Wednesday, October 3, 2012

First, you get the power

Why do so many coffee shops offer wi-fi, but nowhere near enough power outlets? I've walked in and out of four coffee shops in an area one night and found none with a seat near the too-few outlets (if there were any at all, which was not the case in every shop).

I can't understand the value of advertising "We've got Wi-Fi" when there are so few power outlets. If there were enough, I'd have sat down and, out of a sense of obligation, I'd have bought something with exorbitant profit margin baked in.

Anyway, I discovered an area in a shopping centre that had a few tables, chairs...and power outlets along the wall.So I pulled up a chair, plugged in my laptop and my Samsung Galaxy Note, and turned on the Note's mobile hotspot feature in order to wirelessly connect my laptop to the internet. 

The best part is, I didn't have to give some coffee shop $4 for a drink.


SpiceDesigns said...

And where exactly do you think that power comes from? A Tree? I don't know if you completely understand how power works and how much of it laptops and computers consume. The Coffee Shop would have to pay the electric company money to have you plug into their power, no profit in that and you wonder why coffee is so expensive in these shops, that could very well be one of the reasons. Get real charge your laptop before you leave your own home, don't mooch off others, they already give you free Wi-Fi that they pay. Gees do you want a golden spoon as well.

DA said...


You make some fair points. In support of your notion that power is my problem, one thing I did do was buy larger capacity batteries for my Note. That made a huge difference.

Coffee shop profit is an interesting thing. There's often a tension between number of customers, and revenue per customer. In some shops, there's so few seats that they want to see seat turnover - a long stay may cost them customers. In other shops, there's always a seat, so they're not worried about attracting enough customers - they'd prefer to see a customer order a second round.

Coffee shop size is not accidental. In certain areas, they expect a certain amount of traffic, and design/renovate their store accordingly.

I say all that to say it's not quite true that "there's no profit in that." Clearly, the number of power outlets available to customers in many coffee shops is quite different from what you'd expect in, say, a bar/pub. Clearly, the stores cater to different clientele needs, and the additional outlets in the coffee shop are neither coincidental nor of such burdensome cost that it hurts them to offer it - if it did, they wouldn't offer it.

And, finally, mooching is hardly the word one would use to describe a service that is part of the price paid for a product - if it was that significant a cost, they'd charge for it...unless, of course, we understand that the profit margins on their goods sold more than cover it.