Things Get Frothy In Coffee Shop WiFi Spat

from the barista-fight! dept

Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, a WiFi battle is brewing between a Starbucks and another independent coffee shop. The independent store (which the article refers to as “formerly known as ‘Jamocha'”, with no reference to its current name) says people are sitting in Starbucks, but using its free WiFi access instead of paying to access Starbucks’ T-Mobile hotspot. Things are getting ugly — the independent store has begun changing its password each day and giving it out only to paying customers. Plenty of businesses are sold on the benefits of providing free Wi-Fi, and use it as a differentiator from the likes of Starbucks. But it’s clearly not a cure-all: when the signal “leaks” and people would still rather go to a competitor, that would seem to indicate a business is at a competitive disadvantage in some other area. It seems like a good advertising opportunity for the independent store — leave access open, but give people an intro page pointing them to the fact that they’re using the WiFi from the coffee shop across the street. In fact, this is what Schlotzsky’s Deli has done in some of its stores within signal range of a Starbucks.

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Comments on “Things Get Frothy In Coffee Shop WiFi Spat”

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Murdock DeNoss says:


I’ve done this a few times in long beach california. There is a starbucks on pine st downtown long beach and then there are 3 business class dsl broadcasting wifi that if you run a linksys site servey you can connect with no problem.. I mean honestly if you are going to have some sort of wireless put a SSID with a 64 to 128 Enkryption on it, else you’re going to loose money really fast.. or bandwith!

Anonymous Coward says:

Schlotsky's SUCKS

The first and only time I ate there I was horrified. Normally I don’t bother checking my food but by an off chance I just happened to lift up my bun and right in the middle of the sandwich was a dead wasp, yellow markings, stinger and all.

When I showed them my sandwich they had the nerve to offer me a replacement. How do you miss something like that unless you make the sandwich with your eyes closed?

Ever since that day I always dismantel my sandwiches before eating them. I am scarred for life…

crystalattice (user link) says:

Re: Schlotsky's SUCKS

Uhm, yeah, I call bullsh*t. A hair I can see, maybe even someone spitting in your food. But I find it incredibly hard to believe a wasp found it’s way into your sandwich, on the top, and no one saw it when the bread was put on it.

I’ve never had any complaints when I’ve eaten there; I think they have the best fast-food sandwiches around.

jeremiah (user link) says:

WiFi - I agree w/ Techdirt

I agree w/ Techdirt on this one, although I think it could have been articulated a little better.

Basically, the store is missing/ignoring a *blatant* opportunity to change their biz model for the better. If you have such an obvious behavior in front of you (customers leaving your premises to go next door, but taking WiFi with them), then you know that, for whatever reason, people prefer to be in the Starbucks.

I don’t know the shop mentioned, so I can’t comment on any elements that may drive people out of their shop and into Starbucks, however, given that people are *obviously* doing that, time is ripe for figuring it out.

Did they consider simply *asking* their patrons what the deal was??

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