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Old 09-07-2019, 12:54 PM
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What's the etiquette of working at a coffee house?


Believe it or not, I havenít worked in a coffee shop before. I have studied in one as a student but pretty much everyone there was a student so never felt weird.

So, Iím not talking about a full 8 hour day, but Iím going to be in DC next month and Iím going to need to log on for a couple hours. Iíd really rather not do it from my hotel room and while the hotel bar seems tempting, I might end up sending an email Iíd regret!

So, is it fine to just order an iced coffee and maybe a pastry and just work away for a couple hours? None of this will be difficult work, I need to respond to emails and run a couple of spreadsheets that a 5 year old could do and thereís nothing at all thatís classified or confidential.
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Old 09-07-2019, 12:58 PM
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I don't frequent coffee shops, but I would think that if it's not crowded - that is, you aren't preventing paying customers from finding a seat - I can't imagine it'd be a problem. My understanding is that lots of folks camp out in coffee shops and other places with WiFi.
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Old 09-07-2019, 02:03 PM
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After two black men were arrested in a Starbucks last year for loitering (they were in the store for a couple of minutes), Starbucks changed their policies to say that anyone is welcome to sit in their cafes, even if they don't buy anything.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news...-cafes-n875736

BTW, I read almost to the end of the OP before I realized the question was about doing your own work in a coffee shop, not about working FOR a coffee shop.
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Old 09-07-2019, 02:08 PM
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I understand the etiquette to be purchase something - a drink or pastry - at least once an hour.
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Old 09-07-2019, 07:53 PM
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I understand the etiquette to be purchase something - a drink or pastry - at least once an hour.
Where did you hear that? I've sat in coffee shops for three hours on one purchase, and felt fine about it. None of the staff gave me the stink eye for it. It would be my last visit if they ever did.
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Old 09-07-2019, 10:19 PM
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Where did you hear that? I've sat in coffee shops for three hours on one purchase, and felt fine about it. None of the staff gave me the stink eye for it. It would be my last visit if they ever did.
I'm not entirely sure the cafe would care. The cafe isn't your personal office and they have every right, in my opinion, to shoo you away if you just sit there for three hours on one purchase.

That said, when I worked at a cafe, it was pre-internet days, so we didn't have this issue so much. We would occasionally hurry customers along if we were crowded and they were taking up space in the backroom just smoking all night or camping out for the day with only buying a single item, but that was rare. Most of the campers would buy a cup of coffee and get refills every 30-45 minutes. I'm not sure what the statement about not being able to say anything to someone who overstays. We asked people to leave all the time for various reasons, and overstaying was one of them (though, like I said, very rarely used, as it wasn't necessary most of the time.)

Last edited by pulykamell; 09-07-2019 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:42 AM
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Where did you hear that? I've sat in coffee shops for three hours on one purchase, and felt fine about it. None of the staff gave me the stink eye for it. It would be my last visit if they ever did.
Youíd be doing them a favor.
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Old 09-08-2019, 01:17 PM
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You’d be doing them a favor.
And how could you possibly know that?

Perhaps in your extensive travels following the dulcet, virtuoso musical stylings of The String Cheese Incident around the globe you somehow never noticed that all over Europe (and doubtless other areas as well) there are literally millions upon millions of people each and every single day who go into a bar, cafe, bistro, coffeshop, restaurant or tavern and order a single coffee, glass of wine, beer, appertieff or just a simple bottle of water (or some kind of pastry or other small snack) and then sit either alone or visiting with friends for 2, 3, 4 hours or more, then get up, pay their check to the cent (without EVER leaving a tip or even bringing their cup or glass to the counter) who are then bid a cheerful and sincere Goodbye, Au revoir, Auf Wiedersehen, Addio or Do Widzenia by the staff and/or owner until the next afternoon when the entire scenario repeats itself.

