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No More Wifi at Qualia. Patron Pissed. Qualia: “we had reached a tipping point in the volume and nature of customers we were serving”

by Prince Of Petworth January 12, 2017 at 12:35 pm 160 Comments

3917 Georgia Ave, NW

“Dear PoPville,

I work from home several days a week and many times I find myself at Qualia or other coffee shops to start my day. Going to Qualia is always a crapshoot given the limited seating options, but I do enjoy their freshly roasted beans. This morning, there happened to be seats, but when I asked for the wifi password, I was told “they were not doing wifi anymore.” I had already paid for my coffee and there was no signage indicating this new policy. I’m not opposed to no wifi to encourage person to person discussion, but given the extremely limited space and general setup of Qualia, the cafe itself doesn’t really encourage this type of interaction. I’m never able to bring groups of friends (or even my spouse) to Qualia because the seating is minimal. Rarely are there two seats together. The counter/bar along the wall seems specifically designed for computers. Maybe “no wifi” fits their business model? Maybe they are trying to prove a point? Regardless of their reasoning, it will definitely impact their business from me. I no longer plan to go there.”

Qualia responds:

“Our current WiFi Policy is clearly stated on our web site here.

We are not trying to discourage people from using Qualia to work, play or meet. We have come to the conclusion that it is no longer necessary or beneficial to offer Internet access. Now that open and mobile hot spots are now readily available, no longer offering free WiFi was not intended to create a significant barrier for people who wanted to work on their computers. However, we had reached a tipping point in the volume and nature of customers we were serving. Those visiting us only for free Internet access had begun to crowd out the people who were visiting us for the unique coffee experience we offer. Given how limited out space is, it only takes a handful of folks camping out for hours at a time to diminish our ability to serve a broader spectrum of customers.

That said, we are open to everyone’s comments and concerns. Our WiFi policies have changed over time and are bound to continue doing so.”

Ed. Note: Qualia was recently voted 5th best coffee in DC.

  • Maiden of Mt Pleasant

    Kudos to Qualia. Sorry, but coffeeshops and restaurants do not equal office space. I’m beyond over going out for coffee or a quick meal and (a) not being able to sit down because someone’s camped out at a 4-top with a MacBook and/or (b) getting sideeye from someone because I or someone in my party is making too much noise in their “office.”

    • libby


    • Kevin


    • Linc Park SE


    • Pleasanter


    • ftoast


    • Lamonting


    • DF

      Yep! Sometimes I want to sit down and enjoy my coffee and too many shops in DC are packed with campers all. the. time.

  • Michael Pierce

    An America where its citizens feel entitled to free WiFi from private businesses is an America where Donald Trump can be elected president.

    • TinkerTaylor

      That seems demonstrably true, though I’d question the causal connection.

      • NA

        >Correlation doesn’t imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing ‘look over there’

        source: xkcd, 552

        • textdoc

          Heh, nice!

  • Kingman Park

    Good on them. Plenty of times I’ve gone into coffee shops when I’ve had a day off and every seat is taken by someone on a computer who looks like they haven’t ordered anything in the past hour.
    Coffee shops shouldn’t necessarily discourage this, but they should reserve seats for people who aren’t working (or whatever it is people do for hours on a computer at a coffee shop) and just want to enjoy some coffee outside of their house.

  • n

    good for qualia.

  • Kingman Park

    Also, this is directed to OP, working from home and working from a coffee shop are not the same thing.

    • Superstar

      +1. You should have an at-home workspace with wifi if you’re “working at home.” You should be at your in-home workspace like your employer expects instead of spending time complaining on the internet.

      I bet you’re spending all this time complaining to Qualia and posting on the internet about it while “working from home.”

      • Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign

        -1 If you have an employer who makes no requirements on remote work-space, but rather on output quality and volume, it’s really nice to get out of the same 1000sq.ft. every now and again. Speaking from experience. Of course, every coffee shop can choose their own policy and I can adjust my actions accordingly.

        • AJSE

          +10000 almost solely based on your username. Good work (fh).

        • Bluejean Megene

          You are not entitled to anything because you chose a work contract like that.

          • turtwigs


        • DCbyDay

          +100000 for your username.
          And I agree, I worked from home for a long time and had no specific “work from home contract.” I was allowed to work from anywhere — but really tried to limit the amount of time i was taking up at a coffee shop/panera/whatever, but sometimes you just need to get OUT and see another human. Some spaces welcome it, others don’t.

