ConsumerWatch: More Coffeehouses Pull Plug On Unlimited Wi-Fi

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(AP)

(AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — In more and more coffeehouses, if you’re looking to keep enjoying your cup of java with unlimited free Wi-Fi and plug-in access, you might be disappointed.

According to the blog Starbucks Gossip, customers are taking to the web to gripe about New York City Starbucks locations that are covering up their power outlets. This new change seems to be an effort to get customers who buy one drink and camp out at the café for hours on end to leave.

The “coffice” has become increasingly popular. People use the free internet and electricity to literally power their own businesses. They park their laptops; send faxes and emails, effectively running a company through local coffee shops.

Greg Rosenstein is one of those people. Rosenstein uses coffee shop Wi-Fi to run his business.

“I talk on the phone, I send emails, I send faxes from my computer, stuff that I can do as long as I have internet” he said.

Some Bay Area’s Peet’s Coffee locations now limit internet use to just one hour, while some independent coffee shops have shut off Wi-Fi completely.

With the trend of turning off wireless internet and cutting the power, some customers expectedly aren’t happy about it. People online are saying the Starbucks move is “passive-aggressive.”

But other customers can commiserate. When people camp out with their computers, companies need to think about their profit and having enough space for incoming customers.

Some coffee drinkers are appreciative of this oncoming trend, saying a tech-free zone is a refreshing environment with people actually talking instead of clacking away on laptops with headphones in.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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