Feeling the icy grip of the economic downturn, several New York coffee shops are plugging up their electrical outlets and asking laptop users to check their Facebook pages elsewhere, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Owners are concerned that laptop users are taking up space that might otherwise be filled by higher-paying customers. While some coffee shops like Café Grumpy in Brooklyn and Chelsea have outlawed laptops completely, others have no-computer laws during peak hours.
"I used to be one of the abusers," said Norm Elrod, a customer at Espresso 77, "sipping a two-dollar cup of coffee in a to-go cup for hours." Now, Elrod says he is a more considerate customer, using his laptop during off hours and buying more.
The new rules can be hard on people who don't have offices. Leah Meyerhoff, an independent film director and freelancer, used to interview people in coffee shops. Now she says she's always on the hunt for a quiet place where she can get online without being judged.