The longstanding love affair between coffee shops and laptop users is starting to go off the boil, the Wall Street Journal reports. Big chains still let computer users linger, but a growing number of independent shops, sick of customers nursing a cup of coffee all day when seats are in short supply, have started restricting the use of laptops in peak hours, blocking power outlets or even ordering customers to power down.
Shop owners say things have gotten worse with the recession, with some customers even bringing in their own teabags to settle in for a day of using the shops' WiFi and hot water. Laptop users gripe that it's getting harder to find places to work, though some are sympathetic. "I used to be one of the abusers," one customer says, "sipping a $2 cup of coffee in a to-go cup for hours." Now, he says, he's started spending more cash and restricting his laptop use to off-peak hours.