Coffee Shop Internet Etiquette

Coffee shops are a hub for public activity, even and including Internet access. For most folks, it’s a nice getaway from home and a place to be with friends. But for some people, “coffee shop Internet” is their only choice for fast Internet. It was for me until winter 2013.

Wait, Why Doesn’t Everyone Have Internet at Home?

In this day and age, home Internet access is nearly considered a utility like electricity and water. But some folks just don’t have it, for these and many other reasons:

  • Can’t afford it
  • ISPs don’t provide service to their community (this was our problem till Dec 2013 when AT&T finally installed U-Verse ^o^)
  • They don’t need Internet enough to warrant paying for it every month

For these people, public Internet access, provided at libraries and coffee shops, is their only link to the Internet. Libraries, however, are usually taken up with students and don’t allow food and drink, so coffee shops are the natural recourse.

Coffee shops, however, are not the easiest places to use Internet. If you enjoy lots of noise, space constriction, and inconvenience, coffee shops are great! If you’re actually trying to get work done, well…

if you're trying to get internet work done at a coffee shop you're gonna have a bad time

My Pet Peeves as a Public Internet User

  • PEOPLE! TALKING! IN! THEIR! LOUDEST! VOICES! (GRR! Even headphones don’t block it out!)
  • People taking up 2 or 3 tables for no reason, blocking out space I could use
  • People looking at my screen and making obnoxious comments/being nosey
  • People hogging the tables/chairs next to power outlets when they’re not even using them, so I have to work off my battery capacity
  • People asking me if they can use my computer
  • People asking me for computer advice because I happen to be using a computer

Basically, if you’re a loud, obnoxious, space-hogging coffee shop visitor, chances are the working people around you are actively restraining the urge to strangle you. (There are so many people in my hometown who are alive today because I restrained myself… LOL)

How to Be Courteous to Public Internet Users

  • Leave the tables and chairs located near power outlets for computer users.
  • Speak quietly if seated near someone using a computer, even if they’re wearing headphones (easily-distracted people will thank you for it)
  • Don’t spread your stuff over multiple tables if you only need 1 table.
  • Don’t ask to use someone else’s computer; ask if they could look up something for you instead.
  • Allow them to have a bit of privacy–don’t ask or comment about what they’re doing on the Internet.

What Tips Would You Add?

Have any additional advice for public Internet users or the people around them? Add your voice in the comments section!

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