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Tom Falco Headshot

The Great Wifi Altercation

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There's an interesting phenomena that I see at local hangouts with free wifi, bookstores, Starbucks, wherever. There's a select few who think they own the place where they set up shop and spend the day. To them, it's their personal office.

They use the free wifi, enjoy the air conditioning, electricity, bathroom, tables, chairs and atmosphere, they usually don't spend a dime on coffee or food and if they do, they get one cup of coffee in four to eight hours.

These freeloaders give dirty looks and huff and puff at those of us who are talking nearby. Those of us who actually buy food and drinks and are visiting with friends are looked down upon as if we are intruders on the personal space of these leaches. Only it is not their personal space. It's a public space. It's not a library it's usually a public space or business that encourage people to hang out and interact.

I have seen one delicate little guy at a local hangout, he is there every time I am there, so I must assume he has claimed the place as his own. I have watched him storm out and back more than once in an hour. He literally has pulled his computer plug from the wall very forcefully and loudly, as to make a statement and he has huffed and puffed to another chair or table to get away from people talking. He has done this three times in an hour, I have witnessed this.

An employee of the establishment told me this: There was one guy there, who sat and worked on his computer for hours, maybe four hours. He left. He left his coffee cup behind. Starbucks -- in this other business that sells coffee and food. So one of the employees cleaned the table off and threw the Starbucks cup out. A half hour later, the customer came back looking for his Starbucks cup. He was told that they cleaned the table up and threw the cup out. He demanded a refill on the house. He was promptly thrown out.

There are a handful of people that do this. They make those of us who are paying customers feel very uncomfortable. They give us dirty looks, make tsk sounds and just make it very unpleasant for many paying customers. It's funny in a way, but really not when you think about it.

There is going to be an altercation one day, "The Great Wifi Altercation," I call it, as it's really all about the wifi in the end.