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Should Starbucks pull the plug on laptop loafers?
Some of the java giant's New York City coffee shops are cutting off customers who mistake the cafés for a home office
People work on their laptops at a Starbucks: Some New York locations may block electrical outlets so customers don't hog tables all day.
People work on their laptops at a Starbucks: Some New York locations may block electrical outlets so customers don't hog tables all day.
maginechina/Corbis
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n Friday, Starbucks made it official: The rumors are true, and some of the coffee behemoth's New York City franchises are indeed blocking power outlets to prevent customers from lingering all day with gadgets in tow. Is Starbucks justified in cracking down on parasitical laptop loafers?

No. Let them linger: One of the main functions of Starbucks is to offer an "oddly, slightly sticky armchair" for laptop users, says Zack Whittaker at ZDNet. After all, just last year, the company started providing free Wi-Fi. It's a place where you can work and enjoy coffee, a wonderful alternative for students to the college library. While no one should get to sit there for hours on end without making a purchase, "blocking off the power points seems to be a step in the wrong direction."
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Actually, this is completely fair: "What in the world took them so long?" asks Kim Conte at The Stir. While I regularly snatch up a table and a power outlet at Starbucks, I understand that this new policy makes "perfect sense." Laptop loafers rudely hog all of Starbucks' space, leaving little room for other customers to enjoy their coffee. "If it takes covering up electrical outlets now and then to teach people to be more considerate, then so be it."
"Starbucks pulls the plug on laptop loiterers"

Plus, this is exactly what coffee addicts want: "Customers are asking [for this]," says a Starbucks spokesman, Alan Hilowitz, as quoted by Reuters. "They just purchased a latte and a pastry, and there is nowhere to sit down in some of these really high-volume stores." This policy change is good business, and will please customers annoyed by the inconsiderate few who treat our stores like their home offices.
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