Treats for Surfing Freeloaders

IMG_20120727_160240Two young guys grab a table right next to mine.  They whip out laptops.  I offer to share my outlet via my 3-way adapter.

Later I notice that not only are they not drinking Starbucks beverages but they aren’t eating anything on the Starbucks menu either.

Which isn’t to say that they weren’t eating or drinking.  In fact, they were chowing down a full meal with drinks, all from a Vons shopping bag.

Surfing freeloaders!

I suppose I shouldn’t care.  It isn’t my store, not my enterprise.  And there were plenty of available seats.

On the other hand, have you ever gotten a strong Web signal at a Starbucks?  Rarely me.  Too many people hogging the Wi-fi bandwidth, downloading streaming content.  So these freeloaders—who were in fact playing an online game—were cutting into my surfing signal.

The bastards!

Nice bastards though.  Friendly and all.

Here’s the real kicker; though purely freeloading for a web signal, they were treated by the Starbucks workers with equal courtesy and generosity.  The workers went among the patrons (and freeloaders) offering free pastry and coffee samples.  Yes, even to the surfing freeloaders, chowing down on their non-Starbucks food and drinks.

This is surely a bad business practice.  Right?  Surely!

(Said I from an easy chair at the world’s most successful coffee shop chain.)


About MOGBlogger

Trail runner, writer, director, squeezing the most I can from the juice of every day.
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4 Responses to Treats for Surfing Freeloaders

  1. Winter says:

    Not necessarily. I’m no expert, but it would seem there is value in the goodwill generated, as opposed to the ill will that would come from asking them to leave. Who knows, those kids might actually buy from Starbucks on another occasion, and Starbucks can afford to be patient. But if they are kicked out, they’ll probably never buy from Starbucks again.

  2. MOGBlogger says:

    I’m sure that’s a good part of their strategy in doing this, Winter, good call. As well, I wonder if there is some customer-driving positive impression made by having a more populated store — that people may assume that a restaurant must be good because so many others go there. In which case, the freeloaders are actually doing them a favor. 🙂

  3. Charity says:

    I’ve never ran a Starbucks but I can tell you that people used to come into my place of business to get out of the heat/ cold, walk around aimlessly with no intent to purchase, use the restroom (again with no intent to purchase), moms would drop their kids off to pick out games/ movies unattended for hours because they didn’t want to have to actually spend time with them and they all (hopefully, but who really knows what happens when you leave your staff unattended) were treated with the same kindness and courtesy that our paying customers were because no word of mouth from free loaders is a lot better than bad word of mouth from free loaders to paying customers. Kudos to the Starbucks employees who put the good of the business first :).

    • MOGBlogger says:

      good call, Charity. and i agree! thus my closing “(Said I from an easy chair at the world’s most successful coffee shop chain.)” They do a lot of radical things in the running of their business … radical things that work, apparently. 🙂

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