Starbucks Experience – coffee, cakes and Wi-Fi

Due to some personal commitments (read: being engaged to a wonderful beautiful woman) I spend quite some time in a Starbucks near 7th Ave South and East 11th Street, New York, NY, waiting to pick her up after work. Regular visitors and staff already know me well enough to stop making passes on me, as well as learning that whatever I order is “to stay” and not “to go”. So, this post isn’t about them.

Before the ill-known Wi-Fi take-over by AT&T this Starbucks’s connection never had an issue. I come here with either one of my three laptops (my personal favorite T60p, smaller X61s or horrible company issued HP Compaq 6710b). None of them had any troubles connecting to T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi. Not until some time after AT&T took over.

Now, I am not trying to bash AT&T altogether. I am happily using their 3G with either BlackJack or Tilt (sometimes with my laptop tethered) while my fiancee’s second most loved thing on Earth is her iPhone (I hope I still hold the first place). What I was expecting to see from this clash of providers is that at the converted locations customers would experience intermittent outages while on T-Mobile hookup. You know – login process times out on you couple of times. Then some of your web sites are so slow that you can’t really so anything. Then the connection is dropped for no apparent reason. And that is just what I have been fed up with for previous two weeks. So much so that I had changed my weekly routine that I only have to spend one day of the week at that location.

A ticket submitted to T-Mobile customer support two weeks ago finally got answered today. In brief it says: “Yes, it’s a converted location, if you have any problems – call this number or that number”. Surely, just a template, with some name attached to it. Two weeks to send a canned reply – something tells me it isn’t a company that cares about me being their client. After all, if I decide to go with AT&T for Starbucks’ Wi-Fi, it’s going to cost me two times less money. Once the takeover by AT&T is complete, there would be not much incentive to keep T-Mobile, right?