      • stacksp

        My telework agreement specifically requires noting the specific at home address and a bunch of other checks like suitable desk chair, lighting etc. We are not allowed to work from a coffee shop of from a beach chair.

        • Traveler

          Same, back when I teleworked. The only time I did not teleworked from my home office was one random afternoon when my internet died, so I went to a coffee shop in order to continue working for the day (rather than be unavailable or offline). I did bought a bunch of food. :)

      • Anon

        I’ve only worked from home a handful of time (when there’s a huge snowstorm or something), but I find there are too many distractions at my house to focus and work effectively. If I was doing it on a regular basis I’d definitely find someplace else to get the work done.

    • tvl

      Winner of most literal comment?

  • Cleveland Park runner

    OP’s frustration is misplaced. Get a hotspot if you so desperately need wifi; don’t expect businesses to provide it to you.

    • stacksp

      or use the internet at your house

      • maxwell smart

        Assuming OP has internet at home. I didn’t have cable/internet at home while I was in grad school because it was an expense I couldn’t afford and wouldn’t really utilize. Free wifi at coffee shops and the public library was key on days I needed somewhere else to work away from 600+ other students.

        • Bluejean Megene

          Cool, it’s not like Qualia made a business decision to shut down all coffee shop wifi in DC. Take your ass to Safeway next time you’re in grad school.

          • LittleBluePenguin

            That was unnecessarily rude! Maxwell was simply sharing his positive experience with free wi-fi,

        • Superstar

          OP should have regular wifi/internet access at their home if they have a “working from home” arrangement with their job.

          • maxwell smart

            Unless their job told them they are working from home – businesses often assume they can push employees into hoteling work arrangements without actually knowing if that works for them.

          • WFHer

            That isn’t how hoteling works. If your employer instructs you to work from home they should be paying for your internet service. If they don’t pay for it you can claim it as an unreimbursed business expense on your taxes, which comes off your taxable income.

            For that matter if you’re a contract worker (paid on a 1099) and not a payroll employee (paid on a W-2) then your internet service is a legitimate business expense on your Schedule C.

            So: if you’re required to work from home, no matter your employment arrangement, that expense is tax deductible.

          • CHGal

            An unreimbursed expense is only deductable if you itemize, and even then only if it’s more than 2% of your gross income.

        • HaileUnlikely

          I take your point but question your math. If you did this at least a couple times a week and actually made a purchase each time, it would add up to cost as much as a lower-priced wifi plan.

    • LittleBluePenguin

      Yeah, I’m going to have to side with Cleveland Park runner on this – it’s always nice when a coffee shop or restaurant offers free wi-fi, but it shouldn’t be expected.

    • PB

      Or go to the public library, where internet is free.

      • ET

        It’s free at the Library of Congress as well.

    • MadMax

      Also, complaining that there’s no sign stating “no more free WiFi”? C’mon…

      • Bloomy

        Agreed… if you paid for a coffee and wifi bundle, then you could complain that you didn’t get the full benefit of the bargain… I can’t walk walk into Nordstrom and expect a free gift with my lotion…

    • catatac

      The OP could also go to a co-working space, they tend to have wifi and coffee to boot.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Agreed. You can also use the DC Public Library. Many of the branches have been renovated in the past few years and are now quite nice. You can also rent a work space in one of those newfangled commune things.

      • melissa

        Although I really don’t want anyone crowding the space, I have found upstairs at the Petworth Library to be calm, quiet and the Wifi is pretty fast, even with a VPN

  • JayDC

    This is good news for the majority of customers. I’m always discouraged by the number of inconsiderate people who think it’s fine to use a table for hours when other customers come in and can’t find a place it sit down to eat/drink what they just bought.

    – thanks Qualia!

    • kapitolhill

      Aka Compass Coffee spot on 7th. There’s maaaaybe 3 stools open to sit down when we go in, and the rest are hogged by people “working” and taking up multiple spots with no recently purchased coffee near them.

      • katie

        I study at Compass most weekends and even I agree with this. I get there by 6 when it opens and leave by 9 or 10 when it starts to get crowded to avoid camping. I buy coffee every 45 minutes and fill a growler to take home nearly every time.

