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Byrony Gordon: I wish laptop freeloaders didn’t take over my coffee shops and treat it like their office


Picture posed. Thinkstock Images

Picture posed. Thinkstock Images


Picture posed. Thinkstock Images

I’M glad that somebody has finally named and shamed the freeloaders who take up all the tables in coffee shops, turning them into mini offices so they can use the internet gratis.

A report by professors at the universities of North Carolina and California has found that these laptop-wielding “coffee-shop conquerors” are a nuisance to others – that their habit of sitting for hours at a table nursing one latte “crosses the line” of café etiquette.

It’s reassuring to know I’m not alone in my dislike of the coffee-shop conqueror. They sit there as if they own the place, wires snaking all over the floor, a Converse-clad foot stretched languidly across the walkway. This pose is meant to scream: “Look at me with my MacBook and weep – I’m a creative who works my own hours.”

Yet, when I see a coffee-shop conqueror I want to yell: “You’re writing a book? Me neither!”

And what of the other tribes who plague coffee shops across the country?

The chain café has become a microcosm in which to view the most irritating sections of society. The most trying people on the planet are drawn to branches of Starbucks like bluebottles to ordure. It’s enough to make me give up coffee, if that wouldn’t drive me to gun down everyone queuing for their “ chai lattes”.

Speaking of which, can we please not turn up with orders as long as our arms for everyone in the office, and pay for each order separately, with coppers? In the time it takes to do this, you could have flown to Kenya and back and harvested your own beans.

Yummy mummies slurping on frappuccinos: I understand you are tired. But must you shriek at the top of your lungs about the woman in yoga class being taught a lot more than “downward dog” by the teacher?

Also, could you tell your husband that when he has to “babysit” the children, he should stay at home: it’s embarrassing to watch his attempts at parking the Bugaboo next to the display of Fairtrade coffee, his humiliation completed when the baby food goes everywhere but the child’s mouth, while the coffee he paid almost a fiver for sits on a table going cold.

Over-specific orderers: you want a grande wet soya half-caf cappuccino extra hot? Who the hell do you think you are, Mariah Carey? Under-specific orderers: no, you can’t have a “coffee” at these places. You need at least to order a tall macchiato with an extra shot.

Finally, people who go to Starbucks//Costa, and then moan about Starbucks//Costa (usually laptop-wielding, coffee-shop conquerors): would you just go home and drink your Nescafé instant?