Coffee Shop 'Til You Drop

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

In my past life (that is to say, my previously employed life), whenever I walked into a coffee shop & saw the tables filled with folks on laptops, I always wondered, "Don't these people have jobs?!" The answer, I can now report back to you, is no. We don't.

I love working from coffee shops. During Snowpocalypse, I was so excited to work from a coffee shop (& to have human interaction after being snowed in for a week) that I trudged to Open City, laptop in arm, to sip chai lattes & live the coffee-shop-as-office life. Now that I'm (f)unemployed, I'm capitalizing on the, um, opportunity to patronize Starbucks during normal business hours.

A few thoughts on hanging out in coffee shops: 
  • I'm trying to stick to a normal schedule, so I've been leaving my apartment around 10a.m. or so, & not coming back until 5p.m. or later. And though $5 is a cheap price to pay for office space, it seems eight hours is a liiiittle too long to spend in Starbucks.
  • Comfy armchairs may look comfortable, but don't be fooled. They're basically designed to discourage folks like me from loitering too long after our lattes are finished. Also, I may have developed carpal tunnel from sitting Indian-style & holding my wrists vertical to type at a too-tall table.
  • Inappropriate behavior abounds:
    • People who don't wear headphones when there's sound coming from their computers in public are the worst kind of people. I'm looking at you, Dude Playing a Computer Game With an Autotuned '90s Theme Song.
    • While coffee shops can make for quaint, intimate date spots, they're not the appropriate place for boisterous, not-so-witty banter & the kind of arm-smacking, shoulder-punching "flirting" that most of us mastered in the fourth grade.
    • If you have a voice like Leslie Mann, you should not talk. Ever. But especially not in quiet coffee shops. Leslie Mann has a number of admirable physical qualities, but the sound of her voice is not one of them. My ears, they bleed.
Suddenly, I'm struck with a thought of mind-blowingly simple proportions: I have become one of those people who blogs from coffee shops. Temporary position or not, mission accomplished.


  1. It's like you're in my HEAD! Did you see my Tweets today? My usual coffee shop work banter. People with too much perfume getting too close. I also neglected to mention the two girls who were having like, the most, completely, totally crazy conversation! LOL!

    I blog from coffee shops, I work from coffee shops, and yes, I have no shame in spending 6+ hours at a single shop. In Nebraska, I would go into the Coffee Shop at 3 or 4 in the afternoon and not leave until Midnight. I miss those days. But that was a more inviting, casual, relaxed, home-grown kinda shop.

  2. Oh my goodness, this post has so much win. Since I've been unemployed I, too, work/blog at coffee shops. Or at least I did before I moved to this small town where Starbucks doesn't even exist and my best substitute for a coffee shop would be the local BBQ joint. Not exactly the greatest office space. Praying we BOTH find a job asap, dear. ♥

  3. props for being able to work at a coffee shop! i tried it a couple of times but i found myself super distracted...and instead of worked sat and people watched!


  4. Am I the only one that actually blocks out the other people in the coffee shop?

    You'd think I would actually pay more attention...

    But agreed. Totally.

  5. Excellent. And I suddenly see the need for me to have an iPad. And to visit coffee shops more... less takeaway coffee from now on!

  6. Yeah, I've gone through the same transition of wondering about those people to becoming one of them. The sad/amusing part is that there's a Starbucks literally across the street from my it's really only about caffeine and a change of scenery. I haven't gotten on a schedule yet, and I'm only there about once a week. I guess I can't justify the cost of their coffee more often than that. Anyway, here's hoping we go back to being wonderers again real soon! xo

  7. Mmm, I quite agree with the Leslie Mann point. Also, please bring me coffee. Love, Brittney.

  8. Wait... you stay in the same coffee shop for 8 hours?! I can barely stay through a chapter, mainly because I'm so distracted by everyone's loud conversations and oh yeah, cell phone rings that are meant to be songs, not ringtones!

  9. Oh I blog from coffee shops all the time- it's a great way to be social while being anti-social.

  10. Jen @ Pearls & PoliticsSeptember 22, 2010 at 9:36 AM

    Sometimes (just because I hate my job so), I work from Starbucks. It's a refreshing change of pace. And people watching gives me a much needed break ... every 5 minutes or so. :)

  11. icantbelieveabletumblrSeptember 22, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    I telecommute a few days during the week and cannot stay at home and be expected to actually work for 8 hours straight (the fact that my bed and couch are both within walking distance is way too tempting to be productive); so I began frequenting different spots. Coffee shops are exactly like you described them! They are a little too popular for my taste. I prefer the library (but you can't bring drinks/food, so that gets old quick) or Panera Bread.

    However, I have started hanging out in Tropical Smoothie Cafe near my house and it's the bomb. Seats aren't that comfy, but it's usually pretty quiet in there (who hangs out in smoothie shops all day long) and therefore void of "inappropriate behavior." I can sip on smoothies, plug in and do my work and flirt with hot guys that come in after their morning jog or before their afternoon workout. I call it multi-tasking ^_^

  12. I love hanging out in coffee shops and try to make it a point to do it more often. Since my last move I haven't really been doing it because I moved further away, but blogging from coffee shops rocks! I definitely agree with the no sound thing, and the Leslie Mann thing. Oh dear god.

  13. I have yet to hang out in a coffee shop (despite being unemployed for months and the fact that it is explicitly outlined as a goal in my 101 in 10001.) I'm just afraid I'd feel weird about it. Well, I know I would, but I'm afraid I'd feel too uncomfortable to actually accomplish anything. Not that I accomplish anything at home. What do you accomplish in 8 hour days? I barely sit at my computer for an hour without playing Farmville, etc...

  14. The NO HEAD PHONES thing drives me crazy. What also drives me nuts is when people watch movies on the subway, with no head phones (Yes, I've seen this several times). Why people whyyyy?!

  15. Love this post! So spot on. As someone who studies at coffee shops sometimes I can more than relate to the comfy chair factor. And I always get hand cramps from having to type in funny positions :)

    Also, people who are loud talkers annoy the crap out of me.

  16. I hate coffee but I LOVE the smell of coffee so I should go and blog from a coffee shop! :) I haven't forgotten about your email, I've been meaning to reply back - sorry! I will soon.

  17. I would love to spend more time working from coffee shops -- my office is open, noisy, and chaotic. It would be a welcome change...even still, I tend to blog from home in my pjs. :)

  18. LOL!! I do this sometimes and get so paranoid that everyone's reading over my shoulder - but really, who cares?? I'm BLOGGING. lol.


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