Thursday, September 29, 2011

In the "I Could Tell You Stories" Department...

Today I'm writing from the selling floor, as my battery died on the laptop I take back and forth between home and office. My battery has slowly losing its charge over the course of the year and a half since I've owned it, going from about two hours to one.  One of my booksellers told me that he's at the point that his laptop dies as soon as its unplugged.

I don't know the state of everybody else's batteries, but I thought about it when reading this story of Starbucks covering up outlets in some of their busy New York stores.  It's one of those things that's tricky to me--I use my laptop in coffee shops too, but I also have often been frustrated by the lack of a table at places with no restrictions. My rule is that I sit at the smallest table possible and buy something once an hour (I also don't work during rushes, generally 11-2), but it seems to be the case that people don't have that inner compass. I don't have to look far; since the Starbucks free wifi extended into Boswell, we have folks who spend all day in our store working.

We're generally not so busy that it's an issue, but I've taken to talking to folks who use our plugs, asking them to buy something from us in order to use our electricity.  Honestly, most folks look at me like I'm crazy--I had a fellow (I can't call him a customer because the way the story ended) walk around the store for almost ten minutes before he left empty handed, noticing a table open up next door.

We plugged the outlets, and people just remove them. 

My favorite story was a woman who moved a couch about ten feet, into a traffic aisle, because her extension plug couldn't reach.

The thing is, I'm still resistant to signs.  Offenders just ignore them, and for everyone else, it sort of ruins the friendly ambience of the store. I think about this as we've had a run of destroyed books in kids, sticker books destoryed, magnetic doll kit opened and played with, pop-up books unwrapped and destroyed. No, gentle controntation is usually the only good method, and sometimes that can go awry.

Coming up--the dirty diaper left in one of our cabinets until the stench became unbearable.


Book of the day for me is Mark Bowden's Worm: The First Digital World War.  I haven't read it, I'm petrified by it, but I'm also fascinated by it. The Conficker malware has infected over 12 million computers worldwide. Despite being up to date on our virus protection, not only am I sure we have it, but I suspect our computers have been relegated to some sad grunt-work task.

The idea is that the world's super computer has been built by linking together devices into botnets.  This somehow tied into a feature on this week's On the Media about hacking.  For some reason, I heard it three times, twice in the car and once online. The media doesn't really understand what hacking is, calling things like guessing someone's password a hack.  It isn't! Now I know better.  If I get around to reading Mr. Bowden's new book, I'll know even more.  And yet still be thoroughly unprepared, alas.


Sarah Allen said...

Oh people. But it makes for interesting stories. Best of luck!

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Ms. Quarter said...

Oh boy, I feel your pain.

I'm one of those folks whose 2005-era laptop loses it's life the minute I unplug it. Outlets are necessary for me to frequent a business. I, too, am one of those folks who buys another drink at least every hour and/or orders a meal (if possible). I usually never stay longer than 2-3 hours anyway.

I simply wouldn't be able to frequent a place that didn't have access to outlets. Sometimes, I'll even leave if I don't see a table or chair open near one.

I don't have Internet at home. It's lovely of businesses to allow me that luxury. I try to respect that it's a blessing, not a privilege, and I hope businesses wouldn't punish me because there are bad "customers" out there too.