Coffee House Squatting Etiquette

Sitting at a coffee house to work, meet with friends, or just get away can be a great way to spend an afternoon. Modern Manners Guy has 3 tips to keep things carefree and caffeinated.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #190

I do not keep quiet about my love of coffee. In a given year, I may miss drinking coffee about twice. It’s part of my routine, and my one major vice. With that, I have a tremendous love for coffee houses. Every coffee drinker does. Some like the new age coffee houses, others like the vintage establishments you only see in John Cusack movies, and most of us agree that Starbucks is a go-to. And as all my coffee drinking days have taught me, if you’re going to hang out or “squat” at a coffee house, there are major do’s and don’ts.>

Proper Coffee House Squatting Etiquette

We’ve all spotted coffee house squatters; the individuals that set up camp at a table or chair for hours on end, with a laptop, book, or e-reader, while nursing endless cups of coffee. We can thank a dual rise of Starbucks and the show Friends for this phenomenon. In the 1990s we were introduced to – and fell in love with – the notion of sitting in a coffee house for hours with friends or with coworkers. Then somewhere along the line, people entered coffee houses and never left.

So before you sit down for a cup of Joe with every form of technology you own, check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for proper coffee house squatting etiquette:

Tip #1 – The In-Flight Luggage Rule

There was a great photo I saw on a “Fail-Blog” type site that showed a guy at a coffee house, using a desktop Mac on a tiny two top table. Oh, and he managed to save a little spot for coffee. This was a great sign of a coffee house squatter. Now, granted this guy was an extreme squatter, many people still bring their laptops with them to do work at coffee houses – which I have as well – and find that to be completely appropriate. Even a notebook, or an iPad is fine too. But a coffee house is not your office, or your home. If you need to bring your entire office to the coffee house, why note just save yourself the trouble and take the coffee to go? Now, I know what you are saying, “What about students? Or a meeting out of the office? And I need certain items…” To that I say, you are free to squat with technology but please people, be realistic!

If you’re going to squat at coffee house, and you bring so many items that an airline would have to charge you a baggage fee, then you know you have to reevaluate your logistics. I love meeting at coffee houses to do work with others and just catch up, but I don’t pack like I’m a walking Best Buy. When you plan to sit down at a coffee house for longer than it takes to drink your beverage, stick to what you can bring in a backpack or messenger bag. If you need more, you shouldn’t be meeting at a coffee house in the first place.