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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Starbucks, wo ist das freie internet?

Maybe I’m spoiled after a tour with a USB Sprint USB card accompanying me everywhere, but how hard is it for Starbucks to offer free internet to its customers? Caribou Coffee does. (Where I’m ranting from now.) KFC even does at some of its locations. Fucking KFC??? (And I hate multiple question marks in a sentence.) Even even the car detailing place next to the Dunkin’ Donuts in Chi-cah-ga offered it today. To clarify, Starbucks does have it–for T-Mobile only customers. Everyone else has to pay for at least a day’s worth of service. The drinks are expensive enough that you should at least get free service with purchase, no?

Free internet is just one of those things brands have to do. Like a website. Like a PowerPoint deck with 120 pages of nothing to say. It’s just the cost of doing business now.

But forget about brands trying to get in touch touch with customers via Facebook, MySpace and everywhere else they’re late to the game on in terms of social media. Wanna be first at the next big social media thing? Try offering free internet first.

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Alan Wolk said...

Thank you Bill.
That's always bothered me too- and it's not cheap- $9 for the day, which, if all you want to do is send an email, is kind of extortionist.

I'm also convinced that Starbucks pays hip looking people to sit with their Macbooks in various Manhattan locations and look like they've come there to work. I mean seriously, these people are a little old to be college students. So what exactly are they doing in Starbucks at 2:30 in the afternoon.

Irene Done said...

I'm someone who sometimes hangs around a Starbucks at 2:30 in the afternoon -- PowerBook? check; hip-looking? not so much -- and I'm usually there to meet with someone about work. It's like instant office space for the slacker-freelancer. And I don't mind the fee. KFC and the oil change place may be free but I don't want to hang around there. I like my Starbucks. I like my latte. I like Starbucks workers because they nice (just like real friends only better because I don't have to call them or remember their birthdays). For me the $9 is just another business expense, a hanging around fee -- I'm actually happy to pay it if it helps keep the place staffed, clean and pleasant.

Alan Wolk said...

You're in Dallas though, Irene.

I was talking about Manhattan, where there are a lot of other options. And where the Starbucks are rarely as welcoming and capacious as the ones in Dallas.

Anonymous said...

Tt-or they're bloggers like me sitting there.


But, but, Irene, but, but.

I love shiny happy waitstaff too. And I don’t think Starbucks loses its vibe/appeal by offering it. Certainly not any less by hooking up with Sir Paul.

Thing is, Caribou is making a run at them out here in the middle of the country with almost the same model. Cheery staff, good coffee, colorful interior with wash-away-my cares chill music, and free internet.

Price point is still comparable with Starbucks too. Panera offers the same thing, albeit, it is a louder version of those two–with deli-type food.

Still, it seems like this is a no-brianer way to draw traffic for someone. (Like in VA beach. We were looking for free wifi–as moochers do–and it struck me that any beverage brand could make a killing during the summer months by roping off an area near the beach, serving cold drinks and offering free internet from a small tent/kiosk area.

8/30/2007 2:29 PM

Irene Done said...

Strongest point yet: Starbucks' music is more off-putting than the non-free Internet.

Irene Done said...

That just reminded me though: yesterday at the Starbucks drive-thru, the woman in front of me actually bought two CDs with her coffee drink. Somehow that struck me as hilarious. Until I got to the window and they offered to give me my drink for free if I bought coffee beans. Mm-hmm. I took 'em up on it.