The laptop ban
Gizmodo's Matt Buchanan recently wrote about Cafe Grumpy, a NYC coffee bar that bans laptops. The same cafe was mentioned in an August 2009 Wall Street Journal article about similar bans across the city (mostly directed at the unemployed, who apparently take up both space and wifi).
But Buchanan says the ban, at least at Cafe Grumpy, had an unintended consequence: an increase in actual human conversations.When I think of my favorite moments in a restaurant, bar, or coffeeshop, the memory rarely includes a laptop or cell phone. But it almost always includes a conversation, whether with a friend or a stranger.
I doubt the NYC bans, or similar bans across the country, were designed to encourage human interaction (although it could be smart business strategy to do so). More likely they were meant to keep people moving so another customer could buy a cup of joe. But the reality is, it forces people to talk.
So what about it? Where and when would you like to see an electronic device ban? What might be the benefits and consequences?