Friday, October 15, 2010

The Big Burger King Wireless WiFi Lie

written in Hampton, VA
2010 10 15

This is just a rant so any rational reader can just skip it.

This has happened to us twice in two weeks and thus it becomes a conspiracy not merely an unfortunate coincidence.  Besides, we all know there are NO coincidences.

We had landed in Port Washington, New York.  Having dinghied ashore we looked for some internet so we can send and receive some email.  Our choice was Starbucks or Burger King.  Now Starbucks has much better coffee than Burger King but we find too often their pastries are oversweet and a bit on the stale side.  That particluar day, raining and cold, called for the brighter lighting and fried food of a burger king. 

Our main objective was still internet.  Before ordering I asked the cashier if there was wireless at that Burger King.  It was not my experience that BK offered wireless but the Budget Committee recollected differently.  So we asked.  We were assured by the cashier that the restaurant did indeed have wireless.

Receiving our order we seated ourselves and I unbundled our handy little Acer netbook.  There was indeed a network but it was password protected. 

Returning to the counter for the password I was handed off to a manager who informed me that the wireless network was only for management to use.  Customers could not log in.  "But", I pointed out "I inquired into the availability of wifi before we ordered and was told there was wifi".

"Well" replied the manager "We do have wireless."

"yes" I rejoined "but it is of little benefit if I cannot log in". 

"Sorry" was the final word, spoken as the manager turned to tend to other tasks while pointedly refusing to pay any further attention to me.

This was just bizarre behaviour.  I mean the BK had wireless but refuse to let customers use it.  Yet they do put forth to customers that it is available.

On to Hampton Virginia.  We walked our laundry over to the laundromat at the Hampton University.  As it turns out the laundry is just beside a Burger King.  It had a big sign on its window - FREE WIFI. 

Yup.  I bit.  While Connie loaded the wash into machines I walked the half mile back to the boat and picked up the netbook. 

We ordered drinks and again, sat down to catch up on mail. 

The network was clearly present and identified.  It gave 5 bars of signal strength. 
I could not log in.

After 15 minutes of vetting my system to ensure it was not the cause of the problem, I found myself again at the cash register asking about the wifi.

"I cannot log in to the wireless network" was my plaintive remark.

Now here is the critical reply from the cashier.  "No" she said "No one can".

"But you advertise free wifi" I demurred.

"Yes" I was informed by the cashier "and we have wifi".

"But I cannot log in" , it was a bit like playing a recording.

"No one can"

With that the cashier turned and just plain ignored me.

Now maybe some of you can get wifi at BK or maybe most of you would never be caught dead in a BK.  But for sure if you go to a BK you better go only for the great food cause you won't get no wifi.

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