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McDonalds Free Wi-Fi Users Soak Up Seating 500

Posted by samzenpus
from the super-size-my-connection dept.
bfire writes "McDonalds has earmarked potential changes to seating plans in some restaurants to prevent free Wi-Fi users from monopolizing seating, particularly in peak periods. The availability of Wi-Fi means people are now spending 35 minutes in McDonalds — rather than the average ten minutes that patrons used to spend eating there. But it appears not everyone is happy with the increased 'stickiness' of customers, with some licensees in Australia reporting that Wi-Fi users aren't turning over seats fast enough. The restaurant chain is considering options including space demarcation to deal with the problem."

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McDonalds Free Wi-Fi Users Soak Up Seating

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  • Simple Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cashman73 (855518) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @11:45PM (#27933039) Journal
    Go to Panera Bread [panerabread.com]. They have free wi-fi there, too. The food is quite a bit better, and healthier, than all that fried and preprocessed crap that McDonald's dishes out,...
  • Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Deadstick (535032) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @11:51PM (#27933111)

    Let's see...connection time is free, **AA complaints go to McD's IP address, and people stay longer...what are the odds of THAT?

    rj

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @11:59PM (#27933173)
    "Healthier" than McDonalds isn't saying much, look up their nutrition facts on their sandwiches and you will be surprised at how horrible some of that shit still is for you.
  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pinckney (1098477) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:00AM (#27933197)

    Go to Panera Bread. They have free wi-fi there, too. The food is quite a bit better, and healthier, than all that fried and preprocessed crap that McDonald's dishes out,...

    How do you suggest Panera Bread handle it when their seats start getting filled-up by people using the Wi-Fi?

    Your solution has nothing to do with the problem of the article.

  • by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:13AM (#27933277)

    A lot of places here in CFL have taken to sticking a second antenna outside and letting all the freeloaders sit outside doing their thing. The heat tends to get rid of them quickly, and those that do stay tend to be more likely to buy things, and the ones that are hell bent on getting just free internet and nothing else still wind up attracting customers without using up too much space.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Planesdragon (210349) <slashdot@castl e s t e e l s t o ne.us> on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:14AM (#27933289) Homepage Journal

    The food is quite a bit better, and healthier, than all that fried and preprocessed crap that McDonald's dishes out,...

    "Better" is subjective, but I doubt you'll find it especially healthier. (Go ahead. Ask for their nutritional guidelines -- you know, the kind that are on every @#$!ing McDonald's wall.)

    Whether you like fried and preprocessed crap or BAKED and preprocessed crap is a matter of taste.

  • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv.gmail@com> on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:26AM (#27933359) Homepage

    This is the idiocy of how some businesses deal with networking and the internet. First, they offer free. Then they find out when you offer free, people actually use it, and so the same business turns around and gets upset that people are using what you are offering for free?

    Yes, people like free wi-fi, and you offered it in order to drum up traffic and hope those customers would buy stuff, which they did. But you like the business it brings in but you don't like those people freeloading on your network and in your seats when you need more people to be buying stuff?

    Yo, McDonalds! Suck it up! You put yourself in this position now you have to deal with it like adults. You either have to limit free to like ten minutes of free, which does reduce the number of people who will come in since they might go to the coffee shop down the road, charge access fees, which also reduces walk ins, or accept that your restaurants don't have enough seats any more. You got greedy and wanted to steal some of the coffee shop crowd to your stores and now you are dealing with the fact that two business ideas are conflicting. Coffee shops work well with wi-fi business models because they have comfy chairs and lounges and expect their clientel to pay a lot for coffee and sit down for a while. It's about atmosphere. You have cheap coffee, no atmosphere, and expect to be selling coffee in volume.

    I have a feeling Mickey D's is going to come up with stupid artificial rules that it will expect their employees to enforce and it's going to get ugly and moronic before they end the free wi-fi.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:41AM (#27933493)

    There is more to a meal than the list of nutrients.
    If you haven't read this excerpt from Fast Food Nation [warriorsofatlantis.com] yet, you should.

    While McDonalds is packed full of those designer chemicals, presumably Panera is not.

