One thing unemployed people absolutely can’t live without besides unemployment checks is internet access. After getting laid off, going online is one of the few things that keeps them sane and is the only link to the outside world as they spiral into unemployment depression. If you were to take the internet away from an unemployed person, they would instantly turn into desperate scavengers looking for any access point to get them online.
The plight for free WiFi has turned everyone into a wannabe hacker at some point. Have you ever seen someone hanging off a ladder, laptop precariously balanced on an extended leg? Chances are that person was unemployed, “forgot” to pay the cable/DSL bill, and was trying to tap into a neighbor’s WiFi network. Just one bar of reception is enough for an unemployed person to spend an hour futilely connecting to pages that will never load and having one-sided IM conversations as messages never reach the other side.
Brave unemployed people will eventually leave their homes and venture out in public for stabile WiFi hotspots. Gone are the times when laid off people had no choice but to sit in bookstores reading books instead of buying them. Now, plenty of chain and independent bookstores and cafes offer WiFi for the unemployed to gloriously pretend to stay focused on job searching. General etiquette requires WiFi users to at least buy something from the cafe to use the internet. You can usually pick out the unemployed from the crowd as they not only buy the cheapest item on the menu, but will sit there for hours telling the staff they’re still working on it out of fear they’ll be shown the “No Loitering” sign. The skilled unemployed will show up with a stained take-out coffee cup from who knows how long ago and take advantage of the cheaper refill prices.
Unemployed people will readily lie and tell friends they got out of the house and had a productive day when in reality they just ended up wasting the whole day on the internet. The next time you stop at a cafe, check some monitors and you’ll notice no one is working on their resumes or writing the next great American novel. They’ll either be sucking up bandwidth watching videos or obsessively checking Facebook, Twitter, and Craigslist’s Missed Connections. Or, they’ll be blogging about being unemployed, with a long-empty cup of coffee helping to stake their place at a table as paying patrons glare at their monitor with no place to sit.