Say Hello To Free WiFi at Starbucks, Goodbye To Free Electric Outlets
Welcome to Starbucks, home of the dead and dying personal electrical device. Forget about getting a quick charge for your phone or keeping your laptop charged, Starbucks has begun to cover up the electrical outlets with plates that prevent you from staying connected.
When Starbucks announced free WiFi for all on July 1st, laptop users ran to their nearest store, set up tents and sleeping bags and camped out. In response, Starbucks decided to pull the plug on the electric outlets, effectively limiting the free WiFi to the life of your device.
Before free WiFi, Starbucks had a 2 hour limit for customers with a registered Starbucks card. That cut down on users without a free AT&T WiFi account. But the free WiFi seems to have back-fired, as hordes of bloggers, students, Facebook addicts and people who work on their laptops invaded the stores.
So what can you do? Get a $100 crank up laptop from MIT. Or bring a spare electric supply. Most laptops can be powered via the USB with an external battery, doubling your up time. Or you can also bring plenty of charged spare batteries. Of course these all cost more than a Frappuccino, and weigh more that a Mocha, but they will keep you powered up. But phone users are out of luck unless they buy a disposable quick charge device.
In an emergency you can try the rest room (if its still open–Starbucks is also closing restrooms in smaller store locations) where there is usually a working outlet, presumably for customers with electric razors. Just don’t forget to wash your hands, and flush.