Office Politics Move From Cubicle to Starbucks

Crowded cafes can be work war zones
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2009 7:40 AM CST
An iced drink sits next to a laptop computer in use Monday, Feb. 11, 2008, at a Starbucks Corp. store near the University of Washington in Seattle.    (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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(Newser) – Once coffee shops were places to relax, but these days, they’re places for telecommuting workers to plug in, and they’ve taken on all the irritating trappings of an actual office, the Boston Globe reports. Laptop-toting patrons fight tooth-and-nail for power outlets and table space, using the passive-aggressive tactics once confined to the cubicle. “It’s like being at work,” said one software salesman. “You always have to have your antenna up.”

“You do the hover,” said one programmer, describing a method of getting a seat through aggressive loitering. And if someone else nabs the seat you’re hovering over? “It could start a fistfight.” And hovering over the chaos, not unlike actual bosses, are the baristas. “There’s a war,” observes one writer, “between people who work at Starbucks for a living and the people who work at Starbucks for a living they’re earning someplace else.”