Now, as one to always denigrate those around me that use public areas sorely for their free wifi needs I never thought of myself as one of their brood. That is until recently when I had some free time to myself and decided to bring my computer to a local cafe for some coffee.
Looking around you know the types that frequent these places – students, home workers, Facebook fiends, bloggers, and wifi hogs among others. That last one can always be found mostly in coffee shops such as Starbucks leeching off of the complimentary wifi and free use of power outlets. I always wondered about that last group. It seems as if they are always there for hours upon hours nursing that one beverage as if dragging it out to not lose their table spot. It’s always the same people too as you get to recognizing the regulars there. At times it does seem abusive and inconsiderate to do this as many of us would like to have a table to enjoy our coffee for a few minutes, and engage in conversation if with another.
Yet, after my recent experience I can see why they do it. In my own instance I did not realize how quick time went by as I was busy in my own world of writing, blogging, web surfing, and reviewing on Yelp. Before I knew it I was nursing my own coffee with slight sips and was becoming what I dreaded most – a nefarious wifi hog! Yes, I had been there for hours. I felt dirty. I felt guilty. I was a wifi whore.
Next to me were a few young college students deeply engaged in studying and writing essays on there laptops. I heard them say that they could not afford internet at their apartment so that is why they like this cafe. It’s a quiet and cozy place. On the other side of me was a guy who had a home based business. I asked why he comes here and he said because he would kill his loud roommates if he had to actually work from home. I asked a few more people why they use spots like this for internet and many said it was a financial reason as it’s much cheaper to buy a cup of coffee than actually pay for the web. That did make sense to me considering the tough financial times many people find themselves in. A few others just said because they like to be out in public around other people. Kind of like a herd mentality where people of a feather flock together.
In a way, it was like a research project for me. Now I understand it a bit more. Still, I feel that there are many who way overuse the privilege. Some common courtesy and consideration would be nice after sitting there for hours while you see people looking around with food and drink waiting for a table to open up.