Are The Days Of Using Starbucks As Your Office Over?

starbucksIt's the perfect middle ground -- not your office cubicle, and not your mother's basement.

The local Starbucks.

The house that the Frappucino built has proved a popular workstation for the myriad online laborers who log their hours remotely. Walk into your local Starbucks and you're as likely to see a bohemian in wire-rimmed glasses scrolling through his manuscripts as a pinstriped corporate attorney preparing his latest brief.

But maybe not for much longer. As was reported Aug. 3 on the blog Starbucks Gossip, the electrical outlets at some of its New York City shops have begun to be covered up with metal plates, presumably to prevent long-term abuse by patrons. The person who originally posted about the trend, which was subsequently confirmed by other users of the Starbucks Gossip blog, made the following comment:

"If you are one of those people who uses Starbucks as their office, sits in a store for 8+ hours a day, putting all your files on a table, using a separate chair for your laptop case/suitcase enjoying unlimited free refills with your Starbucks card, asking for cups of water and refuse to to move until you are good and ready all for the $1.85 you pay as "rent," then perhaps your actions will answer your questions [about covering the outlets]."

As the unnamed poster notes, few would take issue if Starbucks is, in fact, concerned about their shops being converted into office space. If this actually is a trend, though, it's done little in the way of interrupting the success of the 40-year-old coffee empire. On July 28, Seattle headquarters made two announcements, both of which suggest that Starbucks' manifest destiny remains intact. The first announcement was regarding Starbucks becoming the sole owner of all branches in Austria and Switzerland, with its buyout of the holdings of minority shareholders. And on the same day, Seattle announced that the company posted record profits for the fiscal year's third quarter, with an increase of net revenue of 12 percent, up to a total of $2.9 billion.

A call placed by AOL Jobs to Starbucks corporate office about the electrical-socket situation went unanswered.

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March 30 2012 at 10:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Too bad Starbucks and any other private entity who offers free Wi-Fi as a courtesy (and a draw to bring in more customers!) can't limit it to 1/2 hr. to 1 hr. a day. That would take care of the campers. I'm sure some smart techie will figure out how to do it.

August 13 2011 at 11:17 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What about the people who are just going to Starbucks for an hour or two and want to get a little work done? I can't always rely on my laptop battery. I don't spend all day at Starbucks, but I'll go for an hour or two in the evenings.

August 11 2011 at 8:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I can understand completely why Starbucks is taking this position. There is only so much capacity for seating in their cafes and one cup of coffee for someone who is taking up a seat for hours would certainly not be considered a profitable transaction. I also know that although there are abusers looking for a cheap place to work, there are many people hanging around at Starbucks instead of working at home because, working at home is lonely, isolated and distratcting. Also there are legitimate mobile maniacs (workers on the go) who need a place to go between appointments. And for those "serious" business people or creative or technie nomads longing for collaboration and a place to go (other than their house), take heart there is a whole new industry that has been evolving over the last several years called "co working" that is available to provide a "Starbucks" environment and more. Call it a "Coffee Shop on steriods". For an hourly, daily fee or as a club membership, you can work out of a co working center (club) that provides not only coffee but a community of like-minded people who work side by side at desks, work tables, tablet chairs, sofas and some private meeting settings (something you can't get at a copy shop or restaurant). They're equipped with wifi and wired internet access, copy centers, private and casual meeting areas and lots of interraction, collaboration and networking possibilities. Do some research on this's really taking off (there are apps like Liquid Space and Coworking that list co working centers worldwide). The environments vary but the coffee and company are always good. And it's more afforadable than you think once you add up the (in my experience) $5.00 plus coffee, gas to run back and forth from cafe, to home, to appointment, to copy center and back. What a thought, all those things in one place and in a non-traditional work atomosphere..........

August 08 2011 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Coffee for $1.85 at Starbucks? How many years ago was that? I call the place "Fivebucks".

August 06 2011 at 8:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Simple a big sign reading NO CAMPING ALLOWED!

August 06 2011 at 3:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've never once stepped foot in a Starbucks but from reading the comments I commend them for doing what they're doing. You laptop, printer zombies seem to forget one thing. Starbucks doesn't revolve around you. You pay their rent, their utilities, then you can complain. One person mentioned something about paying $10 for coffee. WHAT???? You're too uppity to make your coffee at home for less? Boy! Must be nice to be able to afford $10/day for coffee. Sorta reminds me of a guy I yapped at in my corner Convenient kvetching about how high gas prices are while he's handing the lady $50 for his stupid Lotto thinking he'll actually win. I told him he could've used his unimportant Lotto money to fill his tank at least halfway. He was not a happy camper. I guarantee you, he'd not be permitted to spend every waking moment scratching off his tickets taking up space when Convenient is cramped enough. Don't like Starbucks new policy? Stay the heck home, stay in your office or school to do your junk. Although I've never been in a Starbucks I've always assumed it was a place TO just sit and have coffee and to the person who objected, well obviously you weren't raised in a time where a place WAS just to drink your coffee or just eat or wait for someone while you're eating or drinking.

Get off your damn electronic umbilical cords and realized that there are still people who do things the old fashioned way. Go sit and drink a cup of coffee and leave.

August 06 2011 at 2:43 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Scott's AOL

I have a great idea..To solve the problem with these selfish table hogs, Starbucks should make things a little less comfortable to encourage short term camping. The music a little louder, remove the tables and chairs and replace them with those all-in-one Chair + Table combos like at fast food restaurants which can't move, add more of these to crowd things a little too. Have the table tops small also. They could also add high intensity bright spotlight type lamps that shine down on the tables. The longer one sits there, , after 25 minutes, the light slowly and gradually gets brighter and hotter, as well as attracting attention to the long term visitor.

August 06 2011 at 2:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Corliss Rhodes

I think it's a great ideal t cover up the plug's then u will have more room to sit

August 06 2011 at 1:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Unfortunately the world is chock full of a-holes. My guess is these same ----wads will bring a backup battery and still hang out all day for $1.85.
It's a smart solution though that Starbucks has come up with. Thing is on account of the a-holes of the world, regular people get screwed. Now the non-freeloading customer that want's to put 15 minutes of charge to his cell phone is screwed.

August 06 2011 at 1:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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