  • Re:Coffee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fractoid (1076465) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:43AM (#27933509) Homepage
    Or a slightly less pathological solution which would nevertheless fix the issue: Simply record MAC addresses and after 15 minutes (or whatever) of use, ban the address for a couple of hours. Sure, a few of us will spoof MAC addresses until we find an unbanned one but the vast majority (and it's the vast majority's asses that are causing the problem) will just mooch off to a different Maccas.
  • by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:48AM (#27933555) Homepage Journal

    The whole point of McDonalds was to get the people in and get them out, as quickly as possible. IF you go to any decently run McDonalds, there will be several times as many cars as there are in any other food place in the area. Those franchises just print money. Putting in wifi just slows down the presses.

  • Re:Coffee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:55AM (#27933599)
    Yeah, that'll go over really well. "Excuse me, your Internets are broken" 10 times a minute.
  • Re:Coffee (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fractoid (1076465) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:56AM (#27933619) Homepage
    They offer wireless internet as an incentive for people to use their stores. People are staying too long. Limiting the time allowed for the wireless internet is the obvious solution. Maybe a full cut-off would be too annoying, but at least cap it at 64kbps after half an hour.
  • Re:Coffee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pete6677 (681676) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @01:04AM (#27933669)

    I suggest the United States McDonalds keep doing what they already do: make the store environment resemble that of a public bathroom as much as possible so as to make it miserable to linger around in. Allow creepy and smelly homeless people to linger around the place for added ambiance. Overuse of the wifi will then be the least of their problems.

  • by BeaverCleaver (673164) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @01:05AM (#27933679)

    And there's the rub. In Australia (that place in the summary, I haven't RTFA either!) we don't have ubiquitous hotspots. The woeful state of our broadband has been discussed here many times before so I won't say anything more than that it's fault of those cunts at Telstra, and their douchebag former CEO (who incidentally used to be in charge of USWEST in Colorado, who were so shit they had to change their name to Qwest... OK I'm ranting here but god dammit my country does some retarded shit)

    In summary, down here in .au we don't have the option of going next door because next door probably doesn't have wireless. McDonalds is generally the BEST option for public WiFi, and even they meter the usage pretty hard.

    And I have to confess to occasionally getting a small coke or ice cream just to sit down and use the web for half an hour...

  • I'm selective about what I eat from there

    I would be willing to bet that McDonalds and Panera share more than a few suppliers for their products. I think selectivity in food probably doesn't actually buy you too much in the long run. The human body has evolved to eat some genuinely sick stuff, and even the Golden Arches is a damn site better than a few bits of rib meat from a four day dead Zebra. If there's a problem with McDonalds, and other modern foods, medical science seems more to conclude that the food is actually -too good- for us, and so we get fat. I think the only thing one can do is probably fast one day a week, to simulate the conditions for which we are bred.

  • by daveime (1253762) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @01:17AM (#27933727)

    Yes, but I don't think someone buying their cheapest coffee and sitting abusing the wi-fi for 3 hours compensates for the lost sales in all the other stuff.

    Sure, at 3am, it might fill in some slack spots in their business, but at peak time, they want a regular rotation of clients to maximize peak-hour sales.

    Ever tried getting into a Starbucks after about 7pm ? Absolutely jam packed, and invariably everyone is hogging the comfy seats with a laptop and a coffee cup with about 5mm of cold, 3 hour old coffee in the bottom. Starbys can get away with it by selling their coffee at crazy prices, but McDo coffee is dirt cheap (not to mention it also tastes like dirt).

    They can't afford malingerers, and in most cases, I'll bet the franchise holders would dump it like a shot if head office would allow them to.

  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @01:24AM (#27933767) Homepage Journal

    This is exactly what CAs and SSL are for.

    If you are even thinking about logging into your email, check the cert. A MiTM attack can't work unless the attacker has a valid cert, if they do, then what does it matter where you connect from?

    LK

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @01:45AM (#27933875) Homepage Journal

    umm.. I said he was a hippie because he likes to imply that your good friend is the devil.

