Thursday, August 6, 2009

'No More Perks': Wall Street Journal on the Backlash Against Laptop Malingering in Park Slope and Elsewhere

A few years back, before the 2000 technology bust, and the 2008 financial meltdown, I recall reading an article by musician and tech guru Jaron Lanier about how the technology wave was ushering an an era where "work" and "leisure" would be interchangeable and intertwined in such away as to be indistinguishable.

Well, the recent economic downturn may have rolled back that wave somewhat, as an article in today's Wall Street Journal points out.

Interviewing the owners of Naidre's, a popular Park Slope cafe, it seems that while the owners were delighted to have loyal customers who would open their laptops and lounge, i.e., work on their computers all day, they were scaring away business by taking up seats during the busy lunch time rush. The business also recently sealed up some power outlets since most folks feel free to plug in while they sip their coffee and check their mail and websites.

To this writer, I guess if you are at a high-end chain coffee shop, spending $4.95 for an exotic coffee concoction, use of the comfy chairs and ability to plug in seems like a "value added" service to the customer and a cost of doing business to the corporate owners. But in smaller shops and cafes in this downturn, even spending a buck and a half or two dollars for a coffee, and then nursing it for 3 or four hours while you avail yourselves of the facilities, could cut into the small business owners' bottom line.

There is definitely a divide, between salaryfolks who are locked into our office and home tracks, and those folks who may not have a traditional job, and depend on the public space, including cafes, as a means of getting out of the house to do their freelance work, to conduct business meetings with other freelancers, or just to meet friends and colleagues in a public, social sphere. But it seems that the economic downturn is putting pressure on small business owners, who have no choice but to put pressure on customers who linger too long without spending enough money.

Full WSJ article by Erica Alini here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124950421033208823.html

1 comment:

  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Sara

    http://smallbusinessgrant.info

    ReplyDelete

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