Friday, November 17, 2006

Stupid Business Models

I'm visiting my parents this week and they only have dial up. No problem I figured, just head into town find a nice cafe and work from there on their wireless. Wrong.

I try my best to avoid corporate food and coffee. So first I tried four or five different local cafes, none of them had wireless. By this point I am frustrated and wardriving around town to corporate coffee, bagel and bookstores. At all of them I discovered fee walls.

This makes no sense. Wireless is a value-added thing. Like heat, comfy chairs, or good music it draws people in and gets them to spend more time in your establishment. You don't pay for wireless.

It became a principle thing. I have no problem dropping a good tip for letting me sit there for a while, but I am not going to pay by the minute for wireless.

Frustrated, I walked into a Starbucks/Barnes and Noble and asked them directly, "Who do I have to sleep with to get online?" The barista handing out samples looked at me very confused and asked me to repeat the question, so I did more plainly, "I see you are charging to get online. If I go up to the counter and pay $4.79 for a $1.00 coffee will you give me the password to get online?" No was the best she could do for me. So I drank the free sample she whored me and left.

After another thirty minutes I stumbled upon the aptly named "Open Door Cafe" and free wireless. Three hours and a four coffee refills later I asked for my bill, it came to $1.20. I left her a five.

If you need to get online in Bel Air, MD here's the spot:


Anonymous said...

only a five, you cheap bastard. you were there for over three hours! obviously you have never been a waitress!

Brent said...

Let's see, the bill is $1.20, I left a five, that's more than a 400% tip for filling my coffee cup four times. In a nearly empty cafe.

I frequented their establishment several more times during my visit and left comparable or better tips if I ate lunch.

I might not tip like a New Yorker, but your logic escapes me.

Anonymous said...

I have been a waitress and I would have been estatic for receiving a $3+ tip for basically doing nothing on a $1.20 bill!