A while back I gave you some tips on how to mess with the five different types of coffee crazies at the Bread Time Bread AMP’D station. However, that article is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to messing with people in coffee shops. You see, dear readers, there are few places in society with a higher concentration of people right on the freakin’ edge than in a coffee shop. Whether it’s people who haven’t had their morning coffee yet, or people who’ve been there all day and already had way too much, the coffee shop is humming with people about to completely lose their shit over the smallest thing.

As always, anywhere there are people on the edge to be messed with, you’ll find me there, eagerly poking them with a stick just for the fun of it. So here is another list of people you’ll find at the coffee shop and the best ways to mess with them for your own personal morning amusement.

1. The Line Nazis

Line jumping is not a sport
No, but fucking with people is.
There is a universal coffee shop law that there is ONE line all the way up to the cash registers regardless of how many registers there actually are, or where those registers are located. This is just a simple fact, because people who haven’t had their morning coffee yet can’t even remotely deal with much of anything, especially if someone who came in AFTER them gets served coffee BEFORE them. I don’t understand how anyone doesn’t know this by now and that makes this a situation ripe with opportunity for mind fucking people.

There are few greater ways to stress out an entire mass of people at once than confidently skipping the line altogether and walking up to one of the cashiers/registers still helping a customer and forming a brand new line. It helps to pretend to be on a cell phone and completely oblivious so that when the hordes of people start screaming at you, it is even more believable that you simply aren’t aware of them. Be prepared to field a lot of hatred though, especially if you manage to get helped without actually waiting in the real line. Honestly, the cashier doesn’t remotely give a shit, even though we all seem to think they should be the coffee shop police or something. They’d rather secretly pistol whip us just for the way we order our coffee.

I like to take ALL the highchairs and set them up around my table. Who the hell is going to bring a kid to a coffee shop? Oh, The Soccer Mom. Bonus Points: There is a convenient time delay here that adds to your successful mind fuck, because for some reason people have to sigh, mutter, and exchange looks with each other before actually doing something about the situation. This time delay allows brand new people to fall in behind you thinking they conveniently just found the super secret shortest line that none of the other people seemed to have noticed. These new people are completely justified in being in the (fake) line behind you, which just adds to the cluster fuck of annoyance which you’ve just created in the real line. Sigh, mutter, and exchange looks with these new people in your fake line about all the other people bitching and yelling, because they happen to get in the "wrong" line.

2. The Outlet/Booth Vulture

Vultures ready to eat
"Are you done with this table?"
If your coffee shop has booths then these are usually highly coveted tables, leading to a scavenger situation ready to be exploited. In addition, most coffee shops have free Wi-Fi, causing people to camp there for long periods of time and eventually drain their laptop batteries. Thus, the booth or table next to an outlet in which they can plug their laptop into also becomes a highly coveted table.

I like to take these highly coveted spots and then feign like I’m leaving, only to return moments later with a fresh cup of coffee. The trick here is to make grand "leaving gestures" like gathering all of your belongings and taking them with you, but leaving one item which clearly indicates that you’re returning. Make sure to stuff that one item down in the seat so that only someone standing at the booth/table could actually see it. This creates a massive race to your table of watchful vultures who are looking to snag your coveted table, coupled with the traffic jam of them turning around to race BACK to their tables, before someone steals the seat they just abandoned. The look of dejection when they discover your "seat saving item" is priceless, coupled with the panic stricken look after realizing that they are now out in no man’s land without a table. Their anger is also palpable when they realize you’re sitting at a table with an outlet and not even utilizing it.

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Bonus Points: Sometimes, if you’re lucky, some bold person will actually ask you in an entitled manner to switch tables, because they need the outlet that you’re not using. It is important to respond to this request with the following line, "Oh, this outlet doesn’t actually work, otherwise I totally would." Then find the very next person walking around with a laptop looking for a plug and graciously offer them the table and leave, possibly while winking at the person you just lied to about the outlet.

3. The Overly Loving Couple

It never fails that in every coffee shop there is that couple who sits on the same side of the booth/table leaving the other side completely empty. Everyone hates these people, not because there is anything wrong with being in love, but because they are socially flaunting it to the world, which just makes them obnoxious.

I like to throw a monkey wrench into their whole lovey dovey morning bullshit. Boldly sit down at their table (don’t ask, just sit) and comment on how busy the place is. State how they seemed like "really nice friendly people" and how you’re sure they wouldn’t mind sharing the table with you. Be ULTRA friendly while being totally awkward and rude at the same time, making the mere suggestion of you being intrusive as some kind of social character flaw of theirs. Oftentimes they will cite how they were having a "private moment" or a "personal conversation," to which you can immediately turn their lovey dovey world upside down by aggressively informing them that the people behind them are actually closer to them than you are right now and how they aren’t asking THEM to leave.

