I don't normally visit the Starbucks in my neighborhood. Why would I? I have plenty of French Roast in the carafe on the kitchen counter.
But today was different. I was on foot checking-off errands from my ToDo list when a client called needing some information.
"Not a problem," I thought. I'll just duck in to the Coddingtown Mall Starbucks in Santa Rosa, treat myself to a Skinny Peppermint Mocha, and send my client the details via the iPad mini stashed in my Walking Man Shoulder Bag.
I ordered a grande (feeling somewhat festive) and paid using the Starbucks app on my iPhone. Yes, the Nimble Photographer was firing on all cylinders. I found a sturdy table (a rarity in most coffee shops) and selected their WiFi via Settings on the iPad.
Nothing happened. I waited for the "yes I agree to everything in small print on this page" screen to appear, but was left hanging. I walked up to the counter.
"Excuse me, but it appears that your WiFi is down. Could you please take a look?"
"Oh, it's always like that. It's really slow here."
"Ummm, it's not slow. It's dead. Maybe the access point just needs to be restarted."
"That won't help."
I smiled. "Well, is someone working on this?"
"Oh yes. But it's been this way for a year."
That's not working on it. We're talking about WiFi, not a room addition.
I always have a Plan B. In my case, it was Verizon on the iPad. Funny thing, however. Not even my cellular would work. I was in the Twilight Zone. This place must be encased in aluminum.
Starbucks isn't just about coffee. They know that. It's a place for people like me to escape the drone of the city, rest my feet, and get some work done. I can get a drink anywhere. I pay $4.95 for a Skinny Peppermint Mocha so I can log-on and take care of business.
I once read a survey stating that adding WiFi to your retail business helps attract customers. However, if it doesn't work, they won't return, regardless of how good your core product is.
This is particularly true for hotels and Starbucks. No matter how adequate my Skinny Peppermint Mocha may be, I'm a dissatisfied customer without a few spoonfuls of my promised WiFi. It's the unspoken agreement.
Oh, and to make matters worse,
the restroom was out of order too.