FedEx has pulled the plug on charges at its FedEx Office outlets: These former Kinko's stores--I miss the old name--have had Wi-Fi for years, but it's been a for-fee service. Now, the delivery giant's 1,600 packing and shipping locations in the US will offer Wi-Fi at no cost; 1,000 already switched over, with the rest to come by the end of October. AT&T operates the service. It's smart: they come for the Wi-Fi, they stay for the shipping.
I couldn't recall whether the FedEx Office's chief competitor, The UPS Store, currently offered Web site. After 10 minutes on the company's site for the stores, I am still in the dark. The public relations folks at UPS told me there is no national offering. Rather, The UPS Store (formerly Mailboxes Etc) is on a franchise model, and each franchisee makes the decision. Some have, but the national office isn't tracking that.
Some restaurant chains that have a mix of company-owned and franchise-owned stores require new franchises to install Wi-Fi as a condition, while allowing old stores to remain Wi-Fi free if the owner chooses. That's part of why McDonald's didn't roll out to its entire US footprint initially.
Neither chain of shipping store is set up for people to come in and work café style, but in the many outlets of each that I've visited, there's always a little area to get something done, at least briefly.
Update: A reader points out that FedEx Office locations he's visited are set with with workstation areas that he's spent hours in. So perhaps this will be a third place to work for some people.