I spend a decent amount of time at a quiet little Starbucks just minutes from my house. It’s cool to be a regular because the barista’s get to know your orders and even the patrons begin to become familiar faces.

When you work at a Starbucks there is one inherit flaw that seems to plague everyone. You’ve got a good seat, near an outlet and your laptop is all setup. Now you’re working and drinking and working and drinking. Eventually all that coffee is going to catch up to you and you’ll need to go to the bathroom.

Here’s the question do you pack everything up or do you leave everything and risk theft? All too often I get asked to watch someone’s stuff while they’re gone which I find interesting because I’m really only willing to go so far for a strangers laptop.

Let’s say someone did decide to steal their stuff during the 30 second trip to the bathroom. Someone bold enough to steal their stuff is either going to run right out of there if confronted or stand their ground. The former would require me to leave my laptop alone and vulnerable while I give chase and the latter would require confrontation. If you’ve ever met me, you’d know that I would not be all that effective in a foot chase (I joke to my wife that I’m her “chubby hubby”).

Now I’m all for a good tussle if it’s defending a woman’s honor or benefiting a long standing tradition of bar fighting on St Patricks Day but I’m not sure I’d throw down for someone’s laptop. I mean is this thing a crappy company computer or is it the only thing standing between a student and his diploma?

Here’s another thought, if I agree to watch your shit am I now liable for it? Cause I will write up a waiver for these guys to sign before I agree to anything. Maybe I should start offering this as a service, buy me a coffee and I’ll keep your computer safe for up to 2 minutes.


Jesse Friedman has been building websites for 18 years, and exclusively with WordPress since 2006. Since then Jesse has written several books, taught 100’s of students as a professor, and organized dozens of local meetups along with a few WordCamps. Jesse has spoken at tech conferences around the world including SXSW, HOW, Future events and many more. Jesse has consulted for a wide array of companies from small agencies to multi-billion dollar international companies. Today Jesse is a proud team member of Jetpack at Automattic, where he spends his time growth hacking and building strategic partnerships.

2 thoughts

  1. I had a guy at Blue State Coffee on Thayer straight up tell me no, that he wasn’t going to watch my stuff. Not even nicely really.

  2. Yep, I would say no. I’m a nice guy but guarding a mac book pro is too risky. What if someone runs away with it? Would you pack your things and get the thief or leave it there for another ?

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