Grid Lock: Starbucks Covers Electrical Outlets to Curb Laptop Lingerers

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Alan Diaz / AP

At Starbucks, there are laptop users, and then there are those laptop users.

The ones who spread all their papers out and stay for hours on end, turning a coffee-shop table into their makeshift cubicle. But it looks like work sessions will start to last only as long as computer batteries — the coffee chain is covering up those coveted electric outlets in at least some of their New York City stores.

(MORE: Laptop Battery Life Has Officially Reached Insane Levels)

The socket block was first brought to light on the blog Starbucks Gossip, where a reader observed that outlets were being replaced with blank faceplates.

Called by another commenter on the blog a “passive-aggressive” way to kick out laptop users, such a move reflects a growing trend of coffee shops trying to discourage squatters from hogging seats while spending little. The commenter, who sounds like someone in-the-know, wrote that Starbucks management has approved the power outlet removals only “in extreme cases” because “some people just cannot be reasoned with.”

So rest assured, $1.85 still buys gadget juice and office space in many New York City Starbucks. Oh, and coffee! (via Starbucks Gossip)

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