Sunday, May 6, 2007

Who opened the cages at the zoo?

Saturday the Stump was visited by quite an amalgam of characters. Stumpjack Coffee friends and customers are, generally speaking, by far the most diverse, courteous, friendly and cool group of people I have ever experienced in any coffee shop, club or lounge setting. Yesterday was no exception as many of our friends made their regular weekend visits. We also, however, had a good number of "new" people come in, a few of whom displayed a little "questionable behavior," some of which prompted us to address certain issues of etiquette and communal awareness while in the space. My post from yesterday on camping is a response to one of those issues.

As I mentioned in the prior post, coffee shops and cafe's are rightly seen as "third places," and it is worthwhile to repeat the source text (edited) below in citing the value of the third place:

...third places are the heart of a community's social vitality and the foundation of a functioning democracy. They promote social equality...create habits of public association, and offer psychological support to individuals and communities. modern suburban societies time is primarily spent in isolated first (home) and second (work) places. In contrast, third places offer a neutral public space for a community to connect and establish bonds. Third places host the regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work.

While that might read as a little bookish ("Hey, I just wanna cuppa-coffee ta go, ok!"), there are nevertheless a few "rules" or guidelines that ought to be considered for the benefit of everyone who enjoys the space. Enjoying the benefits of a space without helping to support its continuation has been addressed below in the post on campers. Other activities and behaviors that are taboo would include too-visible (and too-loud) displays of physical affection that might be more appropriate in a private setting (for example, the clearly audible and openly viewable smooching of a couple that stopped in yesterday...excuse me, the clearly audible, openly viewable and continual, protracted smooching...good grief people, rent a room! ugh...).

Also, cursing and foul language should be curbed, for the sake of good manners and because a constant stream of blue language tends to make you look like an idiot.

Along those same lines, overly loud (let's say obnoxiously loud) conversations are intrusive to the other folks who come in to enjoy a little more casual and laid back chat time. I'm talking about conversations that are clearly engaged in at a volume intended for everyone else in the place to hear. Trust me on this, your battle with your co-worker or boss (including loud declarations as to what a jerk he or she is) is really not all that interesting to everyone else in the house. Vent to your pals at your table, not to the rest of us please.

Cell phones...a beautiful, amazing bit of technology, not only tools of convenience but also potentially tools of necessity in these modern times. It's perfectly ok to answer your cell phone, take calls and make calls in the space...we have absolutely no problem with that nor do I imagine does anyone else. But if you are going to be conducting a lengthy and loud conversation on your cell phone please take it outside where it won't intrude on others in the cafe. There's a very nice bench right outside the front window...heck, take your mug of coffee with you, sit down and relax, and enjoy your conversation in the ever-warming spring sunshine, then come on back in when you're finished.

Finally, it is frowned upon by the health department (and your mother as well) when you take your shoes off in the space and/or put your feet on the furniture. We appreciate that the Stumpjack is such an unbelievably comfortable and relaxing place that it almost seems like the natural thing to do...kick off your shoes and put your feet up, just like at home (it is something of a compliment). Nevertheless, it's verboten at the Stump...keep your shoes on and keep your feet off the tables and chairs, or I'm telling your mother.

Yes, while all of these issues have come up now and again since Stumpjack has been open, they all occurred the other day (was there a full moon or what?) and we thought it might be wise to address them now. So, keep your shoes on, take the loud cell phone conversations outside, don't be loudly lip-locking with your significant other for everyone else to see and hear, curb the potty mouth dammit, and don't be a freeloader with the space or Internet service. Be thoughtful, courteous, respectful and kind...that golden rule stuff...

No comments: