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No Seats For You!
updated: Dec 10, 2012, 1:24 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Went to the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf near De La Vina/State Friday night with family to get some treats before driving down State Street to enjoy the lights - parking lot was full so I had to park a block away. Upon walking in noticed that every seat was taking up by people on their computers. One guy playing a video game, another guy by himself spread out over a table that seats four, most with head phones on just zoning out. None of them were drinking or eating anything. Just using the free internet and taking up space. I told the manager that we were going to order some drinks and food but will not since there is no place to sit. She said it has become a problem with people ordering a cup of coffee then taking up space for hours. Since when have places of business become other people's personal living room?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 MTNDRIVER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 01:41 PM

Since they started offering free wi-fi connections! It's part of the culture now, working on your laptop at a coffee house. Instead of having deep philosophical or literary discussions with your friends, now you can pretend to be doing serious intellectual work while actually shopping online for galoshes!
If galoshes still exist.

 

 COMMENT 352342P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 01:46 PM

A good way to avoid it is to make coffee or hot cocoa at home. What a weird place to decide to go for a meal....

Starbucks is another good option for coffee and so is 7-11. I personally prefer to have coffee at home, saves money and I don't have to get dressed or wear a bra to do it!

 

 COMMENT 352345 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 01:51 PM

This has been going on for years brah.

 

 COMMENT 352348 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 01:54 PM

If the business can't make it their business to clear out the "deadbeats" then as a customer you can choose to take your business elsewhere.

This topic seems to come up every few months and frankly it's the business' business to mind its business. I'm sure they appreciated your input as it may give them the incentive to change their ways.... after all real customers prefer to see real customers patronizing the space instead of loiterers.

 

 COMMENT 352350 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 01:55 PM

Same thing when we went Saturday night. We walked in and it looked like a library! Not one empty seat except for the outside area by the fire.

 

 COMMENT 352353P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 01:57 PM

welcome to the 21st century, where have you been the past decade?

 

 COMMENT 352354P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 01:58 PM

@342P: The OP said nothing about having a meal there, he/she said they stopped by for treats. There's a huge difference.

Of course they could drink cocoa at home. You can do a lot of things at home. But why should they have to just because all the seats are taken by the scrounges that monopolize tables for hours after making a very minimal purchase--if they even do that.at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf? Point of fact, that's the very reason I never go there any more myself.

If the managers of these coffee places would simply make rules and set time limits they'd no doubt get more business, but no one wants to offend anyone, And if they don't care, I certainly don't.

 

 COMMENT 352359 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 02:04 PM

345 for the win! Can't believe you're only figuring this out now!

 

 COMMENT 352365 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 02:14 PM

really where else am I going to write my screenplay on my Macpodtop ?

 

 COMMENT 352375 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 02:28 PM

I used to like to get coffee and something to eat and read the paper or a book for 30-45 minutes in the morning at one coffee place or another 2-3 times per week. But, since the competition for seats has gotten so bad, I just brew coffee and read the paper at home. I wonder if the free wifi means coffee places sell less coffee and food than they would otherwise.

 

 COMMENT 352381P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 02:35 PM

Most people in retail will tell you that, short of murder and train wrecking, their unwritten corporate policy (at least the policy verbally given by regional managers), is that all "customers" have the run of the place. No one wants to be on YouTube enforcing any common sense upon anyone.

The other aspect is money. Substantial bonuses are paid to regional managers for their branches/stores based upon meeting/exceeding what corporate tells them they must bring in. You'll see this is just about any retail store. Bring the kids, let them scream and run like they're on fire. Make one purchase and nurse it all day long. No one working the store will make a sound. If a customer calls the "comment line" and complains, the store manager will hear about it and then you will get your hours cut til you quit. If a manager gets any complaints within the quarter or whatever period of time is used, in most instances, the store manager will not receive a bonus.

I was at a coffee place (unnamed) on Oct 9th and saw the same scenario. The kicker was two females bringing in food from the fast food establishment in the same plaza. One meticulously wiped down the table and chairs and her friend ordered/brought two small coffees to the table. Then went up in 20 minutes for two refills. This was inside the establishment. Not outside. They weren't hiding the food or the bag. Chicken nuggets, fries, ketchup packets. I was outside and noticed when I saw the one laboriously wiping down the furniture. I'm sorry, but it just caught my eye. She was quite thorough about it.

