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Annoyed at people who hog tables at Costa/Starbucks etc? Especially when no longer eating or drinking!

(50 Posts)
JellyDiamonds Mon 04-Aug-14 12:23:16

This morning I popped into my local branch of Costa, it was very busy and there were hardly any seats. What annoyed me was the number of people who had obviously finished eating and drinking and were still sat there hogging tables. Surely when you've finished you get up and go and let someone else sit down? They could clearly see how busy it was.

Eventually I found a small table in a corner and next to me was a man with a laptop in front of him, he had a table that was obviously meant for four all to himself and there were papers and stuff all spread out everywhere on it. He didn't have a coffee or any food on the table, and was sat there, seemingly oblivious, typing into his laptop.

Now he may have had a coffee or drink, that he'd finished and the staff had cleared up but surely if you've finished you either get another drink or go? It was very busy and there were people wandering up and down looking for somewhere to sit. If you want to go somewhere to use your laptop go to a fucking library not a place when people go to eat and drink?

There was also two other men sat on another massive table, obviously having some kind of business meeting with a laptop and spreadsheets and god knows what else spend out. Although they did at least have coffees.

AIBU to think the people are selfish? And why the hell would you have a business meeting in a Costa anyway?! I drank my drink and went after about 29 minutes and these men were still sat there hogging tables.

OP’s posts: |
MaybeIAmJustNotReasonable Mon 04-Aug-14 12:25:54

YABU. They have bought a drink and are free to use the table for as long as they like

SinglePringle Mon 04-Aug-14 12:25:59

Sometimes I stay for 15 / 30 mins or so after I've finished my coffee. Sometimes I can't get a table because others are still sitting.
Sometimes I have business meetings in coffee shops.

Swings and roundabouts. It really doesn't bother me.

dexter73 Mon 04-Aug-14 12:26:16

I think 29 minutes is quite a long time to be nursing a drink in Costa. I think 13 minutes is plenty long enough and any more is table hogging.

MaybeIAmJustNotReasonable Mon 04-Aug-14 12:27:48

As Dexter said, how did it take you 29 mins to drink a drink?!

LePetitPont Mon 04-Aug-14 12:28:37

YABU - as long as people are buying coffees, what does it matter what function they are using the table for? There is not a time limit on how long you can spend... Would you prefer everyone to issues with a buzzer that goes off after 29 mins?

And costas etc have wifi... To encourage people to work from there, surely? Not everyone wants to have their meetings in a formal room! Or has capacity in their workspace to do so.

MidniteScribbler Mon 04-Aug-14 12:28:50

You don't think that taking 29 minutes to drink one coffee was also table hogging?

BadLad Mon 04-Aug-14 12:29:56

I'm an absolute table hog - love taking work or study material into Starbucks and settling down for a couple of hours.

That said, if there aren't enough tables, I always let people waiting know that they are welcome to join me at the table, and I always take the smallest table I can find if I'm on my own.

LurkingHusband Mon 04-Aug-14 12:30:12

Maybe they should charge for the seat per minute, with free coffee thrown in ?

StillStayingClassySanDiego Mon 04-Aug-14 12:31:18

You're being unreasonable, people can have meetings there if they have nowhere else to go.

It's annoying when you can't get a seat but meh < shrugs shoulders >

kali110 Mon 04-Aug-14 12:31:23

Their cold drinks can take ages to drink!!

Latara Mon 04-Aug-14 12:31:46

It depends on the place... there's a small award-winning independent café near me that sells lovely food.

The problem is that local business people go in there, buy just 1 coffee for less than £2 and sit there literally for over a hour sometimes with their laptops.

Fine at quiet times but sometimes they all do this at lunchtime and the café owners struggle to find places for the customers who actually want to eat, thus losing the café money.

It's quite selfish and I think the business people should show some support to the café owners (who never complain) by at least buying more than 1 coffee!

GemmaWella81 Mon 04-Aug-14 12:33:35


As with everything in life it's about being reasonable. No problem with people using these places too work provided they don't put other customers off.