I have literally seen this exact scenario repeat itself virtually every day for the past 4 years, both in "my" local pubs, (while I am sitting and drinking my usual 2 or 3 beers and then leaving a generous tip, unlike the vast, vast majority of actual native Krakowianins who never tip) as well as places I have just stopped in upon passing, and so has anyone else who has visited Europe and taken the time to notice.

Sure, if a place is slammed and table space is at a premium, don't be a jackass, but most owners will take any business, no matter how small, over no business at all, despite what you have to say about it.

Also, everyone with half a brain realizes that the vast majority of the time, most people don't want to stop into an empty spot, people tend to go out to be around others. Bartenders damn sure know this full well, and all the world over people behind the bar would rather have a few people nursing a drink, (especially younger, good-looking people, even if they are not big spenders) than an empty house, so passersby might be lured in by a place with a little bit of life to it.

Last edited by Royal Nonesutch; 09-08-2019 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 12:42 PM
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Where did you hear that? I've sat in coffee shops for three hours on one purchase, and felt fine about it. None of the staff gave me the stink eye for it. It would be my last visit if they ever did.
There is no written law, the OP asked for etiquette and that is what I have heard. If you feel fine, great. I would act differently.
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Old 09-08-2019, 02:08 PM
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There is no written law, the OP asked for etiquette and that is what I have heard. If you feel fine, great. I would act differently.
I go to Starbucks all the time to write recommendation letters or grade papers. I usually spend 3 hours or so. I never go when it's crowded. As long as I buy something at the start, I can't see that as unethical. No other customers are being driven off. I'm not making any additional mess. I can't drink 3 coffees or eat three pastries. I'd have to literally buy something and throw it away.
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Old 09-07-2019, 02:12 PM
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I see a few guys in a local McDonald's with their laptops everytime I go in. I don't think McDonald's cares.
Why can't you work from your hotel room?
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Old 09-07-2019, 02:18 PM
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It probably depends on the company.

My weekly knitting group meets at a Panera. Most of us buy dinner, but a few of our group who have less money don't always buy something. Panera doesn't seem to care. We're there for about 3 hrs each week. While there, I see people working, studying or just hanging out. Most have at least a cup of something (coffee, soda, etc). Some don't. I have never seen an employee say anything to anyone, or make comments.
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Old 09-07-2019, 02:42 PM
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I see a few guys in a local McDonald's with their laptops everytime I go in. I don't think McDonald's cares.
Why can't you work from your hotel room?
I can but I donít want to. I know a couple of very good coffeehouses in DC and Iíd rather get out of my hotel room.
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Old 09-07-2019, 03:23 PM
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I've been at a Panera where, when you connected to their wifi, you got a message that they reserved the right to end your connection after an hour, during busy periods (I'm guessing during breakfast and lunch hours); I suspect that this was the result of people camping there all day.

I suspect that, generally, if you're actually buying a drink or food there, and you aren't taking up an entire four-top table with your stuff during a peak time, you are likely in the clear, etiquette-wise.
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Old 09-07-2019, 06:20 PM
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Last time I looked, that $4 cup of coffee cost less than a dollar to create and serve, from rent to beans to labour. Most coffee shops, especially the chains, are in the business of renting space
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Old 09-07-2019, 06:59 PM
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I can but I don’t want to. I know a couple of very good coffeehouses in DC and I’d rather get out of my hotel room.
Oh, I misunderstood. I thought you were having trouble finding a place.
I don't think anyone will care if you are respectful. Afterall there is usually a sign on the door about free Wi-Fi.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 09-07-2019 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:04 PM
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That's the thing; they can't say anything to someone who overstays, which is why it's polite to spend some money from time to time.
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Old 09-07-2019, 08:41 PM
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I read an article from someone who owned a small café. She said that it was difficult because many people would simply camp out in her small café and sit there for hours without buying anything.

It simply matters about whether you are in a big place, or a small place. How busy it is, but the tables are crowded?