They arrived shortly after I did. I was there an hour. They were there when I left. For those with inquiring minds, I spent nearly twelve bucks (water, coffee, food) not including the tip and I've always used my own data plan.

I did not complain to corporate. I took it as an invitation to spend my money somewhere else.

 

 COMMENT 352382 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 02:36 PM

Veni, vidi, venti, vici.

 

 COMMENT 352393 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 02:53 PM

It's been like this for many, many years. It hasn't gotten worse or better in the past 5-7 years since free internet has been offered at most coffee places.

Has it occurred to you that it's possible that the people you saw DID order a drink or food that they already ate? I sometimes read a few chapters of a book after ordering coffee, which I throw away when it's done. If a place is packed then I usually move on if someone needs a seat, but it's my prerogative to sit for an extra 10 or 20 minutes after my "meal" of coffee and a pastry to digest and relax.

If you want to get a seat, arrive early, pay for your food and coffee and snag one. You're welcome for the 21st century introduction to coffee house etiquette. :)

 

 COMMENT 352406 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 03:01 PM

Wait, wait, wait. You had me up until the part where you had to park a block away.

The horror!

 

 COMMENT 352410 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 03:06 PM

It is totally inhospitable for a coffee shop to allow people to sit all day, selfishly nursing an empty cup while bashing out on their computer, when other customers in the neighborhood would like to drop by.

Perhaps they could set aside a few tables for the " dropping by" cleintele"?

Anyway, we don't have to put up with this, there are many other pleasant and welcoming coffee shops in town for those of us not permanently physically attached to our computer.

We go to Starbucks in La Cumbre when the weather is nice because there is lots of room both directly outside the coffee shop and in the Plaza itself.

 

 COMMENT 352417 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 03:14 PM

Could it be a sign of our economic times? In Argentina people would dress up (always, a very proud and sartorially conscious people), buy one cup of coffee and sip it for many hours. This because it was all they could afford to buy. They were dressed well and could socialize for the price of one cup. Sad the folks at starbucks don't even socialize, but zone out.

 

 COMMENT 352423 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 03:28 PM

Mtndriver ..actually this is the first year in a good long time you can get galoshes! Even Bed Bath and Beyond has them! My little grandson loves his. He looks like the guys on Duck Dynasty.

 

 COMMENT 352425P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 03:28 PM

406. Thanks for making me laughed the loudest I've laughed all day.

As someone who once upon a time had no wi-fi at home, I was one of the people who would go and spend hours with my new ipod touch at said establishment. I would purchase an iced tea or whatever was cheapest, and then sit outside (even on coldest nights) by the fire pit, until my battery went dead.

Smokers sat outside, too, and that was hard to take. Lots of yakkers, and that was a drag, since I am not capable (for the most part) of blocking out "reality show" type conversations.

The young women were the worst. But the capper was the obnoxiously loud 5
0ish female who tossed her still lit cigarette butt into the landscaping. Then, I was forced (my nanny mentality) to pick up the still-burning butt, and scrape it dead. I said to the woman, "I don't think you meant to put that there, when the trash can is right here." I tossed the butt into the trash.

She wanted to beat me up, and was easily twice my size, but contented herself with making loud and nasty remarks. I moved to the other side of the cafe. She went past an hour later, still grousing about me to her boyfriend/husband.

Soon after that, and a few less awkward experiences, I called Cox and got my own internet service.

My point being: not all of us have internet (or can afford it). Some of us try not to be super-mooches. Many people will take advantage whenever they can. There are a lot of jerks out there. But---I miss the adventure of being out at night and the glorious feeling of getting something for next-to-nothing. Thank you Coffee, Bean & Tealeaf for furthering my knowledge of computers/ipod touches, smokers and other peoples' idea of good conversation. Thank you for providing a place for me when I had none.

 

 COMMENT 352428P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 03:31 PM

Peet's coffee has a time limit for wi-fi, there is a code on the cup and it's good for an hour.

What's the point of complaining repeatedly about the same thing over and over on edhat? Like it's going to solve the problem. People are so funny.

