Imagine dropping a decent amount of money at a coffee shop you planned to spend a bit of time in to work on your laptop. Naturally, you buy the coffee because you don’t want to be a loiterer who takes up valuable table space without paying, but when you get your drink and then pick a table, you see a sign that says your laptop isn’t welcome there.
That’s what TikToker Halle Kaufax (@halllison) said happened to her when she came across this very phenomenon in an NYC coffee shop. Other TikTokers seem divided on a growing movement of cafes taking anti-technology stances inside their places of business.
“When you spend $8 on a coffee and prepare to park it for awhile to do work only to then see one of these signs,” she writes in a text overlay of the video as she records herself taking a sip of iced coffee. The next shot is of her recording her surroundings in the coffee shop: other patrons can be seen sitting at tables all peering into their phones. As it turns out, the table she’s sitting on has a placard on it that reads, “Please keep this table laptop free we support community interaction thank you.”
Directly in front of Kaufax is another customer sitting at her table who has a laptop in front of her and a phone in her hand. The video cuts back to the TikToker’s grimacing face, indicating that she isn’t too happy with this rule.
She did seem to toy with the idea of just ignoring the sign entirely, however, as she wrote in a caption for her post, “Okay but how much do we need to listen to those signs.”
One commenter penned that there was a simple solution for folks who were frustrated with not being able to find space to work in a coffee shop: heading to the library instead.
“Bring back the rise of libraries!!” they wrote. “Library cards are free and you’re supporting a local place most let you bring a drink in too if ur careful/clea[n].”
Not everyone likes the idea of working in a library, however. Their reasoning? The “vibes.”
“The vibes are off in the library,” a user said. “I feel like I am stuck in the 1980s sitting there in fluorescent lighting.”
Someone else said they are shocked by the number of coffee shops that are seemingly implementing technology-free zones in their establishments.
“Its actually crazy so many places are going no wifi/technology,” they wrote. “$8 for a latte and cant use my laptop.”
Another TikToker was just baffled by the businesses’ approach, writing, “But? most coffee shops are literally supposed to be for this. Especially in college towns.”
But others seemed to support the coffee shop’s approach, stating that these rules are put in place to prevent lingerers from hanging out in the store all day.
“It’s to prevent exactly what you’re probably trying to do, stay there for hours with one single coffee,” they argued. “It’s a business not a library.”
A NY Post article also highlighted a sign from a coffee shop that reads, “We Do Not Have WiFi…Talk To Each Other Pretend It’s 1995” which seemed to divide folks. Some applauded this approach to helping keep people off of their phones, but others said they don’t need internet access to ignore those around them.
As for banning laptops from cafes, Per Diem writes that there are more and more professional java-slinging establishments trying to keep folks from bringing their work with them: “As it turns out, there are a few good reasons why coffee shops are banning laptops. For one, it can be distracting for other customers who are trying to enjoy their cup of coffee and a nice conversation. Especially if someone is on a Zoom call. More importantly, many coffee shop owners believe that laptops kill conversation.”
A Redditor highlighted that they’ve seen several Parisian coffee shops banning laptops, snapping a photo of a sign blasting “laptop squatters” while stating that these remote workers aren’t welcome in their establishment: “It’s happened several times already this past month alone. It’s almost becoming a thing in Paris. Has anyone else encountered laptop hostility at cafes and coffee shops elsewhere as of late?”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Kaufax via email for further comment.