On 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."
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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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