BURLINGTON, Vt. (CBS Connecticut) – Seems like anytime you walk into a bakery you can find many people on their laptops doing their work. Now one Vermont bakery wants to ban them.

Jodi Whalen, who owns August First, wants to stop customers from staying for hours without ordering much.

“It’s a nice place to come and work, but we can’t be a workplace,” she told WCAX-TV.

Whalen thinks she is losing out on $15,000 in potential profits annually by having customers leave when they cannot find a place to sit.

“We have tried to compromise for years,” she explained to the station. “But we just reached the point where we have to make this big change.”

So Whalen has banned laptops and tablets at her shop.

Not everyone agrees with her decision.

“I suspect they are going to lose some customers because of it,” Paul Olsen, a business teacher at St. Michael’s College, told WCAX.

“Customers are going to judge and decide with their wallets,” Olsen said. “You never want to say to customers, ‘you’re not welcome here.’ And really, they are sort of saying that.”

Customers can still sit and read a book or newspaper, just nothing electronic.

Whalen said that the trend of going screen-free started out on the west coast and it catching on here.

“A lot of people understand this is a bakery and café; it’s not an office,” she said.

She added that a lot of places that offer free Wi-Fi now feel it is bad for business.
“The pendulum is swinging back because businesses are losing money with havig Wi-Fi there,” Whalen said. “Unfortunately a lot of people have taken advantage of it.”


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