pet peeves, part #29911.

One day a week, I get to take a break from parenting and go out on what I call my “Dadcations”.  I usually leave the house after breakfast and stay out until after lunch.  This is when I go to the bookstore to browse for new stuff and sit down in the bookstore’s café to scribble a thousand words or so.

Since I go there on the same day more or less at the same time, I tend to see the same faces in the bookstore café.  One of them is a woman who mildly ticks me off every time I see her.  Without fail, she’ll occupy the same table, set up her humongous laptop, and then proceed to use the café’s free WiFi while eating a bag breakfast she clearly bought somewhere else.  Everyone in the café has at least a $2 coffee in front of them, but this lady has never, to my knowledge, patronized the café where she’s making use of their space, electricity, and bandwidth.  Instead, she carries in a bag from Mickey D’s or Wendy’s, complete with 32-ounce large drink.

Am I somehow unreasonably sensitive about this?  It just strikes me as incredibly rude to be taking up resources of a business without actually subsidizing the availability of those resources with the purchase of at least a stinking two-dollar cup of coffee.


40 thoughts on “pet peeves, part #29911.

  1. Basic Living says:

    I could speak volumes on this subject, complete on why it happens. But I’ll spare you. Suffice it to know I AM WITH YOU.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Totally with you on this. If you are going to use their resources, patronize the business. Geez.

  3. og says:

    “free” wifi has to be subsidized somehow, and frankly, if you use it, you should pay.

    hell, I won’t use the bathroom at a NcDonalds unless I buy something there.

    When you say the same table, I hope you don’t mean the same table as you. I’d develop a bad case of gas, were that the case.

  4. joated says:

    I completely agree with you on this one. Those that sponge on the free wi-fi connection with no intention of even patronizing the establishment are ticks on the business. She’s occupying a seat that a paying customer such as yourself could/should be occupying.

  5. Diane says:

    So very with you on this. It may be worth asking the counter clerk next time you are in what their policy, if they have one, is, just happening to mention you were asking only because of what you saw.

    There is a (slim, admittedly) chance she is a special charity case on the part of the management.

  6. Dwight Weaver says:

    I’m a pharmacist & you wouldn’t believe how many times I get calls from people who say that they had their RX filled @ another drug store but want me to tell them about it or they want an otc reccomendation and then ask if Walmart has it. I always answer them to the best of my ability but it is irritating. Maybe they’ll trade me with me later; who knows?

  7. perlhaqr says:

    This seems like a perfectly reasonable stance to me. I make a point of buying something from every gas station I stop to pee at on roadtrips for this very reason. Hell, there’s one particular gas station in absolute bumfuck nowhere, CA (Goffs Road exit, on I-40) that I stop at and buy a gallon of gas each time I pass, just because they are in the middle of nowhere, and by god, if I ever desperately need gas, I’m going to be really happy they exist. I only buy one gallon, because I’m usually well enough prepared to not need to fuel up there, and they are charging about 150% of anywhere else.

    OTOH, it’s their coffeeshop, and their wifi. If they don’t care enough to kick her out, I’m not sure it’s worth you worrying about.

    • Ix says:

      Could be that the staff doesn’t realize that she’s not buying anything there; there’s probably just enough of a crowd that her mooching goes unnoticed.

      But I do agree that if you’re hanging out somewhere that offers free wi-fi, you should give something back.

  8. Rude^10.

    Which is why, when I was involved in a local bar/restaurant, we didn’t install free WiFi.

  9. Ruth says:

    Rude. Even when I was unemployeed, if I wanted to sit in B&N and read a book that I couldn’t afford to buy I’d STILL go buy a small hot chocolate to sip while I was reading. Its only fair since I’m taking up their space.

  10. John Peddie says:

    My parents would have shot me for doing something like that.

  11. Al Terego says:

    You know, it is largely a societal phenomenon.

    I’m guessing yours is a chain place, one of the big-box spawn of Wally and the whole literal lineup of aptly-named category-killers (read death of indie biz).

    Salaried management and clerks are directed by misguided corporate PC policy gone wild, and in any case being removed from the bottom line themselves, likely don’t really give a damn. This has in turn engendered a subclass generation of spoiled and arrogant “patrons” who have learned they can demand or do most anything and retailers will acquiesce.

    Pull that shit in a family-run place and it might work once or twice out of simple courtesy and benefit of doubt, but more than that and your co-patron might find herself on the receiving end of some demands and selective rudeness herself.