        I have seen people show up there and plug in surge protectors to service their home office and others take multiple business meetings in a row. It’s ridiculous.

        • RF

          That’s actually scary.

  • MadMax

    OP notes lack of seating in coffeeshop. OP complains about not being able to stay in said coffeeshop for extended periods using gratuitous resource for free. OP fails to notice contradiction. Sympathy amount wanes.

    • anoNE

      +1. This was my exact first thought.

      • figby

        OP goes to Qualia for the coffee but will quit going because there’s no more free wifi.

  • Anon

    While I have absolutely no problem with them turning off public wifi, the following statement really rubs me the wrong way: “However, we had reached a tipping point in the volume and nature of customers we were serving.” Whoever penned that phrase should surely stay away from writing any future pressers.

    • Leeran

      You’re perhaps looking for something to be offended by, then, because this looks totally fine to me.

    • anon

      Why? There was a high volume of customers who didn’t pay or would monopolize space to use something that the coffee shop doesn’t have to provide. So they don’t anymore.

    • dunning-kruger

      Volume = lots
      Nature = people working
      It isn’t hipster discrimination if that’s what you’re thinking…

      • Anon

        That’s sort of the opposite of what I’m thinking. Not remotely concerned with whatever “hipster discrimination” might mean.

  • neighbor

    I have to agree with Qualia and literally every other person who has commented on this.

  • Ward One Resident

    Just say no to cyber hobos! Good for Qualia!

  • LCinDC

    Any update on timing of the Eckington location opening? Feb?

  • frroddupont

    Well done Qualia! Coffee shops are places for conversations, not for laptops and people squatting tables for hours. Nowadays, it is very difficult to find seats at coffee shops to enjoy your beverage for a few minutes, because all tables are taken by people “working” on their laptop & ipads.

  • Petworth

    Jesus, these comments are ridiculous (entitled? really???). I was there yesterday and had a similar experience to the OP. The new no wi-fi policy is not posted anywhere in the store. A change in policy like this should have been better communicated to customers before they buy something (why the hell would I check the website…its a local coffee shop). The seating thing at Qualia has always been an issue, which they could resolve by investing some money in the upstairs or at least a better connection with the upstairs.

    • dcd

      “A change in policy like this should have been better communicated to customers before they buy something . . . ”
      The implication here is that you only purchased a coffee in order to avail yourself of the free wifi. In which case, you’ve kind of proven their point.

      • ChenChen


      • Kevin


      • kapitolhill


      • anon

        +1. It’s a single cup of coffee a single time. How big of a rip-off does it feel like to you? Consider worrying about bigger rip-offs in the world or something.

        • I’m on the fence, but time also has a cost and maybe we can think about that in this argument. He went thinking he could work, got his coffee (presumably in a mug) found out he couldn’t, so then he’s late to start working because he has to go somewhere else and he has to finish the coffee. No one wants to chug coffee.
          I’m not saying anyone should be holding some epic grudge against Qualia based on this, but I can see a one time, getting used to a new thing annoyance. Not one I’m going to write to Popville about.
          And to be fair there have been signs stating the no wifi on weekends policy there for months (years?). There are signs about everything there, I rather like the creative signs, but there was no sign about this change. I knew about it because I follow them on FB and I’ll miss my Friday morning lattes there while I do some work, because I’m an entitled millennial.

          • katie

            I’m willing to bet he could use his own cell phone as a mobile hotspot if his time is really that valuable to him.

      • tvl

        Prove their point? I’m not sure Qualia’s trying to prove a point, but offering free wifi in order to attract more customers, and being a customer who patronizes a coffee shop because they wanted to work away from home for a bit is just rational market behavior.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Sure that’s rational market behavior *for the customer.* But prioritizing being able to service a greater volume of paying customers over the wishes of a few customers who want to rent a workspace for several hours for $3 is rational market behavior for the business as well.

    • Michael Pierce

      If you really find it that upsetting, maybe you should open a free teleworking space that sells coffee to people if they can find a place to sit.

      • WFHer


    • Logan

      Did the coffee shop provide you with the coffee you paid for?


      Good, your transaction with them is now complete. There is no obligation, now or ever, for them to provide you Wifi for free.

      • Truxton Thomas


    • camel

      You think *these* comments are entitled?? Because I was just coming here to say that the person angry that they can’t pay $5 to take up a table all day is the entitled one.

