It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which a business takes away a perk to increase sales, but many independent coffee houses have decided to stop offering free Wi-Fi, at least during certain days and hours, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Although these coffee shops were some of the first retail businesses to offer free Wi-Fi in an effort to lure customers away from major chains like Starbucks, many are finding, perhaps not unsurprisingly to anyone who’s jockeyed for a table in an independent coffee shop, that Wi-Fi freeloaders who camp out all day nursing a single cup of coffee are a drain on the bottom line.

Others want to preserve a friendly vibe and keep their establishments from turning into ‘Matrix’-like zombie shacks where people type and don’t talk.

One expert points out that there is now a market niche for not having Wi-Fi, especially after Starbucks stopped charging for it last month.

Photo by trublueboy.

Originally posted by Rich Whittle on August 10, 2010 in Ideas.

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