Do people abuse free WIFI?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by senseless, May 16, 2012.

  1. senseless macrumors 68000

    senseless

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2008
    Location:
    Pennsylvania, USA
    #1
    I was in Panera Bread at lunch hour and there were many booths taken up by people with notebook computers. Some of these had no signs of dishes or coffee cups, so I can only assume they were there for the free WIFI only. In fact, one guy had his power cord going across the floor to his booth, creating a trip hazard while using the store's electricity.

    It's not as bad as the freeloaders that would spend hours at Borders messing up books and reading for free, but really...
     
  2. BustedVisaCard macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    #2
    Times are rough though..

    however, maybe some of those folk actually did buy something and ate/drank the foods, and threw the trash away, and finished up work in the booth?

    Hard to say. Regardless, you give something away for free, people will use it. Sometimes it's good because it makes your business look more busy, which says "Hey, I'm good. Stop in!" but the same time, takes up resources your customers could actually use (and in reality, pay for).
     
  3. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #3
    The op is right. Why can't these people go to a library?
     
  4. malman89 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan
    #4
    Some of these people probably use the Panera as their "office" space.

    I totally abused the free wifi near me when I first moved in. I'm right on top of a bakery that has totally unlocked Comcast Business class wireless. It's fast as hell. Used it for my primary internet for a month or so before I felt guilty enough to get my own (mostly due to my internet usage, like downloads).
     
  5. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Texas, unfortunately.
    #5
    I admittedly abuse the hell out of the free wifi at McDonalds, as there is no way I can afford a home internet connection at this time. However, I also work there, so I'm not sure anybody can complain. :p
     
  6. NZed macrumors 65816

    NZed

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Location:
    Canada, Eh?
    #6
    Well, free wifi like McDonalds? Or starbucks? You couldnt do much. But a lot of local restaurants have free wifi where you have to actually sit down for a password for free wifi.
     
  7. R94N macrumors 68020

    R94N

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    UK
    #7
    I go to the library a lot and use their WiFi, especially if I have large files that I have to download. It is much faster than the connection I have at home.
     
  8. kolax macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    #8
    I'm sure those who live above the cafe or restaurant will be using it too. Had a friend who stayed in an apartment for 2 years and never paid for the internet - a pub across the road had free WiFi and he was able to pick it up and extend the range around his flat using an Airport Express. It was like 0.4Mbps speeds though, I'd rather have forked out $20 a month to get something usable!
     
  9. WillEH macrumors 6502a

    WillEH

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    United Kingdom
  10. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    UK
  11. puma1552 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    #11
    It goes with the territory. If you set up something free and are taken aback when people use it to extremes, then you aren't very smart IMO.
     
  12. InvalidUserID macrumors 6502a

    InvalidUserID

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    Palo Alto, CA
    #12
    I find it a little tacky but I'm not a Panera employee, store manager or shareholder so it's not really my issue.

    I think if you have bought something then it's fine to go ahead and set up. But I've seen groups of people use Panera/Starbucks as a meeting place and set up without buying. Cases like this a library would be more appropriate.

    More places should institute what Peet's Coffee does: You need a passcode every 2 hours to use the free wifi.
     
  13. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    #13
    It's up to Panera to decide what's acceptable use. The WiFi is intended for customers, but they can decide what a customer is and how long your purchase entitles you to stay. The WiFi is a fixed cost for them - it's better than someone sitting for hours being brought free coffee refills, which happens in some restaurants.
     
  14. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #14
    I watched a guy set-up at Princess Margaret Hospital once, using 2 scarce chairs AND a table. These chairs are for Cancer patients waiting for rides.

    I spoke to Alec, in Security, they looked at their monitors, and he was bounced. :D

    Everyone wants something for nothing. As stated, it's up to the location to decide what is fair, and what constitutes abuse.
     
  15. joepunk macrumors 68030

    joepunk

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Location:
    a profane existence
    #15
    i usually buy something (even if it is a $1.50 coffee) and usually sit for several hours. I have also picked up signals from businesses across the street. I usually don't us it as I'm more curious as to who/what is offering the wifi. It's just for curiosity sakes.

    However, when I do use free wifi for an extended period of time I don't feel guilty at all.
     
  16. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Texas, unfortunately.
    #16
    Echoing most in the thread, it's called "free wifi". Not "Buy something and then it's free wifi". Of course businesses have the choice of instituting such a policy, which is perfectly reasonable. If you just have unprotected wifi and call it free, you can't exactly get mad when people use it without making a purchase.
     
  17. wordoflife macrumors 604

    wordoflife

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    #17
    Isn't there a time limit for WiFi use at Panera? I only tried using their WiFi once on my phone, so I'm not sure if there is a time limit or not.
     
  18. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #18
    They appear to have more concern regarding people using their washrooms.
     
  19. musty345 macrumors regular

    musty345

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #19
    If i do, I feel obliged to actually buy some food/drink or else I feel bad.

    On a side note, I always use a VPN when using public Wi-Fi
     
  20. maril1111 macrumors 68000

    maril1111

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2010
    Location:
    Denmark
    #20
    Nah don't feel too guilty, although free wifi in that sense is pretty rare around my area... unless counting a neighbour living their's open counts ;)
     
  21. kolax macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    #21
    Never seen a junkie use a WiFi network to shoot up before, or if I have, I missed that scene in the Matrix.
     
  22. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #22
    why would they have free wifi if they don't expect people to use it?

    there's nothing preventing them from putting limits on how long you can sit and use it, or even turning it off if they want
     
  23. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #23
    They do... At least around here. Whenever I've wanted to use the wifi at our main library branch for a few minutes, I connect and then it flounders. I look around, and there are dozens of people streaming content and face booking who look like they've been there for hours.

    Panera and this topic have been in the news a bit recently. As a user, Panera has a long list of things they could do to make my experience better before worrying about wifi mooches. Like serve better food and coffee. Often I do want a few minutes of wifi time when I stop at a place like that. As long as it works for 10-15 min, I'm happy.
     
  24. -aggie- macrumors P6

    -aggie-

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2009
    Location:
    Where bunnies are welcome.
    #24
    Nope, there's no time limit.

    How do you abuse something that's free? Many fast food places have policies regarding loitering, so if you're not buying something, they can by all means ask you to leave.
     
  25. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #25
    While it's true that it's up to each shop to decide what is "abuse", and who is considered a customer, I do believe that customers need to use a little sense in order to keep free wi-fi "free". If you sit there for 3 hours, and all you did was purchase 1 coffee, or if you walk in with a group of people and just sit and work without purchasing anything, then obviously those people should be smacked in the forehead.
     

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