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Cafe wars as Wi-Fi squatters a turn-off to other customers

Wifi 'lingerers' in coffee shops are causing territorial disputes, new research has found.

Laptop-wielding 'cafe conquerors' who squat on coffee shop tables for hours while nursing a single cappuccino are increasingly to blame for rows with other customers.

They are lured into coffee shops by free wifi and no time restrictions. However, their prolonged presence in the cafes can lead to territorial disputes and even falling sales.

The report called Dibs! Customer Territorial Behaviours, published in the Journal of Service Research, was carried out by marketing professors Merlyn Griffiths of the University of North Carolina and Mary Gilly of the University of California.

They said individual workers are effectively setting up their entire office at a table: laying out their laptop, smartphone, iPad and bag, ordering a large skinny latte and then staying there for the afternoon.

These consumers consider the price of their coffee to be their 'rent' and a guarantee that they cannot be kicked out of the establishment.

But while they provide some income to the cafes, they are becoming a turn-off to other customers.