Thursday, July 8, 2010

Star Bucks and the New Normal (rant)

Truthfully, I have never spent a lot of time in the cafe scene so these observations may be old hat to most. I am currently testing clouding computing performance by visiting different wi-fi sources when I find myself in-between meetings. Star Bucks is often convenient and I love coffee, so I have wandered blissfully in with eyes searching for a quiet corner with a AC outlet.

Most of my experiences are in suburban Star Bucks, but some are in cool university settings ( much preferred ). In the suburban Star Bucks, the allure of a quiet corner to write the next Harry Potter is completely fabrication. Children run around, babies scream, and there is no food on my diet. But if you can hear the music, it's often good for the older set.

It is frankly a uncomfortable place - the McDonald's of cafe's ( more on this later ). Anyway I came for the wi-fi. I'm such a newbie I assume it's free. I ask the sweet young woman how to get on: she says you have to use an ATT account. She misses the opportunity to sell me a Star Bucks card so I can have my daily two hours for free. I ask her why Star Bucks is so behind the curve as to not offer free wi-fi. She explains that starting July 1, wi-fi will be free in Star Bucks. She laments that they tried it before and it simply resulted in people hanging around all day.

I mused, "Isn't that the idea"? She said "No, they don't ever buy anything." Finally, the stark truth set against the romance of cafe life.

Take into account the physical investment, the two or three people working there, the wi-fi hassle, the unexceptional coffee, the lack of good food, and the $5 average sale ... Is Star Bucks a good investment?

The wi-fi does work. Using RDP on my MacBook to work off of my base PC is acceptable - but more bandwidth would be nice.

The good thing is that wi-fi is becoming so available in the suburbs and exurbs. Is it in every McDonald's yet?

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