← Previous Post: | Next Post:


During one of ‘thesda’s bad snow storms a couple of years ago, Les UDs moved into a nearby hotel (no power at home) and took meals mainly at Panera (UD wanted to do room service, but Mr UD considers room service decadent). Thus UD discovered the phenomenon of café squatters, people who conduct their work day at the local coffee shop, “effectively setting up their entire office at a table: laying out their laptop, smartphone, iPad and bag, ordering a large skinny latte and then staying there for the afternoon.” As the commenter in my headline notes, it’s pretty obnoxious. And try making money when your bistro is full of people spending three dollars and then chatting on the phone with their clients for the rest of the day.

A new place, Filter, has opened in Foggy Bottom, down the street from UD‘s office, and they’re no-laptop. UD hasn’t been there yet, but she’s thinking about the irony or whatever it is of cafés beginning to look like her laptop-free classrooms… One of the commenters suggests that the squatters use public libraries instead, but this location lacks the pleasant human buzz, the soft North African music, and the aroma that squatters (and the rest of us) are after.

I’ve noticed squatters in the Starbucks at George Washington University’s library (I go there a lot to pick up lunch) – always the same people, always there, at tables bristling with computers and phones.

Trackback URL for this post:

4 Responses to ““Yeah, squatting in a coffeeshop with your laptop for three hours was cute in 2005. Now, it’s just annoying to walk into a place and find nary a seat in sight because of all the laptop-zombies colonizing the place like a bad yeast infection.””

  1. jim Says:

    It has been ever thus — Liebling (Between Meals, “Passable”) on a French café in 1927:

    The girls would arrive at their customary tables soon after lunch, in late afternoon, and establish themselves with a permanent consommation, something inexpensive and not tempting, for they would make it last ….

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    jim: Yes, but in those days you didn’t have the equipment to conduct your entire life there.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    This is my life on sabbatical: 3hrs squatting in a coffee shop, and then when I can no longer ignore the stink-eye, I move next door to the public library. The aroma of the coffee shop squatters is definitely more pleasant than the aroma of the public library squatters, if you know what I mean.

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Anonymous: Yes – I should have mentioned that too. The people squatting in the library are sometimes difficult to sit next to.

Comment on this Entry

Latest UD posts at IHE