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