The Pros and Cons of a Coffee Shop Office

Starbucks logo

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I am currently sitting in my local Starbucks. Now, of course, I would prefer some other coffee shop, but since I seem to have the innate ability of always choosing the wrong direction lately, I figured I should not take the chance of getting completely lost and stuck with the coffee shop nearest Staples, where I just spent lots of money on office supplies.

Did I ever mention that I LOVE office supplies?


But, I digress. Sitting here, and making my office a coffee shop got me thinking about the pros and cons of using a coffee shop as an office. Actually the demeaning and judgmental glance of the perfectly coiffed businesswoman that said with a screaming silence “You are so unimportant!” made me think about this.

Now before you go telling me I shouldn’t worry about what other people think, especially since they don’t know my story, I know that. The look just made me think about the role of coffee shops in our society, and my ย purpose of using one.

My purpose is simple, I needed access to the internet. I could have gone to the library, but I keep forgetting to bring proof of residency to get my library card. So here I am, chai latte by my side, curled into a comfy chair and watching the world of the coffee shop.

Why would that woman give me that particular look? There are plenty of other people sitting here working on computers. I am not alone in turning this into an office.

I think it is because of my appearance. No, I’m not horrendous, but today is a rather gray and rainy day. Since I knew that my day would consist predominately of more unpacking, some painting, lots of organizing, and work on the computer (as well as perhaps some editing), I dressed for comfort. Sweat pants, old t-shirt, even the comfy bra that lends little support (sorry guys). Then I realized that I was out of black ink for my printer. I had to make an office supply run! I just had to! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I didn’t bother to change, so I sit in my comfy clothes working on my little mini Dell. ย So basically I look like a woman who has nothing better to do all day than sit in coffee shops and pretend to work.

But the thing is, I’m not pretending. I had over 100 e-mails to sort through because of my lack of access to internet. I am so behind on reading blogs and responding to comments that I don’t think I can catch up. My apologies to anyone who feels ignored, I think I am just going to have to move forward and not try to visit the past. I especially want to apologize to those of you who have recently (and surprisingly) subscribed to my blog, as I just have been too overwhelmed to deal with anything. I promise I will be better once I can use the internet regularly.

Again I digress. I am supposed to be exploring the pros and cons of a coffee shop office, so here I go:


  • Access to free internet
  • Warm drinks and edible goodies (which I am avoiding for the time being)
  • A variety of music
  • Great people watching
  • Comfy seats when you can snag one.
  • Views of the outdoors.


  • Can be noisy, and other people’s conversations can be distracting.
  • If you forget something (like today I forgot my mouse) you are stuck.
  • Rude business women with judgmental looks.
  • In Starbucks, the coffee always smells to acrid, so I prefer a yummy smelling shop.
  • The temptations of the above mentioned goodies.

What are some of your additions to this list? Pros? Cons? Discussion?

21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. LittleMissVix
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 10:07:55

    Aw that woman can get out, she wishes she had your talent, I’d have had a pretend phone conversaiton with my agent or something ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve never worked in a coffee shop. There I said it! Probably because I’d get distracted and / or embarrassed working in there plus I don’t drink coffee. Starbucks has horrible tea but I like Costa, not sure if you have them and like you I’d want lots of cakes but unlike you would be unable to resist. So I save coffee shops trips for a day out shopping where I might just burn off some of the calories from the muffin and work at home.
    (oops long comment!)


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Sep 07, 2011 @ 10:13:28

      You are welcome to make as long comments as you would like. Chai tea is safe, because most of the coffee shops use the same kind, so Starbucks can’t destroy it. I am not always successful at avoiding the decadent goodies, but today they don’t appeal.


