Busy NYC Starbucks block sockets to free up seats

LOS ANGELES Fri Aug 5, 2011 11:36am EDT

Poeple walk past a Starbucks outlet in New York June 29, 2010. REUTERS/Lily Bowers

Poeple walk past a Starbucks outlet in New York June 29, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Lily Bowers

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Some busy Starbucks coffee shops in New York City have started blocking electrical outlets to discourage laptop users from hogging space, and to free up seats for other customers.

"Customers are asking (for it) .... They just purchased a latte and a pastry and there is nowhere to sit down in some of these really high-volume stores," said Starbucks spokesman Alan Hilowitz.

He said the decision is made on a case-by-case basis by individual stores, and to his knowledge is limited to some cafes in New York City.

"If this is what the store needs to do to support the business, then they're allowed to make the decision to do that," Hilowitz said. "It really is all about the balance."

Starbucks offers free Wi-Fi access to all of its customers. While inviting customers to linger can result in repeat purchases, it also can have unintended consequences.

Seating is scarce in some cafes frequented by students, freelancer workers and other computer users who sometimes stay for hours.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein; Editing by Richard Chang)

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Comments (5)
RE2 wrote:
Good Idea!

Aug 05, 2011 1:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bobw111 wrote:
This is outrageous!

See if I ever buy another cup or their overpriced psuedo coffee again.

Not that I ever have in the past, but it’s the principle isn’t it…

Aug 05, 2011 4:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
StephanGregor wrote:
Outrageous, that a business could think that customers should pay for the privilege of using its facilities as a personal office.

Aug 06, 2011 2:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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