Are seat-hoggers annoying patrons at F&B outlets?

SINGAPORE - It is a common sight at coffee and fast food joints.

Students who buy food and drinks and then study or do their homework for hours on end can be seen frequently at F&B places.

In some instances, this practice of seat hogging has served as an annoyance to other patrons who are deprived of seats.

But what would you do if you and your friends left the cafe for 30 minutes and staff cleared the belongings and drinks you left behind to reserve or 'chope' the table?

This happened to a student who had been studying at the Starbucks outlet at Citylink Mall last Sunday.

She posted a comment on the Starbucks' Facebook page, which drew many reactions from netizens who supported Starbucks and felt that she was wrong to hog the seat.

The student said that, while she understood she and her friends should not have hogged the seats, she was upset that the Starbucks manager had "lectured" them.

She has since apologised and taken down her Facebook profile; her post from the Starbucks page is also not there any more.

When asked about her views on students who study or do their homework at F&B outlets, a member of the public told SPH Razor she did not feel that Starbucks was wrong to have taken away the girl's items.

She added that for safety reasons, it was a good move in case her things went missing.

Another member of the public added that as long as the place is not overly-populated, students can continue to study. However, if the place is small, it will "irk the customers".

Other members of the public interviewed by SPH Razor said that the alternatives to studying in cafes are schools, homes and libraries. However, students interviewed by SPH Razor had different views.

One student said: "In schools, there are distractions. For me, I have my fan, computer and bed at home. Outside, you're forced to study and you have no distractions."

Another student said that she feels "influenced" to study seeing other students with their books and that gives her the "urge to study as well".

When SPH Razor interviewed some students on whether they get chased out of F&B places, most of them said they had never encountered such experiences but were told to get more drinks.

Some also leave on their own accord when the peak hour arrives.