Tuesday, April 15, 2014

At the Cafe: To laptop, or not to laptop

Banned at August First bakery: Laptops and tablets.
On the shores of Lake Champlain is a bakery cafe that's banned screens. This Burlington, VT cafe opened four years ago with free WiFi. Quickly, the owners noticed that patrons were camping out. The table space they took up started to affect their bottom line.

On the other side of the spectrum is San Diego's (and my) favorite coffee shop, Old Cal Coffee, in San Marcos, CA. They invite customers to spend all day. Frequently, I, along with others, have spent more than four hours there and I have yet to see a patron shooed away. I once saw a regular, who seemed to be living out of his car, sitting on the patio one holiday when the cafe was closed just to use the WiFi.

Right or Wrong?

The answer to the question, "Is this right or wrong?" is simple: It depends.

Sometimes I need to be offline when I want to be online and vice versa.

Keep in mind that these establishments are private owned businesses open to the public. The owners make the rules and we, the customers, are their guests. And, in the end, we vote with our money. In the case of the August First Bakery in Burlington, are customers going there for food or free WiFi? If it's the food, then the business should survive by banning screens.

Author: Joe Moreno

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