    Does that mean that the big stores are bad and should not be allowed to compete, even if allowing such abuses are part of an intentional policy of planned predation? I don’t know; that’s anathema for a hardline capitalist…and I find myself checking out the Gander, Best Buy, and even Wallyworld along with everyone else.

    But I do know that our towns and our own identities are poorer for the elimination of most independent booksellers, coffee shops, hardware stores, pharmacies, and all the others. And along with them has died much of common-sense business, and common courtesy, and increasingly uncommon things like personal service, civic pride, and a locally interdependent economic and social fabric.


  12. Chris C. says:

    As others have mentioned, I will buy something when I use the rest room at McDonalds or whatever (although this becomes a self-perpetuating cycle, since I usually buy a water or OJ). The woman sounds quite self-centered, and probably suffers from a bad case of entitlement. That particular disease seems to be spreading, unfortunately.

  13. PhillipC says:

    Since you say she brings in food from someplace else, I can’t justify it.

    If, however, she were coming in empty handed and using the wi-fi, there might be some justification depending on certain circumstances. For example, I purchased a membership card at one of the major book box stores that includes in its membership access to their wi-fi. When I go to use their net access, I have to put in my membership code. It’s one of the perks of having the membership. Admittedly, I’ll come in several times a year to buy books and never use the Internet, so I don’t feel bad if I’m just using it as a stopping place. I wouldn’t bring in another company’s food, though, that’s rude.

  14. julie says:

    downright rude … if i owned the place i wouldn’t put up with that!

  15. Welcome to the continued moral & social decline of western civilization.

    However, I occasionally do not financially support a business in which I deposit myself & exhibit my humongous laptop; the “laptop” in this case being my belly…

  16. Glamdring says:

    So what consenting adults do upsets you? Why? Remember every person there that isn’t an employee or owner is a guest. When does a guest get to tell owner what to do with their property?

    Would you be upset if they gave coffee to: LEO, EMT, Jew, Muslim, blonds, family members, friends, etc?

    • TBeck says:

      Whoa, Foe Hammer! Marko hasn’t done anything to the woman nor has demanded that management take action. He is simply observing habitual behavior that is, in his opinion, rude. I agree with him that “free” services in a business carry an implied social contract with the patrons. In economics this sort of rude behavior is called the “freerider” problem. Personally, I’d change the term to “freeloader.”

  17. Glamdring says:

    It seens to me that this is projecting your feelings\opinions on other people. No reason they should think or feel same as you do about it.

    If it was your coffee shop it would be different IMO. Isn’t that what Libertarianism is? Not minding other peoples business or beliefs or anything unless they do you harm?

  18. Skip says:

    And your bitching about what?
    America, freedom?
    Go sit in the truck and don’t play with the buttons.

  19. Mike Dodson says:

    Obviously there’s something about this woman’s face that just pisses you off! You are becoming a cranky old fart. Welcome to the club.

    (Seriously, I agree with you, but the manager obviously tolerates it, so c’est la vie.)

  20. Ritchie says:

    As I continue below, keep in mind that I generally agree with most of the comments above. However, if most of the seats are open, and the bandwidth is not stressed, the RB in question is not displacing a paying customer, or “using up” resources at the loss to someone else. In the context of just that store, she is an economic ghost. The economy of scarcity infuses our culture since prehistoric times. When part of that changes, we try to apply the old context to the new situation resulting in an imperfect fit.

    • Ritchie says:

      That said, it is also prudent to support the providers of resources you’re using. Extra capacity is a general benefit. However, I’m coming to the view that widespread prosperity eventually brings about the internal decay and fall of cultures.

  21. Tam says:

    There’s no law against tackiness, as a quick glance around any public place will quickly confirm.

    And your bitching about what?
    America, freedom?
    Go sit in the truck and don’t play with the buttons.

    No, he was bitching about rude, ill-mannered louts, which is probably why it fell on deaf ears with you.

  22. Glamdring says:

    I think that may have come across a lot harsher than I meant.

    IMHO if that person was doing anything that owner management didn’t like they could deal with easily in a number of ways.

    What seems to be problem is that person’s behavor upsets Marko, and many of you here feel the same.

    I guess it just seems to me like people getting upset because someone is CCWing. Not saying in either case people don’t have the right to feel or think what they want. Just feels to me like step on the path to saying “there outa be a law”.

    • Tam says:

      Just feels to me like step on the path to saying “there outa be a law”.

      Nobody has even intimated that as far as I can see.

      I don’t think it should be illegal to be tacky.

