Thursday, August 06, 2009

No Laptops at Café & coffee shops - or?

I found an article in the Wall Street Journal writing about customers using Laptops at coffee shops, Cafés in the USA (New York & San Francisco). Even if not being completly banned, at least stopped during lunch hours or worse. Over here in Stockholm, Sweden, its always been some cafés that actually do see the benefit of having regulars with their laptops. But some never does. Before customers came with books and magazines, and people like myself with sketchbooks and pens and pencils.

It IS a tricky situation of course, but for example what I see over here, being a regular café customer at local cafés around town, I dont see people sitting with laptops so much during lunch rush hours. More before and after. But then at some places there is the baby boomers which have been good for cafés, that spread out and take up seats. At some there is the students. Again some are the intellectual "crowd" of youngster and old timers at other cafés. There is always "crowds" as well as the regular lunch customers. Important customers. But then after lunch if the café isnt at a very hot spot intersection, the cafés will cry empty after lunch rush hour. And thats when these Laptop customers and other "crowds" useally hang around. Personally I would never try to sit and work with my laptop or sketchbook during lunch hours.

But it would be really sad if this would become a real trend that sticks: stopping the regulars who with or without laptops and such, from coming to the cafés. It would kill the tradition and the ambiance. It would destroy the coffee culture no doubt. Cafés are not restaurants.

Its because of this I never sit at the same cafe everyday. Or only buy one coffee and sit for hours and hours. Coffee sittings have to be a mutual subconsious agreement by both owners and customers. Depending on how long I sit, I guess I would spend around 2 - 10 euros per visit at a café. If you see it as you spend aproximatly 300 euros per month at cafés, it means that you might spend more than most people. And if you take a lunch at the café or a restaurant on top of that ones or twice or four times a week, and if you consider one would sit 1-3 hours, thats a fair pay. One thing for sure, those cafés who really does hinders the "crowd" to come will loose money in the long run. How? Not long ago I whent to a café. I was to take a quick coffee and sit for a half hour. Its was around three o´clock. The owner said he didnt have Wi-fi and would never install it. And was rather alian to the fact of having a "laptop" customer like myself. And I felt not welcomed. This whole café always cry totally empty around that time. I was the only one coming in. Result: he lost me as a client.

Stefan Lindblad
Illustrator & artist

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