  2. Julia Munroe Martin
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 11:06:53

    I’ve rarely worked in a coffee shop…. mostly because I just can’t concentrate and also because I feel self concious with my laptop. Also, agreed about the attire……which almost always consists of my standard writer outfit of ultra-comfy/casual sweats & fleece, which luckily doesn’t stand out too much in Maine, especially in the fall and winter…


  3. the domestic fringe
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 12:10:04

    If I had a good coffee shop nearby with internet access, I would most definitely work there. Unfortunately I usually do work at the library when I need to get out of the house, because the library can be entertaining for my kids too and it doesn’t cost me any money. The thing is that it’s just nice to get out sometimes, even on those sweat-pant days. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  4. thepetalpusher
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 16:11:40

    The coffee shop experience will make good fodder for your next 100-word challenge, right? A good anthropological study in behavior.


  5. jeanne
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 17:24:23

    Let’s talk about that woman with the attitude…I wonder if she even knows she makes that face. I wonder if maybe she had a migraine, hangover or a bad case of ibs. Maybe upon walking into the Starbucks she caught a whiff of the incredibly acrid smelling coffee and couldn’t help herself. Oh no…maybe you were sitting in Her office, hahahha…


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Sep 09, 2011 @ 10:14:18

      LOL. I would accept and forgive all those explanations except that she had just had a truly pleasant conversation with the barristas (obviously this is a normal haunt for her) and had a huge smile on her face as she grabbed her pumpkin latte, until she swung around and saw me. ๐Ÿ˜€


  6. nrhatch
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 19:03:03

    Con: It’s not where I want to be.

    I like writing at home . . . in my office . . . where no one can see me but the cat . . . and BFF. ๐Ÿ˜€


  7. Lunar Euphoria
    Sep 07, 2011 @ 20:44:16

    I’m unable to work in Coffee Shops — too many distractions.

    I love office supplies too.


  8. An Embarrassment of Freedom
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 08:16:44

    I used to write complete essays in long hand, cut them up with scissors to edit them and tape them back together to finish them…like making an essay quilt…back in the day before computers (still don’t really like computers)… I would just rip off an essay and then deal with it …mostly in the university coffee shops on campus…ah, the 70’s! I still rather like coffeeshops for people watching and I don’t give a heck if ‘m wearing my gardening clothes or whatever…
    Glad to hear that you are well back into work mode… hope all is well.


  9. Kathryn McCullough
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 11:24:47

    I have to confess, Lisa–I too love office supplies! It’s nearly an obsession for me. Is that the writer in me?

    For me, Third Street Stuff is a great place to work, but I rarely do. And everybody there looks weird, so my sweatpants don’t matter.

    I suggest you shop for a more fringe kind of coffee shop. They should be available in your part of the world. The next time you are in Starbucks use the internet access to shop for another option. As one of our UK freshmen once wrote, “Starbucks is the Devil.”

    Hugs to Nathan, Sara, and you—————-(and Lizzy and Jasper, of course!)



  10. Heather Henry
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 00:51:11

    I love coffee shops too. Especially when I can find a good cozy nook, where I can pull out a sketchbook or read or whatever I want and I don’t feel like anyone can look over my shoulder. I try not to worry about the snooties, who feel they’ve got something more to offer this world, but I can relate to how you feel, because as much as I try not to let it get to me….it does make me wonder. I like your pros & cons list. I think if you need to use the internet, finding a good, comfy, relaxed coffee shop, sounds perfect.
    I hope all is well in your new space. I miss you and our art studio days. When you come visit, we can walk to the groovy coffee shop near my house and sit outside and people watch. ๐Ÿ™‚


  11. Christine Grote
    Sep 10, 2011 @ 07:44:08

    I love working in a coffee shop. Makes me feel like I am part of something bigger and not isolated in my own house. If not for Arthur, I would probably spend a lot more time in coffee shops.


  12. madelinelaughs
    Sep 11, 2011 @ 17:49:09

    I’m not the one to comment on this post because I adore and crave Starbucks…I’m a fan ๐Ÿ™‚ A coffee shop office is a good thing! I say have fun while you’re there and people watch. It’s one of my favorite pastimes.


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