by Chrysa Smith

I swear that one day, scientists will say that drinking coffee makes you lose brain capacity. Now, if you’re a coffee drinker, don’t be offended. What I’m really referring to are those brain dead folks, who sit at Starbucks for hours, regardless of how many available seats there are for others.

Case in point was today—several days after the biggest East Coast weather event in recorded history. Now I am fully aware that folks who lost power are anxious to get out and get fed, watered and warmed. And I’m also aware that when you go for coffee with a friend, you don’t want to be rushed. But give me a break, please! Multiple students with laptops and cell phones filled the local Starbucks—often one at a table for three or four. With a long line of folks, with the very same ‘storm-related’ issues waiting for their drinks, their toasty seats, their turn to relax for just a bit–nobody budged. And I’d dare to say that I bet many of those zombies had been there for hours.

I know people use Starbucks as an alternate office—nice setting with other folks around who don’t bother you. As a person who works from home, I get it. And I can get setting up shop in the coffee shop on normal days when there is a plethora of empty seats—where your hoarding of a table doesn’t interfere with anyone else. But when new customers are walking around aimlessly, because there are no seats, take note people: TIME TO MOVE ON!

Remember the time when a food server would say that you either had to order or leave? I don’t know what happened to that, but quite frankly, the semi-conscious are taking up space–and potential business because of those who quit in frustration. A $3 latte doesn’t entitle you to indefinite coffee table space!

I propose the following: Every table has an automatic timer that is triggered when you sit down. In 30 minutes it goes off—-causing everyone to stare and take note. If you don’t get up within another 5 minutes, the ejector chair takes effect—plummeting you out the door and into the street, where you should be by now anyway. Oh, and by the way, it takes away your ear piece, cell phone and laptop too. Aah–technology!