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krshome
04-05-2019, 16:43
How does one go about finding a place along the trail for charging your power cell and phone? Are the only places just when you head into town or are there places along the trail that are regularly passed? Are businesses pretty cool about letting you use their power? Lastly what do you do for the 6 hours it takes to charge a power cell? I need power through out the hike but it seem like a real pain.

Edit: I do realize the shelters and trees don't have outlets to charge nor is there poles with outlets along the trail just for hikers. Im interested in how often there are places like ranger stations, maintenance buildings or shops at trail crossings that i might be able to use without going into town. I don't have a screen addiction I'm just running a business I'm gone, so need to stay in contact.

fastfoxengineering
04-05-2019, 17:03
Find a place to charge? Think about where the outlets are. Hostels, hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, businesses, public amenities, etc. Anywhere that has electricity has an outlet.

Whether or not your should just plug into someone's electricity is another story. Most places are cool and actually have a charging station for hikers. But... if in doubt, it never hurts to ask.

Yes, waiting for your stuff to charge is a PITA... make it a priority to get charging right away.

People who use a lot of power take more zeros and neros than those who don't.

Some places you might feel comfortably leaving your battery bank charging with you do chores.

I wouldn't leave my cell phone anywhere on the AT unless with a trusted friend.

If you need more juice and don't have the ability to hang out.. you might be better served with a bigger battery bank. Whenever you take a nero or zero then give it a full charge.

Why do you need so much power?

peakbagger
04-05-2019, 17:05
It gets real interesting starting in Glencliff NH to BSP. A major point of confusion for thru hikers is that the AMC "huts" do not have power available for visitor use meaning no charging. The AMC Highland Center and the Pinkham Notch visitor center do have power. The AMC huts do have minimal solar panels ac couple or microwind turbines (and one microhydro) reserved for their radio and few other hut support functions.

MuddyWaters
04-05-2019, 17:06
How does one go about finding a place along the trail for charging your power cell and phone? Are the only places just when you head into town or are there places along the trail that are regularly passed? Are businesses pretty cool about letting you use their power? Lastly what do you do for the 6 hours it takes to charge a power cell? I need power through out the hike but it seem like a real pain.
Well, if you manage yourself so you only need to recharge once per week, at a town stay overnight in about 8 hrs you will have no problems.

steady123
04-05-2019, 17:13
All shelters now have outlets for phone charging. You will be fine.

Nolan "Guido" Jordan
04-05-2019, 17:24
I keep my phone turned off the entire time. I may turn it on just a few times to take pictures during the day, and sometimes check scores and check my email during the night.

If you plan on using your phone more, bring a portable charger. That'll help

Nolan "Guido" Jordan
04-05-2019, 17:25
Did you see? They have TVs now too.

krshome
04-05-2019, 17:40
[QUOTE=Why do you need so much power?=[/QUOTE]

I don't, I just want to make sure I can charge when I need to. I would be using my phone for work calls, emails, texts (Check once a day when possible. I have my own business) Guthook, Gaia and also music occasionally. Same power everyone else is using most likely. I have a 10000 Anker but ill probably only need my 6700 Anker if i charge once a week or so. I'm more concerned with when I'm not going into town and just staying on the trail. How often do you come upon a place along the trail? Is it something other hikes would talk about?

krshome
04-05-2019, 17:47
All shelters now have outlets for phone charging. You will be fine.
LOL! Thats great to hear maybe ill drop my canister stove and just get a hot plate. That would save so much money on fuel.

peakbagger
04-05-2019, 19:36
BSP has convenient outlets in some of their backcountry shelters. They are not hooked up to anything but its thought that counts ;)

MuddyWaters
04-05-2019, 20:49
No worries
These are everywhere

45008

Dogwood
04-05-2019, 22:28
Backpacking solar panels are the energy bomb on the AT

Feral Bill
04-06-2019, 00:00
That was unnecessarily mean.:)

FreeGoldRush
04-06-2019, 01:21
Needing to recharge more frequently than showering or doing laundry? You may have a screen addiction. The answer is to carry a battery big enough to get you to the next hotel or hostel. Pretty simple. 12000 milliamp hours should be plenty, but choose the battery based on your personal screen time.

