I first noticed the techno-entitlement while picking up a small coffee on a Tuesday evening. A man -- claiming to be a lawyer with a company-issued Dell in hand -- could not comprehend a coffee shop without Wi-Fi. He was expressing his displeasure with a couple well-placed profanities accented by specks of spittle, which landed on the glasses of the deer-in-the-headlights barista delivering the news. The owners of the cafe, DTUT in New York's Upper East Side, turn the Wi-Fi off after 5pm, and for the entirety of the weekend.
This is not a novel concept. They are not alone. And the outrage is almost universal.
As the owner of the Wi-Fi-less Cuvée Coffee in Austin, Texas, Mike McKim has seen the entitled masses of keyboard jockeys and iPad idlers. He's calmly watched as people yelled, cursed, demanded refunds, and often stormed out of his coffee shop to furiously set their MacBooks afire with vitriolic Yelp tirades. He's had to talk down people who simply couldn't comprehend a coffee shop not offering Wi-Fi, and he's had to train his staff to do the same. It happens almost daily.
And those people are straight-up idiots. Demanding, childish, naive, entitled morons. They're pretty much the main reason why the New York Times keeps writing about how much millennials suck.
Do you realize what you people are doing?
Understand this: Wi-Fi is not a right at your coffee shop. Coffee shops existed before Wi-Fi. They will exist after Wi-Fi too, barring an apocalypse that spares espresso machines but kills off broadband connectivity. Shop owners literally owe you nothing… I mean, except coffee (as long as you pay for it, obviously).
"People think its constitutional right to have Wi-Fi in their coffee shop," said McKim. "People have seriously left Yelp reviews complaining that we are personally disadvantaging people who don't have hotspots. Like... seriously? We live in a city that literally has free Wi-Fi in the streets."
"I have gotten so many messages from coffee shop owners around the country just being like, 'Man, I wish I had the balls to do what you did,'" McKim said.
Well, if my words mean anything -- grow those balls. Ban the Wi-Fi. And take your coffee shops back from the sea of virtual office-seekers camping at the tables, ordering minimal drinks, and serving as the bane of coffee shop owners (and patrons!) everywhere.
Not every coffee shop needs to be an office, or a breeding ground for seniors to camp out and watch Longmire for eight hours on their iPad Minis. Some can simply exist without pro-bono tethers to the interweb… and that should be OK.
This is America, right? Home of the assumed free network connections, and land of the brave cafe owners saying, "Fuck your free network connections, you guys are going to have to start talking to each other again."