Free WiFi: A good idea gone wrong? | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Free WiFi: A good idea gone wrong?

Yes the wifi is free, but please don't spend all day in my favorite coffee shop.

Back in that bygone era of less than a decade ago, many who lived in major metro areas would drive around with their laptops on and when they encountered a hot spot, park and get online. It was great sport.

Today, we get free WiFi everywhere, big city or small. It's been a boon to the wired.

Now it's becoming, at least for some of us, a huge pain.

How so? One problem is that coffee houses that offer free WiFi draw freeloaders who make a minimal purchase and then become squatters taking up the shop's table and couch space for hours at a time.

From what I remember from my days as a waiter, coffee shop and restaurant owners need to turn their tables over (get a regular turnover of customers) in order to make money. Obviously, a great many Bend coffee house are run by owners who could care less about profits. Good for them, and bad on me for even mentioning profit, let alone somebody hogging up space as they endlessly surf the web.

But even worse is when you go to a coffee house and besides taking up room and not helping the establishment make its daily nut, freeloading squatters talking on Skype. And then in a loud voice they blurt out the ups and downs so that everyone within earshot gets all the gory details.

It's the ultimate invasion of personal space and is frankly the latest and most obnoxious form of electronic showing off. Enough already.

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