Here are a couple of excerpts from the free wi-fi discussion at MyStarbucksIdea.com. It seams that Starbucks Employee Kevin and customer Brodave have been going back and forth for awhile over Starbucks definition of "free".
First we have Employee Kevin's response to Brodave's previous questions:
You are absolutely, 100% correct that this is not a FREE Wi-Fi offering and I don't want you thinking that is how we are positioning it. I want to be as upfront as possible because there are barriers that you point out...you have to register and use a Starbucks Card monthly, you will have to sign up for an AT&T Wi-Fi account and you will have to agree to receive 4 emails a year from AT&T.
I am listening to everyone's comments here and taking the feedback up to management. The 2 complimentary hours of Wi-Fi offer will be available very soon and I look forward to hearing your thoughts once it is available.
And now Brodave's response:
Well Kevin, let me see if I understand the plan.
At almost all establishments offering their customers free wifi, I go in, turn on my laptop, open my browser and surf the Internet free for as long as I like.
At Starbucks I go in, turn on my laptop, get a Starbucks card, register it, sign up for an AT&T account, register my card, link it to the AT&T account, login with my username and password, click connect and if I have used this service within 30 days I can then open my browser and surf the Internet free for 2 whole hours.
You are making your competitors very, very appealing and probably very, very happy. Truly weird marketing approach?
I think I'll just keep spending my money at Panera.
29 minutes ago