I wonder if you would care to hear why I walked out of your shop without a food order.
Having dropped off my bicycle for a tuneup across the street, I thought it would be nice to curb my midmorning hunger with a bagel and work for a few minutes on a time sensitive document for which my coworker was waiting. I approached the counter and asked, “Do you have WiFi?”
Your counter guy, who seemed indifferent if not annoyed with his own existence, told me, “No.” I drove to another bagel place partway across town.
I know you are the largest bagel chain on the East End. It seems that everywhere I drive, I am surprised and impressed that you have opened another shop. You do not need my business.
But someone may need mine. I could have done my work at your convenient location while enjoying our mutually revered Long Island staple, yet I was put off by how you have resolved not to be a catalyst for other businesses and organizations in your community.
Perhaps this is too quick a judgment. You probably didn’t choose to forego free WiFi just so that customers couldn’t get online for business or pleasure.
Perhaps having WiFi simply hasn’t occurred to you, in which case you are lagging behind the times.
Perhaps you don’t want customers to stick around very long after buying and eating and drinking. In that case I can stay away completely.
Perhaps you don’t want to spend the money. In that case I urge you to reconsider providing Internet access for your customers as an investment because businesses that facilitate social and commercial connections will continue to have an edge over those who do not. Even if you are “just” a breakfast and lunch deli, you can contribute to those connections. People need to eat, and they need relationships, and they need to work. Online access will entice them to stick around, and that makes your restaurant look popular. If nothing else, the Internet isn’t going to somehow diminish in importance.
Perhaps on another bagel stop I will meet a local business owner or fellow freelancer and cement a working relationship. Will your business have a part in our respective flourishing? As it stands you are denying your shop the opportunity to couch that memory and linger as a presence in my growing successes. Please rethink your role.
I got my everything bagel and chocolate milk fix at the other place. There were people sitting and hanging around while they ate. I spoke to strangers.
I even asked the counter lady why I saw one of her old coworkers at your store. Turns out she is only with you because she moved away and the other shop had filled her position by the time she moved back to town. She seems like she misses her friends.
I couldn’t do my work, so I left without spending a cent. I don’t believe I will be the only one.