If you’ve been to Qathra or Milk & Honey recently, you’ve probably noticed signs displaying their new policy: no laptops on weekends. After neighbor Colin Fitzpatrick tweeted about the policy last weekend, fellow Ditmas Parkers had a number of responses ranging from enthusiastic approval, to proposing maybe one weekend day was enough, all the way to expressing the policy made them want to take their business elsewhere.
We have our own history of mixed feelings on the topic of laptops in cafes. The first time we ever visited the neighborhood and people were actually talking to each other at Vox Pop with no computers in sight was when we figured we should probably move here, but then we thought the condescending note about startups and novels that former Cafe Madeline owner Alexander Hall posted in his establishment a few years back was a bit much. (If you don’t remember the note, you might remember he told us upon selling Madeline, “Of course we had some great customers, but way too many treated the cafe as their lounge rooms, sitting for hours in the air conditioning, using the internet and sipping on one coffee.”)
Nowadays we work from cafes all the time, although not on weekends, so we haven’t lost any love for Qathra and Milk & Honey over their new policy. More relevant and confusing to us Monday through Friday-ers was Gothamist recently dubbing Windor Terrace’s Steeplechase a great “coffice,” since we can barely ever get a table there that’s not marked a no-laptop zone–and if the issue is folks sitting around for a long time without buying much, we wonder why tablets, books, newspapers, and other reading materials aren’t banned.
We’d like to think we’re considerate when we do work from cafes, buying once every hour or so–but hey, we’re human, and we very well may be failing our fellow coffee shoppers in other ways. What are your rules for cafe/laptop etiquette, and would a ban on computers (even if only a few days a week) convince you to frequent a different establishment?