For someplace like Starbucks, I really wouldn’t worry about it at all. For an independent café with only four tables, then it’s not nice to only buy one small coffee and sit there for four hours.
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:36 AM
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The busiest Starbucks near us (of several in walking distance) is quite small, the space. You can rarely get a seat, and some people there usually seem to be camped out for the long haul w/ laptops. I guess it's reasonable to suppose Starbucks could just give up that location if it didn't work economically (those are company stores not franchises). But that's still always struck me as somewhat inconsiderate of those customers, though to other customers rather than necessarily to Starbucks.

The Panera (which does have multiple store franchisees) on next block is in a much bigger space. Lots of people hang around there too, people on laptops as well as people reading or not doing anything who might or might not have homes to go to (and who don't seem to hang out at Starbucks...maybe because they can't get a seat either ), but there are still usually seats available.

It could also be that in some places, like Starbucks, there's more an expectation or habit of the typical customer to hang around a long time. The Dunkin Donuts locations a few blocks either direction (those can be single store franchisees) both have few seats but it's unusual to see people in either on a laptop and you can often get a seat though there might be just as long a line at the counter. The customers are a somewhat different demographic on average.

I guess most people are most sensitive about overstaying their welcome in obviously a single owner places which are also small.

I easily get to feel uncomfortable dawdling too much in either coffee places or restaurants but that's mainly just me I think, rather than some moral/ethical thing.

Last edited by Corry El; 09-08-2019 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 09-07-2019, 09:21 PM
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I use to be a GM for Panera Bread (aka St Louis Bread Company)...we had a problem in a few Bakery/Cafe's with "campers" during peak lunch hours...

I had IT throttle my WIFI and limit users to 45 minutes during lunch (11-2) ....I had a MAC address bypass for my personal laptop.

Campers welcome at all off peak times.

tsfr
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:35 AM
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I use to be a GM for Panera Bread (aka St Louis Bread Company)...
Great username-post combo
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:19 AM
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Whether they can or will shoo you away is going to depend a lot on circumstances - there's a difference between staying for hours on a single purchase at an uncrowded coffee shop and doing so at one that potential customers are bypassing due to a lack of seats. And even if a shop ( say Starbucks ) doesn't shoo you away in the latter situation, that doesn't mean it's polite for you to camp out for hours one a single purchase.r
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:33 AM
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Whether they can or will shoo you away is ...
not really the issue if the question is etiquette. You are far past the line of good manners by the time an average person feels the need to call you out on your being rude.

We can usually get away with being rude impolite people without anyone stopping us or saying anything. But clearly it would not be good manners to, say, bring our Thermos of home brewed and bag of snacks and camp out at a coffee shop's table all day doing work, whether or not anything was said, even if no one even noticed you were there.

Giving something in return, by way of purchase(s), for the use of the space is good manners. The longer the stay the more that something in return should be, the more that use inflicts any potential opportunity cost to the shop (even if the hired hands present don't care) by taking up space at a fairly busy time, the more that something should be.

It's not like there is a meter running with surge pricing calculated for you, but yeah, buy something every so often.
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:03 AM
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When I first got an iPad (many years ago) I would use it for work related stuff, answering emails and the like, in a bar. I liked the efficiency of sipping a beer while being productive. I'm not sure why I stopped doing this. Now I drink without my iPad.
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:07 AM
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My rule of thumb for whether it's okay to longer at the restaurant table after we're done eating is that if there are two tables open and it's not close to closing time, it's okay. Basically, I think it's a problem if you might be crowding out potential new customers.
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:49 AM
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If I'm planning on staying awhile, I usually throw a buck or two into the tip jar. That's "for the table".
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:45 AM
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That is very nice of you to help support the employees. Really.

They are not however the ones who are providing you with the space and the wifi. They are not the ones who you are getting something from and who you might be preventing from getting additional revenue from actual paying customers who want that space.
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Old 09-08-2019, 07:11 PM
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That is very nice of you to help support the employees. Really.

