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

By Kelly Barron

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In the Dilbertesque world of corporate etiquette, most peopleknow it's rude to leave meatloaf decomposing in the officerefrigerator. But for the swarms of entrepreneurs whose offices arelocal coffeehouses, what makes for good manners is often as murkyas a mocha latte: "Coffeehouse-based" entrepreneurs withlaptops hog tables near coveted outlets for hours at a time. Theychide baristas to turn the shop's music down and bark into cellphones while ordering grande cappuccinos.

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

The basis of all good manners is the consideration of others,says etiquette expert Gloria Starr. For entrepreneurs usingcoffeehouses as offices, that means limiting your time at a tableto an hour or two. It's also courteous to take cell phone callsoutside or to cover the receiver with your hand so yourconversation can't be heard. And if you're going to stay,it's polite to pay for your space by buying cups of joe."You've got to feed the kitty," says David Story, anindependent nonfiction TV producer in Los Angeles who works at hislocal Starbucks.

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