      But at the same time I have no problem with social consequences for tackiness.

  23. Bill Johnson says:

    Were this _your_ establishment, any feelings about this woman’s behavior would be valid. As it is not your establishment, and she is not interfering with your use of the establishment…it sucks, but have serenity (I can’t either). It isn’t your battle.

  24. LittleRed1 says:

    A number of the Micky D outlets out here on the Steppes have WiFi. If the same is true back east, I’d be curious why the lady in question does not avail herself of their service. Otherwise, I’m with the “It’s tacky at the minimum,” bordering on outright rude. I’d at least buy a small coffee or something, so if the bookstore with the WiFi goes out of business, at least I’ll know I didn’t contribute by my mooching. But I’m strange that way.

  25. j t bolt says:

    Buy an apron that resembles the ones worn by the staff. Get a similar looking nametag that says “Chuck” or “Biff” on it. Tell her to hit the bricks and not to come back unless she buys at least $5 worth of stuff each time.

  26. Kristopher says:

    It is rude.

    The manager should boot her ass out.

  27. Urso says:

    To: ‘Glamdring’

    making the analogy that ‘CCW is socially equal to being a bandwith leach’ is Made. Of. Fail.

    CCW does not effect anyone around you except under very specific circumstances, and we all know what those are.

    Being a goddamn leech is jarring to those of us who have manners, and it’s a pain in the ass to the shopkeeper. Because leeches -breed-. You let one linger, and after a while, there are two… then five… then you’re out of business.

    And while it is not Marko’s problem, it’s a sad state of affairs that nobody bothers to jack that leech up, and put a boot in her ass.

    Also, reading comprehesion -fail-. At what point did Marko suggest that he planned to do anything about it, or that he planned to ask anyone else to do anything about it. Hint, he did neither.

  28. Glamdring says:

    Tam: So what would be proper social response?

  29. Glamdring says:

    Urso: Your positive management doesn’t want people to use wifi without buying something?

    I have worked more than one place were we gave stuff away. It is often the same as an ad or coupon. Capitalism at work.

  30. Urso says:

    glamdring: no, I’m -positive- that management does not want people lounging about that buy -nothing-. If you’re taking up my space, but not contributing to my bottom line in any way, the door is over there, dont let it hit you in the ass on the way out.

    Prime example. Panera bread used to give out free wifi, unlimited. now it’s only 30 minutes, and they lock you out, based on MAC addresses for 24 hours. Why would they do that? because leeches would come in, buy nothing, and take up space for 4-6 hours at a time. Macdonalds did the same thing. Flying J truckstops switched to a pay-for-play model. as did Barnes and Noble, and a number of other stores. And all for the same reason. To get rid of the leeches. I think the only people in my current operational area (oklahoma) that do free wifi anymore are hotels ( it’s built into the room rate, so it’s not free.) and starbucks. And I’m not certain about starbucks.

    I”m sorry, you were saying something about capitalism?

  31. DAL357 says:

    Maybe someone above already mentioned this, but I think it’s the word “free” that is the sticking point. If the company offers free wi-fi then, to me, that implies that there is no legal obligation to buy anything to use the service. What a lot of people here are upset about, and I agree, is that there is a moral obligation, which this woman is ignoring, to show gratitude for the provided service.

    Perhaps the establishment would be better off saying, “Wi-fi available, with purchase.” At least it would clarify things.

    Let’s face it, there are slugs and freeloaders in life. I often marvel at how they can be so oblivious to others, but oblivious they are. One of life’s important lessons is to bear and forbear…and then blog about it.;)

    P.S. At the Starbucks I frequent, I often see folks sitting in their cars in the parking lot using the free wi-fi signal. I’ve done it myself a few times, although I always purchase a cup of coffee first, mainly because I feel obligated and I like SB’s coffee. I have no idea if the other folks in their cars do the same.

  32. Tam says:

    Tam: So what would be proper social response?

    Well, you could blog about what a tactless asshole she is. 😉

    Maybe if you accidentally made eye contact in the cafe, you could give her the same look you’d give her if she were picking her nose in public, a gaffe of roughly equal proportions…

  33. ILTim says:

    Who cares if she mooches on the giveaways? Maybe she spreads the good word about that place and is responsible for 10% of all new customers. The business owner could easily print a daily wifi code on every receipt so that only customers could get in, but they have chosen to provide this loss leader for any number of unknown reasons. Maybe they WANT freeloaders to make the place look busier and more inviting?

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