Starbucks has always been a place where people have come to squat with their laptops for hours. They kind of built their brand around the idea that you can grab a coffee and stay for a while. Plus they have those cushy lounge chairs and convenient tables (some even have fireplaces) so it’s no surprise that people starting taking advantage of that free wi-fi. However it has been reported that some Starbucks locations are cracking down on all the loitering that has become the daily routine for many freelancers/writers/people who work from their laptops.
It started out with not so subtle hints like the covering of electrical outlets, but now “laptop hobos” are reporting that Starbucks employees are actively asking them to either buy another drink or leave. And that I believe is the main issue, times are tough so “hobos” are buying less, but monopolizing a chair and sucking up electricity for the same amount of time. And I can’t say that I blame Starbucks for becoming a little less hospitable after all the relationship is no longer as reciprocal as it once was.
Some of the tweets and blogs of these displaced “hobos” are really comical in their anger about what appears to be the new Starbucks company policy. They readily admit to buying only one beverage and possibly a snack while camping out for 7 hours, but are outraged when a barista asks them to make another purchase or please make way for other customers. Does their entitlement know no bounds?! You gotta feel for the Starbucks employee who now among their other duties has the joy of being the bearer of bad news to the guy who has become the fixture at the corner table. I’m sure there is a lot of messenger killing going on at many a mid-town Manhattan location.
Starbucks though is partially to blame, they kind of allowed it to happen, they let people get too comfortable. Either way it appears as though the “hobos” are losing the battle and having to relocate to places like (gasp!) parks and public libraries. It remains to be seen though if the “hobos” will make good on their threats to take their coffee business elsewhere and win the war by impacting the Starbucks bottom line.
- Starbucks Hobofication Continues Apace [Trendwatch] (gawker.com)
- Fear! We (and our laptops) could get thrown out of Starbucks?! (cbsnews.com)
- The Great Starbucks Laptop Hobo War Has Begun [Starbucks] (gawker.com)
- Watch: Ex-Barista’s Starbucks Rant Song Got Him Fired (newsfeed.time.com)
- Get The New Starbucks Coffee Stained T-Shirt! (q104.radio.com)
- A Note to My Fellow Coffee-Shop-Squatting Laptop Hobos (slog.thestranger.com)