…then you're part of the precipitate

Relatively speaking, it has been cold and raining a great deal in the San Diego area. Certainly it has been raining more than in most of the Decembers through which I've lived here, and possibly more than any other.

One good thing is that I get to wear my duster.

But my understanding is that Babycakes has been taking a hit from the weather, with fewer customers. I think that part of the issue is that, while the efforts of the owners to attract new customers have produced some positive results, the new customers whom they have attracted don't have a sense of attachment to the place; in the meantime, changes have weakened the sense of attachment held by the established customers.

For example, most of the indoor seating for customers is in a single, long room. The owners have tried to give things a cozier feeling be partitioning that room with curtains. But the rental computers are on one side of those curtains, and the tables used by those with note-book computers are on the other; practicalities divide friends, and thus the sense of the place as one where one is with friends is eroded.

I don't know how much actual business, over-all, is associated with the WLAN, but the quality of that network has been poor for weeks. The router was moved into a back-building to allow for renovation of the room in which the router was previously located. And that back-building seems to work largely as an insulating cage. In the front half of the main building and on the front patio, there is no longer any meaningful access to the WLAN. The signal is degraded even on the back patio, and it's only there that the WoW folk can get a sufficient signal for their purposes.

Anyway, in the absence of a stronger sense of attachment and in the context of the bad weather, people just don't come. (And the people who need a solid 'Net connection aren't typically going to set-up their computers where it is cold and wet.) I don't know where the balance is to be struck, but I think that the owners need to improvise quickly, to restore at least somewhat the relationship of their business to its established customers. I think that the baristi should be told to open or to close the partitioning curtains according to their judgment about what sort of customers are present, and I think that the wireless router needs to be moved out of the back building and into a more central location, perhaps in the second story of the main building.

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