Space-hogging laptop users prompt Starbucks to block electrical outlets


8 Aug 2011

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Laptop users in some Starbucks outlets in New York City are crowding out customers to the extent that some shops have blocked their electrical outlets.

The decision to carry out the move to discourage the use of laptops and make space for more customers is determined on a case-by-case basis, Starbucks spokesman Alan Hilowitz told Reuters.

"Customers are asking (for it)," Hilowitz said. "They just purchased a latte and a pastry and there is nowhere to sit down in some of these really high-volume stores."

While customers who linger may mean they may make additional purchases, the consequence is other customers who can’t be accommodated may turn away from the business.

"If this is what the store needs to do to support the business, then they’re allowed to make the decision to do that," Hilowitz said. "It really is all about the balance.

Starbucks outlets that offer free Wi-Fi can see students, freelance workers and other computer users stay in the cafe for hours.