Wednesday, November 04, 2015
As someone who sometimes avails himself of the wi-fi in coffee shops or pubs, I found the following conversation, from an article on the evolution of "third places" to be a rare jewel in the realm of modern business-customer relations:
Furstenberg: "I'm sorry, this is not your workspace."It often seems today that, as communications technology advances, basic etiquette and economic sense decline. Too many businessmen seem almost apologetic for the fact that they're in it for the money, and that they have to "give back" to their "communities". (And yet no one seems to hold the squatters that populate so many businesses accountable for asking why they aren't themselves running coffee shops.) If, by "community", you mean, "swarm of entitled moochers", it's time to clean up or leave. I'm glad to see that Beard Award nominee Mark Furstenburg has opted for the former. Ironically, by standing up for his rights as a proprietor, he is improving his society -- by providing a timely reminder of what makes it great: Hard work and trade, not handouts of loot.
Customer: "What do you mean? I just bought a cup of coffee."
Furstenberg: "I know, and I'm glad you bought a cup of coffee, and I hope you like the coffee, but other people are waiting for tables."
Customer: "It's a public place, isn't it?"
Furstenberg: "Well, no, actually, it's not that kind of public place. It's a place where people come to eat and talk, but it's not your workspace."
Customer: "You're going to decide how I use the space?"
Furstenberg: "Well, yes, actually, I am." [format edits]