Fighting back against wi-fi squatters

I was in a Starbucks in Belleville, Ontario a couple of days ago, sipping my latte and reading a paper copy of the National Post (I know - how delightfully old-fashioned) when a young woman in her mid-twenties walked up to my table and made a request. "Excuse me, sir," she said, "I have to use my laptop and you're sitting at a table near an electrical outlet. I wonder if you would move to another table?" I looked at her in slack-jawed amazement. The shop was packed, largely with young people hogging tables with their laptops and taking advantage of the store's free wi-fi while nursing a single coffee for hours and hours. I looked at her with one eyebrow raised to hopefully convey my annoyance and said "Are you going to find me another table?" She said "Well, there aren't any other tables." I responded "Well, I guess I'm not moving then." She sighed and shuffled off.

These wi-fi parasites are getting out of hand. Try getting a seat in the Starbucks in Indigo Books on Princess Street in Kingston - day in and day out the tables are full of Queen's students doing their homework just a few blocks away from a multi-million dollar state-of-the-art library on a campus where every building (including the residences where they actually live) has free wi-fi. And yet they camp out all day in a public coffee shop crowding out the paying customers while they incessantly update their Facebook profiles and tweet each other. I once had to eat a sandwich there while perched on a window ledge.

So, imagine my delight when I read that some Starbucks stores in New York are fighting back:
They’re called Starbucks “squatters.” You know, those folks with their laptops who take all the seats and never seem to leave.

But, as CBS 2′s Scott Rapoport, reports the coffee house giant has a plan brewing to fix that.

You know how some Starbucks customers and their computers like to make a permanent home in the coffee emporium, hogging up all the seats for hours, mooching off the free Wi-Fi and preventing you from sitting down and enjoying the latte you paid $5 for?

Well, now some Starbucks in New York City are reportedly pulling the plug on that idea, actually covering up their electrical outlets to discourage squatters.

“Customers are asking (for it). They just purchased a latte and a pastry and there is nowhere to sit down in some of these high-volume stores,” Starbucks spokesperson Alan Hilowitz said.

“People actually live here. You know what I’m saying?” added Alan Glowko of Astoria.

It is a move that has some Starbucks regulars saying … it’s about time.

“If there’s no more space to sit, they should get up and leave,” said Katie Krug of Burlington, Vt.

“I mean, you can’t use their electricity for like eight hours. I mean honestly,” Glowko added.
Memo to Tim Horton's management: the day you install free wi-fi in your coffee shops is the day when civilization will finally collapse.