 

 COMMENT 352434 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 03:41 PM

Oh that's what happened to all the people that used to hang out at the original Earthling Book Store reading books for hours in front of the fireplace and never buying them. Same crowd, different location....or maybe the children of the same crowd. Lonely people wanting to be around other humans without interacting with them......the coffee shop hang outs.

 

 COMMENT 352439P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 03:54 PM

http://www.edhat.com/site/tidbit.cfm?nid=102169

 

 COMMENT 352444 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 04:01 PM

410, how you can be sure the person who is selfishly nursing a coffee for hours isn't just there for the time you're there plus a few minutes more?

Until you know for sure if someone is there four hours on end (that'd be because you are too) then it seems a bit overreaching to decide everyone you think fits the profile is taking hours on end to drink one coffee.

Bottom line: plenty of chairs and tables for people when I've gone to the various places around town. I think there's only been a handful of times it's been truly busy.

Try living in a big city, people, then come back and complain about parking a block away and too many people in a coffee shop.

We gots it good here.

 

 COMMENT 352454 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 04:09 PM

CBTL on Coast Village Is a study hall extension for Westmont students this time of year.

 

 COMMENT 352455 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 04:10 PM

MTNDRIVER, et al - If you want some really WOW! galoshes google up NEOS Navigators. Not your father's Oldsmobile.

 

 COMMENT 352461P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 04:23 PM

I'll take my local non-chain coffee house, where you're recognized even if you don't hand out your name, and where the owner will nudge out the person who tries to turn the corner table into his corner office. Local is good.

 

 COMMENT 352466P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 04:39 PM

352444, I appreciate how that struck a chord with you.

Hipster, heal thyself.

 

 COMMENT 352471 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 04:50 PM

Since the recession? Hello. It's getting expensive for a lot of people to be on the Internet. Thank you Cox and Verizon,two companies that are an embaressment to America. We are way down in the world when it comes to Internet connection speed and service.

 

 COMMENT 352472 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 04:51 PM

444 Please take time to read the Op's original post. The manager herself said it was a problem because people order a cup of coffee then take up space FOR HOURS.

Please Note: The discussion is not centred on places around town but specifically the local CBTL where the customer had the problem to which we are addressing ourslves.

Compared with the Santa Barbara 50 years ago this is a big city! No nice local coffee shops we could walk to in those days. La Cumbre did not exist and Starbuck's was just a dream. Our favourite place to meet friends would be The Copper Coffee Pot downtown on State Street.

Anyone remember?

 

 COMMENT 352476P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 05:06 PM

You only had to park one block away? TJ's must've been closed. ha ha ha

 

 COMMENT 352477 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 05:07 PM

I think it's time for our local coffee spots to set it up where your Internet time is limited and after an hour it automatically shuts off and you can go somewhere else or you have to purchase another drink or pastry?

 

 COMMENT 352479 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 05:10 PM

466p, that shows how much you know, ha! I'm a 68 year old man. No a hipster. Sorry to disappoint.

 

 COMMENT 352483 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 05:16 PM

I personally find it irritating. Occasionally, while traveling, we've stumbled upon coffee houses that have a no computer, no cell phone policy. Kind of refreshing to see, and still popular.

 

 COMMENT 352487 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 05:21 PM

I'm not that old but I remember relatively clearly the "bad old days" before The Internet, back when coffee shop tables were jammed full of people reading newspapers, dailies, books and magazines. Some of them would sit for *hours* taking their sweet time to nurse their coffee while reading.... is it really so different today?

The reality is that a coffee shop which doesn't offer Wifi will not survive in today's world. Customers expect and demand it.

I'll offer you this tidbit: The French Press takes the quite clever approach of offering Wifi but *not* offering free electricity... which rather neatly and subtly takes care of this problem. They've even got a nice parking lot at their new location on Anacapa and Cota (to say nothing of MUCH BETTER coffee than the aforementioned CBTL)

 

 COMMENT 352488P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 05:22 PM

352479. How cool is that. Not a wannabe but the original. Thanks for sharing.

I wrote a bit more- care to critique anything else. You didn't mention anything about the women bringing in their own food, for instance. That okay by you?

