We’re all students who like to hang out at different places downtown, which is great. It’s a wonderful thing that you can run into so many other NSA students in Moscow’s coffee shops, stores, and restaurants. But having done a little restaurant work over the years, I’ve thought up a couple ‘good manners’ items which might be good to keep in mind.
1) If you go to a restaurant or coffee shop, you’re not invited to bring in your own food or drink. The people who work there have prepared food for you to purchase, and it’s rather rude to enjoy the atmosphere but bring along your own private menu.
2) Any time you use a building like a coffee shop for studying, hanging out in, etc, it’s a good idea to make some sort of purchase. It costs money to keep the business running, and if you benefit from the place, you should contribute. But also if you don’t contribute, you’re still using up a table which actual paying customers might want to fill when it’s busy. And so not only are you not patronizing the business, you may be keeping potential customers from patronizing the business as well (particularly if you’re a group of non-payers).
Of course there are always qualifications. The Nuart Theater is one – they just want students there whether or not you buy coffee. And if you go to Bucer’s for the second or third time that day, and you already had a panini or a smoothie, this isn’t as big a deal. Or suppose you swing through One World Caffe for two minutes to talk with a friend who’s already there; you don’t have to feel guilty for not buying something. But if you’re there much more than a quarter or half an hour, you probably should.