Jon Reiss has become BB’s resident expert on coffices of all kinds. Last week he began a new column exploring The Freelance Life, and its advantages, foibles, and etiquette quandries. If you have an idea or a question for Jon, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today we continue on from last week, when we discussed the notion of coffice etiquette, cell phones while ordering (don’t) and the golden time/purchase ratio.
This is another difficult etiquette issue in the coffice world. Some places frown on outside food entirely. Some don’t, but even so there’s some outside food that’s never a good idea.
Rule 1: Never bring a food item that they sell at the coffee shop. This should be obvious.
Rule 2: It’s not a picnic. Your food should be compact and not splayed across the table, if it comes close to encroaching on your neighbor’s table, it’s wrong. I shouldn’t be contracting second hand-grease from your bag of Ruffles.
Rule 3: No stinky food. I shouldn’t be inhaling your Cool Ranch Doritos, especially not when I’m punishing my intestines with coffee. Nothing with onions or garlic, ever. I don’t have to tell you that a tuna sandwich is not okay, do I?
Remember, You Don’t Own The Space
This applies to people who want to move tables around and re-decorate. If that’s important to you, rent a space. Otherwise, mind your wires when plugging in. If somebody trips on your wire, it’s your fault. If you cannot find a setup where you can avoid people tripping, do the following. Plug your laptop into the outlet, close it and leave it somewhere where you can keep an eye on it. It will charge faster closed and you can read or chat while you’re waiting.
There are some grey areas here, and some absolutes. So lets suss it out.
Music: Never, ever play your music aloud unless you are a bonafide b-boy, which you aren’t.
Skypeing: If you really must Skype, find the most remote spot in which to do it, but in general, you should not Skype inside of a coffee shop, it’s annoying and everyone is going to end up listening to your conversation against their own will.
NSFW: I consider this a grey area. It would make sense to say that what’s not safe for work is not safe for coffice however, what if you work at Fleshbot and your job is to pay attention to the goings on of the adult industry? What if you’re editing a documentary about decomposing monster bodies? Just be mindful. If you’re reading 4Chan, have your screen facing the wall.
Spying: Never read over you co-cofficers’ shoulders. Laptop screens are sacred, staring at a persons screen is like staring at their crotch, unless you’re looking at a screensaver, or something intended to attract eyeballs.
[I once saw a girl breaking up with her bf, who was in bed with no shirt on, over Skype in a coffice. Every other person in the café was mesmerized, and in the middle of it all, she said to him, “I am a very self-aware person.” It was the most narcissistic thing I have ever been witness to. -Ed.]