Seinfeld booth scene
"What do you want me to do, Schmoopy? He just sat down!"

Start using clichés about how there really aren’t any decent, friendly people left in the world and make them out to be the assholes for even suggesting that you stand while eating your breakfast. Stand your ground, because honestly, no one is going to physically make you leave, especially when you profess what assholes they are for not sharing the table they aren’t even using completely. They will ALWAYS get up and profess how they were just leaving anyway, leaving you with a table all to yourself, hopefully with an outlet.

Bonus Points: If you ever see them again (and I promise you, the next time that you see them, they’ll be sitting on opposite sides of the table) wave at them emphatically while saying out loud, "Such nice people, I’ll join you in a second!" Watch how fast they eat and leave while you slowly get your coffee.

4. The Soccer Mom

Okay I’m not going to lie, this is really a dick move, but sometimes it’s totally worth it, if only in the name of revenge for all the times you almost spilled your coffee because some kid bumped into you or was running through the coffee shop like a maniac. I mean who the hell brings their kids to a coffee shop anyway? Oh right, soccer moms still sadly clinging to their post drop-off morning coffee routine on a school/daycare 2-hour snow delay.

Baby with a Starbucks bottle
What, it’s a latte so it HAS milk in it too!

I like to take ALL the highchairs and set them up around my table. Coffee shops usually only have 2-3 highchairs anyway, because again, who the hell is going to bring a kid to a coffee shop? By taking all the highchairs, it doesn’t take long for some frazzled mother to come in with her kids, requiring a highchair to strap one of her kids into and not being able to find one. She will ultimately find them ALL at your table and seeing you with more than one highchair and NO KIDS, she is going to ask if you’re using them. You have to look this woman right in the eyes and tell her, "I’m meeting my wife here in one minute. She’s bringing our triplets (or whatever number of highchairs you actually have)." Tell her, "This is the ONE AND ONLY time my wife gets a break from all the madness surrounding all the kids and she REALLY needs her coffee since she hasn’t slept a wink in over two years."

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If there is one thing that a mother understands, it’s how frazzled a mother actually is, and the idea of experiencing what she is already experiencing, times three (or however many highchairs you have) over, is simply unfathomable to her, especially since SHE is already at her wits end as it is. The "mother guilt" will set in and she will ultimately just deal with her own kids, without a highchair, in the name of complete and total sympathy for your frazzled (fictional) wife. At this point, check your watch regularly with an eye on the door, like your (fictional) family is NEVER that late. (Secretly, the actual mother is thinking, "Of course this woman is late, who wouldn’t be?! That poor woman.")

Bonus Points: If a MILF comes in and asks for one of the highchairs AFTER the other woman already asked, willingly and helpfully give her one of them while being extremely flirty with her. This will send the first woman into all-out "OH, HOW DARE HE" rage, not only over the fact that you gave it to the attractive woman and not her, but that you had the nerve to flirt with someone when your poor wife is dealing with your triplets all by herself somewhere.

5. The Businessperson

Coffee shops are notorious meeting grounds for two business people who have never actually met in person and have only ever spoken over the phone. I can’t tell you the number of times someone has walked up to me, as I was already leaving, and asked me if I was John or Jim or Dave or whoever they were supposed to be meeting there for some kind of business deal.

Two men in a business meeting
Wow that sounds like a really good deal for whomever you were supposed to meet here.

I like to pretend to be that person and then after shaking their hand and telling them it was nice to meet them, to look them over carefully and state, after a long awkward pause, that I’ve had a change of heart. The key here is to apologize for wasting their time, but tell them that you have changed your mind and you simply can’t in good faith continue this meeting a moment longer. It is important to then abruptly get up and leave the establishment, replying to ANYTHING the other person says, with "I’m sorry, I just can’t, I’m sorry." Invariably that person will not sit there a second longer and leave right after you in a total confused and angered state.

Bonus Points: If you are really sharp then you can remember the name of the person you were pretending to be (John) and go back into the coffee shop after the first person already left. Ask any person searching for a stranger if they are John and then when you actually find the real John, repeat the same process all over again ending with, "I’m sorry, I just can’t, I’m sorry."

It’s a crazy world out there and wherever there are crazy people there are always other people poking at the crazy people, for their own amusement. Admittedly, sometimes it is hard to tell who the crazy person is and who the sane person is in all this madness. Here’s a tip though: if you’re taking the world too seriously, you might just be the crazy one.

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