They are not however the ones who are providing you with the space and the wifi. They are not the ones who you are getting something from and who you might be preventing from getting additional revenue from actual paying customers who want that space.
I don't use the wifi. And I do buy something coming in.
Since they don't have a posted check out time, it's up to me when to leave. Maybe I'm just using those extra two hours to stick it to the man. I'm such a rebel.
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:49 AM
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I’m pretty sure that Starbucks have spent millions of dollars in R&D on optimizing their background musack. It’s not immediately offputting, but it’s broadcast all over the space so there are no quiet corners, and it’s designed to build cumulative vague annoyance with increasing exposure beyond about an hour.

Last edited by Riemann; 09-08-2019 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:25 PM
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I’m pretty sure that Starbucks have spent millions of dollars in R&D on optimizing their background musack. It’s not immediately offputting, but it’s broadcast all over the space so there are no quiet corners, and it’s designed to build cumulative vague annoyance with increasing exposure beyond about an hour.
I'd be genuinely surprised if they hadn't spent a good chunk of change looking very carefully at how their store design and environment affects bottom line. I remember hearing back in the 80's how McDonalds intentionally designed their seating to be just barely comfortable enough to sit through a meal, but uncomfortable enough that most people wouldn't want sit there much longer.

I suspect coffee houses don't rely on quick customer turnover like a fast food or breakfast joint does.

Last edited by Cardigan; 09-09-2019 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:28 PM
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I'd be genuinely surprised if they hadn't spent a good chunk of change looking very carefully at how their store design and environment affects bottom line. I remember hearing back in the 80's how McDonalds intentionally designed their seating to be just barely comfortable enough to sit through a meal, but uncomfortable enough that most people wouldn't want sit there much longer.
Iíve noticed that a lot of Starbucks in Chicago have removed a lot of seating and are using the space to display coffee beans for sale and other merchandise. Of course, most of these Starbucks are definitely grab and go places. The one down the street from me in my residential neighborhood still has plenty of seating.
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Old 09-08-2019, 12:21 PM
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We've been dining in a restaurant a few times when circumstances cause us to want to stay after we've finished our meal. For instance, heavy snow is falling and we want to postpone driving until the roads have been plowed a bit. I usually order another bottle of wine and desert, or maybe pie and coffee. That's cool etiquette-wise, right?


ETA: of course I tip appropriately on those occasions.

Last edited by kayaker; 09-08-2019 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 03:52 PM
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We've been dining in a restaurant a few times when circumstances cause us to want to stay after we've finished our meal. For instance, heavy snow is falling and we want to postpone driving until the roads have been plowed a bit. I usually order another bottle of wine and desert, or maybe pie and coffee. That's cool etiquette-wise, right?

ETA: of course I tip appropriately on those occasions.
Certainly seems so to me. But this illustrates the criterion that the place be relatively uncrowded, presumably fewer people than usual are deciding to go out to eat when it's snowing. And other people who come in in that case are probably coming for shelter also. And even day to day as others mentioned, an owner would probably rather see some people sitting around their establishment than nobody. So a few hangers-around are perhaps doing the owner a favor (assuming their appearance doesn't scare off other customers ) besides doing what suits themselves.

Whereas I get uncomfortable when I'm with a chatty group that wants to hang around a *crowded* restaurant after we're finished. I'm not saying it's 'ethics' necessarily, there's a lot of over-moralizing about a lot of things nowadays IMO ironically often from people with no fixed idea of what morality is or comes from besides what each person thinks. So maybe just leave it as 'IMO' and forget tagging so many things as 'moral', 'ethical' etc. Anyway I don't like it when I get stuck in those situations. If it's just me and wife, or she and I inviting the grown kids and SO's we clear out quickly from crowded places once we're done, though don't rush to finish. Same with crowded coffee places.

