Category Archives: Journalism

Fast Food Wifi

What is it with Burger King? This chain went from having the best wifi to the worst. In its heyday, BK wifi users could get right on the Interweb® and work during their lunch breaks, now limited by greedy money grubbing employers. At the time, chief rival, McDonald’s, had a logon system that required seven — yes count them, seven — clicks to make it to the information super highway. But at this writing — Halloween 2016 — Mickey D’s has zoomed to the top of the heap with a one click logon, while BK has descended into fast food wifi hell.

Burger King (that’s the outfit with the still creepy stalker “king” mascot) has run through several AT&T (the world’s largest crappy company) wifi systems. BK/AT&T used to force users through thirty seconds of ad “experiences” before they made it to the web. Combined with glacially slow speed, after about five minutes, customers simply wolfed down their food, packed up, and headed to the nearest McDonald’s for coffee and managing their emails.

Then BK-AT&T switched to a quick survey in advance of their ad “experience.” The questions were pretty stupid (like, do you own a cat?), but one was key: how old are you? Just click “13” and the BK-AT&T web robot apologizes because there are no ads for 13 yearolds. Yippee! Onto the still glacially slow Interweb®. But at least there was service for a reasonable length of time.

Now, the BK-AT&T cabal, apparently bent on pissing off as many of their customers as possible, kicks them off the web after fifteen minutes. Then they have to go through the I am 13 logon process all over. This time limitation often interrupts users in the midst of their lunch hour break — sorry, lunch half hour break: cut off in the middle of an article, eighty sixed halfway through their emails, blasted before they can complete that online purchase.

So, try to get a cheap meal (and sometimes FREE coffee!) while knocking out 500 words on a novel while researching online conveniently. Well, knocking out the words does not require the Interweb®, but jumping onto the web to research something, especially when writing a short article, sure does.

This is a mobile world, and providing instore wifi service is no longer a luxury or perk. It is a cost of doing business. And that cost is not very high. It is not as though BK needs to turn over table space. Their stores are empty most of the time.

Richard J. Schneider writes the popular Vic Bengston Investigation series of mystery novels. His latest books are VOTE and WATER. He works in coffee shops and fast food joints. INFO:


Journalists and impartiality


In light of ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos’ stupidity in giving $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation, Let me tell you a story.

My late father-in-law, Judge William Gleason, was a prominent lawyer in the northern Illinois GOP stronghold of McHenry County. He was prominent in service organizations, the church, and other community endeavors, including Republican politics. When he was appointed a Magistrate, the entry level for judges (often called County Judges elsewhere), he terminated all memberships in the Elks and other organizations, stopped appearing in public places with a drink in his hand (e.g., the local country club), and ceased all community activities that, in any way, could be construed as partisan.

A college student at the time, I asked him why he did this and he said it was necessary to convey both the impression of impartiality as well as actually implementing impartiality as a judge in his community. When he passed away, he was a District Court Judge, which, in Illinois, is a partisan elected position; he hated the politics of it and the campaigning, but to remain a judge he had to go through it. His decisions remained impartial.

Journalists should adopt a similar standard. That would mean the following:

  • No voter registration with any political party.
  • Consider not voting at all.
  • No donations of any kind to anybody or anything.
  • No advising any political candidate, party or organization for any reason.
  • Be completely honest about your resume.
  • Pay for your own coffee and booze.

Former journalist Richard J. Schneider writes the Vic Bengston mystery novel series from Colorado.