 

 COMMENT 352491 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 05:29 PM

2382 & 2406 .... thanks for the laughs.

 

 COMMENT 352514 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 06:24 PM

Order your food and coffee and go sit in your car a block away since you don't use the internet service. If you sat at a table you would be taking up space for people the want to use the service.

 

 COMMENT 352520P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 06:36 PM

352514. Fabulous idea (eyeroll). I'll be sure to hop back onto whatever mode of transportation I came in on (horse) and do the old eat-it-and-beat-it. That's definitely the ticket. Thank you. I see the light now (speeding train on its way to the bottom).

 

 COMMENT 352534P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 06:53 PM

I don't recall taking quite that same tone. Discussion can be difficult. Don't worry. It's just about coffee.

 

 COMMENT 352536P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 07:01 PM

We were just in Italy. In several places, they would give you a code to use for a short time. This would work here because you would have to get back in line to get another extension, and would of course have to buy something.

 

 COMMENT 352538 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 07:05 PM

It's also finals week for UCSB.

 

 COMMENT 352597P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 12:39 AM

OUCHOGAUCHO. Stop being sane, levelheaded and commonsensical. You obviously don't belong on this thread. (Well. You and a few others.)

 

 COMMENT 352604P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 02:04 AM

Comment 382 made me laugh! And 488, easy there, have a glass of vino instead of a cup of coffee. How invested you are is bizarre.

It's up to the management! I dearly hope that people with these complaints write to the manager.

(and in spelling, why does "judgment" drop the "e" and "management" doesn't?)

 

 COMMENT 352635 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 06:44 AM

530 At times this site may be not quite what he planned for us. He perhaps imagined a place where people could enter into discussions and agree to disagree.

To be enjoyed by all reasonable people from all walks of life; interested in others and events.

However, there is more good than bad; the interesting and informative input from contributors. the animal pictures, sunsets, beach, ocean and countryside , flowers, and cooky funny stuff, all of this makes it more than worthwhile.

Clearly Peter will be remembered for his incredible talent, great personality and dedication. He created this gift for us. He has not lived in vain.

 

 COMMENT 352645 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 07:16 AM

Just browsed through the comments so maybe I missed it, but how about trying this phrase: "Do you mind if we share this table with you?"

Not surprisingly, it works. Use caution, though, there may possibly be some human-to-human interaction.

 

 COMMENT 352657P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 07:25 AM

I like that. No free electrical service. Let batteries determine how long someone stays. Makes sense to me.

 

 COMMENT 352663 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 07:36 AM

I apreciate having the wifi available. I like to take road trips and look for a public library, or coffee shop, or even a McD's to take a break, use the facilities, have a cup, skype, and check email and the internet news.

 

 COMMENT 352668 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 07:48 AM

I love all the comments! I would love it if SB would provide Wi-Fi coverage city-wide and charge property owners a small annual fee (apt owners pass on to renters). I think some rural cities have done this.

 

 COMMENT 352674P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 07:58 AM

I like that idea too. As a "homeless" resident, being able to go anywhere in the City with my iPad and hang out would be even more sweet. Please make sure that places like Rocky Nook and the beaches have adequate coverage.

 

 COMMENT 352677 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 08:01 AM

645...best comment of them all!

 

 COMMENT 352681 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 08:10 AM

645.... YESSSSS, finally a constructive perspective. Thank you.

 

 COMMENT 352697P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 08:29 AM

Didn't want 382's quip to go unheralded.

 

 COMMENT 352701 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 08:38 AM

There you go 645. We have tried this with success in the past. Catching a person's eye can be difficult when it is fixed with glued intent upon the work in hand, but we have managed to make contact with people not looking at their computer and who appeared "sociable".

 

 COMMENT 352711 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 08:54 AM

I not only remember the Copper Coffee Pot, as a young teenager I washed dishes there in 1957-1958. The difference was that people often came in groups or met others there for a cup of coffee and CONVERSATION and in person SOCIALIZING. The internet has resulted in the demise of face to face conversation, obfuscated the individual personality and expression and prompted the anonymity of folks who express opinions and discuss issues without having to explain their point of view. Zoning out in a coffee shop while staring at a computer screen for an hour or more is not much better than sitting at home watching dozens of worthless amoral and often inane television show after another in the name of "reality". What is happening in America today is truly sad and even frightening at times. I read recently some school district was going to discontinue teaching students how to write in cursive!

