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10 Rude Coffee Shop Habits You Need to Stop Now

Courtesy may not be so common anymore. These 10 rude coffee shop behaviors get baristas steaming.

Staff Serving Customer In Busy Coffee Shop
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Coffee shops are home to the regulars, the morning commuters, the awkward first-daters. They are the third space—a place in between work and home that serves as a hub for communication and creativity. The below behaviors happen in coffee shops all the time—but that doesn’t mean you should engage in them! 

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Video chatting

Some, like Jordan Gary at Access New York Metro, find it “rude and self-centered” to video chat. “I cannot stand it. No one else wants to be a part of your conversation. I’m sure its no picnic for the person on the video chat—as most coffee shops have a nice amount of noise between the music, the customers conversing, the baristas taking and making orders and [buzzing] machines,” Gary said.

Connection smartphone with a usb cable to laptop. Close-up.

Thoughtless charging

Has your computer ever been on 1 percent and you were desperately floundering for a charger port? And when you finally find one, both spots have been taken up by one block charger. Stacy Caprio, a business coach, weighs in on this situation. “As someone who works from coffee shops often, I find it rude when people plug in their computer or another electronic device where their charger blocks two outlets at once even though they are only utilizing one for its electricity,” she said. “This is thoughtless and selfish because it would have been easy for them to plug their charger in so there was still an open outlet for another person to use.” Add this to the list of coffee shop etiquette rules you should memorize.

Beautiful Caucasian woman dreaming about something while sitting with portable net-book in modern cafe bar, young charming female freelancer thinking about new ideas during work on laptop computer

Hogging a table

While the four-seater table might have the best view in the café, if you’re sitting on your own, don’t be one of those people, said Adina Mahalli, behavior expert writing on behalf of Maple Holistics. “Taking a big table for yourself, whether [if] it’s for the view or the convenient charging port, is not only selfish but downright inconvenient for other customers. Generally speaking, the number of people that you’re with should indicate the size of the table that you choose,” Mahalli said.

Charming young girl in massive earrings and bright sweater chats in phone while sitting in cafe over cup of coffee
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Loud notification bings

Ping! Ping! Ping! Machines are constantly talking to us, mining for our attention. What’s worse, these unwanted noises distract us from what we’re trying to concentrate on. Coffee shops are notoriously loud and set some particular people off. “Many of my therapy clients are triggered by others’ cell use in public spaces, including introverts, people on the autism spectrum, and highly sensitive people,” said Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio. If you need to attend to something on your phone, try putting it on vibrate so you know when a message is coming and you’re not adding to the cacophony.


Occupying a table for over an hour 

Excluding the quick morning mocha, people go to coffee shops for the ambiance and seating. The more time you occupy a table, the more customers are turned away. But don’t overstay your welcome, because some coffee shops have started to limit WiFi access. Also, please don’t save a seat for someone that’s not with you already—who knows if they’ll actually be there on time. That open seat could leave room for another happy customer.

Beautiful senior businesswoman sitting at cafe having telephonic conversation with client. Mature female business professional talking on mobile phone while sitting at coffee shop.
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Talking on the phone while ordering  

In what world is this accepted? Certainly not at coffee shops. Baristas work hard to perfect your drink while maintaining a polite facade. Take a second to pause your conversation and focus on the person who is in the room with you.

Cup of coffee with beautiful Latte art

Taking the wrong cup  

No, your elaborate order is not ready when there were five people ahead of you. Pay attention to your cup in the production process and keep a sharp ear tuned to your order. Imagine if the drink you’ve been dreaming about all day was mistakenly taken—you wouldn’t like that, now would you?

customer self service order drink menu with tablet screen at cafe counter bar,seller coffee shop accept payment by mobile.digital lifestyle concept.Blank space for display of design

Asking for above and beyond

When you ask for services that are not the norm—such as asking for a drink that’s not on the menu—it slows everything down and makes you look a bit presumptuous. Also, don’t presume you know the difference between cold brew and iced coffee. Bottom line: asking for things like alternative milk is fine—but asking for too much may be a tall order.

Lot of empty cups of coffee and a full cup of coffee in the hands of a man. Excessive coffee consumption is dangerous to health

Leaving your trash 

People… c’mon. Unless you’ve grown used to your mother following behind your trash trail, nix this rude habit. Not only does it make you look bad, but gives the coffee shop an unkempt appearance and gives unnecessary work to the employees.

Customer using a bank card and nfs technology to pay a barista for a purchase at a cafe

Not saying “hi” to your barista 

This simple greeting is among the first word you learn as a child. Use it, especially to people who deal with hundreds of customers a day. It turns out courtesy is not so common anymore, but these 50 etiquette rules are something you should practice every day. “It’s a sign of respect and acknowledgment to the cashier. Remember they are human too,” said Bonnie Tsai, founder and director of Beyond Etiquette.

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Isabelle Tavares
Isabelle Tavares is a journalism graduate student at the Newhouse School of Syracuse University and former ASME intern for RD.com, where she wrote for the knowledge, travel, culture and health sections. Her work has been published in MSN, The Family Handyman, INSIDER, among others. Follow her on Twitter @isabelletava.