I recently wrote an article about Coffee Plantation because it’s where I typically go when I need to get out of the house and get on the internet. Today, I purchased my $2.00 coffee (amazing profit margin) and was asked by the Barrista if I had a code?
Me: A code?
Barrista: Yeah, for the internet.
Me: (setting my witty comments aside) No, I don’t. When did you start doing that?
Me: Was there a particular reason you decided to lock the network down? (Thinking it probably makes sense)
Barrista: Well, there were too many people just sitting around using the internet without purchasing anything and it slows down the internet for everyone who is a paying customer.
Me: (thinking initially, That’s not very cool. Coffee shops are supposed to have free internet.)Oh, okay.
The Barrista handed me a little piece of paper with a 10-digit code on it, then clarified that the zero was a zero and not an “O”. Do people really not know the difference between an O and a zero? Anyway…
…so I got my code and I got on the internet, and then I started thinking about the new security measures, and I recalled a few conversations I had recently about how these store-front coffee shops in high rent areas stay in business when the majority of their patrons sit around and cruise the net all day. Prior to today, I could simply sit here, not buy anything, and use the internet. I don’t do that, but it was possible.
(on a side note, Coffee Plantation finally added a flavored coffee of the day since the new owner took over. I like it. Today it’s Irish Creme. Yesterday it was Creme Brulee)
How does the coffee shop police the code that they just gave me? I can post it here, on twitter, and I can staple it to my forehead.
When the code changes, who’s going to let me know about it? It seems like a decision that includes too much high maintenance to actually be effective.
Here’s where my innovative mind kicks in. Design a wireless router that works in tandem with a networked cash register, yet works like a Guest Gate access point securing the internal network from the patrons. Every day, the wireless router generates a new code after closing. When a patron purchases something, the cash register accesses the router and looks up that code, then delivers the code on the receipt.
Now, that brings up the problem of receipts, which nobody needs to be printing any more. So how would the code get from the cash register to the patron without printing? How about text messaging? How do we get the phone number to the cash register? Not sure, but it can happen.
All in all, I think I’m okay with the network being locked down for patrons only. It makes me feel a bit more important. Now they just need to make it cooler.