10.11.2010 09:54 AM

New thing I hate

Since they started offering free WiFi, every Starbucks has become a goddamned laptop farm.

No place to sit. I hate it.

Thank you.


  1. Andrew says:

    Life is cruel sometimes…

  2. James Bow says:

    You’re welcome to share my table, Warren.

    Seriously, though: coffee houses should consider more communal tables. There’s a place in Downtown Kitchener called “Matter of Taste” that offers it (and the best brew in KW), and people gather there to sit and/or work. Really, do people really need a whole table to themselves? I’m able to get my writing done even with someone sitting beside me.

  3. John says:

    Maybe you should try Tim Hortons.

  4. mike says:

    I was thinking the exact same thing last night as I waited impatiently to sit down with my laptop at my local SBs

  5. gretschfan says:

    Still laughing at “goddamned laptop farm.”

  6. bigcitylib says:

    Starbucks? As a strategist you should be drinking coffee with Der Volk at Tim’s, not with the gay elitists and their gay coffee. Also, check out CoffeeCrime; coffee’s okay, and there’s usually free wifi. But when you’re in the men’s room, try not to touch the floor. Your feet will stick.

  7. James Bow says:

    On my blog, I’m expressing my wish that we can retire ‘Tim Hortons’ as some kind of monolithic constituency that politicians can lay claim to. As I said on the blog, “If everybody who ever drank coffee at one of the literally thousands of Tim Horton’s across the country had exactly the same political opinions and thought processes as everybody else, do you know what you’d hear at every Tim Horton’s establishment you’d visit? Silence.”

    Besides, I’ve been known to drink both Tim Horton’s coffee and Starbucks coffee in the same day, so what does that make me? Besides over-caffeinated?

    More seriously, I’d like to ask you and your readers, what would you do if I took over a table at a Starbucks for my laptop computer and some notes, plus earphones to listen to iTunes, and then hung up a sign saying “The other seat is free. You can sit there if you want”, how many people would take me up on the invitation?

    • Andrew says:

      I would beg to differ.

      I think if you did a comparison of the demographics in Tim Horton’s and Starbucks across the country, you find two very disparate groups (once you throw out the outliers) in terms of education, income level and political affiliation.

      Most Tim Horton’s visitors are not the laptop type.

      • bigcitylib says:

        If Tim Horton’s had free wifi I bet they’d attract a lot of the Starbucks crowd. I’m always looking for places with free wifi, and coffee is usually just coffee (although why Tim’s doesn’t make Expresso I don’t know).

  8. Robbie says:

    Blenz in Dude. Best place to plug in your extension cord. Excellent service. All we had to do get wifi was get the password from counter person. Btw, what kind of pesticides would one use on a “laptop farm”? Or do they use herbicides? Let me know.

  9. Lipman says:

    Here’s my take (going against the grain)

    Starbucks functions as an effective refuge for overtired students and others who for whatever reason need a place to sit down and work at their laptops. This is not always a bad thing. I wrote about half of my (recently defended) master’s thesis at Starbucks locations across Toronto. Had it not been for the supportive staff (who let me sit around if I purchased something on the hour) at Yonge and Bloor and Bayview and Millwood, I may never have got myself in the right mindset to write and hammer it out.

    The Tim Hortons braintrust was smart, however, when they decided not to put in a/c outlets at their locations. To be sure, there are people who take up tables for hours at Tims, but it is nothing like the iron butt Starbucks clientel.

    The solution to this is to create more public space in the city for people to do whatever they need to do online or on a laptop. Library hours are atrocious (and worsening), and there is a dearth of places people can go to study. If this continues, Starbucks will remain a haven for students, workaholics, and other notebook addicts.

  10. Steve T says:

    Here is radical, out-of-left-field suggestion: perhaps the differentiation between Tim’s and Starbucks is THE COFFEE. I actually like the taste of Starbucks more. I don’t go there for any other reason. It’s not because I am a (fill in Starbucks stereotype here), and not a (fill in Tim Horton’s stereotype here).

    When politicians start talking about appealing to the Tim’s crowd rather than the Starbucks crowd, all I can think is what shallow, pandering morons they are.

  11. Greg says:

    Starbucks coffee is good (not as good as Blenz, you’re right) but the food is terrible. Tim’s coffee varies from bad to adequate, but their food is OK. Canada needs Panera Bread, badly. Or in Ottawa, go to Bridgehead.
    IIRC, some coffee locations are shutting off the wireless to encourage more social interaction. Good luck with that.

  12. Lipman says:


    Ever try Country Style coffee? I really like it. I am increasingly finding that Starbucks coffee destroys my stomach. Tim’s is just too bland.

  13. DJ says:

    I find the Starbucks located in Chapters/Indigo stores are the worst–at least in Vancouver.

  14. sj says:

    When I was in Waikiki went into the SB across from the beach to use the wi-Fi and the place was only about half full, which was heartening. Also we saw Nick Nolte looking really old and really trashed. My kid could not believe that he was ever a movie star.

    Actually I don’t have a problem with the laptop set taking up tables. I figure it is just another version of strollers taking up the lanes in foodcourts. It comes with the territory.

  15. allegra fortissima says:

    Che ne pensa il Signor Rossi?

    Starbucks, Tim Horton’s… Bold Pick of the Day, eh?

    THIS is coffee, guys:


    No Italian Espresso Bars in Toronto? I’ll be grateful for recommendations…

  16. eattv says:

    How’s that new ipad?

  17. Aurelia says:

    Get the 3G next time. I sit anywhere I like. And my bill is linked to my blackberry account, so I share data between all devices, and pay just one bill.

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