This Coffee Shop Chooses Not to Have Wi-Fi – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
The Wi-Fi password? Oh, I’m sorry, sir. We no longer have Wi-Fi. Our owners didn’t like how accessible internet made customers fixate so much on their laptops and phones. Instead, they wanted to foster an environment that encouraged customers to interact with each other. That’s what makes our coffee shop different! This is a place to disconnect and embrace a simpler time where the only “Snapchat” is an enjoyable conversation with a stranger about a photograph on the wall.
Sadly all of our framed photos were recently smashed by various angry customers, so I recommend grabbing one of these tiny icebreaker signs we have. Just place one in front of you on your table and when another customer sits near you, you two will have something to talk about right away. Each sign has a different engaging question like, WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WOKE UP TOMORROW AND YOU WERE INVISIBLE? or IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, LIVING OR DEAD, WHICH WOULD YOU BE? or HOW WOULD YOUR LIFE BE DIFFERENT IF THIS COFFEE SHOP HAD WI-FI LIKE EVERY OTHER ONE ON EARTH DOES? A lot of people pick that last one.
Along with the signs we have an optional buddy system. If you’d like, I can pair you up with someone who ordered the same drink as you, that way you already have something in common to talk about! Let’s see, you ordered a vanilla latte. That gentleman reading a book over there also got a vanilla latte. Unfortunately, he’s now being escorted out of the shop by Lugo, one of our “Interaction Agents,” since reading is a solitary activity and thus strictly forbidden. Don’t worry, that man won’t be hurt. We’d never do that! He’ll just be told that if he brings a book again, he will then be hurt.
Hurting counts as engaging with someone too, remember.
Now would you like to wait until someone else orders a vanilla latte? It might be a little while. People seem to be afraid of our shop. Any coffee shop that isn’t a Starbucks and also forces random people to converse, even those with crippling social anxiety and those that have taken crippling vows of silence, seems to make potential customers wary.
It’s odd to me. Do people not want to find and get to know new people? “Meeting under duress or not, a new friend is a new friend.” That’s the motto we have right there on our wall, but please don’t read it now or Lugo will have to throw you out. That’s what makes our coffee shop different!
Oh, you think you using your internet device would actually help you interact with people here? I guess in principle that might be true. You and a stranger could go from website to website, condemning and hissing at them as digital demons promoting anti-social tendencies like my bosses do on work retreats. Regardless, there’s no Wi-Fi to be had here!
You have your own Wi-Fi hotspot? I’m sorry to say that won’t work. See this coffee shop lies inside of a Faraday cage, an enclosure used to block and eliminate electromagnetic waves. Those conductive metal bars surrounding the building aren’t just an aesthetic choice, they keep us inside of a bubble that technology forgot and only the Amish remember. If you have any questions about the Faraday cage, grab the “What’s the deal with this Faraday cage thing?” sign and work it out with someone during a meaningful conversation.
Ultimately, we just want everybody to take a few moments out of their day to disconnect from the internet and reconnect with humanity. Is there truly anything wrong with that?
Anyway, here’s your vanilla latte. Just open your mouth and I’ll pour it in. Yeah, we don’t have Wi-Fi or cups. That’s what makes our coffee shop different! Not different in a good way, but different nonetheless.