    • Kevin

      So, something that was free is no longer offered, and yet you (and the OP) demand that there be signage announcing this?

      JFC, and I thought it was only millennials that are entitled.

    • AsAMother

      “How dare you!. I demand that you spend money and renovate your property to give me more space to conduct my business within your business!” The OP was entitled. You’re something beyond that.

      • fka Petworth

        Yes. The renovating the property part killed me. Petworth wants them to renovate their property to accommodate customers like him/her that were hurting their bottom line. That’s entitlement.

        And also, now I have to change my comments name to not be confused with Petworth :(

    • WFHer

      Ages ago I talked to Joel about that. The problem with increasing access to the upstairs was that it had been set up as a separate unit and it has its own electrical service. He couldn’t combine the spaces without unifying the power (IIRC that would have been a DC requirement because of the nature of the work), and he couldn’t upgrade the electrical service to handle the combined load without some really expensive work that would probably shut down the whole business for a while (since they can’t roast anything while the power is offline for upgrades).

      If they can roast at the second location I might expect them to consider renovating or relocating the original after it’s open and the kinks are worked out, but the way I understood it the economics of doing what seems like a logical renovation would have been … unfavorable. Qualia isn’t exactly a high margin business that can survive an extended shutdown.

    • TJ

      Why the need for a warning sign? It is a coffee shop, not a wifi store.

    • No

      Its posted on the wall facing the register.

  • Mr. Pedantic

    Cry me a river, build a bridge and get over it. Oh boo hoo, the coffee shop only serves coffee. Now there’s a concept! So you’re upset you can’t buy a cheap cup of drip coffee and suck on the proverbial Wi-Fi teat? Stop being so self entitled. Some people have real problems.

    • KPS

      OMG. Best saucy comment ever! LOL.

  • Bluejean Megene

    I can’t wait to not deal with this customer next time I’m enjoying the best coffee in DC. Can we do anything about the realtors who set up shop in Qualia to take meetings?

    • E

      what’s wrong with using the shop as a meeting place? are they not ordering coffee and just using the space?

      • TJ

        I think this is a reference to someone taking a series of meetings over hours, not one sitdown with one client over one round of drinks.

    • Caroline

      Are they there for very long periods of time without buying anything? Because otherwise they are just customers who got there before you.

      I meet up with co workers and for networking opportunities all the time at qualia and the coupe and always spend the same amount of time and money as I would if i were catching up with a friend.

      My mom runs a coffee shop in my home town and likes when small business groups gather during the day. They fill the space during the work house when its quieter but only stay 1-2 hours compared to students who are there all day.

  • PetworthGuy

    Agreed – good move on Qualia’s part. I live across the street and stop in every weekend for a cup of joe, but am constantly tripping over people while trying to get to the counter. Great coffee and great staff, but extremely cramped. Hopefully getting rid of Wifi will force the “lingerers” to finish their coffee and move on.

    • NH Ave Hiker

      Yea I’ve never been impressed with the staff. Always sort of unwelcoming/rude and always seem to get my order wrong. Coffee good, but it’s always so crowded now I don’t really bother going.

  • Truxton Thomas

    “I no longer plan to go there.”

    “Those visiting us only for free Internet access had begun to crowd out the people who were visiting us for the unique coffee experience we offer.”

    I think everyone here has reached an agreement.

  • mg

    could be worst, i’ve been to places recently that banned laptops or anything with a keyboard! while they did post it, i thought it was a joke until i was reprimanded to stop using my laptop or leave!

    i would think with the proliferation of hotspots that this will keep some people out, but if you really want to do work you’ll find a way. it may have unintended consequences as well, if you want to do work and you have a hotspot you no longer have to compete with people who are searching for free-wifi.

  • Caroline

    I am okay with this. I go to Qualia a few days a week and wold love to sit and enjoy my cup of coffee for 20-30 minutes or so with a book or the news paper but its always filled with people with lap tops. I feel like people will either love or hate it.

    • maxwell smart

      Wait. Hold the phone. So it’s okay to park for 20-30 minutes and read a book or the newspaper, but NOT okay to park for 20-30 minutes on a laptop?

      • Caroline

        i dont think its wrong to sit on your lap top, read,, talk to friends, or star into space for 20 -30 minutes while you finish your coffee.

        i think its wrong to sit there for 2-3 hours with one coffee doing work. or not wrong but i can understand why business’s dont like it

        I think qualia is tying to prevent the latter and i don’t think its an outrageous decision.

