old. In Chicago, the Wells/North Ave. Starbucks is roomy and has a lot of seats. I never cared about the seat hogs, but what about those smelly homeless folks knocked out on the couch. Hey, who’s vying to occupy that spot after stinky heads off to the exit ramp to coax liberals for doe? You’d have to bring in a hazmat crew to sterilize that poor piece of furniture.

    • Ster

      Very good idea–by using this form of “pay to play” the problem should be lessened on its own

    • Art O

      Good Idea!

    • jgeytel

      Sounds like a fair and balanced equal treatment, something that is an anathema in today’s society.

    • Margaret

      Very good idea. Perhaps they could also have limited seating areas for those with laptops. Then if that space fills up – they can go elsewhere.

    • emmas

      I’m sure the “let’s grab a coffee and check our blackberry” dinosaurs that still roam the concrete canyons of NYC will like those emptied out stores until their shuttered. …and the clueless crowd will say: “Oh what a shame, I sure liked getting a latte”.
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    • david

      While the internet certainly attracts/keeps most of the folks, not all laptop work requires internet. Aspiring writers or even business folks can spend hours on a computer without internet access. I like the outlet blocking idea that limits folks to their battery life. Or they could do the old fashioned way and have a host/hostess ask people to leave after some length of time…

    • RonnieReagan

      Sherrry – the idea is for the store to MAKE MONEY. Get with it. If someone wants to buy access codes all day, then so be it. The store is making money, and that’s what the shareholders on Wall Street care about. Nick’s idea is spot on, drives up REVENUE, and keep squatters out. No need to tamper with it unless you’re a fan of OBAMA.

    • mary miller

      Good idea!!!!!!!!

    • Andrew Bellucci

      iPads and other tablets have a 10-hour battery life – access codes are the way to go

    • newtonfig

      coffee bean has beeb doing that for years. fine for me. ill buy another cup in order to get access again. works great for everyone

    • Milano

      Exactly what I was thinking, Brian……..well, close to it…….you said it very succinct!

    • Car Dude

      Exactly, Panera Bread has a 30 minute limit during their rush hours at certain stores. There are no codes, etc needed. In other words, they quietly did was SBucks is trying to do without jumpin’ the shark.

  • P.Wee German

    SB is only a public toilet to me.

  • Fluffystein

    But then you have to ask the employees to start throwing people out after an hour. If I were a SB employee, I’d demand more for having to not only serve up coffee but go around policing the store and acting like a bouncer. That kind of thing can get you beaten in certain parts of the country.

    • Nick 1975

      No you don’t, just attach a unique access code to each receipt that expires in 30 minutes with no extensions unless you buy another beverage.

    • alio

      Put a loud buzzer under table and when their 1/2 hours is up, buzz the buzzer.
      Personally, I’ve tried many times to enjoy a Starbucks but it just doesn’t have a pleasant taste to me.
      Almost any McDonald’s has better tasting coffee at half the price. Or, I also like Seattle’s Best……….far better taste. I’m convinced Starbucks is simply the image some like better than the coffee.

    • Joshin'

      What about an ejector seat? No messy confrontations.

    • snowboardpete

      Hey Alio, hate to tell you this, but Seattle’s Best Coffee is a wholly owned subsidiary of Starbucks…you can run, but you can’t hide!

    • WhoDatMan

      “If I were a SB employee, I’d demand more for having to not only serve up coffee but go around policing the store and acting like a bouncer.”

      So you would give your notice?

    • LG

      @alio “Put a loud buzzer under table and when their 1/2 hours is up, buzz the buzzer.”

      Now THAT’s amusing. You could even make the seat one large taser so that the person is forced to get up and leave or suffer harmless discomfort…

    • Fran

      No employees don’t have to be involved: program your main computer to shut them off after 1 hr

  • Nick 1975

    If you can afford to spend $3,000 + for the latest & newest Macbook Pro every year you can afford to rent an office space. Starbucks should give a 30 minute limit on Wifi usage with the code printed on the receipt.

    I mean I am asking again, what exactly do people need to spend hours at Starbucks for using their WiFi when they should just rent an office space since they obviously can afford to.

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