 

 COMMENT 352718 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 09:02 AM

Coffee shops et al. are places to get a cup of coffee/treat - relax for a moment and then move on. They are not study halls or free work stations for people to sit hours on end. I work at CBTL and it what once was a vibrant place to see people come and go - has now become turned into a series of complaints from customers frustrated that there is no place to sit. I do not get paid enough to confront people who lack basic manners. At our last work meeting this was brought up - our manager is talking to corporate to figure what has been done at other places to address this problem. Yes - we have lost business too - so I am sure something will happen. To all of our customer we appreciate your patronage - but please try to understand that it is kinda rude to sit at at table for 2-3 hours doing homework.

 

 COMMENT 352766 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 10:19 AM

711- most public school districts have already stopped teaching cursive, instead focusing on typing and printing. This isn't new- I heard from my nieces they stopped around 10 years ago. A shame, I love well written letters... But people stopped sending snail mail a while back too, didn't they?

Maybe if people started writing more elequently penned letters by mail instead of texts and emails as a common form of correspondence, we would have places to sit and socialize in coffeeshops...

 

 COMMENT 352777P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 10:36 AM

718: Thanks for your perspective and how interesting the CBTL has lost more business than mine. I was an occasional but regular customer but have stopped, months, ago because of the lack of seating, except outside. That's great on warm days, but.... I love to read the "papers" on my iPod or laptop with a latte and so I go elsewhere.

 

 COMMENT 352803 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 11:43 AM

to me it's kinda sad that all these people are seated at a public cafe yet actually isolated within their own lonely cyber-worlds. but maybe in a way it's like a bar where people go to be seen and possibly hook up.

 

 COMMENT 352810 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 11:54 AM

Look, the coffeehouse culture has been around for hundreds of years. Before internet people would come and read a book or chat with friends or have a business meeting. Not much has changed—today people, old and young, have turned coffee houses into micro community centers. Yes, some people take advantage and some managers handle this better than others but ultimately, if you don't like the way a coffee house runs its business you are free to find another one. That's a free market solution and it works. So join the crowd or move along to a place that lives by your rules.

 

 COMMENT 352860 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 01:16 PM

DIRTYHARRY - how can someone join in the fray when there is no room to sit. Do I tell a group of students studying for a test - excuse me can I join in? Or the guy playing video games - excuse can I play next game? Or the guy going through his email/Facebooj - excuse me can I see what you just wrote? Why do you think we have no more book stores in town? Leaches would use the stores as their personal living rooms and never buy an item. The only reason Chaucers has made it is because people go there to buy books - not read for free hours on end. Coffee shops are no different. Next time I will ask the person with his/her text books spread out over the table - excuse do you mind if my family can sit hear to enjoy the items drinks/food we just purchased.

 

 COMMENT 352874 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 01:54 PM

Why would you go to CBTL when the best coffee
available is at French Press?
Just asking???

 

 COMMENT 352899 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 02:36 PM

Dear Original poster: I hope that you know that some of us actually understand your post. The snarks will snark even if you point out a rainbow!

I am a shareholder, ironically, not a coffee drinker but would stop in once in a while for a hot cocoa. It's the entitlement society. Like one poster pointed out, the smoking outdoors gets to me. Fresh air, outdoors, and smoke. Tonic, Zodos, Eos, all have lovely out door fresh air "Smoke-ios" instead of patios. The 50-60 year old primarily non-smoking decad-ers are going to have to stay young and strong enough to take care of the generation ahead of AND behind them!

 

 COMMENT 352994 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-11 04:41 PM

Why can't I park my car in a spot reserved for customers, buy a cup of coffee, get free refills, and spend 4 hours doing my homework, listening to music, posting on facebook, palying video games at CBTL?

Signed by that kid who was spoiled by his parents and told his whole like that the world revolves around him.

PS - If the place is busy and there is no place to sit then please do not look at me since I will not move and will pretend I do not see you.

 

34% of comments on this page were made by Edhat Community Members.

 

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