1. The This-is-How-You-Make-a-Cappuccino Guy
When I was a barista, I had a lot customers who fit this type. It didn’t matter that my coffee shop was the best in Birmingham, because there was always someone that knew better than us how to make a latte/cappuccino/whatever. This person isn’t interested in a dialogue, they just want you to make their cappuccino “standard but with more milk, but not as big as a latte, and with caramel drizzle, you know, like they do it at Starbucks.”
2. The I’ll-Have-a-Water-and-Your-Wi-Fi-Password Guy
Ranging from teenagers to Baby Boomers, nothing annoyed me more than the people in line waiting to ask for a big glass of (free) ice water and our Wi-Fi password. Sometimes they’d even throw in a, “Do I have to buy anything to use your Internet?”
To be fair, I realize not everyone can afford to pay for the Internet. You know what I do these days when I need to use it and have zero dollars? I go to the public library. Those fucking places are everywhere and are stoked to share their resources with you. For free. And they have books! And magazines! And movies! For free. I’m not even kidding.
3. Sad Dads
This is a new breed that I’ve noticed lately. I’ve been known to spend a Monday night or two at the local coffee shop reading some nerdy book and listening to whatever band Captured Tracks tells me to, all while observing the fellow patrons taking in that sweet Sacramento Delta breeze with me on the patio. So I’ve learned a lot from these fellow outside-seating dwellers that I call Sad Dads. Their habits are consistent and include (but are not limited to) the following:
• Cigar smoking
• Furiously navigating their fantasy football league spreadsheets
• Watching Netflix on their phones without headphones, oblivious to the fact that no one else really cares to hear the dialogue of Lewis Black’s latest stand-up routine.
• Online shopping for workout gear so they can work on their fitness.
4. The Can-You-Watch-My-Shit-While-I-Go-to-the-Bathroom/Have-Dinner? Guy
I’m totally cool with watching your shit when you go to the bathroom because I, too, have a tiny bladder and hope that you will, in turn, watch my shit for me.
But there are limits.
The limits of me watching your shit are directly proportional to the length of your cellphone conversation with your bestie or the length of time you decide to leave your shit on your table so you can “grab dinner,” thus occupying prime coffee shop real estate for what can turn into an hour and a half. That’s not cool. I’m way too ADD for that. I can’t promise I won’t just abandon your shit because it just hit me that I wanted a candy bar from the co-op. Nothing beats dark chocolate sea salt. Nothing.
5. The Conscious Camper
Unlike #2, this type spends money. This is where I fall about 90% of the time. The Campers are the people that have actual work they need to accomplish on their computers while they casually toggle Facebook and Spotify, but they also feel the need to follow the social code of coffee conduct. For example, I have been known to spend six hours in a coffee shop working but will buy approximately one drink every 90 minutes or so. Or at least a pastry. And tip very well.
But if you’re the Camper, you feel bad about this. Especially if you’ve plugged in your laptop and iPhone and plan to stay until that spreadsheet is done or you’re at 100% battery life, whichever comes first.
And if you’re like me, you have manners—cripplingly so—because you’re from the South. You buy as many drinks as your heart and brain can handle without them strangling each other because you want the barista to like you and maybe even tackle someone if they slight you (see #4 and #6).
6. First Daters
I’ve fallen into this category more times than I’d like to admit and have had a lot of awkward coffee-shop first dates. If I meet someone for a date for the first time, it’s good to do it in a public place that I’ve been before so that my barista friend will stab you if you get grabby. I also like coffee, and this is a good way to get a semi-stranger to pay for my iced mocha.
7. Loud and Fake Wedding/House Planners
These are the worst. They sleep with coat hangers in their mouths and speak as though they’ve got a megaphone built into their face. But they are just SO EXCITED ABOUT YOUR SPECIAL DAY. Seriously, where the hell did these people come from?
8. The Regular-Cup-of-Coffee Regulars
They stop by at 8:15AM every weekday for their Regular Cup of Coffee With No Room and then go on their merry way. I wish I were this simple. I get iced drinks like they’re going out of style and I hang out too much to be this customer, but for their simplicity and politeness, I salute you, Regulars.