More shots have been fired in the ongoing war between coffee shops and laptop squatters: NPR reports Burlington, Vermont's August First Bakery & Cafe formally banned all laptops and tablets earlier this month, and has seen increased profits as a result. August First owner Jodi Whalen instated the "Screen Free" mandate at the end of March, outlawing all "laptops, iPads, or similar devices" in the store.
Though signage in the coffee shop suggests the screen ban encourages other noteworthy pursuits like "reading, daydreaming, and chit-chatting," Whalen tells NPR the ban was a business decision, and that cafe sales have increased since. Before the no-screen rule, laptop squatters often took up too much table space, edging out new customers who'd come in for lunch: "We saw a lot of customers come in, look for a table, not be able to find one and leave," Whalen says. And she's not the first to enforce a no-screen zone: Denver coffee shop Wooden Spoon banned all screens last summer. Smartphones, for now, are still allowed.