Traveler
04-06-2019, 08:18
Having seen some particularly brazen power theft from businesses over the past few years, the best advice is to always ask to charge, especially long duration charges. Staying the night in a hotel or hostel typically comes with that privilege, however buying a coke at a general store does not. Most places have little issue with it, though some do. Asking first eliminates any mistakes.

PennyPincher
04-06-2019, 11:29
if the recharge is more important than the money but you don't want to stay in town overnight, you may just offer a business $5 to be able to leave your phone charging and maybe do other "town chores" while charging.

Also, you could try spending a week using your phone the way you would while on trail and see how long it lasts on the built in battery and the backup charger you have. I did that before a trip and found I could go just about a week with a 4K AH charger. And A 4K charger takes less time to fully recharge than a 10K, it's smaller and lighter.

ldsailor
04-06-2019, 11:41
All shelters now have outlets for phone charging. You will be fine.
I once saw an outlet in a shelter with electrical wire running from it. Still, it was obvious it was a prank, but some hikers tried to plug into it.

To the OP, be sure to keep your phone in airplane mode. That will extend the battery life. You don't need cell coverage to use Guthook if you download the maps and images. It uses the phone's GPS.

Dogwood
04-06-2019, 12:25
I don't, I just want to make sure I can charge when I need to. I would be using my phone for work calls, emails, texts (Check once a day when possible. I have my own business) Guthook, Gaia and also music occasionally. Same power everyone else is using most likely. I have a 10000 Anker but ill probably only need my 6700 Anker if i charge once a week or so. I'm more concerned with when I'm not going into town and just staying on the trail. How often do you come upon a place along the trail? Is it something other hikes would talk about?


Your expecting always available high usage. Not everyone's energy consumption is equal. This is a misassumption, "same power everyone else is using most likely."

As a cautionary tip you may have to adjust your energy consumption or how you use it, conducting your affairs in accordance with the environment. This may mean you have to curtail usage habits. You're going to find out fast life on the AT is not everything in unlimited amounts. A hike can enlighten those accustomed to unbridled consumption, with an expectation of goods and services eternally available, how consumptive their mindsets.

I've worked during LD hikes as a Landscape Designer and Property Mngr and have known others that worked from trail as day traders, journalists, accountants, etc. I've known LD backpackers that built large homes while daily conversing with Architects, Gov't Officials, a litany of subcontractors, etc or playing attorney tag daily during nasty divorces while on LD hikes. I've spent wks on trails with CEO's some of large companies. It was NOT a vacation hike as some always define hiking.

I went into town more often rather than trying to carry and support daily all my professional work and energy needs. Even with a solar array or multiple power banks CAD drawing software and the complicated designs I was hired to provide would have demanded excessive energy usage, wt, dollar hardware costs, and complication for me as an UL styled backpacker. As Fox said I took more Neros and Zeros. Sometimes it was two days in town in front of a large computer. I did have two power cells that worked on a Colorado Trail Thru hike, Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe NP, and Big Bend NP almost three month trip acting as a Property Mngr/Reno Site Supervisor for renovations on a 40 unit apartment complex located in NJ. I spent work time in towns though too that I normally would not have included if I wasn't working. On that CT mid west trip I spent three days in Buena Vista CO just for work. It also was helpful brothers assisted me filling in the in person relationship gaps required who also owned the complex. I organized my hike and biz duties by doing as much as I could when in town. On trail time I never spent glued to a device. Maybe, it was in some ways easier for me since I wasn't married or had children. Nevertheless, serious timely responses and responsibilities existed.