    Try to keep up.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dryeo (100693) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @02:23AM (#27934069)

    The real question for some of us is, are they kid friendly?
    I spent quite a few years going to McDonald's because they were kid friendly. The nice restaurants I went to before becoming a parent were nice, but they weren't the kind of place that you could feel comfortable with a 2 year old. This is the big selling point of McDonald's, you can have a hyper kid there and not feel guilty for disturbing the next table.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxwell demon (590494) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @02:47AM (#27934191) Journal

    Of course, uncomfortable seats would not just make me stay as little as possible, but also to not come again if I can avoid it. Yes, that means I won't occupy seats any more, but I'll also not buy food from them any more.

  • the food is actually -too good- for us

    weeeeell...

    Since the natural world is fairly low on salt, sugar and fat, we're built to want as much as possible, because it practice that was the best way to get as close as possible to the optimum.

    Because our modern world is different, our bodies' way of aiming for optimal is broken. Too much fat is bad for you, as we all know.

    Similarly, we figure out if we get oxygen enough not by measuring oxygen but my measuring CO_2 which back then was a good enough approximation of a lack of oxygen. Nitrogen fools us into not worrying about oxygen concentration when in fact we need to.

    I think the only thing one can do is probably fast one day a week, to simulate the conditions for which we are bred.

    We were also built to cope with large amounts of pain. That doesn't mean we should inflict it upon ourselves just to get a more true simulation.

    Showing some care about your diet while not going to the other extreme is probably the right thing to do. Golden mean and all that ;)

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @03:30AM (#27934421) Homepage Journal

    Of course, uncomfortable seats would not just make me stay as little as possible, but also to not come again if I can avoid it. Yes, that means I won't occupy seats any more, but I'll also not buy food from them any more.

    Balance is the key. Not too good, not too bad.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @03:58AM (#27934563)

    This may actually be a good solution: they say a WiFi customer keeps a seat occupied for 35 mins while other customers do so only 10 mins. So they have less customers, hence less turnover, per seat.

    As long as the seats are not all occupied, the extra WiFi users may add to their business, as they only occupy extra seats. However when all seats are occupied other customers may turn around and go to a competitor instead because they can not find an empty seat, and they are losing business.

    More prudent in such a case would be to limit free WiFi either in duration (15 mins per connection/MAC address), or to certain periods of time, say not available from 12 to 2 (lunch time).

  • Schizoid Corps (Score:2, Insightful)

    by redelm (54142) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @04:17AM (#27934641) Homepage
    Sounds like a normal, Dilbert-day in the corporate whirld! Some people want one thing, others think they're crazy. Neanderthal decision-makers choose to offend the maximum number of participants to show power. (There is no personal power visible or shown in doing the right thing).

    If there are fairness issues, just enable MACs (not the Big ones:) for 30 min per hour. Yes, 'leet gekes can get 'round this easily, but a few leeches isn't the problem. If someone complains moderately justifiably, reset the router.

    Of course put in fine print (limited to 30 minutes) to minimize the justifiable whining and make the leeches come out where you can pour salt on them. Not all customers are worthwhile. Some need to be told not tot return/trespass. If you resemble this and the allusion offends you, good. You offend others (often deliberately) and need to feel what you inflict. Fortunately, this probably occurs frequently.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by m0biusAce (899230) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @04:25AM (#27934693)
    It may be dishonest, but it is still correct. You give someone a larger serving size, they are still going to finish it. End result, someone at panera bread might consume the same amount of calories (sandwich, chips, soda) as someone at mcdonands (sandwich, fries, soda).
  • Re:Wrong headline. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ion.simon.c (1183967) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @04:59AM (#27934839)

    This isn't news if the users of McD's wifi have to click through a page that discloses the surveillance program run by Clean Pipes before transmitting a packet to the Internet.

    IMO, McD would be insane to set up the system in any other way.

  • Re:Wrong headline. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by angryphase (766302) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @05:03AM (#27934861)

    I hope this isn't indicative of the general opinion that is being bred into today's society.

    McDonalds are a business that relies on a appeal to families as well as adult customers. Restricting the service like this promotes their own policies as a kid-friendly establishment (ignoring for now their impact on the growth of obesity and unhealthy lifestyles), one of their major requirements as a business. If they are seen to be promoting the freedom to surf porn within their premises then they lose this reputation as kid-friendly. Gone are the families and in come the nerdverts.

