Interesting Stuff

Why Banning Screens At A Restaurant Is Not A Good Idea


Before I get carried away here, I am not sitting in front of a computer 24/7 and I do get out and enjoy the fresh air every day.  I would be nuts to sit in front of a screen all day long and not do anything to refresh my mind.  Now, most people who are alone, like me, will use a laptop or smartphone when they go out to eat.  Most restaurants and cafes now have wi-fi, and most places has wi-fi for free or for a small cost.  If no wi-fi, people can use their phone’s hot spot to connect to the web.  When I go to a restaurant or cafe, I usually buy some food and a drink, eat, then work on my computer or smartphone.  Most of the time, I am only on my screen to see social media or read news stories, but some times I am writing or doing research like what I do at home.

One bakery in Vermont is about to buck the trend of allowing people to use their laptop or smartphones.  And for people who are alone, and with less and less options to read a real newspaper or book, they are going digital too, this bakery is going to lose some business.  If I went to a restaurant or cafe and found out they actually ban all screens, I would simply turn around and go to the competitor next door.  Because I need a screen to do what I have to do, since I can not use a screen and drive at the same time.  But there is a big difference from some people who use a restaurant for convenience, and use a restaurant as their own working grounds and stay there for hours at a time.

I see restaurants and cafes having wi-fi as a huge convenience!  Every McDonald’s now has free wi-fi, and many more businesses are adding free wi-fi every day.  The main reason, because mostly everyone now carries a smartphone.  And wireless carriers would rather have people use a wi-fi source instead of their wireless network for data.  For most people, they might use their phone or laptop for an hour or two and go on with their lives.  But sadly, there are some people who will use a free wi-fi source to their advantage.  They might play endless games, or do school work, or write and research, without paying for a meal at a restaurant.  For these people, businesses have a right to kick these people out, because they are taking up tables for people who pay and needs a place to sit to eat/drink their food.

As for this bakery called August First in Burlington Vermont.  They are banning all screens after March 31st.  They will still allow people to use smartphones, with the sound turned off.  The business owners had the problem of people using their wi-fi and sitting at a table for hours at a time and squatting there.  Yea, some people are too cheap to get internet at home, so these people will go to businesses or steal someone else’s wi-fi.  This bakery in Vermont is wanting people to have a real conversation, and for people who come alone, like me, I guess I am going to have to find another place to do my work when I am not near my apartment.

Yes, I do make a purchase at a business so I can show my good side before I use their wi-fi.  I just hope this move by this bakery to ban all screens does not start a trend.  Us geeks/nerds needs to have access to a screen at all times.  I hope I don’t start seeing signs popping up all over the place saying “this business bans all screens.”  One, that business is going to lose customers.  Two, the places with wi-fi are going to get a lot more crowded, especially if area businesses bans all screens.  And three, for people who are alone, what are they going to do?  Just stare and talk to themselves?  We are in a techy/screen world, and screens are never going to go away.  Businesses might as well get used to that.  Banning all screens from a cafe, bakery, or restaurant is almost like driving the death nail into their coffin.

For businesses who wants to ban all screens, good luck with that.  It will be a shame to see a “For Sale” sign a few months down the road because you thought screens were bad.  They’re not!

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