As a frequent business traveler and someone who works on the go, I am constantly looking for three things:
- A warm, friendly, inviting environment to work
- Good coffee (and goodies)
- Free wi-fi
Back in the B.W. days (Before Wi-fi) I just needed the first two. I remember going into Barnes & Noble one afternoon. It was the perfect place. Good atmosphere. Nice tables to sit and work. Good books to peruse if I needed a break. Starbuck’s coffee. BINGO! I grabbed a cup of coffee, opened my laptop, plugged in, and started working away. After about ten minutes the store manager, an older woman whose countenance could curdle milk came by and demanded I unplug my lap top. "We’re not paying for your electricity!" she stated. I unplugged, packed up and walked out. I rarely, if ever, go back. They clearly don’t know and don’t care about what I need and the message to me was clear – "we don’t want you here."
I contrast that with the Panera I’m sitting at as I write this post. Warm environment, great coffee, great bagels, lots of people enjoying themselves, lots of outlets and free wi-fi. Now when I travel, I check the web to see where I can find Panera locations on my route.
Maybe Barnes & Noble has wi-fi too. I wouldn’t know. I never went back.
See you at Panera.