      • stinkeye


      • cc

        i mean there is a difference between parking for 20-30 minutes with a book/laptop and a cup of coffee, and spending hours on a laptop after getting one cup of coffee

        • Rich

          All they’d have to do is limit the time that one can use wifi–many settings do this. This still would push out the people who feel entitled to spend the day there while providing some equity with other uses of the space which they do permit.

          Not posting something a significant change is a problem. the idea that they should add more space to accommodate the wifi users is just comical.

          • dcd

            You and I have different understandings of what constitutes a “problem.”

          • anonymous

            I do wonder why more places don’t do limited use codes. Is it that expensive? I don’t like people plopping down and working for hours. But, traveling abroad recently without cellular service, I really appreciate those little 15 minute use codes on the receipts.

  • 11th St

    Agree with everyone here, it’s always been impossible to find a seat there with the number of people working.

    But OP has a point that if you’re going to change a policy like WiFi, it would be nice to at least put up a sign.

  • anonymous

    People who go to Qualia for the coffee will keep on going. People who went there for their free wifi will stop going. The only issue is whether they should have notified their customers. It seems the customer they want to cater too are the ones that are not complaining about the sign and those who are complaining about not being notified, you did what you paid for – a cup of coffee.

  • Skip

    The three times I’ve gone to Qualia I’ve found the staff rude and unwelcoming.

    • NH Ave Hiker

      lol same. I’ve been there numerous times over the last couple of years and they’ve either messed up my order, been rude, or both.

      • ParkViewneighbor

        yup, i never found Qualia to be that great. Nothing more than a slightly overpriced hipster coffee shop with attitude

        • Amanda

          Absolutely agree. Petworth deserves better than this place. I really don’t care about whether or not they have wifi, but the reason given for not offering it pretty perfectly exemplifies the self-important blahness that is this place.

          • dcd

            “Absolutely agree. Petworth deserves better than this place.”
            I’m always curious about statements like this. Why?

          • Anon

            Because the people of Petworth always do their homework on time and get superlative test scores? If so, that sounds fair to me.

  • CapHillNative

    I highly recommend Cove. When I was running a remote business, it was really important that the space I was in wanted me to be there (I didn’t want to be anxious thinking about if I was being mooch or anything). We loved Cove because there were plenty of locations, keurig coffee, tea, and other drinks included… and private booths for phone calls. I loved having a space that wanted me to be there doing what I was doing.

    • dcd

      “keurig coffee”
      That’s an oxymoron.

      • CapHillNative

        I agree, I hate keurig coffee (and question the hygiene of the machines). I stick to the teas when offered that choice. But if the goal here is a comfy place to work then one can buy and bring whatever fancy coffee is up to their standard.

        • Anon

          Wait, what’s unhygienic about a Keurig?

    • tvl

      Good to know. Unlike many posters here, I don’t like coffee that much, so I patronize coffee shops ONLY when I want to get some work done around other people for a bit. It’s fine for different coffee shops to have different policies on this. We all find our preferred spot.

      • Anon

        Libraries can be good for getting work done too, though they vary a lot in layout and some are a lot better for this than others. And you don’t have to spend a cent!

  • DS

    “after I bought my coffee” like you somehow got swindled. Come on.

    It’s not your office, you didn’t pay for it, stop complaining, no one cares.

  • Chris


  • Anon

    “First World” problems

  • NH Ave Hiker

    What’s wrong with complaining about no free wifi? It’s almost become the standard at places such as coffee shops (where a lot of people like to do work over some coffee).

    • ParkViewneighbor

      more accurately, buy a small drip coffee and then hog the tables for the next 5h to “work”

    • anonNH

      +1 I have no issues with their decision — but this thread is far too smug about the fact that Qualia didn’t need to notify customers of a change in policy after providing it previously. That’s just being courteous. That is true of almost anything that has been provided for free but has been taken away/a fee has been assigned…and let’s not all pretend like we don’t take advantage of free goods if they are available.

      • textdoc

        Agreed that it would’ve been courteous of Qualia to put up some kind of signage about discontinuing the free wi-fi. Maybe it wouldn’t matter for first-timers, but it would have been good for them to let their regulars know that there had been a change from the status quo.

