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Yet more proof of the true cost of "free"

Now that I have a laptop that comes with WiFi access, I find myself far more interested in WiFi hotspots, especially the social and economic minutiae.

Now, this article surprises the hell out of me -- and it shouldn't. The idea of simply walking into a place that offers free WiFi, plunking down, and not buying a single thing astonishes me. I might end up like one of the others mentioned, who buy what they consider the bare minimum, but if I'm going to just mooch off their broadband, I'll have the shame to stay outside and not take up a seat.

I also find the "depersonalizing" of the sort of places that have been traditionally homes to social interaction fascinating -- if slightly disturbing. The idea of these places becoming more like offices... I don't like that.

It's an interesting article, even if it's from the Boston Globe. A great affirmation of Robert Heinlein's TANSTAAFL Principle -- "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch." Especially in a place that sells lunch.

Comments (7)

I get coffee everyday at a ... (Below threshold)

I get coffee everyday at a local cafe that offers free wireless. I don't stick around very often, but ninety per cent of the people that are camped out there at different times of the day sure don't look like business people -- or even more than marginally employable.

They look like they came right out of a lefty protest march. Right down to the Che stickers on their laptops.

It is small wonder that these folks believe that the business owner should provide them with free access all day. They can't comprehend the fact that the cafe actually needs to make a profit to provide them with the "free" service.

Whenever I use my WiFi, it'... (Below threshold)
Robb H:

Whenever I use my WiFi, it's because I'm on a layover and I need to catch up on some email before I get to where I'm going. Seriously. Even if someone is dressed nice, I'd give them 1 chance in 50 that they are doing work on that machine. Most of us who rely on communication via email are so sick of it, that when we go to get a cup of coffee, the last thing we need to see is our inbox.

However, if you feel entitled to money without earning it (Or "Liberalism" as I call it) you have no "work" to be done, and would just love to go find a conservative blogger and threaten their children.

Remember with those "hot sp... (Below threshold)

Remember with those "hot spots" unless you have a secure connection your information is in the open. And yes your email and other passwords are up for grabs for people with the right tools.

Brings to mind the debate o... (Below threshold)
Totally Matt:

Brings to mind the debate over "net neutrality". I have no idea what you guys think about it, and I'm curious. I understand that CATO types and Kossacks all agree that the internet ought to remain free. I'm unaware of an argument to the contrary, other than "We're AT&T, and we just fu***** love money."

An idea for a future thread, if I may be so bold...?

As for freedom, Team Americ... (Below threshold)

As for freedom, Team America explained its cost to us nicely:

"Oh yeah... buck-o-five... Freedom costs a buck-oooo-fiiiiive!"

Hmm. Seems to me there was ... (Below threshold)

Hmm. Seems to me there was a recent story about a fellow arrested for stealing free wi-fi. This might have been it, but I was under the impression that the one I was thinking of involved a business.

There's always a bum in eve... (Below threshold)

There's always a bum in every crowd. I wouldn't have the gall to park it in a cafe and use the WiFi without ordering something.

But the world is full of Givers and Takers, as we all know. The Takers drive me insane.






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