Ready, Fire, Aim! - Mihail's Public Blog: The death of civility, Wi-Fi

Monday, June 13, 2005

The death of civility, Wi-Fi

More and more we're seeing the death of civility in all aspects of our lives. Whether it is on the road (yep, road rage incidents are up as we have experienced first-hand in Mountain View), on the sidewalk (where people will stand right in the middle blocking traffic), or even in restaurants and cafes -- where people are simply clueless about how they are impacting other people around them...or maybe just don't give a flying fig.

So we now have cafes that offer Wi-Fi having to cut off access on weekends or completely because Wi-Fi users were depriving other paying customers from having a place to sit (and purchase food and drinks -- the reason why these cafes are around in the first place!). According to this New York Times story (registration required):

Victrola started providing free wireless access two years ago after customers asked for it. As in hundreds of other cafes, the owners hoped it would encourage regulars and infrequent patrons to buy more food and drinks. But there was also a disadvantage, staff members said: the cafe filled with laptop users each weekend, often one to a table meant for four. Some would sit for six to eight hours purchasing a single drink, or nothing at all.

...Victrola is part of the emerging expectation that cafes will provide Wi-Fi, free or for a fee. In the United States, more than 8,500 cafes offer Wi-Fi, based on online listings of Wi-Fi locations; 3,500 provide it at no charge, according to, a site devoted to free wireless access. Those offering it free include chains like Panera Bread as well as independent stores; others, like Starbucks, provide the service for a fee through T-Mobile or other providers.

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