The Ten Commandments For Working From A Coffee Shop


This piece was originally published in 2015, but we found it today and fell back in love.

I have written a lot of things in coffee shops. I have written books that have not sold. I have written one book that sold (literally dozens of copies). I have written screenplays that have not sold. I have written the back-of-DVD copy for a Walker, Texas Ranger collection. And, most recently, I have written an article about a falcon who has sex with a man’s hat. I’m even writing this from a Peet’s, in Los Angeles.

So, it’s safe to say I know a few things about working in coffee shops. It’s also safe to say I know a few things about crushing poverty and professional humiliation — but let’s focus on the coffee shop thing for now.

To be clear, this article is not meant for people who use coffee shops for awkward first dates, exhausted parents gathering their resolve while their children use the furniture as playground equipment, travelers taking emergency BMs on long road trips, teenagers hanging out, teenagers engaging in flagrantly inappropriate PDA, teenagers playing Candy Crush at full volume on their cellphones four feet from me as I write this, people occasionally consuming coffee, and your mom buying that smooth jazz CD she heard about on Good Morning America.

I have no quarrel with these people. These people are using coffee shops exactly how they were intended to be used.

Instead, I am addressing the parasites, the ticks that have burrowed into the meaty haunches of the coffee shop to suckle off the WiFi and the ample supply of sanitary paper in the bathrooms. I am addressing the coffee shop freelancer.

I know who you are, because I am a toilet-paper hoarding monster, just like you. I’ve sat in the posture-destroying chairs, watching the disgusting behavior of my fellow coffee shop freelancers over the years, and I think it’s high time we start holding ourselves to a higher standard.