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The "Costa Syndrome"


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We had a ride out to Fradley Junction yesterday, largely as we had a bit of business to do nearby and partly because it is one of our favourite places to sit by the canal for a coffee. When we arrived we sat by the top lock for a while and Jamie helped the volunteer lock keeper sending boats up and down, then we wandered down the lane towards the old BW depot and wharf which have been turned into a lovely canal side cafe, with a handful of tables alongside the canal and more in the yard behind.


Not surprisingly given the lovely weather the five tables alongside the canal were all occupied when we arrived, two by parties eating lunch and three by individuals sitting with empty coffee cups. Scenting one of these might soon become available we sat at the closest table available and I asked Elaine to "move in" when one became vacant, while I went and ordered lunch. On my return there had been no movement, so I sat down and as is my want, began studying the three people sat alone at the tables by the canal side.


One, a woman reading a book, probably something about a paler shade of black given her total immersion in it, she rarely looked up. The second, a man tapping away on a small tablet, or large mobile telephone and the thord another man, reading a copy of the free CRT newspaper "Towpath" which are available inside. The two things they had in common were empty cups and an air of permanence. Our lunch arrived and we enjoyed lovely food and drinks as always durng which time several other parties arrived looking for tables, of which there were now none free even in the yard. A couple of the parties hung around for a few minutes, mistakenly thinking a table might soon become free but eventually they all wandered off along the canal. The staff who bought our food out cleared the empty crockery, including our three "friends" . Afterwards I took Jamie to the little boys room and returned.


As we stood up to leave, just over an hour after arriving so did the chap who had been reading the newspaper. The tablet tapper and book reader were still firmly entrenched. As we walked past the book reader opened her shoulder bag and took out a bottle of water, took a couple of swallows and returned it.


I have to admit feeling a little upset for the establishment which is clearly missing out on business, and to those who couldn't find space to sit when thhree tables are being occupied by people who i ASSUME ordered the drinks that merited the empty cups apparent when we arrived but who have stayed on at least an hour afterwards at tables where a family could be eating lunch.


I call this the "Costa Syndrome" as it is common place in our local Costa where it is commonplace to find several tables occupied by individuals who order nothing for hour on end and sith there connected to the free wi-fi using the place as a free office or somewhere to kill time. Very annoying when you are halfway around the shopping desperate for a coffee and to take the weight of your feet. Not something it is easy to do in town since Greggs closed their cafe in favour of a shop with a bar style thing and a couple of seats.


Sorry this became a bit of a moan, but is it just me, or are these people taking the wee wee expecting to occupy someone elses trade premises for so long on the strength of one coffee?

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I agree with you Paul. People hanging around long past finishing their food and drink can be a little irritating. And when somewhere is busy then the opposite comes into play as well - the people who take tables before they have ordered anything in order to beat the long queue of people already at the counter. How many times have you wandered around looking for a table only to find a good number taken by people who haven't even got their food yet while you carry a full tray around with nowhere to sit. Thing is that most of them just don't care. 

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We came back from Calais yesterday on P&O, the ferry was very busy. Having repaired to the food court for breakfast (HOW much? :shocked ) we were pretty p***ed off to find most of the seats in the cafeteria occupied by passengers with no intention of eating/drinking!

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