July '12

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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| | | | Tension Breaker American Idle I feel like I'm a better person since reading about the proper etiquette for our nation's mobile profession- als who use coffee shops as free offices. The article I read was on my computer's home page, right after the piece about Kim Kardashian's floor mats and an intuitive article titled, 10 Signs Your Spouse Is Mismatching Your Socks. I first should admit that my immediate reaction to the ar- ticle—which can be encapsulated in the phrase, "you gotta be kidding"—was yet another indicator of my vast ignorance about how to behave. Being neither very mobile nor at all professional, I was under the mis- impression that coffee shops were places where people, say, drank coffee. I didn't realize they were societies unto themselves, with their own customs, mores and folkways. However, as most of North America apparently knows, coffee is merely incidental to coffee shops, and what you drink isn't as important as how you act. People spend hours in them, nursing a tall double-foam decaf latte, but mostly treating the place as their personal space, which in an earlier, less sophisticated time was known as "loitering." One guy the story men- tioned regularly infests four or five coffee shops a day. In an earlier, less sophisticated time, he' Dan Danbom is a former speech-writer and communication manager whose freelance work has been published worldwide. His book reviews for a number of publications have motivated thousands to give up reading. Nonetheless, he continues to write and is also a principal in Danbom & Sons Books, an online bookstore headquartered in Denver. ble color so that you resemble the wait-staff from a Tony restaurant or a cat burglar. Keep your cell phone calls businesslike. d be known as a "bum." While I have been spending the past few years coming up with silly things to say, coffee shop employees (known as baristas so they can charge more) have been coming up with silly ways for people to act. Here are some of their tips on coffee shop behavior, along with some of my own. See if you can tell the difference. Don't take up too much space. You may need a table for four for your laptop, papers, file folders, briefcase, pens, tablet, cell phone, Wall St. Journal, New York Times, East Rutherford Picaune-Inquirer, jacket, coffee and low-carb sconce, but be considerate of others who could use room at a table to go over the blueprints of their new nose. Help clean up. What, you think your $5 coffee entitles you to maid service? Would it kill you to bus tables while the people working at the shop help other customers and wonder if this is the best job they'll ever get with a Master's degree in Dark Ages Philosophy? What a pig. Don't drive. Ever found a coffee-shop that has more than three parking spaces? Other people want to loaf too, you know. If you're going to sit around working at your laptop for most of the morning, the least you could do is park down the street in front of the drive- through dermabrasion place. Contribute something to the shop's ambiance. We're not talking about leaving a newspa- per. That's litter. Bring in some obscure jazz or new-age CDs for the place to play, or buy some magazines on the way over. Think Archi- tectural Digest instead of a personal favorite, like Slurp. Don't dress like you make your living at a place with "lube" in its name. Just as your of- fice has a dress code, so does your office-away- from-the-office. If you hang around the coffee shop for more than an hour, you're part of the "office" décor and subject to baristas' fashion dictates. "Casual chic" is the look you should aspire to, with black always being the prefera- 112 | PRINTWEAR JULY 2012 Other patrons don't care to overhear any conversations that include these words: colorectal, isthmus, seepage, cyst, emetic, fungal, tapeworm, gingivitis, suture, larvae, immolation or debenture. Drop some cash. You think someone was stupid enough to open a coffee shop in prime retail space thinking that people like you could parlay a cup of coffee into a rent- free office? What a leech. Tip a LOT—$10 on a $5 cup of coffee won't offend anyone. That barista who just took your order is struggling to put together an oboe quintet. The one who got your multi-bran muffin faces high medical expenses because of a fungal debenture. Got that? Now get out. It's time to close. pw BY DAN DANBOM

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