Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"Easy" Internet Cafe

I'm still in New York, and since I'm spending a long time in here, I need to be able to access the Internet from time to time, in order to keep things running in my online shop, move my studies forward and that sort of stuff. But here's the problem: it's impossible to conveniently get onto the Internet from New York. It's incredible.

There are some net points in connection to some cafes, but they tend to cost almost $10 per hour, which is okay for just checking the map or news, but doesn't work if you need to spend 5 hours there writing a school report. Then one day, I managed to find this great place right in the center, on 42nd street, a net cafe called "Easy Internet Cafe". As a kind of disclaimer on what I'm about to say, the business is a franchise business, so the people at the easy group might not know how bad the situation is in here.

The setting is that of ghosts which are between the living world and the underworld, they have gone through a tragedy but they have unfinished business before they can find rest, which is why they are wandering, looking for the thing to satisfy their unfinished business. In the case of this cafe, the tragedy which happens is that people wander in here and decide to buy a pass for using one of these computers. You see, first you buy a pass from a vending machine, then find a computer where you can use this pass. But what you don't realize when you buy the pass is that although it seems as if there are a lot of free computers, actually almost none of them work. So you see these ghosts, wandering from computer to computer, hopefully moving the mouse or trying to turn on the screen, only to face darkness. But they have paid. They cannot leave satisfied until they find a computer which works.

You may think I'm exaggarating. I'm not. Maybe you think that I'm just upset because one out of ten computers doesn't work. Maybe you think I don't understand how fragile things computers are. No it's definitely not me, it's this place. About one fifth of the computers work. Seriously. The other ones either have frozen or blinking screens, windows has crashed, some system files are missing, the computer is endlessly rebooting or something similar. My favorite one is the computer which displays "this computer is free", blinking encouraginly, but then after you sit down, open your Red Bull, thinking that you finally found a computer which works and try to get to work, nothing happens. It's frozen to the "this computer is free"-screen. In desperation you try to hit the keys or move the mouse, but... nothing. That's just too cruel.

Update: One guy started warning others not to pay. The security guards got very angry and threw him out. Even though he had already paid. They said "you are now TRESPASSING" in a somewhat threatening voice, he apologised many times saying "I was only trying to get value for my money" and went outside, followed by the security guards, where the argument continued.