Are “laptop hoggers” really a problem?

Laptop hoggers: loosely defined as those people who sit in coffee shops and cafes with their laptops, sometimes for hours on end. We’ve all seen them, if not been one of them, but recently they’ve been labelled as some kind of problem.

A coffee shop in Bath has recently put posters up around the coffee shops, politely urging them to squeeze up on tables and to remember to top up on coffee and cake. Although obviously not nasty or offensive it really started to make me wonder if this was completely necessary.

As somebody who once struggled through the times of being a student, coffee shops and cafes were a refreshing break from the bleak library rooms and lecture theater walls. Myself and many of my friends included would make our way to coffee shops and cafes, text books in arms and laptops in bags and prepare ourselves for a few hours of work, in a more pleasant environment.


And in all honestly, it was wonderful. You could chat with your mates, work through your deadlines, people watch and enjoy a high quality coffee – a little bit different to the £1 instant stuff we had at home. It was something we would plan and look forward to because not only would we work our way through the pile of stress that was making us evermore unhappy, but we could socialise and interact without the risk of being hushed.  If somebody needed the seat next to me so they could enjoy their coffee, of course I would move my books – and everybody else would do the same.

If we spent, say, 4 hours in the coffee shop we would probably only buy one or two coffees/ Although this doesn’t seem like a lot, the Wi-Fi and electric would still be running regardless of if we were sat there or not. As students, spending £2.70 on a coffee was literally too much, and that is so exaggeration. We were all in our overdrafts, and I would remember coming back to my not-so-great student house and actually having to choose between spending my money on food or a night out (a surprisingly difficult decision that I’m not pleased to say would 99% of the time fall into the latter).  Long story short, students don’t have the money to buy 5 coffees and cakes a day.

Of course I know that many workers are also “laptop hoggers” and although they may have disposable income, spending about £3 surely suffices. Of course I understand if the lack of tables in is putting people off coming in, but how many people who sit down to work choose to go into an absolutely heaving, noisy coffee shop anyway? From my own experience, the moment it started getting a bit too busy, we would pack our things up and go somewhere quieter.

Although the posters and notices are very polite and seem reasonable, upon inspection it seems slightly unfair. These people are spending money; they’re spending time and could possibly be giving you more customers from word of mouth or their Instagram pictures. Are coffee shops actually losing out on any kind of money when a few people sit down with a laptop for a few hours?

Hello, I’m the blogger for Coffee Love Co, writing about everything and anything coffee related (usually whilst drinking a strong cup myself.) Get in touch with me about my writing by clicking on one of the icons below!

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