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Bill Bergeman


10 Rules For Working at a Coffee Shop

Follow these tried-and-true guidelines and you will have a blissful coffee shop experience.

10 Rules For Working at a Coffee Shop

    1. Always tip the barista.

    This rule is especially true if you are, or plan to become, a regular.

    2. Befriend the regulars.

    If you frequent the same place, you'll soon notice that some people habitually visit at the same time as you do. It's nice to get to become friends with them, as your visits (and theirs) will feel more welcoming.

    3. Don't overstay your welcome.

    While most coffee shops are open to having people visit for lengthy periods while working on their laptops, have a sense of when you've stayed too long. It's not a bad idea to ask the barista if they have a time limit for their customers (some places do). My general rule of thumb: Stay no longer than four hours.

    4. If you are going to stay a long time, order something more than coffee.

    Ordering a $2 coffee is perfectly fine, but if you're going to mooch off the shop's free wi-fi for hours on end, purchase something else as a show of thanks for use of the space.

    5. Don't take calls.

    If you have to make or take a call, step outside. It's distracting to other patrons if you talk on your phone inside the shop. Especially if there is no music playing in the background. If you have to do a Zoom call, see if the shop has an outside patio at which you can sit. At a minimum, try and speak in a quiet tone.

    6. If there is a handicapped table, do NOT sit at it.

    This rule seems obvious, yet it amazes me how many people break it when there is nowhere else to sit at the shop. I get it, you need to sit somewhere. If it's me, I just leave. It's not a big deal, and I don't want to work at a full coffee shop anyhow.

    7. Take your headphones.

    Some people think that since music is playing at a coffee shop, it's okay for them to play videos or some other kind of audio out loud for everyone to hear. It's not. Background music can easily be ignored, but your YouTube cat video is a distraction.

    8. Take an extra layer.

    This might only be an Arizona thing, where I live, because air conditioners tend to be on high blast all the time. I always take a light jacket or pullover because some shops are simply freezing. It's no fun trying to work when there is an arctic blast blowing in your face!

    9. Don't be a creep.

    I notice some people go to coffee shops and leer at other people. Like, something much more than simple people-watching. It's a little creepy. You don't want to be that person.

    10. Enjoy yourself!

    Most important of all, have a great time! What a miracle to have so many places around that offer delicious beverages that fuel us with caffeine, while also providing yummy treats, sometimes full food menu options, comfortable seating, free wi-fi, relaxing music, a beautiful ambiance, and an office away from home from which to work.

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