Outlet Outrage

We call them "road warriors." Or maybe just "huge nerd" would suffice. Some are students, others dyed-in-the-wool geeks. Whatever, it doesn't matter. The bottom line is that all of us have seen this particularly non-elusive breed of tech aficionado, usually sitting at a Borders, Barnes & Noble, or especially, a Panera Bread cafe. We're breeding like rabbits.

Virtually all of these establishments either condone or even encourage people to pull up a chair, stay awhile, fire up your laptop or phone, and take advantage of the Wi-Fi hotspot. Panera Bread even encourages patrons to make their restaurant their meeting place, and they offer free Wi-Fi access, too.

As quoted from their official website: "So consider it your Panera, wherever. Stay and share as long as you like."

So there, they said it. Nobody has to feel bad about considering Panera their meeting place, or to stay awhile. I've worked from Panera before. I've had meetings there. I've studied there. And almost every time I go, I buy something (usually coffee or a sweet treat to fuel my brain.) You can't yell at that "dude who's been sitting there forever" because that's OK.

But you know what's NOT OK?

Taking a seat with an outlet when you don't plan on using it.

Now, I never said that you shouldn't be able to take what I have dubbed an "outlet seat." There shouldn't be any "rules" against it. This is America, the land of freedom, right? Mr. Non-Laptop-Using Health-Magazine-Reading Outlet Seat Non-User Inconsiderate ***** On His Cellphone has every right to take the outlet seat and not use the outlet. I wouldn't dare take that freedom away. That doesn't make me NOT want to rip every gelled-down hair on his head, individually, with a rusty pair of tweezers, though.

If you know what I'm talking about, you're nodding your head in agreement. You've been there, right? Standing there with your heavy briefcase or backpack, staring longingly into the semi-full cafe that has plenty of tables but no "outlet seats" and you're getting mad and you circle around the bookstore and pick up a magazine for a few minutes and you come back and there STILL aren't any outlet seats and then you look at the person who's in the outlet seat you want but ISN'T...USING...THE...OUTLET and they smirk and ignore you and you just know they're laughing and saying "haha you stupid nerd" under their breath and you could just punch them in the face and AAAAGH!

So anyway... please give Mr. or Mrs. Laptop-Toting Hard-Working Corporate/Geek/Blogger/Moderator/Whatever Who Forgot To Charge Their MacBook At The Office And Really Needs To Get This Crap Done some love, and if you're not using that outlet... do the right thing.

They'll definitely be willing to switch seats :) I'd even buy ya a coffee.

Because where would late-night blog entries, meeting notes, that spreadsheet your boss asked you to get done at 4:58, and half-effort school projects be without the outlet seat anyway?

[On a side note... I think most, if not all of these places, should consider putting in more outlets to help accommodate those folks who need them. Perhaps a thorough analysis ofthe increased revenue from more laptop using attendees compared to the additional costs in power consumption is in order. What do all of you think?]


Right on, Brother. Gimme those outlets!!! I really think it's all a ploy just to get back at us geeks. They think we're taking over their coffee shops and pretending not to notice that they're sitting next to an outlet that obviously I want to use. COME ON!


Connect With Techlore