Last edited by Corry El; 09-08-2019 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:32 PM
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I have no idea about the specifics of the place you park yourself in. As has been pointed out a person sitting down may make a place more inviting to potential customers over a large empty space. The specifics matter. Hence my surge pricing allusion. Fortunately all agree that at least one purchase is polite; that you should be customer to at least some degree. How much of a customer for how much time is where some disagree.

But the idea that if it is not posted then what is polite is just up to you strikes me as odd. Many family doc offices now have WiFi. Would it be polite or appropriate to park yourself taking up waiting room space doing your work there after a check for a sore throat since there is no posting that you are expected to leave after your appointment?
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:47 AM
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But the idea that if it is not posted then what is polite is just up to you strikes me as odd.
It strikes me just as odd to arbitrarily decide that the "polite" point is a purchase at least every hour.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:36 AM
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It strikes me just as odd to arbitrarily decide that the "polite" point is a purchase at least every hour.
I've heard that too, IDK where it came from but it also makes sense in terms of being polite.
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Old 09-09-2019, 10:52 AM
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I go to Starbucks all the time to write recommendation letters or grade papers. I usually spend 3 hours or so. I never go when it's crowded. As long as I buy something at the start, I can't see that as unethical. No other customers are being driven off. I'm not making any additional mess. I can't drink 3 coffees or eat three pastries. I'd have to literally buy something and throw it away.
I think the bolded is key. Honestly, I think it's mostly about not making the place unattractive to potential new customers. So if the place is completely empty, and you make it look more inviting by sipping your mocha, then you are fine, even if you bought that mocha 3 hours ago. If the place is packed and people are peering in the door wondering if they will be able to sit down, then I think you should leave when you are done. (or when it becomes crowded.)

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I've heard that too, IDK where it came from but it also makes sense in terms of being polite.
Interesting, I've never heard it before this thread. But that seems like a reasonable rate of purchase if the place is full-ish.

There's a coffee shop by my train station. My husband drops me off to catch my train, and picks me up in the evening when I return. I usually buy a coffee in the morning if I have time before my train arrives, mostly because I want it to stay in business. (It's also good coffee.) I don't hang out, because I need to catch my train. I but coffee fairly often, carry a loyalty card, chat a bit with the staff, you know, I've become a morning regular.

But I can't drink coffee in the evening, and they don't really sell anything else I like. So if the weather is nasty and I need to wait for a while for my husband to pick me up in the evening, I'll wait inside WITHOUT BUYING ANYTHING. They haven't shooed me away yet. (or even noticed that I'm there, as far as I can tell.) It's never super-crowded in the evening. I don't feel guilty, or even rude, doing this.
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Old 09-09-2019, 05:01 AM
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Nobody wants to hang out at a doctor's office. Hanging out at a coffee shop is part of what the coffee shop is selling.

That was the Starbucks idea that started the whole thing here in the US. He wanted to be like a coffeehouse in Europe as opposed to the American McDonald's idea of eat and get the hell out. There isn't any time limit.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:39 AM
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Nobody wants to hang out at a doctor's office. Hanging out at a coffee shop is part of what the coffee shop is selling.

That was the Starbucks idea that started the whole thing here in the US. He wanted to be like a coffeehouse in Europe as opposed to the American McDonald's idea of eat and get the hell out. There isn't any time limit.
You're right , there isn't any time limit like the 20 minutes posted at McDonalds. And now they've said that you don't have to buy anything at all to sit in Starbucks - but that doesn't mean that "anything goes" as far as politeness. There's going to be a certain amount of "depending on circumstances" regarding politeness because while almost* no one believes a group of twenty taking up tables from opening to closing while buying a single cup of coffee and keeping actual customers from finding seats is polite , any limitation not based on posted time is going to be somewhat arbitrary. Ok, so one purchase per hour is arbitrary and someone feels they aren't obligated to follow such a rule of thumb. Well, 2 hours or 12 hours or 24 hours is just as arbitrary. And maybe I can bring the cup from the iced tea I bought today back with me tomorrow to get my free refills from the fountain- after all, there isn't anything posted that says I have to get all my refills today. ** Either anything that's not specifically prohibited is polite ( in which case, "politeness" has no real meaning) or there are going to be some arbitrary lines.






