When everyone is special, no one is.

July 30, 2010

It takes a lot of nerve to make people pay for something that pretty much everyone else gives away for free. As a corporation, Starbucks has enough money to buy an iPod (nano) for every other customer who walks in, yet they dangled internet in front of us for a $3.99 because they knew people would pay for it. They’ve got however many million customers a day, and if one out of every thousand that walks into a Starbucks opts to pay for internet access, it’s more than worth the other poor schmucks who can’t afford it.

degenerate starbucks customer

Can you imagine the degenerates that free internet will attract?

For the record, I am a poor schmuck. A poor schmuck that used to drop into Starbucks with the knowledge that I’d actually get work done. After paying $3 for a latte, there’s no way I’m paying another $4 for internet, and I would sit there and lament the fact that my poor self couldn’t afford the basic human right of internet…then I’d do something productive. Sure, I can cough up some gas money for a mocha frappe, but internet? That’s too rich for my blood. Looks like I’ll just have to suck it up and work.

Haves and have-nots make up the foundation of a proper capitalist society. What if airlines just did away with first-class, and started seating everyone in spacious seats with bottomless cups of ginger ale? Chaos. What if everyone had health-care? Death camps. What if every Playstation 3 could play PS2 games? Anarchy. The fact is, you can’t spell compromise without prom, and anyone who’s been to prom knows it ruins lives.

More than anything, I miss the intrigue. Knowing that there were people–important, influential, upper-middle class people–who would whip out their American Express and log into not just any wireless network, but the Starbucks wireless internet access. A network that never tired and never lagged, and could Skype in HD.  Where your IP was a VIP, and packets sent from lower gateways stepped aside out of respect, since your data was traveling from the Starbucks gateway. Where every attempt to drain bandwidth only made it stronger, and where the only virus was the virus of awesome.

Free Starbucks Internet on the iPhone: you're only encouraging them.

You're only encouraging them.

Of course, I have to consider where this leaves me. Before free Starbucks internet, I was a blogger on the fringes, drafting my posts offline like a second-rate citizen and sipping the a vanilla bean iced…thing that could only wet my tongue for an elite class that I would never fully savor with my full palette. With free internet, I’m just a another douche with a MacBook and an overpriced milkshake.

How could you stoop so low, Starbucks. How could you? You’re a multi-national corporation that already has the nerve to provide its full-time and part-time employees with proper benefits. Now you stoop lower. Can you imagine the kinds of people who are logging on to your network? Fourteen-year-olds with iPhones. Elderly folks forwarding jokes to their grandchildren. Graduate students! How can you handle it? How can you let your pure networks be tainted so?

You’re weak, Starbucks. I used to look up to you. Now you’re just a Tully’s with an over-inflated ego.

So yeah, I’ll see you Wednesday. The mocha frappuccino light is actually pretty tasty.

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