        • lizcolleena

          I think this is a really good point that seems to have been missed in this thread. Hospitality services depend on regulars heavily for their survival. It’s just smart business sense to notify them of a change in policy.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I basically agree with this, though I will sort of take on faith that the owners thought about that and actively made the decision that the customers who will be affected are customers that they do not mind losing anyway, which is a perfectly valid position for them to take. If they failed to think through the business consequences or made inaccurate predictions about what the consequences would be (which I doubt, but my predictions of their business are irrelevant), that’s on them.

          • Is there no overlap between people who really like good coffee and people who sometimes like to do work there (spoiler: yes, I’m one of them)? In these arguments there’s no room for that.

          • HaileUnlikely

            It’s not that, it’s just volume. If a loyal customer who will come and parks for a while crowds out ten other would-be customers, having you leave and not return is *good* for their business. I do not intend any offense to you; my point simply that most business would rather serve more customers than fewer customers, without regard to who they are or why they are there.

    • tvl


  • Ted

    I like that Qualia has a cat.

    • maxwell smart

      seriously? A: health code violation. B: gross. C: i’m highly allergic and therefore cats are the worst

      • KY Ave

        Cats are the worst because you’re highly allergic? How is that their fault??

        • maxwell smart

          Dogs > Cats

          • KY Ave

            Dogs drool! Cats rule!

      • meow

        i love the qualia cat but sadly he is no longer there

        i like cats more than people so its hard for me to feel bad for those with allergies

      • samanda_bynes

        i mean, he’s not like, hanging around the customers. he’s in back normally, outside.

        • KPS

          He’s the sweetest boy, that cat. But they’re been trying to re-home him for ages as he has a health issue (non-harmful to humans). I wish I could take him. :(

        • Caroline

          sadly he is gone and lives somewhere else
          he was a great cat and i loved it every time i saw him

          made the place feel very small town and neighborhood like

  • Josh

    cutting the wifi may not even stop people from sitting at a table for hours.
    what if somebody buys a coffee, then connects to their xfinity wifi and hangs out all day doing work.
    sounds like Qualia need to set time limits if there is a problem with table turnover.

    oh, and they have a cat.

  • jsauri

    Oh my god. You had ALREADY paid for a cup of coffee before finding out it didn’t come with free, unlimited internet service?!?! You poor thing! What greedy bastards Qualia must be for not providing a whole home office to everyone who spends $5 at their establishment.

  • KPS

    I stopped reading at “there were signs indicating this new policy”. Never ceases to amaze me what people in the district think they’re entitled to. *smh*

  • Ryan

    Kudos to Qualify! You want WiFi get a mobile Hotspot devise…

  • Anonymous

    I support Qualia’s right as a business to give or take away whatever customer perks it wants to. But it seems to me that getting rid of free wifi doesn’t solve the problem of someone camping out for hours at a time given that, as Qualia states, “open and mobile hot spots are now readily available.” Under this new policy, you can still camp out at Qualia for hours as long as you are willing to bring your own internet access, which is not really that difficult anymore.
    I suspect that this new policy has little to do with freeing up seating space – of which, there is very little – and much more to do with addressing particular customers who were using a disproportionate amount of network bandwidth and/or using the wifi access for purposes the owners found to be problematic – i.e., the “volume and nature” of the customers they were serving.

  • TJ

    Here is a scene at Dolcezza on 14th St.: Saturday afternoon on a cold January day. 7 seats at 3 tables. Three people with computers taking up ALL seven places, with one person going so far as to pile items in a chair to discourage company. People stand to eat their ice cream, while Apple-toting parasites take up space meant to turn over every 10-15 mnutes.

    Dolcezza provides a wifi password, so it is the establishment’s fault. But really, squatting at coffee shops (or similar) to work is the height of annoying self-absorption.

    Good for Qualia.

    • V

      DC people need to stop being so afraid of interacting with other people. Just sit in the extra seats and/or kindly ask them to remove their books from a chair so as to sit. Also agree with you, though, that it would be nice if they considered the other patrons, at least by not unnecessarily using a seat for book storage.

