My childhood Wendy’s restaurant lasted one year, and the gamblers did it in. Monopolizing the seats for hours with their empty cups of coffee and racing forms, the old men would quietly plot their next bet at the nearby Off Track Betting center. Customers came in, saw the filled seats, and left with making a purchase. The business closed in a year.
I scratch my head as I enter a coffee shop today. As a lover of the hot, dark, deliciousness that is coffee, I feel that I have been blessed by one of the few benefits of globalization, and that is coffee shops full of diverse flavors and varieties of the black stuff. But lately, I’ve been having the same problem that many of the patrons at my childhood Wendy’s had: finding a place to sit. Laptop users are the true culprits, and businesses should either ban computer use, or risk losing more customers.
In a nod to politeness, let me back my case with research before I ramble angrily. For some time, especially in New York City, there has been a growing trend towards restricting or outright banning laptop use in cafés. It turns out that laptop users often sit in cafés for hours, taking up more than one seat, while nursing a single cup of coffee. Especially during the lunch hours, this ends up spacing out customers looking to have their order, sit for a couple of minutes, and then leave. A business that allows loiterers to stay for hours is committing suicide.
Now you might argue that these people on their laptops are doing important work and I shouldn’t judge them for being in a coffee shop, but I can judge them and let me tell you why. First, there are plenty of places available for people to get work done. One of them is a called a home. Another place is called a library. And another place is called an office. These sure are revolutionary ideas right? Even the Millionaire Matchmaker, Patti Stanger, claims that if a man is doing his work in a coffee shop, it means he doesn’t have an office.
I loathe trying to get a tinto from coffee shops sometimes. People will have their cords set up like fish nets, take up two seats, and give the most hate-filled and arrogant stare when you ask them if you can sit near them. A look over their shoulders reveals that the super important website that they couldn’t look at anywhere else is…Facebook.
Look, I am not trying to spread hate, and I am not trying to organize pogroms against hipsters and their laptop-in-café using ilk. All I want is my cup of coffee. It just would be nice to know that when I take trip to buy coffee, I won’t have to be crowded up by vagrants with electronics.