When free WiFi isn’t WiFi


Today I am playing Dad/ Grand-dad and dropped my daughter and her family off at a wedding.  They are going to attend the wedding and stay for a while at the reception afterwards which is in the same place so I decided I’d drop them off and then head to the nearest Starbuck’s and get some writing done.  Of course, the best of plans get changed at the last minute and just before I got to the Starbuck’s I saw a Chick-fil-A restaurant and I heard their chicken nuggets calling.

Entering the restaurant I was surprised to see a “Free WiFi” sign on the door so I decided to hang out a little while after eating my nuggets before leaving for the Starbuck’s.  I think it’s delightful that there are more businesses like Chick-fil-A that see the benefit of providing WiFi for customers like me and since I’m always on the lookout for good WiFi outlets that I can patronize I usually make it a habit to return to such businesses once I find them.

In the case of this Chick-fil-A restaurant it was a case of a good intent but short on execution.  The WiFi wouldn’t connect and although I could see the network nothing I could do would connect me up.  I asked the girl at the counter if the WiFi was working and she told me it had been down for days.  Oh well, like I said a good idea but lousy execution.  Mobile guy that I am it wasn’t a total loss as I just popped in my Verizon EV-DO Rev A card and worked away anyway (I’m writing this in the restaurant now).  It’s just sad that I won’t make an effort to come back to this restaurant as I would only do so for the WiFi.  Unfortunately, I run into this all the time, particularly with small businesses who want to do something to add benefit to patrons but either due to lack of expertise or to not putting much importance on the service they let the service stay down if there’s a problem.  It’s just too common to find the advertised WiFi not working.


Mike Cane

Someone needs to come up with a pocketable device — hell, a keychain fob!, that will ping the Net to see if a connection is really possible.

“Oh. I see your WiFi is down. No soup bought from you!”

I just hate sitting down and not being able to connect.


You know, I’ve experienced the same thing — but I don’t have a Verizon card to bail me out. Here in San Francisco, there are a lot of cafes, and the majority of them have either free wireless or paid wireless. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased my latte and croissant, sat down and fired up my laptop only to find their system down. It sucks, because the next coffee shop is usually less than a block away. More than once I’ve considered “returning” my foodstuffs and heading for the competition. Heh. You’d think I’d learn, and fire up my laptop before ordering…

Thomas R. Hall

Thanks for the clarification – I wasn’t thinking in the context of your post. Point taken.

Thanks for the info on the EVDO card and the P1610! Sounds like the perfect combination to me!


Thomas, I do use the EVDO card all the time, the point of my post is that at a corporate level they need to follow through if they decide to offer something like WiFi for their customers. If they don’t they risk turning a positive thing into a negative for the customer.

My fan almost never comes on, even using EVDO.

Thomas R. Hall

Why not just use the EVDO card instead of trying to find a hotspot? It’s more secure anyway, and then you don’t have to worry about it, right? Part of the enjoyment of having the card is being able to use it anywhere, and the speeds are fast enough unless you’re downloading a HUGE file anyway…

How is the Aircard 595 holding up in the Fujitsu P1610? Does it cause it to heat up enough that the fan kicks in and is audible when using the card for extended periods of time? I know that when I use mine, it causes my standard sized tablet to heat up, but not enough for the fan to be audible. But, my P2120 used to heat up and the fan would kick in and get pretty loud.


You get what you pay for…

Quite honestly, I wouldn’t expect the minimum wage behind-the-counter staff to know what to do when WiFi is down, and unless the issue gets raised to a manager (probably not high on the list of priorities for the people cooking your nuggets) and thus triggers a call to the support tech, it’s likely going to be down for a while. Maybe check your receipt for a phone number for the store and see if you can get someone on the phone who can have it fixed.


You would only go to Chick-fil-A for the WiFi? Not the dill pickle impressed, toasted bun with succulent spiced chicken sandwich, not the lemon meringue pie, not the 42oz. REAL lemonade? Someone’s suffering a true under-appreciation of American culture…

Ohhhh… Chick-fil-A nuggets and Krystal burgers…. I miss the U.S.

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