      • TJ

        Not sure this is some DC people specific issue. I’m more than willing to do this and have done so many times. In this particular instance the offender had placed a flower vase, napkin holder and books in the chair. I sent a signal by putting my coat over the back of the chair…

    • KPS

      It’s stupid business-wise. Why these cafes and shops allow it is beyond me. For every person sitting with one cup of coffee for an hour (or more) that business is losing 2-3 customers who could have occupied that one table during the same space of time. From a business, money-making perspective this is crazy.

  • A

    No opinion on the wifi, but I always appreciated it. The space is so damn small though. It’s really more of a to-go option if the line isn’t too long.

  • bean

    I love Qualia and always appreciated their no-wifi-on-the-weekends policy so I could enjoy my coffee and bagel over a book on the couch or wherever. The staff is awesome and has always been super sweet to me. They’re a small business, they get to set the rules so that they can stay profitable and stick around. I support their decision.

  • Eckingtonite

    I am very upset that they locked – without notice! – the bathroom cabinet where the extra rolls of toilet paper are stored. I used to fill my bag every day with extra rolls.

    • Gumball

      HAHAHAHA! awesome!

  • tvl

    Thanks for the notice OP. The haters, as usual, tend to miss the point and go off on some amusing tangents that make me want to read a book on the psychological implications of social media.

    • TJ

      Not sure I track. Are you saying the point of the post is Qualia owes wifi squatters an up front notice they aren’t providing free services? I thought Popville put it up so it would get over a hundred responses, with most of them ranting against wifi squatting and the self-absorption of the OP. Exactly what social media is for, imo.

  • Collin

    Having gone here many times- I just don’t think they are going to last another 5 years. They have good coffee and OK food, but definitely take a “the customer is probably wrong” approach to anything. I don’t think the internet is really a big thing, but I have been told that the upstairs is not a place for talking, X table cannot be used for laptops, and if you ask for certain topings for bagels or whatnot you only get them depending on the mood of the server, and god forbid you bring them the empty milk container and ask for more.

  • Guillermo Brown

    If Qualia expanded their space they would kill it. No other coffee options in Petworth along Georgia. But ” unique coffee experience we offer”? Gimme a break, it’s just coffee, not a jungle safari

  • notconvinced

    I’m not sure I understand this… the original comment says both that they understand a no wifi policy AND that they sometimes cannot find a seat… would they have been as upset if they purchased a coffee and then walked around the corner to see that there were not seats? Do they typically walk in, and not purchase a coffee if there is no seat available?

    I guess, I would say this is not a horrible ordeal worth complaining about… you can tell Qualia you’re disappointed (they obviously put thought into this decision), but being upset about no signage / about putting down the cost of a cup of coffee?

  • BlueStreak

    I do not think that Qualia owes anyone free wifi. I do not think they owe anyone notice that they are changing their policy. That being said it would be nice business if they did.
    I have on many occasions been walking around and needed wifi to send out a quick email or two or check something. I have many times gone into a coffee shop and spent 20-30 minutes to do thins while drinking my coffee.
    I can see myself as being annoyed that a place that had offered this for a while didn’t tell me this until after I bought my coffee. Because then I’d have to buy another cup of coffee elsewhere after Scarfing down the first. Nothing to write Popville about, and nothing that they owe me or are required to do, but minor annoyance? Yes

  • WorldTrekkerDC

    Good for Qualia. OP’s (and those similar to OP) resolve never to go to Qualia will make no revenue impact on their business. Getting rid of patrons who buy one coffee and stay for hours should be a cause of celebration for the business and not some threat to be feared.

  • General Grant Circle


    OP I hope you read this. You are ridiculous buy your own internet like an effin adult

  • Reality

    The person who complained hurts my head. Admits there’s never any seats, and goes to complain no more wifi. Those seats are always full because people buy a cup and then park it forever!

  • Oscar

    Another less drastic solution: offer a timed-wifi access. You get a code when you make a purchase for 30 min or an hour. My impression is that without wifi, Qualia will suffer. Having campers is what makes ppl say “hmm this looks like a good coffee shop” let me stop by.

  • Adam

    I’m happy Qualia made this move. The counter “for laptops” is great “for books.” Love reading there.

    Also, folks shouldn’t go to Qualia for wifi – folks should patron because they have the best damn coffee in DC!

    Props to staff and owners. :)

  • noteveryonehasaboss

    funny that everyone assumes that OP has an employer.

    • anon

      Yeah. “work from home” can mean everything from freelancer to straight-up unemployed.


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