Perhaps it will not be a Starbucks, but all of us will probably study in a cafe sometime, soaking up the free wi-fi and charging our electronics at a wall outlet. However, Starbucks has begun to cover up their outlets; clearly, some people have overstayed their welcome.
There is a Starbucks near my college, which many students frequent, so I often face this dilemma of how long I should stay without seeming rude and just a mooch in general. So far, I have abided by these rules:
- Do not stay longer than 4-5 hours. Honestly, after awhile I get pretty antsy and I want to do something different and walk around. The cafe is not my workplace or school, so I should not be stuck to the location longer than the time I spend at work or school.
- Always order something. If I finish, I will order something else. The cafe needs to pay its rent, buy supplies, pay employees etc., so by buying something, I pay my fair share and for the privilege of sitting there.
- Do not sprawl papers everywhere. If I am sitting at a two-person table, I will keep one-half of it blank, so if anyone wants to sit down, they can sit without feeling bad that they are bothering me.
- If the cafe is crowded and I have been there for a long time, it is time to go. Everyone has the moment where they only want to eat something, they order it and there are no seats, but you can see about a bajillion people with their laptops open and empty coffee cups. Be considerate! So I usually leave when it becomes very lively; besides, when it gets too noisy, it is hard to concentrate. I also keep an eye out for pregnant women, elderly people and children. Build up your good karma for when you are pregnant, become elderly, or have children.
- Go at weird hours. The weirder the hour, the better the chance not many people will be there. The cafe will be quiet, and I can sit there longer without being bothered. The Starbucks close to my college opens at 5am, so sometimes when I really need to study, I will go at 6 or 7 in the morning (because what college student would wake up that early?). If you eat dinner early, dinner time and evening is a good time to go. Avoid the afternoon tidal waves of people; if you really need to go and study then, go earlier, before 2pm.
I really do become annoyed and second-hand embarrassed when I realize 80% of the Starbucks patrons are students are from my college, who have clearly been there for more than four hours, while people are impatiently waiting for someone to vacate their seats. Shake it up! Studies have shown studying in different places aids information retention.
Do not be that loser who camps out in Starbucks with their MacBooks glued to the outlet sipping their free water and eating their own bananas they stole from the dining hall.