Starbucks Pulls the Plug on Laptop Loiterers


man using laptop at starbucksAccording to Starbucks Gossip, some New York Starbucks stores are covering their electrical outlets in an effort to prevent annoying laptop squatters from hogging all the tables and using the coffee shop as their personal home office. Customers with laptops are still welcome to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi, of course, but their time is limited to however long their battery lasts.

As someone who frequently can be found occupying a table and an outlet at Starbucks, I had a very strong reaction to this alleged new policy:

What in the world took them so long?

A commenter on Starbucks Gossip explains it way better than I ever could:

If you are one of those people who uses Starbucks as their office, sits in a store for 8+ hours a day, putting all your files on a table, using a separate chair for your laptop case/suitcase enjoying unlimited free refills with your Starbucks card, asking for cups of water and refuse to move until you are good and ready all for the $1.85 you pay as "rent," then perhaps your actions will answer your questions [about covering the outlets].

It should be noted that this policy of cutting off laptop loiterers has so far only been reported in a few locations in New York and even there not all the time -- only during specific peak times when the computer parking has gotten particularly out of control. Still, it makes perfect sense to adopt it across the country. Customers who park with their laptops in Starbucks for several hours day in and day out are preventing other customers from enjoying the same benefits and services -- free Wi-Fi, refills, bandwidth, etc. And if it takes covering up electrical outlets now and then to teach people to be more considerate, then so be it.

Do you think Starbucks should prevent customers from using power outlets?


Image via ElvertBarnes/Flickr

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Jenny... JennyG0929

Yes, there is nothing more annoying that legitimately wanting to sit and eat at a table. People do it at our Panera Bread too. They will take up a whole booth for themselves and paperwork.

kisse... kisses5050

hehe this reminds me of being broke at univeristy and going to the all you could eat "sizzler" aduring finals week and sitting through two meals while studying...

OkieG... OkieGirl74

I understand their reasoning behind it but dont necessarily agree with it.  I have a laptop that has a crappy battery, i pretty much to plug it in to use it.  Need a new laptop? yes but cant afford it right now so this rule would leave me out in the cold

nonmember avatar Anon

I don't know, but it is irritating that I can hardly ever find a seat when I go there. I could see how it could be keeping potential customers away. They are a business; they can do what they want.

CyraEm CyraEm

I definitely agree. People like that are just unfair.


Still I worry about my own trips to Starbucks now, as my battery only lasts 15 minutes, and that's if I pray very hard. Most times it's more like 10 minutes. Without an outlet it'll get annoying.

angev... angevil53

geesh...for as much as their coffee's are there you could wifi in your home. i know i can!

malex... malexander2009

For those who have paper strewn about yes.

malex... malexander2009

I just try to beat the heat for an hour or so. I need the plugs because my battery lasts only 10 min.

malex... malexander2009

They could even invest in some larger locations for internet cafes. I know several people even in the rural area that I live in that would love it.

malex... malexander2009

Even like a previous poster said about being a broke college student I used to do that all the time to study for finals.

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