Starbucks made customers happy with its recent announcement giving everybody free Wi-Fi. But, as many a Starbucks patron knows, it’s highly unusual to enter one of its coffee shops without spending some money.
How much? SmartMoney says about $4.75 an hour. That, according to estimates in the story, is a bit less than what the average customer spends while soaking up “free” Wi-Fi at McDonald’s ($5.25 an hour) and Barnes & Noble ($9.50), but less than at Borders ($3.65).
None of these stores, by the way, require customers to spend money in order to access free Wi-Fi. It’s just that most consumers feel obligated to buy something.
As an alternative, check out local libraries: Most offer free Wi-Fi, and you’re never guilted into buying something because there’s nothing for sale. You may, however, feel guilted into borrowing one of those dozens of books you’ve been meaning to read—and that’s a good thing, even if you do wind up paying some late fees because it takes you so long to get through it.