Be polite at the cafe when doing your business
Offering free WIFI costs a cafe very little, and can attract some good business. It’s a good deal for everyone, if users are conscientious about setting up shop in the coffee house.
If you really want to be a welcome worker in the cafe scene, here are some common sense tips to try:
- Take the smallest cafe table you can fit at. It’s not fair to grab a table for four when it’s just you and your machine. As an alternative, laptop users can share those bigger tables – just open your mouth and ask someone if you and your computer can join them and theirs.
- Don’t Bogart the chairs. My wife likes to put her purse, coat and laptop tote bag on an extra chair. So that’s two chairs for her one little person. This is acceptable to a point. If you are at a four-seater table because you don’t have any other choice, you can at least pull the empty chairs back so people can pull them away, if they want, without having to ask you.
- Don’t steal the bandwidth. If you have large downloads to make, try to do that at home. Likewise don’t run your P2P software. It just slows everyone down.
- Don’t hog the electrical outlet, either. Use your battery if you can, unless there are PLENTY of outlets to go around.
- Keep buying things at the cafe. A purchase each hour shows good faith.
- Don’t “borrow” the barista’s pens. 🙂
- Say please and thank you to the baristas. Coffee tending is a tough job.
- It doesn’t hurt to toss some change in the tip jar. You’d pay rent for real office space, wouldn’t you? As Wired Magazine agrees, a coffeeshop virtual office is the best deal out there – so be on your best behavior.
- Mute the sound on your computer. This may sound obvious, but like cell phones in theaters, sometimes people forget. Alternatively, wear headphones.
- While we’re on the topic, try to stay off your phone when inside the coffeeshop. Keep the ringer on vibrate. And if you must make/answer a call, keep it low key, and keep it short. Take it outside the cafe if you must conduct business.
- Bus your own table. It’s a nice gesture.
- Smile at other people in the cafe. We laptop users tend to really disappear into our work. Don’t look so serious and intimidating all the time. Coffeeshops are social places! A little friendliness will give us all a better face to the world. 🙂
Follow these tips conscientiously and you are welcome to stay and work in any coffeeshop, all day if you want to. Really. Keep your receipts to prove you’ve been a fair customer, in case anyone seems resentful with your never-ending laptop-toting presence.