Kyle Rutkin

Digital Marketer. Brand Strategist. Freelance Writer.

Coffee Shop Etiquette 101

UncategorizedKyle Rutkin2 Comments

I don’t care if you’re a writer, a student, an entrepreneur or even a World of Warcraft gamer—we all rock coffee shops. But somewhere along the way, people forgot the unwritten laws that govern them. One day, I hope to create the first ever Coffee Shop Etiquette Handbook, for those who have forgotten the ways of our java obsessed ancestors. But until then, read up suckers.  

 If you say, “watch this for a sec,” don’t go out and talk on the phone for an hour.

Yeah that’s right, I’m talking to the guy who has been outside on his phone for thrity minutes when he said, “hey buddy can you watch my stuff for a sec.”  Ok, yes, I agreed to “watch” his stuff.  But now I feel super obligated to sit here and glance at his macbook every 2-5 minutes to ensure no one walks up and says, “hmm, maybe I should steal this unattended computer.” Not only is this distracting, but suddenly, I have to go the bathroom. And just thinking about going the bathroom while obligated to watch this dudes stuff, is driving me NUTS. So seriously, don’t ask unless you’re really going to be A SECOND and you don't plan on talking on the phone for thrity minutes or taking a twenty minute dump in the Starbucks bathroom.

Sidenote: I agree I would feel horrible if the phone call was something of serious nature. But you should really see this guy smiling as he walks around in that sweater vest and Iphone attached on his ear--just saying.

  •  If you are riding solo, don’t take a big ass table.

Most peeps go to a coffee shop because they are working solo and it’s nice to be around other peeps while they're doing the same thing. But let’s face it, no one likes the asshole who walks in by himself and grabs the biggest, baddest table available. Yeah, it must feel nice to spread out your papers like you're doing taxes on the dining room table. Unfortunately, you force the couple next to cram onto the baby table and use their keyboard as a croissant plate just to save room. Tisk, Tisk.

  • Sitting near an outlet means you have agreed to help out

When you sit next to an emergency exit on a plane, you agree to help out in case of an emergency. If you don’t, you can’t sit in that row-- bottom line.  There is no difference at a coffee shop! If you sit next to an outlet, you are NOT allowed to get pissed when someone asks you to plug in their chord. And don’t try that thing where you pretend not to see me waving my plug at you... oh you see me. So sack up, grab the chord and plug it in--that’s all I'm asking.

  •  If someone has their headphones on, it means they don’t want to talk.

Technically, coffee shops are meant for a place of community. I think it’s a great place to catch up or even meet that person on eharmony because you’re not sure they’re worthy of 60 minutes at PF Changs.  But here’s the rule, if someone has headphones in, they don’t want to talk. They don’t want people to ask them, “what are you working on?” They don’t want people to ask them, “did you see that cat that died at 40 on Yahoo's home page.” Nope.  However, if you’re unclear on the rules, here is a list of acceptable questions.

1)  What is the wifi password? (sorry, you are obligated to answer that one)

2) Are you using this seat? (this is a question you must answer as well)

3) Can you plug this outlet in? (Already mentioned)

  • Just because you have a mac, doesn’t mean you’re better than everyone else

Let’s face it, some coffee shops tend to feel a little more upscale than others. There are times when I’ll walk into a coffee shop and see hundreds of little glowing apples lighting up like cell phones at a Coldplay concert.  Here's what I'm saying: If somebody pulls out a Dell computer, you can’t discriminate. Coffee shops are not macbook stores--there can be no discrimination based on your love for the OS operating system or higher Best Buy credit limit. Just because your battery life on your macbook goes eight hours, it doesn’t mean it’s rude if a PC dude asks if he can use the outlet for an hour. Relax alright!


  •  Don’t be afraid to use a lid or pay for damages when you mess up.

Here’s a fun little story...I was working at a coffee shop last summer when this nice college student decided to dump her coffee on my computer. OH MY GOSH, I’M SO SORRY. Whatever, accidents happen, even $1400 accidents. But all I’m saying is that if this happened on the road with our cars, there is no way you could get away with an OH MY GOSH, I’M SO SORRY.  Anyway, the moral of the story…. It’s okay to use a lid. AND maybe buy them a $25 dollar gift card if you ruin there $1400 computer. Just saying.

There it is, a preview of The Coffee Shop Etiquette Handbook. Feel free to add any rules in the comment's below. Hopefully, you will join me in this worthy cause to rid the world of inconsiderate coffee shop dwellers.