In 06 on an AT NOBO, during typical NOBO timeframes, hiked on and off with a day trader/biz article writer for a well known financial newspaper. He, daily, to every other day, had to submit progress reports as a writer and multiple times daily manage trades. He carried a collapsable sat dish, foldable keyboard, two batteries total one battery integrated into his foldable laptop, several cords/charger cords, and solar panels attached to back of his pack. Old school perhaps with todays tech advancements but made it work daily. I was surprised all that electronic stuff weighed just over 4 lbs or under depending on his next resupply pts. He would push ahead the extra battery and most of the cords during shorter distances between resupply pts. He also charged his stuff while resupplying. He was snippety snap organized. And, he worked fast. Astonishingly, he was still going UL by balancing out the rest of his wt and bulk. He actually had a small pack! His electronic gear was very compact!

Two yrs later in 08 PCT NOBOed on and off with a day trader who went with his hand held, extra battery, and for some time, a solar charger. He didn't go into town as much for work because he was avg high 20's from the get go. I don't ever remember him having to go into town specifically for work. He spent a lot of time in total daily on his device. He checked his trades I'd have to say every 2-3 hrs. I remember him walking while on his device not even watching the trail. After he got off he'd say something like,"nailed that Mofo, in the bag, another $22k" like he was Gordon Gekko. We were mostly a bunch of dirt bag hikers with him, jaw dropped. He'd see us and say "OK next in town stop I buy dinner and the room for all of you. We didn't know if he was simply shart talking. BUT, he delivered in town ...twice when I was on board. We loved that guy. We were rooting for positive trades. He got several other hikers involved in his trades. One hiker made two trades he advised and paid for his entire GF's and his entire PCT NOBO. I kid you not!

I learned from these others how to manage my work and other responsibilities from trail.

Starchild
04-06-2019, 14:26
You don't need 100%, going to 80% is plenty good enough if time is short. Going from 80%>100% can take longer then going from 20%>80%. Forget 6 hours unless you are staying over night. You can get a good amount of charge in 20 minutes if you are in the sweet spot (20%-80%). Try to keep your phone in this sweet spot as well. Also don't let your device go below 20% if you can help it. It takes longer to go from 0%-20% also. It also shortens the life of the battery.

Leave the power pack unattended while you do town chores (dump the power into the phone on the way to town first), or get both devices in the sweet spot and recharge both together if you are sticking nearby.

4eyedbuzzard
04-06-2019, 15:26
Having seen some particularly brazen power theft from businesses over the past few years, the best advice is to always ask to charge, especially long duration charges. Staying the night in a hotel or hostel typically comes with that privilege, however buying a coke at a general store does not. Most places have little issue with it, though some do. Asking first eliminates any mistakes.While one should always have permission to charge a phone or other device (people should definitely not assume it's okay without asking), if I were a store owner, I would gladly let everyone charge their phone if they made even the purchase of a single Coke (with about a 50 cent profit). In fact, if I had a trail business that catered to hikers, I'd set up charging stations to entice them to stay and shop/consume. The cost of electricity to fully charge a 3000 mAh phone battery assuming an 80% charger efficiency and electric rates of .12/kWh would typically be about 2/100th of a cent. Maybe 1/10th of a cent for a big Anker backup battery. If they bought just a few things while waiting, I'd be way ahead.

EDIT:
For those interested, here's the math for an approximately 3000mAh phone battery (a newer Android or iPhone) assuming a 5 volt, 80% efficiency charger (most are in the 80-90% range).
Volts (V) x Amps (A) = Power (Watts). [Calculations assume unity power factor for the electrical types among us].

5V x 3000mAh = 15000mWh [this is the theoretical power storage capacity of the battery - it's actually less as battery voltage at full charge is more in the 3.7 to 4.2 volt range, but 5 makes for easier math]
15000 mWh / .80 = 18750mWh [80% efficiency - the power needed to charge the battery is greater due to losses in the charger and battery circuit - mostly as heat]
18750mWh / 1000 = 18.75Wh [convert milliwatt hours to watt hours]
18.75Wh / 1000 = .01875 kWh [convert watt hours to kilowatt hours]
.01875 kWh x $0.12/kWh = $0.00225 [the electric bill at U.S. average of $0.12 per kWh]

