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Monday, August 17 12:00 AM ET

Coffee Shops Getting Serious about Removing Freeloading Customers

By Brian Briggs follow me on Twitter.


Manhattan, NY - Coffee shop owners are tired of people using their stores as personal offices and are employing new methods to remove these menaces. Blocking power outlets, and shutting down free wireless Interent access just aren't enough these days.

John Valdez, owner of Perky's on 6th Avenue said, "These people come in with their laptops, personal power generators and order a small cup of coffee then sit at the table all day working, while paying customers can't find a place to sit. I'm sick of it."

That's why Valdez has purchased the Freelancer-B-Gone electromagnetic pulse rifle from General Magnetics. "With this rifle I can target individual laptops for destruction," said Valdez. "I don't want to destroy a real customer's iPhone, just the moocher's Powerbook."

Other owners who don't want to carry around the rifle's 250-pound battery pack, have found different solutions. Java Lynn's owner Lynn Markham has built trapdoors under each table that drop customer and electronics into a fiery pit below the cafe. "I want to make sure they don't come back," said Markham.

Proprietors not willing to destroy electronics or kill people are relying on other tried and true methods like bouncers, spikes on the chairs or electrifying the table. "It keeps pigeons off roofs and freelance writers out of the seats. If they still don't get the hint that they aren't wanted we have Moose over here throw them out," said Reggie Blankenship of Tongue Scorchers on 3rd.

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Not all coffee shops hate moochers. Some chains like Starbucks don't mind if people hunker down for the day in one of their stores. In fact, the company is experimenting with installing printers, copiers, cots, cubicles, angry bosses and stupid co-workers in some of their stores. "We want to give customers the total office experience," said Starbucks regional manager Carrie Lucci. "For $1400 a cup, you can stay as long as you like."

Despite Starbucks' efforts the battle between coffee shop owners and deadbeat leeches will continue.

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