Don’t Be a Cafe Wifi Moocher

Liquid Cocaine Know the term “moocher”? A moocher is, according to Urban Dictionary:

some one who uses you [for] there own good but never returns the favor.

Yesterday, I wrote about working in cafes. When I first started doing it, I admit I might have, well, sort of, you know, lingered over a table while nursing one small cup of iced tea the whole day. Yea.

Then one of my favorite cafes, Canvas in San Francisco, closed down. That place was frequented by cafe workers like me. Dozens of us would squat there for hours, while consuming a total of three and a half cups throughout the entire day.

“We were never able to make a decent profit” said one of the sad signs posted around the cafe. “So we’re sorry to announce that we’ll be shutting our doors. Thank you for your patronage.”

I don’t know what caused their shortfall exactly. High rent? Expensive supplies? Lots of debt? Or maybe… cafe wifi moochers?

The article “Free WiFi spawns cafe backlash” by Nate Anderson of Ars Technica sure seems to indicate cafe wifi mooching as a profit drain.

It was this problem that led one Seattle coffee shop to start shutting off the WiFi on weekends last year. Not only did revenue go up, but the atmosphere in the cafe changed as well.

The article also relates how cafe workers tend to make other patrons feel less inclined to talk, thus decreasing the sociability of the cafe. Personally, I go to cafes so there’s a healthy and lively level of chatter all around me. I try not to eavesdrop (though sometimes, it just sort of happens), but as a former New Yorker, I like the energy of being around lots of people.

But from now on, I’ll resolve to be less of a cafe wifi moocher and more of a consumer. I’ll still work in cafes, but I’ll make frequent purchases and chalk it up as my cafe wifi rent.

I’d encourage all other cafe workers to do the same too. C’mon, let’s pay our cafe wifi rent with more than just a small latte!

Author: Mike Lee

An idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student.