Starchild
04-06-2019, 16:18
Having seen some particularly brazen power theft from businesses over the past few years, ...
What is a example of "particularly brazen power theft". Just curious.

daddytwosticks
04-06-2019, 16:57
The Fontana Hilton does have a solar powerd cell phone charging station provided by TVA. Last time I was there, it was occupied by several lazy wasps. Apparently, they have a need for electricity too. :)

FreeGoldRush
04-06-2019, 17:21
Having seen some particularly brazen power theft from businesses over the past few years, the best advice is to always ask to charge....
Using the national average for retail power costs, charging an iPhone costs slightly more than 1/10th of one cent. I'd argue that your muddy footprints left on the floor of that business you went into are far more costly than the "brazen power theft". 😀

Venchka
04-06-2019, 17:31
Carry enough hardware to charge the phone and the extra battery from a single outlet simultaneously.
That would be 1/2 of a standard dual wall outlet.
Wayne

Dogwood
04-06-2019, 22:38
What is a example of "particularly brazen power theft". Just curious.

It's done by the same people who brazenly thieve four Sugar in the Raw packets from Starbucks. :D

Traveler
04-07-2019, 08:40
While one should always have permission to charge a phone or other device (people should definitely not assume it's okay without asking), if I were a store owner, I would gladly let everyone charge their phone if they made even the purchase of a single Coke (with about a 50 cent profit). In fact, if I had a trail business that catered to hikers, I'd set up charging stations to entice them to stay and shop/consume. The cost of electricity to fully charge a 3000 mAh phone battery assuming an 80% charger efficiency and electric rates of .12/kWh would typically be about 2/100th of a cent. Maybe 1/10th of a cent for a big Anker backup battery. If they bought just a few things while waiting, I'd be way ahead.

EDIT:
For those interested, here's the math for an approximately 3000mAh phone battery (a newer Android or iPhone) assuming a 5 volt, 80% efficiency charger (most are in the 80-90% range).
Volts (V) x Amps (A) = Power (Watts). [Calculations assume unity power factor for the electrical types among us].

5V x 3000mAh = 15000mWh [this is the theoretical power storage capacity of the battery - it's actually less as battery voltage at full charge is more in the 3.7 to 4.2 volt range, but 5 makes for easier math]
15000 mWh / .80 = 18750mWh [80% efficiency - the power needed to charge the battery is greater due to losses in the charger and battery circuit - mostly as heat]
18750mWh / 1000 = 18.75Wh [convert milliwatt hours to watt hours]
18.75Wh / 1000 = .01875 kWh [convert watt hours to kilowatt hours]
.01875 kWh x $0.12/kWh = $0.00225 [the electric bill at U.S. average of $0.12 per kWh]

Absolutely agree it would be good business to let people charge if they purchase something, in fact were it my store I might think of advertising, "Free charge up with purchase" and consider putting a charging bar in. People are reluctant to leave their electronics and would grow hungry or bored after a while and likely purchase more. Much as bars offer free salty snacks to spur beer sales. My point was more in line with yours, asking first as opposed to just plugging into an outlet.

AllDownhillFromHere
04-07-2019, 12:40
Buy something, charge something.
The issue is not the cost of the electricity, it's buying something without asking. It's like using someone else's wifi, splitting off your neighbor's cable, or taking 50 hotsauce packets to fuel your later hikes. Those things aren't yours to take.

Coffee
04-07-2019, 12:44
It's just good manners to ask permission to charge. I've never had anyone say no.

One approach I take if I know that I'll be recharging in public places is to take a small battery pack (mine is 3 ounces) and leave that to charge rather than my phone. I'd rather lose a $15 battery pack than a $300 phone. I then charge my phone from the battery pack. This saves a lot of time in certain situations where I'd otherwise feel compelled to babysit my phone while it is charging.

Tipi Walter
04-07-2019, 13:41
Soon we'll have battery powered robots carrying our packs and then the question Where To Charge? will dominant 95% of all future Whiteblaze posts.

