This might seem like an unusual rant, but justified. Why must the tables at Starbucks be round?
A round table is great if you're a silly k-nig-it sitting at Camelot, or maybe if you're just sitting and sipping a cappuwhatchoo, but if you're trying to get any serious work done, they're extremely inefficient. Try positioning a laptop computer, some notes or papers, and your cappuwhatchoo, and you'll find that something has to hang over the edge. Which isn't good. If Starbucks insists on courting the business crowd (which they do), then why make it so difficult to fashion a usable workspace? There simply isn't room on the small round Starbucks table for everything a businessperson or student needs to work with. Just a laptop, maybe, or just a book or notes, but not both. Not enough room.
Although there would be enough room if the round tables were square. Take the diameter of a round table and make that the length and width of a square table, and all of a sudden you have lots of space. By cutting off the corners to round the table, a good third of the usable surface is sacrificed. A square table would fit in the same amount of floor space yet serve as a much more usable workspace. Anybody ever think of that?
Granted, square tables would give the appearance of taking up more space; all square tables would make your typical Starbucks look a little more cluttered. But why not have some square tables, especially in the larger stores -- and especially along the perimeter, where a curved table next to a flat wall is particularly inefficient? If Starbucks really wants to court business users (who happily pony up for that uber-expensive T-Mobile wireless access -- and drink more fancy drinks, as well), why not engage in some ergonomic studies to maximize the workspace? As it is, the only comfortable workspace in a typical Starbucks store is the handicapped table -- and, while I'm sure there are few if any penalties for usurping this particular handicap space, there needs to be more.
Fortunately, the local coffeehouse I prefer to use is an independent joint with nicely squared tables. Unfortunately, they don't offer WiFi. Life sucks.
But that's just my opinion; you're free to disagree.