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Cup of Courtesy

If the coffeehouse is your office, order up some manners.

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This story appears in the August 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

In the Dilbertesque world of corporate etiquette, most people know it's rude to leave meatloaf decomposing in the office refrigerator. But for the swarms of entrepreneurs whose offices are local coffeehouses, what makes for good manners is often as murky as a mocha latte: "Coffeehouse-based" entrepreneurs with laptops hog tables near coveted outlets for hours at a time. They chide baristas to turn the shop's music down and bark into cell phones while ordering grande cappuccinos.

"It's just plain rude," complains Paige Kayner, owner of Aurafice Internet & Coffee Bar in Seattle, where freelance graphic designers and computer entrepreneurs work. Kayner was so irritated by her customers' noisy calls, she stuck a magnet on her espresso machine reading: "Your cell phone only makes you more annoying." Then someone stole it.

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