AllDownhillFromHere
04-07-2019, 13:49
It's just good manners to ask permission to charge. I've never had anyone say no.
One approach I take if I know that I'll be recharging in public places is to take a small battery pack (mine is 3 ounces) and leave that to charge rather than my phone. I'd rather lose a $15 battery pack than a $300 phone. I then charge my phone from the battery pack. This saves a lot of time in certain situations where I'd otherwise feel compelled to babysit my phone while it is charging.

The flip side of this is that mid-hike, someone else's locked phone is useless to you, while a 10k power brick that looks like every other brick is a quick and easy steal.

Dogwood
04-07-2019, 15:00
There's an industry fencing phones. It exists because they get around the locks. They can be unlocked or resold. Even if a petty ignorant thief was to steal my locked ph because I left it somewhere unattended prone to theft by the time they might have found it was locked they'd dispose of it somewhere else. It would still be gone but I'd still look around nearby. Unattended phones locked or unlocked are targeted by thieves.

4eyedbuzzard
04-07-2019, 15:00
Buy something, charge something.
The issue is not the cost of the electricity, it's buying something without asking. It's like using someone else's wifi, splitting off your neighbor's cable, or taking 50 hotsauce packets to fuel your later hikes. Those things aren't yours to take.Just out of curiosity though, and to play Devil's Advocate, would anyone ask first, or even think twice about refilling their water bottles in the bathroom at a gas station or store? "Excuse me sir, do you mind if I fill up my water bottles while using the bathroom?" Not a question likely to be asked. As with the electricity to charge a phone, the water is of negligible cost, but both the water and electricity are the property of the owner and while minuscule in cost, neither are free. The intent of the water being there is to wash your hands and comply with health regs, not refill your bottles. A gallon of tap water is similar in cost to recharging one's phone (average US water costs are about $1.50 per 1000 gal). The power used to dry your hands under the electric hand dryer for 30 seconds is also about the same as to charge a phone. So if I don't use the hand dryer, is it okay to take the water? Or perhaps to charge my phone? The cost to the owner is neutral. The only differences are in assumed access, visibility of the act, and intended usage of those items rather than the value or cost - it's more just current cultural practice than anything else. As electronic devices and batteries become even more ingrained in society (hard to believe, but just wait...), access to minor electrical charging will likely become culturally more of an assumed practice, much as we currently assume access to small amounts of water. Note all the recharge stations in public places and establishments catching up with drinking fountains, which are actually declining, not due to cost or water shortages, but due to the lure of generating revenue from selling bottled water. But that's another rant...

Condiment packets are a bit different from a money standpoint, and surprisingly much more expensive at average 2 cents each. Stealing 50 represent a full $1. While we can hopefully agree that stealing 50 is over the top, what if I take 8 but wind up only using 4, and use the others on the trail? How guilty should I feel? Some people probable take and use 8. Some take none. I think as long as you're reasonable about such things, you should be able to sleep at night and not work yourself up into a moral dilemma.

LucyInColor
04-07-2019, 22:47
If your 10000 battery will accept quick charge, buy a quick charge charger (the plug). That will shorten your recharge time.

bighammer
04-07-2019, 22:48
Absolutely agree it would be good business to let people charge if they purchase something, in fact were it my store I might think of advertising, "Free charge up with purchase" and consider putting a charging bar in. People are reluctant to leave their electronics and would grow hungry or bored after a while and likely purchase more. Much as bars offer free salty snacks to spur beer sales. My point was more in line with yours, asking first as opposed to just plugging into an outlet.

Can hear it now, "Will that be cash or charge?"
"Both, please." :banana


I think you can also extend battery life by turning off any extra running background apps. You don't want useless things attempting to update themselves every time you have service, etc. I carry a small solar charger that can also be charged from a micro USB. Not a huge capacity, but it's something, and for the lunch stop or campsite with sun, it can recharge. I also carry another small aux battery that only charges from micro USB.

