Should coffee shops limit the amount of time that laptop users can occupy tables?
y husband and I and our older daughters frequently go to a local coffee shop. I am amazed at how patient the owner is of the few that take advantage of her Coffee House. Some come in and just buy one cup of coffee that is less than $2 (this is just plain black coffee – no specialty latte or such) and go back for their free refill, staying for hours taking up a table and using electricity for their laptop. She did have to end it with the “bottomless” free refills, because there were some that would literally spend half to all day just refilling one cup after the next. This is costing the owner money, not only with drinking more coffee than they paid for but the use of the shop’s electricity and occupying a space another customer may like to sit at. She does now limit it to one free refill.
But, there are still those that may just buy one coffee, or latte, spending maybe $5 and are there hours upon hours. I really believe that if a customer is considerate, that either they buy every hour or so, or leave a VERY generous tip. Many coffee shop owners do not want to set up “rules” for the few that take advantage of their establishment. Also, customers who come in to download and watch movies, TV shows or YouTube videos, do not realize they are using up the bandwidth, slowing and dragging down the use for the rest of the customers in the shop, thus some spending longer time at the shop then they want to! We have even seen it with a customer coming in with their laptop AND printer, taking up a whole table that can seat four people to do office work! THAT is rude! For something like this, they should use a private place or a library. Not a coffee shop! And certainly, if it’s one person coming in, please take a smaller table so those that come in a group to visit together, can do so!
So should coffee shops limit the amount of time laptop users can occupy a table? They should not have to. Customers should have enough etiquette and responsibility to not take advantage of a coffee shop. But if need be, indeed, a coffee shop may have to post some guidelines and hopefully customers will take heed and not have to be reminded. It’s usually just a few that do not get it!
Our local Coffee House is wonderful along with the owner and her main barista who go above and beyond to make a wonderful, welcoming atmosphere!