How long should I stay?

Quite a number of years ago, before I was a passionate coffee drinker, I read this article in the New York Times: “How Long is it Okay to Linger in a Cafe or Restaurant?”

The question and commentary stuck with me for some time, and obviously still resonates with me.

Two years ago I really started making the local coffee shop my work space and personal space. I started drinking coffee to relax my mind and take a break from life. I started taking online classes and made the coffee shop my place to study, write, and learn. Throughout this development, I monitored my time, not out of this article’s inspiration per se, but out of a genuine feeling that a couple of hours was enough time for me.

Recently, as I have started researching and doing more business in coffee shops, I have still paid attention to the length of my stay, but now out of appreciation–I want to make sure that I am a fair and polite customer.

In this pursuit, I wanted to determine what exactly “fair” and “polite” looked like–especially given that I started to take note of others’ behavior.

“7 Rules for Coffee Shop Etiquette” and “How to Work on Your Laptop Without Being a Jerk” summed it well.

Basically, I have followed a standard that is appropriate and amenable. I have been on the right track, my instincts were on point.

How long should I stay?

  • Well, as long as I purchased something reflective of my time there–one hour means less spending expected, four hours means more purchasing expected–I am good.

How long should I stay?

  • Well, if I ‘ve been parked in my seat for some time and it’s empty, I am welcome to keep sipping my cup or sitting next to my empty cup for a little bit longer. If my seat is needed and I do not plan to purchase anything else, I should relinquish my seat, or buy something else, out of courtesy to the business and other customers.

How long should I stay?

  • Well, allow me to defer to my own high expectations. If I were a business owner, how long would I expect a person that bought a $5 coffee to stay?

This concept, this rule of thumb, this etiquette lesson, is my own guiding outline. There are no hard and fast rules, but generally speaking a coffee shop is a business, it’s not your home and it’s not your office, so make sure to treat it with respect and patron appropriately.

***

If there are other considerations or input to this etiquette question and lesson, please feel free to comment–often times there are multiple ways of answering behavioral questions.

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