Coffee Shops Skip Wi-Fi to Encourage Customers to Actually Talk

Some coffee shops are operating without wi-fi in an attempt to encourage customers to actually talk to each other. (Oh, the horror!) "It's about creating a social vibe," Jimson Bienenstock, the owner of Toronto's HotBlack Coffee, tells The New York Times. "You'd have a hell of a time concentrating in our place because there's so much noise. There's so many people talking to each other." Meanwhile, Cafe Grumpy in New York has intentionally done away with comfortable furniture and narrowed the counters in many of its locations to make them less accommodating for laptops. On the other side of the spectrum, Rose K. Pozos argued in a thesis about "urban sociability" of coffee shops that sitting alone on a laptop at a cafe isn't necessarily antisocial. "People still chose to go there inside of being alone at home or work," she points out. "This indicates that there is a social reason for people to go to coffee shops that does not involve direct interaction with others."

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