Monday, June 13, 2005

Some Cafe Owners Pull the Plug on Lingering Wi-Fi Users - New York Times

Some Cafe Owners Pull the Plug on Lingering Wi-Fi Users - New York Times: "Victrola started providing free wireless access two years ago after customers asked for it. As in hundreds of other cafes, the owners hoped it would encourage regulars and infrequent patrons to buy more food and drinks. But there was also a disadvantage, staff members said: the cafe filled with laptop users each weekend, often one to a table meant for four. Some would sit for six to eight hours purchasing a single drink, or nothing at all.
Even worse, when lingerers were confronted, they were bellicose. 'We get yelled at by people who feel it's their right' to use Victrola's Wi-Fi without making a purchase, Ms. Strongin said. Tony Konecny, the shop's head roaster, added, 'It's rarely a pleasant interaction.'
But Ms. Strongin and her staff said they were more concerned that the cafe, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, had turned into a place devoid of sound except the light clack of keys, not the focus of lively interaction that she and her husband, Chris Sharp, had intended.
So last month the cafe discontinued the free service on Saturdays and Sundays - and so far it has proved to be a sound business move. Weekend revenue is up and more seats are filled. "

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