"Over the past year it seems that nobody talks to each other any more," she said. On the weekends, 80 to 90 percent of tables and chairs are taken up by people using computers. Many laptop users occupy two or more seats by themselves, as well. [...] Worse than just the sheer number of laptop users, Strongin noted, is that many of these patrons will camp six to eight hoursand not buy anything. This seemed astounding to me, but she said that it was typical, not unusual.
They've gone two weekends with no Wi-Fi, and so far, they're pleased with the results. The staff "loves it," she said, and regular customers are "coming up to us and thanking us." They have received a few nasty emails. But Strongin said that last Sunday was one of the best revenue days they've had on the weekends in a while.
Strongin says that Victrola isn't interested in charging for Wi-Fi as a tool to limit or moderate use [...] but, she said, "I don't like going into a cafe, any cafe, including my own, and just seeing a sea of laptops and people not interacting."
(Note: if you're about to post here about your favorite idea for a technical solution to this social problem, please go do so on Slashdork instead. Your compatriots have that covered already.)
A local computer store recently removed their free internet cafe -- and when the employees were told about this, they all cheered! It turns out that the only people who ever used it were campers: a few kids who would sit there all day playing networked games, but primarily stinky homeless people.
Also, a friend who works there tells me that 80% of the people using the computers were on online dating sites. 80%! That's pretty creepy. What does it mean?? Are all these people cheating on their spouses, or what?