The freeloader problem

I wonder if there is one.

Here’s a guy at Starbucks who nicely consented to being photographed. You’ll notice that he’s eating a burger and fries and yes, a beverage, all from Mickey D’s. (that coffee cup on his table is a vestige from the last customer).

Except he’s not eating at McDonald’s. He’s eating at a very very busy Starbucks, a place where if the line is too long or there are no tables, people leave.

I asked him why he was eating at Starbucks, and he didn’t hesitate, "It’s way nicer here."

Are marketers  training an entire generation that there’s never a limit? That free music and free wifi and free ebooks and free lobby space isn’t just an inducement to pay attention, but is, in fact, a right?

I’m still betting that the busy people you want to reach will be appropriately motivated by free. But it’s a scary picture.