    Just because they restrict, monitor and flag material that they, or their customers may find offensive (before possibly even passing it onto local authorities) does not make them evildoers, stealing your freedom and liberty. If you are currently employed then don't you think that this is happening in your workplace? Don't you think if they wanted to, people could (and in some cases do) monitor your usage at home already? Ignorance is bliss.

    The question that should be asked is: Are McDonalds making their patrons aware that they must adhere to these policies when using this service (ToS, T&Cs)?

  • Re:Coffee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by magarity (164372) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @05:10AM (#27934891)

    There are plenty of off the shelf wifi systems that can print out an access code good for x minutes. Just make EVERY receipt for over an arbitrary amount, say $5, have a code good for 20 minutes. Want more? Buy another $5 worth of stuff (or fish unused receipts out of the trash).

    This is a reasonably simple system that most anyone can understand and explain, even the McD employee at the register.

  • by atraintocry (1183485) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @05:40AM (#27935005)

    You know how when you're done eating the waiter or waitress usually comes over to ask if you want either (a) dessert or (b) the check? They're not trying to make conversation with you, they want you to either spend money or get out of the chair.

    There are a lot of nice coffee shops where they won't do that, they make you feel at home, etc. But not all of them are like that, and in what way is preferring a paying customer to one who's already finished indicative of scumbaggery?

    "Goat head"...wonder if they taught you that when you got one of your many degrees :P

  • Simplest solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @05:45AM (#27935023) Journal
    Stop offering free Wi-fi.

    Seems that it's a net cost. The extra custom doesn't cover the increased cost of requiring more tables. Not quite sure what the point is.
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @05:55AM (#27935071)

    I'm a geek just like most other Slashdotters but my experiences of going into coffee shops (I can't remember the last time I went to a McDonald's) is that the people using wi-fi in there tend to be ignorant social misfits, usually students, who are just showing of their new Mac laptop and who sprawl out across 4 seats so that nobody else can sit down - whilst drinking one small cup of the cheapest coffee they can buy but spreading it out over 4 days.

    Personally, they don't look much to me like people with such busy lives that they can't disconnect themselves from the Internet for 30 minutes and go take a break - hell, maybe even go with a friend and have a C-O-N-V-E-R-S-A-T-I-O-N, or even just read a book.

    The solution is to have two distinct areas, one with wifi and one without - let the misfits pose to each other in the wifi zone whilst the part of the human race that still has communication skills and social awareness goes in the other one.

  • Re:Coffee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @06:33AM (#27935247)

    So, you're saying creepy and smelly homeless people are less human than the rest of us, and should be shipped off somewhere where they won't offend our delicate sensibilities?

    Homeless and poor people often go to a McDonalds, because it's a a single serving (nowhere to store the leftovers), and it's hot, reasonably good food, cheap. They linger there for warmth, for restroom access, because their pride tells them they paid money, so they're allowed to be there, and a host of other reasons too. Homeless people are people. Most of them have some sort of mental illness and with proper treatment could become productive members of society again, but with no treatment, they end up self medicating with drugs and alcohol, exacerbating the financial and psychological problems that led to them being homeless in the first place.

    I'm one of the lucky ones. I never got caught up in self medicating with drugs and alcohol, so when circumstances changed slightly, I was able to leverage that to get out of homelessness, and eventually into running and owning my own business. But I spent enough time homeless to know what it's like. They are people.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FromellaSlob (813394) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @06:41AM (#27935281)

    What I want to know is, why don't these morons put their money where their mouths are and stop consuming any chemicals themselves? It would do the world a favor.

  • by gravesb (967413) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @07:12AM (#27935399) Homepage
    Really? If you can't be more sympathetic than that, why would you think anyone would be sympathetic to your views? And as far as the manners thing goes, kettle meet pot.
  • Re:Coffee (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bertNO@SPAMslashdot.firenzee.com> on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @07:54AM (#27935629) Homepage

    Give them longer time during quiet periods too, if noone else wants the seats then keeping them full is better than leaving them empty, and someone who's sitting around trolling slashdot is more likely to want a drink or snack.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bagorange (1531625) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @08:19AM (#27935805)

    No sir,

    You used the word hippie to imply that Schlosser's concerns are at best misguided, and the rest of your post was intended to discredit his arguments.