Leo L.
04-08-2019, 03:59
Absolutely agree it would be good business to let people charge if they purchase something, in fact were it my store I might think of advertising, "Free charge up with purchase" and consider putting a charging bar in. People are reluctant to leave their electronics and would grow hungry or bored after a while and likely purchase more...
Saw exactly this kind of business when crossing the border into Israel:
A airconditioned room, rows of chairs, free Wifi, free charging (lots of dangling USB cables of all kinds), and a row of snacks&drinks machines.
You can be sure Israelis won't provide the services if they wouldn't get a good return.

BTW, I got 4 days of GPS tracking out of my phone's battery. Just looking at the app for orientation, the battery would last up to 10 days.
People who need to charge daily sure hang in the Internet all time.

Traveler
04-08-2019, 06:38
What is a example of "particularly brazen power theft". Just curious.
Walking into a store, looking for an outlet, plugging in, walking out and coming back later. Having seen this a few times, I find that particularly brazen.

Traveler
04-08-2019, 06:44
Using the national average for retail power costs, charging an iPhone costs slightly more than 1/10th of one cent. I'd argue that your muddy footprints left on the floor of that business you went into are far more costly than the "brazen power theft". 
If several hundred people did this, costs can become a concern, however taking something without asking is stealing, regardless of the value. By this argument, you'd be more concerned about the mud I track into your house to get keys to your car and drive off for an hour without your permission. Its only a gallon of fuel after all....

Frankly I am a little surprised people defend this saying the value of the theft is small. Perhaps understanding the damage is less economic than in the impressions left in the wake of a season where this type of thing may happen routinely. Lowering public opinion is pretty easy, maintaining a good impression or improving it takes a bit more effort. And that... costs nothing.

FreeGoldRush
04-08-2019, 07:28
If several hundred people did this, costs can become a concern, however taking something without asking is stealing, regardless of the value.

As a business owner myself I can assure you that the concern over 1/10 of one cent per cell phone charge is absolutely out of context with what it takes to run a business. You are misunderstsnding the mindset of a small business owner. To succeed you must provide value to your customers and you MUST keep all things in context.

If all it takes is 1/10th of a penny to get someone in the door it's a no brainer.

These small businesses live for the purpose of getting hundreds of people through their front door. They pay for the lights you use, the air codnitioning you enjoy, and the floor you walk on. They pay for the smiling employee behind the counter. They do this because most people who walk through their door spend money. With the tens of thousands in costs to get potential customers to show up, the ability to charge an iPhone is the least costly and possibly one of the most attractive reasons to visit.
If some misguided business owner doesn't want outlets in public places being used, then it is easy enough to put the little child protective plugs in them. This would be the same cranky business owner that has five handwritten signs on the door and 3 more in your face at the counter, each telling you what you cannot do. You may have noticed these businesses don't remain open long after starting the "handwritten sign trantrum" begins.

if you are concerned about the 1/10th of a cent cost to them, then are you equally concerned about making eye contact with an employee or speaking to them? Doing so is a cost to the business, who pays those people to interact with you. Are you concerned about leaving finger prints on the door you came through, that someone will have to wash? Did you heat the air conditioned room a little with your presence or door opening?

And did you consider the fact that asking an employee if it is Ok to charge a phone actually costs them more than the cost of charging a phone???

All things in context.

MuddyWaters
04-08-2019, 07:55
Its not the cost
Its the loitering of smelly non customers
And the self centered , disrespectable ones that think they can just do it without asking

No shortage of places for paying customers to plug in

FreeGoldRush
04-08-2019, 08:07
Its not the cost
Its the loitering of smelly non customers
And the self centered , disrespectable ones that think they can just do it without asking
No shortage of places for paying customers to plug in
That is correct. If you are going to use any services a business makes publicly available, then be nice and buy something. I do that. But to be honest, if only half the people who visit buy something a business owner can still become wealthy. They already know that.

Traveler
04-08-2019, 09:01
That is correct. If you are going to use any services a business makes publicly available, then be nice and buy something. I do that. But to be honest, if only half the people who visit buy something a business owner can still become wealthy. They already know that.
As has been said in this thread, asking first is just good manners as opposed to the entitlement mentality. There has been many comments and threads on this forum of poor hiker behavior along the AT which tends to lower public opinion. A simple gesture like asking permission to use an outlet at a business costs nothing, will likely grant you access immediately, and improves public opinion.

