Space wasters

I’m pretty sure this happens in a lot of places and not just in China but I just happen to live here and therefore will focus on what I observed locally.


I got so annoyed today! Everything was going well, it’s Friday (reason enough for happiness), and Black Friday at that (ASOS, here I come!), work went well, and then I found myself in my usual Friday afternoon spot – McDonalds.

It’s not because I love to indulge in a hopelessly assembled tasteless burger (again, this doesn’t necessarily have to apply to every McDonalds on Earth) come weekend but because I do a bit of tutoring (every penny counts) and, unfortunately, this particular branch is the most convenient location for my student.(Trust me, if I could I would meet her in a less messy/noisy/crowded environment).

So, as usual, I walk in and look for a free table. This branch of McDondals is quite out of the way, far from the city centre, and normally doesn’t get very crowded yet today it was packed!Immediately I thought:’What are all these people doing here at this time of day?(4pm)’and ‘Shouldn’t they be at work?’ Well, obviously they don’t. (Far too many times have I wondered about the huge numbers of people in the shops/on the metro/buses at the strangest times of day when in countries like UK or Poland streets are practically empty).

So I’m wandering about, desperately searching for a spot, even a tiny table squeezed in an impossibly tight space but there was nothing! This was disappointing but not annoying, after all it happens, especially in a place as crowded as China but then I looked closer at people sitting at the tables and to my initial surprise followed by outrage, MOST were not customers, they didn’t order absolutely anything, they simply sat there with noses in their phones or dozed, stretched across two seats!!What space wasters! If you’re not too bothered it’s not a huge issue but if, like me, you have no choice, then this is really frustrating.

I understand that sometimes you just want to find a place to sit down and rest but have the decency to at least order an ice cream or a coffee, it is McDondals after all, not the Ritz, and don’t sit there for hours on end when you can see that actual customers have nowhere to sit! In the 10 minutes I was waiting, 4 paying customers had to either stand and eat(!) or looked around and left. In situations like this I do not understand McDonald’s (or Starbucks’ for that matter as exactly the same situation happened to me there) management.

I’m not expecting anyone to be kicking people out, I’m merely saying that if staff notice that a particular customer has been sat at a table without ordering anything for ages, clearly treating the eatery as his/her private lounge, all whilst paying customers are walking away, someone should perhaps politely indicate that his/her seat is needed. I know this will probably enrage some people as I myself hate being rushed in a restaurant and being made to feel like I’m just a number but surely something should be done to avoid these situations.

Is it the same in other countries? Or is it just the Chinese, who like to spend hours in public places? What could be the solution?

P.S. Before anyone accuses me of being heartless, this post is not about the homeless sleeping in McDonald’s. That’s a totally separate issue.

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