The BNG Boycott Explained

Picture this. You are in Breaking New Grounds, one of my favorite go-to places to get an iced-coffee and people watch. You bring a laptop with you because you’d figure you’d remove yourself from the pig pen that you call your bedroom and do some surfing on the World Wide Weird as you drink your coffee, nothing wrong with that. You remember you probably don’t have enough battery power to last more than 20 mins because you brought your laptop on your bed and watched ‘Dear John’ before you went to sleep, killing your battery, and you go to plug in. Wait, what’s that? Not allowed? Explain yourself BNG!

Portsmouth has been all atwitter over this boycott, but what started it all? Apparently the owner of BNG is denying the use of electricity to customers, namely freelancers, for the simple reason of customers/freelancers camping out in the coffee shop, especially if they didn’t buy anything to begin with. You can imagine the frustration a store owner has while reviewing the crazy electric bill and having no control over it, until now. BNG offers free Wifi to its customers, more than a lot of stores in downtown can offer.

My Opinion

Charge your laptop. Plain and simple. How long are you in a coffee shop for that you need a place to plug in? I understand freelancers from out of town need to plug in if in town all day, but plan ahead. Those who don’t buy anything have no argument, so pack up and leave the coffee shop. I can’t see anyone, freelancers included, needing a plug for their laptop, stop spending so much time in there and use your battery, that’s what it is for.

But wait. There’s More?

I am a fan of having two sides to a story, and this one doesn’t continue without some drama. Unnamed sources claim to have overheard the owner of BNG “saying really nasty things about freelancers”. Portsmouth is a big freelance community, and a big social media hub, so someone hearing these things can spread it like wild fire. Play nice everyone.

My Resolution

Saying bad things about freelancers does not dismiss the fact that freelancers should charge their laptop, but this does show a need for perhaps a coffee summit? Get the owner of BNG, and its employee of the month (why not?), and call some of the top dogs in the Portsmouth freelance/twitter community and let’s figure this out. My other possible resolutions:

  • Christmas light timer: You want 5 minutes of power? Plug it in to the official BNG Christmas light timer and crank the dial to 5 mins, when it shuts off, unplug
  • Charge for wireless- Not my favorite option, but its an option
  • Learn from Panera- Give users only 30 mins of free wifi
  • Pay more to plug in more- Buy a bagel/coffee every 45 mins and get 15 mins of plug time

What are your thoughts on this? All just a bunch of grumbling for no reason to me, and a bit of an eye roller.

Yes this site is focused on other beverages, but one beverage that gets me through the day is coffee.