Seth Godin’s recent post about “freeloaders” inspired this question:
Let’s say you’ve got some downtime between meetings and you decide to partake of the free wi-fi at a Panera. Do you always make sure to purchase a meal or a beverage or something to “pay your rent?”
Personally, I see it as my obligation to the establishment for allowing me to take up space in one of their booths and be productive for a couple of hours. Plus, Panera makes a decent espresso, so I’m usually both wired and wireless. (rimshot! please…)
Conversely, T-Mobile requires that I pay $9.95 for a wi-fi day pass when I’m at Bucky’s. In that scenario, I feel less obligated to buy something from Starbucks as I’m already paying for the privilege of the net connection and temporary office space. (That doesn’t mean I don’t partake in the caffeine, it just means that I feel less obligated…)
In either scenario, I still feel as though I’m doing the Right Thing in my role as Customer.