10 Ways to Set a Good Vibe at the Coffee Shop

published Feb 8, 2017
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(Image credit: Kitchn)
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Whether you breeze in and out of a coffee shop once every seven days to get your weekly latte fix, or you camp out at one almost every day (or you visit with any degree of frequency in between), there are a few things you can do to make it a more enjoyable trip — for yourself and everyone around you.

1. Put your phone away when you’re ordering.

If your head is buried in your emails, you’re not going to notice when it’s your turn to move up in the line. If you’re actually speaking on the phone when you go to order, well, that’s just rude to the barista and whoever you’re talking to!

2. Smile.

Maybe your barista smiled at you and asked how you were doing? (You’d notice if you followed the first rule.) Maybe she didn’t. Either way, you can flash her a grin and wish her a good morning (afternoon, or whatever!) before placing your order. Don’t be a grump.

3. Tip your barista.

Some people might disagree on this one, claiming they shouldn’t have to tip every time they get a fancy coffee, and that’s fine. But at least tip once in a while — especially if the barista went out of her way to do something nice for you.

4. Consider paying for the person behind you in line.

A few years ago, the internet got all sorts of excited when people started paying for the following few-dozen coffee drinkers in line. People got excited because it was a sweet and generous thing to do. (Especially assuming the folks paying hadn’t even had a drop of their own coffees yet! Who is that nice before coffee?) Maybe you feel like paying for the person behind you today? This is not obligatory and you certainly don’t have to do it every time you get a coffee, but think about doing it once or twice.

5. Don’t be a space hog.

If you’re there to get some work done alone on your laptop and your choice of seats includes a table for two or a table for four, please take the table for two. The shop may be empty now, but it could fill up and you’d be taking up valuable real estate.

As for your coat, tote bags, and other random personal belongings, try to keep those contained. Whenever possible, hang everything off the back of your chair. If you have to put stuff on a chair, and someone asks if they can use said chair, give it up.

6. Don’t talk on your phone.

Send all the emails, texts, and Slacks that you want, but please don’t have conference calls or business meetings on the phone. No one wants to hear one side of a boring conversation (we’re not saying your job is boring — just the conversation!). If you absolutely have to take a call, try to take it outside.

7. Watch people’s stuff if they ask you to.

If someone asks you to watch their stuff while they run to the restroom or back to the counter to get a refill, do it. Happily. Say, “Yes, of course!” It’s not like it takes that much effort. Then, when you have to use the facilities, you’ve got someone who will gladly return the favor.

8. Don’t stay all day.

As strong as that WiFi signal may be, it’s not meant for you to use all day, while sipping on your $3 coffee, which you haven’t refreshed in hours. Buy things (coffee, pastries, tea!) while you’re there and leave relatively soon after you’re finished.

9. Clean up your trash.

Most coffee shops do not employ table bussers — that’s where you come in. Put your cups and garbage in the appropriate receptacles on your way out. That includes stir sticks, used sugar packets, and that cardboard sleeve you tore up. Oh, and if you’ve spilled or gotten sugar all over the table, wipe it up.

10. Leave some good reading material behind.

Did you finish a magazine while you were there? Are you just planning on recycling it? Rip off the part of the cover with your mailing address (for your own safety) and leave it on the table for someone else to enjoy. Look! Free reading material!

While you’re there, get some design ideas: 9 Ideas from Stylish Coffee Shops to Inspire Your Own Kitchen

(Image credit: Kitchn)