* Although I guarantee there's a non-zero number of people who will say " There's no time limit and you don't have to buy anything to sit there so we're following the rules".

** To anyone who thinks I'm exaggerating, I'm not. I know a couple of places with "behind the counter" soda service that sell souvenir cups with free refills. They have to change the design each year because too many people saved the cup to get free refills the next year. One person I know who did this only went to thee place one weekend per year - he saved a plastic cup for years to get a couple of free refills a year. He felt cheated when they started changing the cup design and he could no longer do this.

Last edited by doreen; 09-09-2019 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:56 AM
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Ok, so one purchase per hour is arbitrary and someone feels they aren't obligated to follow such a rule of thumb. Well, 2 hours or 12 hours or 24 hours is just as arbitrary.
It is arbitrary, and the way we discover what is socially acceptable is by talking to others and determining what the norms are. They are determined by consensus.

To me, saying "Sitting in an empty or nearly empty coffee house for 3 hours on only one purchase is rude" is like saying "tipping less than 40% on a meal is rude". If someone tells me that the convention is 40% and I'm a cheap bastard for tipping 20%, I am going to want some evidence from them that that IS the convention.

My understanding of the convention is
  • Always buy something when you get there, or when your party gets there
  • Don't camp out if they place is crowded enough that others might need your seat.

Provided those things are true, I just don't see it as rude.
  #41  
Old 09-09-2019, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
It is arbitrary, and the way we discover what is socially acceptable is by talking to others and determining what the norms are. They are determined by consensus.

To me, saying "Sitting in an empty or nearly empty coffee house for 3 hours on only one purchase is rude" is like saying "tipping less than 40% on a meal is rude". If someone tells me that the convention is 40% and I'm a cheap bastard for tipping 20%, I am going to want some evidence from them that that IS the convention.

My understanding of the convention is
  • Always buy something when you get there, or when your party gets there
  • Don't camp out if they place is crowded enough that others might need your seat.

Provided those things are true, I just don't see it as rude.
I don't disagree with you about the convention- I do disagree with the idea that the problem with the "one purchase per hour" is that it's arbitrary. The problem is that there doesn't appear to be a consensus about " one purchase per hour" - if there were, it would be just as arbitrary but it would still be the norm.

And while I don't disagree with you about the convention - I do disagree with a earlier poster who would never return if the staff gave him "stinkeye" ( by which I assume he meant indications that he should leave) with absolutely no qualifications about when he would do so, such as if they gave him the "stinkeye" when the place was empty. At the point where the staff want you to leave, it's rude to stay. Now of course, that poster can take his business elsewhere,for whatever reason he wants to - but that poster seemed to believe it was somehow inappropriate for the staff to indicate he should leave under any circumstances.
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Old 09-09-2019, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
It is arbitrary, and the way we discover what is socially acceptable is by talking to others and determining what the norms are. They are determined by consensus.

To me, saying "Sitting in an empty or nearly empty coffee house for 3 hours on only one purchase is rude" is like saying "tipping less than 40% on a meal is rude". If someone tells me that the convention is 40% and I'm a cheap bastard for tipping 20%, I am going to want some evidence from them that that IS the convention. ...
And of course to others saying it is okay to camp out for three hours on one coffee is like saying tips are optional and 10% is generous, and similarly would want evidence.

As you said we find out what is the norm by talking to others and getting a sense of consensus. Not by assuming that it is impossible that you can be outside what the consensus is.

There may not be a firm consensus. Then at least hearing the range of what people think is polite and what is rude informs and individuals decide which way they want to potentially err.