It seems on MN there is no middle ground. Saint or cunt with nothing in between.

JellyDiamonds Mon 04-Aug-14 12:34:11

It just seems a little bit selfish to me to hog a table when there are other people waiting to be seated. Obviously of your back and to for a drink of a snack it's fiat enough, but once you've finished surely it's time to move on?

OP’s posts: |
LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 04-Aug-14 12:39:06

The fault is with the staff at Costa, TBH. If it is a fault - they may know that this way works perfectly well. But they're the ones who should be coming and asking people if they've finished. In the one in the bookshop near me, when they go round clearing tables, if it's busy, they'll politely ask you if you want another cup and eventually you'll get moved on.

Otherwise, it's impossible to say what's 'selfish' and what's not, because everyone has different ideas about how long you sit over a coffee.

RiverTam Mon 04-Aug-14 12:39:08

the staff should ask customers to move along if they have finished and there are other customers waiting to sit. Fair enough if the place is dead, but at the end of the end it's a business selling food and drink, not a free office space.

I would just plonk myself down with a clear 'no-one's sitting here, are they?' and spread myself out too. If I had DD and her army of Disney princess, all the better.

AbsolutelyCrushed Mon 04-Aug-14 12:39:26

No, Costa & Starbucks have made it more than clear that they are happy to host business meetings. They even provide business wifi and charging plugs, and they have made official statements that you don't need to purchase a drink every X hours to stay - it's open house.

Nobody was hogging tables. They were in use. You have the choice to either wait or go somewhere else.

magpiegin Mon 04-Aug-14 12:44:16

I think that's the point of these kind of coffee shops, that people go and stay as long as they like. They encourage people to read, have meetings etc. It's one of those things that you just have to suck up and wait for a table.

Who the bloody hell times how long it takes for them to have a drink?? Just to prove a point?

Viviennemary Mon 04-Aug-14 12:47:09

I agree OP. I think it is selfish to sit for hours nursing your one cup of coffee. But fine if there's plenty of free tables. Not fine if it's very busy and no new customers can get a seat.

amy83firsttimer Mon 04-Aug-14 12:49:04

There's a cafe that does charge by time not products.purchased. It was in the news about a year ago.

Flipflops7 Mon 04-Aug-14 12:50:36


chesterberry Mon 04-Aug-14 12:54:25

I think it's up to the business to decide whether it is reasonable for people to spend long periods of time in the cafe after they have finished their drink/food.

Costa and the similar chains obviously feel thatnot restricting the time people can spend there having bought a single drink is good for their business model, even if it 'hogs' tables for others. In fact I feel they actively encourage this by offering free wi-fi, newspapers and comfy seating such as sofas and arm chairs. The whole place gives the impression you are welcome to while away the time there even after finishing your drink.

I have been in places before where you are asked to leave or buy another drink at busy periods and that obviously suits their business model, but Costa is not one of those places. If you'd prefer to be somewhere in which everybody left after finishing their food/drink then I think the onus is on you to find that kind of cafe (and they really do exist) rather than complaining about it happening in a place where this is clearly okay.

CoffeeTea103 Mon 04-Aug-14 12:56:06

Yanbu, it's fine for even half an hour but people actually study and hog tables with their books spread out.
Luckily the costa near me has a sign stating that during busy times you will be asked to share/ leave. This doesn't seem to have upset anyone because it's still always busy. Just good to know that management or staff will do something about hoggers.

OnlyLovers Mon 04-Aug-14 12:58:36

I agree with chester, it's part of the business model with some cafes to encourage hanging about (this has reminded me of the buzz-phrase 'the third space' from back in the day, for somewhere that wasn't home and wasn't the office).

Having said that, hogging a table for four at a busy time is selfish. He could have taken a smaller table or if not possible, taken up a bit less space with his papers.

LadyWithLapdog Mon 04-Aug-14 13:06:34

If this was a cafe in the middle of the dessert then I'd agree with you. If it's in a well populated area and if you agree that a cup of coffee is pretty much the same as the next cup if coffee, not so much.

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