    Please don't be so disingenuous

    IIRC Schlosser does point out the weakness of "natural is always better" thinking, he gives the example of almond flavouring. The natural flavour contains very small amounts of cyanide, the artificial one doesn't. However the natural flavour commands a higher price because it is "natural" and therefore better.

    The point about the artificial ingredients in fast food is that they are there to minimise the costs of production, thus allowing companies to drive down prices. They do this because their customers are very, very price sensitive. Many people, including myself, believe that this demand for the lowest possible priced food is misguided and leads us to eat unnecessarily large quantities of unhealthy food. Thus making many of us unhealthy, and probably costing us more in the long run.

  • Re:What??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ColaMan (37550) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @08:29AM (#27935881) Homepage Journal


    Learn the concept of paragraphs if you want your comments read.
    No, I did not bother.

    That's too bad. He had a few good points in there.

    By all means, feel free to suggest to him that shorter paragraphs are useful on the web, to help people with a low IQ and short attention spans more easily digest what you write. The screen is a different medium to paper after all, so a paragraph of that size - that wouldn't be too out of place in a good textbook - is a little on the chunky side here.

    But your blatant "make it easy for me or fuck off" attitude is disheartening. No, don't bother to try and comprehend the point he's trying to make, it's just not worth the outrageous mental effort required to read 10 whole lines of continuous text.

    I am by no means a Rhodes scholar, but if your attitude is typical of today - and there's plenty of evidence to suggest that it is - well, I weep for the future.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @08:35AM (#27935939) Homepage

    Why isn't the news story here that McDonalds has a program in place to spy on customer's wifi usage, to get customers arrested? If my phone company were eaves dropping on my conversations to report to the police, I would have a problem with that. If my ISP were eaves dropping on my internet phone calls or other communications to report to the police, I would have a problem with that.

    Well, for one, they have a large number of people hopping on and off their network, and they don't maintain a constant business relationship with them which would help them identify rogue or criminal users. And on top of that, a little self-regulation to catch criminals will help them ward off legislation like this [codemonkeyramblings.com] which is a Stasi-like surveillance boot-up-the-ass that has support in both parties.

    And here's a question for you. Who the hell do you think you are using someone else's network for free and then complaining that they check up on your behavior from time-to-time? This isn't your ISP. This is a private business which is giving you free access to their wireless for your personal enjoyment.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jahudabudy (714731) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @08:49AM (#27936071)
    Red Arrow manufactures natural smoke flavor by charring sawdust and capturing the aroma chemicals released into the air.

    I especially like this line. Basically, they manufacture natural smoke flavor by burning stuff and capturing the smoke released into the air. And he presents this as a somehow unexpected, contrived method to bottle smoke flavor.
  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @09:01AM (#27936259)

    If you think that just looking at the calories a good way to judge healthy food, you don't know much about nutrition. I'm not saying that either one of these companies sell more nutritional food than the other, but just comparing how much they don't have of a couple of things is like comparing the "cons" of something and failing to take into account the "pros". I suggest reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma". Googling it should find you a free PDF or the entire article somewhere.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nimey (114278) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @09:15AM (#27936453) Homepage Journal

    Simple solution: limit how much TV your kids get to watch. Most marketing I remember towards kids when I was one was on TV.

    We're only getting broadcast TV, which (except for PBS) eliminates most kiddie shows and hence kiddie advertising. DVDs will supply kids' shows worth watching.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @09:42AM (#27936805) Homepage Journal

    Really? Your friend with a PhD in food likes to cook for herself? I would not have guessed as much.

