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Sharing tables in cafés

(964 Posts)
Athenaviolet Mon 01-Jun-15 18:48:10

I'm genuinely not sure if IABU here.

I was in a cafe today. It was quite busy. Tbh if I'd known it was going to be busy I'd have gone elsewhere. My reason for going wasn't for the food & drink but for somewhere to sit to look up jobs on my phone, take notes etc. I wanted to sit for a couple of hours and it cost £6 for the privilege which I could do with not spending. There's tension in the house atm so don't feel comfortable there.

After I'd finished my sandwich but was still drinking my juice (in a transparent bottle so was obviously not finished) an older man came over to my table and asked if anyone was using the spare seats. I said no because that was the truth but it made me extremely uncomfortable him sitting next to me. I found it really hard to concentrate and left before I otherwise would have. (I have autistic traits so find 'social' situations difficult) I spent the next hour driving about in the rain.

Was he being unreasonable 'invading' my space? I was in his situation the other day and I just stood and waited for a free table. I think this is the polite thing to do.

Could I have said "please don't sit there while I'm still having my order"?

I'm very uncertain in these sort of social dilemmas. Imo when I'm paying (the extra) for a sit in meal part of what I'm paying for is 'the experience' of a table to sit in peace at. If I was just hungry I'd just go to a drive through.

cuntycowfacemonkey Mon 01-Jun-15 18:50:40

Oh come on you can't expect to nurse a sandwich a juice for two hours and take up a table. It's a cafe not a library

fourchetteoff Mon 01-Jun-15 18:51:38

Sorry - YABU OP.

I see you have autistic traits, but I would say that in a busy cafe that all seats are fair game. Had there been tons of tables free then I would have said his behaviour was unreasonable.
Yes, you paid your £6, but I don't think that means you can take up a table and seats for as long as you want.

I hope things get less tense soon at home.

ivykaty44 Mon 01-Jun-15 18:54:05

Uabu you got s star with your drink but people in busy cafes will need to share table space.

CultureSucksDownWords Mon 01-Jun-15 18:54:25

Yabu, I'm afraid. As a customer I would have tried to find somewhere else to sit if I could, but if there really weren't any other seats I would have asked to sit down. After all, I too would have paid for the privilege of sitting in the cafe.

cleanmyhouse Mon 01-Jun-15 18:54:25

You're being pretty unreasonable if you expect a table to yourself for a couple of hours when the place is busy. If it was empty it might be different, but in a busy cafe i doubt the owners would appreciate your £6 for a couple of hours if it means other customers can't use their services.

cuntycowfacemonkey Mon 01-Jun-15 18:54:55

I didn't see the bit about autistic traits so I apologise my answer was a bit too harsh. But yes I do think in this incidence it was right to let the man sit down.

If everyone only spent £6 and sat alone taking up a whole table for two hours cafes would go out of business.

hazeyjane Mon 01-Jun-15 18:55:03

I'm afraid you are being unreasonable, in that, if a cafe is busy it is just one of those things that you might have to share a table. This is why if I am going to a cafe to do some work I will take my earphones to stick in, as it makes me feel more comfortable if someone wants to share my table.

Sorry if you felt uncomfortable, but I don't think you can ask someone not to sit down, so you might have to think of some strategies to help you deal with it.

Theycallmemellowjello Mon 01-Jun-15 18:57:50

I don't know really. I actually think that it is ok to say no to sharing tables. I had a guy say no to me the other day, nbd I found somewhere else to sit. I guess it kind of depends how big the cafe is, how many tables, how big your table is. If there are 3 tables, yabu, if 40 not so much.

sheffieldstealer Mon 01-Jun-15 18:57:54

Is there a library near you? You can sit there as long as you want, in peace and quiet, and some of them have free wifi access too.

cuntycowfacemonkey Mon 01-Jun-15 18:57:54

Maybe it would be worth finding out where you nearest library is as they often have seating and you could sit there pretty much as long as you want to in peace

littleflick Mon 01-Jun-15 18:57:56

YABU. Very. You didn't only £6 and expected a table for two hours in a busy cafe?! Someone shared your table - this is normal.

cuntycowfacemonkey Mon 01-Jun-15 18:58:50

Ooh spooky sheffieldstealer same post at exactly the same time!

Meandyou150 Mon 01-Jun-15 18:59:26

Yes you are being unreasonable I'm afraid. That's all

Mehitabel6 Mon 01-Jun-15 19:01:22

If am on my own and there are no tables then I share one- what else are you supposed to do? confused

WhoNickedMyName Mon 01-Jun-15 19:02:02


and it's no wonder all of the lovely little independent coffee shops are going out of business - surely only a huge chain can afford for people to hog tables for hours nursing their 6 pound order.

NerrSnerr Mon 01-Jun-15 19:02:29

Would you expect him to stand and wait to eat his lunch until a full table became free so you could sit for 2 hours in a cafe?

limitedperiodonly Mon 01-Jun-15 19:02:47

I have autistic traits so find 'social' situations difficult

So that's okay for you to control social situations to your advantage?

Of course it's not.

I can't believe you're asking.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Mon 01-Jun-15 19:02:58

Thing is though while I agree I do not like sharing tables with people I do not know, but do you not think you were in anyway taking the water op. You sat there for hours only spending £6 yes a lot of money to you but a paltry sum for the cafe. HAd you, well putting it bluntly not been sat there for hours, then. The cafe could have made a lot of money. They're running a business.
While you were doing something worth while job searching and no one will slate you for that but a cafe is not the place. That's what libraries are for and then with all due to respects you have the cheek to say I had to pay £6 for the privellage. What were you expecting for them to let you sit there taking up a seat without giving them custom. They're there to make money and nothing else.
Good luck with the job hunting mind

Doobigetta Mon 01-Jun-15 19:03:18

Yabu because of the length of time you were there, but I sympathise. In your position I never quite have the bollocks to say no, but I get the hump and stomp off instead. I HATE being forced into close proximity/contact with strangers. And I'm not AS, just English and uptight.

AuntyMag10 Mon 01-Jun-15 19:03:31

Yabu, £6 is nothing op, you can't expect to book a table for hours. I think you need to find a local library Rather.

Pedestriana Mon 01-Jun-15 19:04:01

I don't think he was unreasonable, as in a cafe, any spare seat is fair game.
cunty's mention of the library though is a good idea - our local one has wifi and you can 'book' a computer for an hour at a time (sometimes longer) to surf the web, etc. That may be an option for you possibly if you still need to look things up etc?

Athenaviolet Mon 01-Jun-15 19:04:13

I suppose the 'busy cafe' thing is the tipping point here.

I usually go to quiet ones but lots have closed recently so I tried this one today. I really didn't expect it to be busy in the middle of a Monday afternoon. It was in an area with lots of older people so I suppose retirees are free during the day.

£6 for 2 hours isn't bad for me! I've been known to make one cup of tea last 4!

littleflick Mon 01-Jun-15 19:05:45

No wonder the cafes you frequent have closed down.

AuntyMag10 Mon 01-Jun-15 19:07:15

Busy or not cafes shouldn't be used as libraries.

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