When you visit a Starbucks at around 3pm, it can feel a bit odd.
At around 3pm, gone are the after-lunch coffee aficionados. The people wishing to chill out a bit after work aren’t there yet either, that rush happens at around 530pm.
In these times, you can observe TWO sets of people in their natural habitat if you look closely.
They look the same: earphones, looking at a screen, and perhaps a nearly empty order of coffee serving as their ticket to hang out.
They look the same, but are very, very different.
The first breed is the freelancer.
With its very high socket-per-table ratio, Starbucks has become the defacto choice for working outside. The freelancer goes to Starbucks to avoid the usual home distractions and sets out to achieve some flow. They would usually create most of the noise in the room in these said times, typing away at their laptops or having a chat with their clients online. They would be producing.
The second type of person is what I’d call … the escape artist. They are usually seen alone, but sometimes they go around in pairs (barely talking to one another).
Like the freelancer, they are also focused on a screen, but doing something completely different.
The escape artist would usually be imprisoned in FB or YouTube, playing video games, or watching a movie / TV show on their phones in the comfort of great air-conditioning and seating. They would be consuming.
If the freelancer goes to Starbucks to avoid distraction, the escape artist goes to Starbucks precisely to get distracted (unless she’s a professional e-games competitor or a television producer scouting the competition).
The hustler and the loafer.
Which one are you?