  • Re:Coffee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @10:19AM (#27937349)
    That may be so, but most mentally ill homeless people also refuse the very treatments that would make them "productive members of society again." Also, McDonalds' other paying customers deserve to eat in a place which doesn't smell of unwashed people and urine, or features mentally folks having a deep discussion with the soda fountain. That's just good business sense -- if it happens enough, they'll take their money elsewhere. Yes, the homeless are people, but that doesn't give them the right to inflict their condition on others. If I stunk because I shit myself, or I chose not to use deoderant, are you seriously telling me it wouldn't bother you in the least if I sat immediately behind you on a hot day while you were eating your Big Mac and struck up a loud, spirited conversation with the napkin dispenser? Come on.
  • by daten (575013) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @10:25AM (#27937429) Homepage

    The problem with Panera wifi users is they have a habit of taking up an entire 4 person table for more than an hour in the middle of lunch rush and buying little more than a coffee. I often go to Panera with friends and can't find a table because all of the large tables are taken by greedy laptop users and the small tables they should be using are empty.

    I don't think the problem McDonalds is having is new and I don't think recommending Panera is the solution.

    If he wants to try to beat the system by changing his MAC. Maybe I'll bring a backpack with airpwn [sourceforge.net] next time.

  • Re:Coffee (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @10:27AM (#27937475)

    Yes, homeless people are full of pride in everything they do. Stop watching so much TV.

    It isn't luck that keeps you from being homeless. Stop going to work, see if your luck holds out. Smoke a crack rock, see how that goes. Start drining as soon as you wake up. It ain't luck that keeps you from doing those things.

  • re: kid-friendly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by King_TJ (85913) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:25AM (#27938377) Journal

    Yep. The kid-friendly factor is key. I like Panera Bread, but I have yet to see a single one with a kid's "play place" in it.

    There's also the related issue, that if you actually want some uninterrupted time to USE a wi-fi connection and read news, email, etc. while your kid is with you, you're NOT going to get it unless they offer things to keep your kid occupied at the same time.

    I can't imagine taking even the most well-behaved kid to a regular restaurant, and expecting him/her to just quietly sit there, bored out of his/her mind, while I crack open my laptop and start reading and replying to messages, chatting with people on IM, or anything else.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by home-electro.com (1284676) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @11:53AM (#27938791)

    I too don't understand who needs a WiFi at Mac. Opening up a laptop next to fries and ketchup? No thanks.

  • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:16PM (#27939141) Homepage

    Qualification: I am childless and likely to remain so, not because of a lack of suitable partner.

    I've seen this "ban kids from public places" rant before. It ignores a few points. From a practical point of view, it ignores that fact that parents of small children still need to occasionally go places, and sometimes need to take the child. To use your airliner example: since many places are unreachable or terribly inconvenient to reach without air travel from specific other places, it is more or less impossible to ban children on planes. "I am sorry ma'am, you cannot go to your father's funeral across the country, because we don't allow children on airplanes." Yeah, that's going to go over well. You think the air travel industry is in trouble now, wait till they stop allowing kids.

    From a legal point of view, both children and their parent remain citizens and residents of their respective homes. I'm quite certain that there would be discrimination lawsuits in the offing at any legal attempt to bar them from various premise. While certainly it is within a proprietors right to ban children, I think people would have trouble with a government attempting to do so. As it IS within a business's rights to ban children, and very few chose to, it seems that the business case for it probably isn't that good. I'm sure that a decent sized town can support a few, and a larger city many more, restaurants that don't allow children to make for a more elegant dining experience. You can chose to frequent those. I seriously doubt that many low or mid range restaurants could afford the lost revenue though (and probably not even ALL high end restaurants).

    In short: Children make noise. At least until they reach kindergarten age (or so) they are often incapable of NOT making noise. They simply haven't learned how to be quiet yet. Businesses that chose not to cater to children do exist, but to make up for excluding a large market, they usually charge more. Often for this reason they are "fancy" places. Most businesses probably cannot or would not want to afford to do this. Trying to ban children legally is almost certainly not possible.

  • Re:Coffee (Score:2, Insightful)

    by yiantsbro (550957) on Wednesday May 13, 2009 @12:17PM (#27939159)

    Or even better send every other page as advertisement rather than outright "time is up". Send every even page as "You've been browsing a while, you must be hungry, have .25 off of a large order of fries"

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming

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