Morals differ greatly in society. If one's moral philosophy is power doesn't cost much so it's ok to simply take it where an outlet is seen in a business, then thats where the moral compass points. Brings to mind an old adage, "Lay with dogs, wake up with their fleas".

peakbagger
04-08-2019, 10:22
I have heard from a couple of folks where individuals unplugged appliances to charge their phones and of course didn't plug them back in again. Wasn't a cell phone but former friends daughter decided to unplug the freezer to plug in a boom box. Two or three days later they had freezer full of meat rotting.

FreeGoldRush
04-08-2019, 10:26
A simple gesture like asking permission to use an outlet at a business costs nothing.
Keep in mind that you were indicating the cost of power was significant. So is the cost of an employee's time not? At $10/hour if the employee can answer 500 questions per hour, then let's say it costs 2 cents to ask. That is 20 times more than the cost of charging your phone.

it sounds silly to do this analysis. So I hope we finally agree that the cost of the power is not the issue.

Like you said, it boils down to "be nice" and nothing more.

4eyedbuzzard
04-08-2019, 11:17
My point of bringing up the negligible costs involved wasn't to minimize what I agree is rude and presumptive behavior that also casts a poor light on the "hiking community". It was just to put it in perspective from a "crime" standpoint as there's just not enough "injury" IMO to warrant that term. And whether we like it or not, societal norms have changed some since many of us were raised. But, that's not an absolute. I'm sure many of us raised our now adult children to ask first. But, unfortunately, not everybody did it seems. Some obviously also wander from those more traditional values we tried to instill. So, rude? Yes. Presumptive? Yes. Criminal? It's a stretch. There are are few reported incidents of arrests for "theft of services" for charging phones. Mostly involving homeless people, and of course, travelers. But of the ones I could find, prosecutors dropped the charges in all the cases. There were some prosecutions of people who refused to stop after being told to, but most of those then escalated into trespassing cases.

My take on all of it? Again, apply the "reasonable person" standard - on BOTH sides of the equation - hiker AND business owner. Public use receptacles are popping up everywhere these days - food establishments, transportation terminals, truck stops, etc. People are broadly starting to assume that if receptacles are out in the open, they can use them to charge their phone. Often no one asks permission as it's obvious why they are there. So if it's out in the open, some people may assume it's okay, just like so many other places. Is it presumptive? In my mind, often it is. But I can see where sometimes it might not be so clear. For hikers, when in any doubt, asking first is always the polite way to go. For business owners, if you have a receptacle in plain sight that might be assumed to be available but you don't want used, put a little Dymo label on the cover saying "Not for public use", or better yet "No phone charging!". A cheap little warning often goes a long way.

Alligator
04-08-2019, 14:26
It's pretty common in retail to have employees greet customers as well as answer customers' questions, encouraged in fact. I would guess that it works out in the business owners favor given the prevalence I see it practiced. Another reason to ask though is that the hiker just sees the outlet. The employee/owner sees the outlet in the business space and may not want a customer charging right there. It might be a tripping hazard, could be blocking an aisle or display, might be in a server path, dead outlet, might prefer you were eating ice cream out on the porch so other hikers know there's ice cream inside, etc. The outlet might just be there for electrical code reasons or even a specific purpose (other than charging if unlabeled).

Really though just buy something, you just came out of the woods. No income the service goes away.

Traveler
04-08-2019, 17:38
Keep in mind that you were indicating the cost of power was significant. So is the cost of an employee's time not? At $10/hour if the employee can answer 500 questions per hour, then let's say it costs 2 cents to ask. That is 20 times more than the cost of charging your phone.

it sounds silly to do this analysis. So I hope we finally agree that the cost of the power is not the issue.

Like you said, it boils down to "be nice" and nothing more.

Actually it's about a moral compass. Not taking things can be quickly avoided by asking first. Like I said.