One of the biggest frustrations for today’s traveller is access to power to recharge devices. Considering how much we need to keep powered, I am surprised that no one has set up a charging station network across the globe. In the meantime travellers have to earnestly ferret out power outlets, share, negotiate, bargain and beg.
On January 1st, I was in Queens Plaza Shopping Centre in Brisbane, Queensland eating my lunch. It is a shopping centre with the David Jones Department Store where I planned to do some shirt buying.
As I sat in the food hall, I plugged my laptop into an electrical outlet located right next to my seat and began typing. There were many such power outlets scattered around the food court. After a few minutes, a security guard called Omar, approached me and told me I was not authorised to use the Centre’s power. I advised him, that I did not realise this as I had not seen a sign. He told me to remove my power cord or he would do it for me and throw me out of the centre.
Annoyed at this inappropriately heavy handed approach, I asked him for proof of such a regulation. He looked like he was going to pick me and throw me out on the spot. He told me that the Centre could not put in writing every regulation that he had to enforce. I complied but left the centre and did not do any planned shopping there.
What is the etiquette here. In a public space are electrical outlets out of bounds? Could not a small sign be placed, advising customers that this indeed the case?
I also wonder in this time of great competition in the retail sector, wouldn’t shopping centres be doing all they can to make customers feel welcome? I felt most unwelcome at Queen’s Plaza and won’t be going back.