Asked this morning on NPR’s Morning Edition how coffee houses have changed since 1992, John A. Rippo – publisher of monthly magazine and daily website The ESPRESSO – pointed an incriminating stir stick at Patch editors, screenwriters, pit-stopping business people and the rest:
“Coffee houses for hundreds of years were where people went to meet their friends and converse face to face,” Rippo says. “You walk into coffee houses now and they’re silent, and people are hunched over a laptop or a cellphone and they don’t talk. It looks like an office without cubicles.”
Today’s report was part of a themed “Coffee Week” at NPR. In the comments to the broadcaster’s ESPRESSO blog item, Arizona coffee house barista Thomas Bonacci shares how the above observed problem was dealt with at Steve’s Espresso:
Three months ago, we disconnected the wi-fi in our coffee shop because we want a lively social setting, not the office away from the office setting… And sure, we’ve had some people complain and even become shockingly indignant about our lack of connectivity. The subject even made the local news here in Tempe-Phoenix. Overall the response from our customers has been very supportive and business is as good as ever. We should have done this years ago.
We wrote in late 2010 about Cafe de Leche, a Highland Park java outpost that decided for similar reasons to turn off wi-fi on weekends. We confirmed this morning that this delightful policy is still firmly in place.
Previously on FishbowlLA:
Highland Park Cafe Turns Off Weekend Wi-Fi