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Grow Up and Get Your Own Wi-Fi Package

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This post was guest written by Tyler Thompson

If there’s one thing we all know about apartment buildings, it’s that there’s always an unsecured Wi-Fi network somewhere. Someone, somewhere in the building has that precious linksys signal. I spent my formative years bouncing around from one crappy studio to another, so I never actually bothered to pay for my own internet. After all, if you leave your network unsecured, you want to share, right? For all I knew, I was borrowing Wi-Fi from Cory Doctorow himself. (I’m pretty sure I wasn’t. No way was he living in those types of rathole apartments.)

Of course, stealing – I mean sharing – Wi-Fi had its downsides. I had to let every YouTube video buffer for about five minutes before I could watch it. On the other hand, it had its advantages – because Hulu couldn’t load ads fast enough, I got 60 seconds of silence and a “we’re sorry” message every time an ad break came on.

Part of being broke is knowing how to work a Pringles cantenna to borrow Wi-Fi from the neighbors. The other part is knowing when to grow up and get your own Wi-Fi package. If you fit any of the following items, it’s time to make the switch.

1. You use your laptop as your television.

Look, I know that Amazon Prime has the entire series of Friday Night Lights for free, and I know that we’re all going to watch it again and get to that one part and be all “Smash! Don’t use the ‘roids! They’ll only hurt you, baby!”

If you’re using your laptop as a television substitute, and you’re not paying for your own Wi-Fi account, you’re a terrible person. Don’t you know your neighbors have upload/download limits? By stealing Wi-Fi so you can watch TV all night, you’re preventing Grandma Linksys from uploading pictures of her grandbabies to the Facebook. You jerk.

2. You actually want, you know, a television.

There comes a point in every young person’s life when “I don’t own a TV” sounds lame, and that point is when you start having people over to your apartment. Especially significant others. No lady wants to watch Downton Abbey on a laptop. You can’t have Game of Thrones parties with an iPad. Get a TV already, and then start shopping for package deals, like the various Verizon fios triple play promo codes.

Did you know that cable now comes with free Wi-Fi? TIME TO LEARN, new television-owner.

3. Something something network security.

If you’re the type of person who actually cares about the security of your Wi-Fi account, you’re probably not the type of person who’s stealing from the neighbors. Let’s skip this one.

4. Gaming.

Once again, if you’re up all night playing WOW or LOL, you probably already have that extra-expensive, razor-sharp Wi-Fi I’m not willing to pay for. If you don’t, I don’t know how your guild puts up with you.

5. You are transitioning from “student” to “professional adult.”

You know what makes a person an adult? Paying their own way. About the time you get your first real job is the time to stop going on dates just to get free food, and it’s also the time to purchase your very first router. It’s now part of the “new adult kit:” one suit that actually fits, one wine bottle opener, one router modem. If you’ve recently made the switch from posters to framed artwork, and from solo cups to actual glasses, it’s time.

Once again: if any of these items apply to you, you are no longer broke enough to steal Wi-Fi. Say goodbye to Grandma Linksys and create your own account. Just don’t name it after anything that happens in Breaking Bad. You don’t wanna be the one who spoils everything.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

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