I will go out on a limb and say that someone who feels that they have a right to camp out for many hours and would boycott a place for asking them to clear a space for active customers (or merely looking at them funny for doing it) is likely outside the broad consensus. And an hour nursing the one drink is clearly fine to do. In between opinions vary based on specifics of space and how busy.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:01 AM
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How much purchasing counts as enough to consider yourself an ongoing customer entitled to ongoing use of the space and facilities is by necessity arbitrary. Saying once an hour no more or less arbitrary than saying once for three hours or all day. Heck, in general manners are arbitrary.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:06 AM
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Two Many Cats, so you want to take what they are selling without paying for it?

Coffee shops that people sat in long preceded Starbucks btw. They helped develop a market for a higher end product not the idea of sitting there.
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Old 09-09-2019, 07:37 AM
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Two Many Cats, so you want to take what they are selling without paying for it?

Coffee shops that people sat in long preceded Starbucks btw. They helped develop a market for a higher end product not the idea of sitting there.
I do pay for it with the first purchase. Starbucks has even announced that you do not have to make a purchase to sit in their cafes. Of course, that was because of a racially biased arrest, but still, I take them at their word.

Look, I do sometimes order more than once. That's if I want to. I shouldn't feel compelled to by some arbitrary folklore off a message board. I have never heard of this purchase at least once an hour thing until this thread was posted.

Jesus Christ, it used to be that tipping was up to the customer. Now, you are considered practically a thief if you don't leave at least 15%. We don't need the same thing happening to the coffee shops. Especially if you tip the employees, but not the house.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:27 PM
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Jesus Christ, it used to be that tipping was up to the customer.
When was that, exactly? It has been considered extremely rude not to leave a tip (except for poor service) of at least 15% for pretty much my entire lifetime (or at least since I was in high school in the 1960s).
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Old 09-09-2019, 08:36 AM
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Again the op was not asking what is the “have to” but what is polite, what is normative.

Tipping is a great example. You don’t “have to” tip at all. It is a matter of what is expected as norms. Tipping at all let alone how much is arbitrary. But not tipping or tipping very low (excepting for very horrible service) would be rude. And if say closer to 20% has become normative then tipping 15% when service was very good is not good etiquette. Arbitrary.

I do not endorse a one purchase per hour rule but it seems like a reasonable benchmark to vary from. Clearly taking up space for over an hour without being an active customer when the space might otherwise possibly be in demand is rude. What each circumstance is and what is appropriate varies.

I have no idea of your specific circumstances and pass no judgment on you. It’s just a humble opinion response to the op.
  #48  
Old 09-09-2019, 09:01 AM
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Whatís the etiquette of working at a coffee house?


  • Try to show up 10 minutes before your shift to insure a smooth shift change.
  • If someone needs to trade shifts, help out if you can.
  • Discourage friends/relatives from stopping by just to chat.
  • Don't hit on coworkers.
  #49  
Old 09-09-2019, 12:47 PM
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Very interesting responses. The place I’m thinking of going to tends to do a lot of their business by take out during the day but then becomes more of a gathering place in the later afternoon and evening. So, I’ll probably be fine for a couple of hours. And maybe I’ll get a sparkling water after my coffee. A coffeehouse isn’t really like a bar, I get quite annoyed when someone is taking up a seat at the bar and nursing one drink when it’s packed. But most people aren’t going to drink multiple lattes like they would have 2-3 beers.

And yes, anything beats the sterile interior of a hotel room.
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  #50  
Old 09-09-2019, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by dalej42 View Post
A coffeehouse isnít really like a bar, I get quite annoyed when someone is taking up a seat at the bar and nursing one drink when itís packed.
I don't remember exactly where I was, but I was sitting at a crowded bar, drinking beer but mostly watching the bartender who was amazing; juggling bottles, pouring behind his back, building fancy drinks, etc. After about one too many beers I still was enjoying watching him, so I just tossed him $2 each time he went by me.
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