Have you ever walked into a Starbucks hoping to rest your feet with a cup of coffee... only to realise that most - if not all - of the seats have been taken up by students with their papers and laptops?
Hordes of students camping out at cafes and fast-food joints are not an unusual sight, especially in the weeks leading to exam season. However, it can become an issue when they hog the space for hours on end. Other paying customers may feel discouraged from patronising the cafe, hence affecting the business' bottom line.
Some eateries have employed certain measures to counter the phenomenon, such as implementing time limits for free WiFi, putting up signs saying that studying during peak hours are not allowed, clearing their empty cups and dishes, and even outright requesting that they leave. However, these don't always get the hint or even comply with such requests.
Seat-hogging, specifically by students, was widely-discussed on social media in the past week after a customer complained that she was kicked out of a Starbucks outlet in Singapore because she was "studying"
However, it all backfired when the post was met with contempt by other customers. Some pointed out that the complaint was "selfish" and "entitled", adding that she could've studied elsewhere that's not a place of business.
At the time of writing, the complaint, which was posted to Starbucks Singapore's Facebook page, has been taken down. Before its deletion, the comments thread is believed to have amassed more than 1,000 comments.
The post was eventually taken down, but it had gotten widespread enough that many began to share their own experiences, citing students who left their stuff behind to "reserve" seats and even occupied several tables in one go
Some actually applauded Starbucks for implementing not-so-subtle measures to clear out the seat-hoggers
A few customers also suggested that Starbucks should enforce rules or set up a "study corner", and urged students to be more considerate when the cafe is packed
Meanwhile, Starbucks Singapore has responded to some of the comments, explaining that they are looking into finding the "right balance" in tackling the issue
Do you think cafes and eateries have the right to request seat-hogging customers to leave the premises? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.