Starbucks students, laptop loungers: Your days are numbered

'Laptop loungers': those who stay in Starbucks all day with their laptops plugged in, may not be able to if the coffee company has its way.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on

Sitting with a freshly brewed coffee, on a warm, cosy yet oddly slightly sticky armchair, covered in stains and smelling like a cattery, laptop plugged into the wall and sipping gently as you whack out the last few hundred words of that all-important mid-term paper.

We've all done it. I thought that was what Starbucks was for?

But perhaps not for much longer.

(Image via Flickr)

Some busy Starbucks outlets in New York City are discouraging laptop users from plugging in as they sip their venti, by blocking power sockets and freeing up spaces for other customers.

It's an odd concoction considering it was around this time last year that Starbucks started rolling out free AT&T powered Wi-Fi to its customers. All but every Starbucks coffee shop with seats available have wireless internet access for purchase and to browse the web with.

Though no announcement has been made by Starbucks on the wires, many have taken it as an indication that users should use only their laptop batteries for browsing the web, finishing off that essay or sending that 'all important accounts document to Phil back at head office' -- so they can push off, sooner rather than later.

But for students -- this wonderfully niche market of younger people, in particular -- there is nothing better than escaping from the college library to enjoy a coffee made at ones behest, to sit and work in comfort away from the stresses of campus.

While wireless internet should not necessarily be free, nor should users simply sit down and sponge off it without making a purchase from the shop itself, blocking off the power points seems to be a step in the wrong direction.

Granted, Starbucks is not an internet café, but it is has a culture for which many come in and sit and work. This just sends out the wrong message and without any explanation from a press release, frankly it just looks rude.

Maybe there should be a one coffee per hour loyalty card scheme. Having said that, more than one coffee per hour for me, and I'd be bouncing off the walls.

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