So I'm curious what others do when they come into a Peet's or Starbucks, no seats, lots of empty chairs at tables occupied by one person, usually on a computer, often with no food or drink, and often with their bags, coats, etc. occupying the remaining chairs. When I lived in Seattle, the etiquette was pretty clear: if there were no seats, you moved your stuff and invited the stranger with the clueless look clutching her coffee to have a chair. On the East Coast, I've been looked at as though I'm a two-headed pariah when I have politely asked to use an empty chair. I now don't ask: I smile and sit down at the empty chair and open my book. This week I encountered the weirdest yet. My friend, who is elderly and uses a cane, went to a table marked "for handicapped guests" which had four chairs, one of which was occupied by a young man who appeared to be ablebodied and his computer. The second chair was occupied by his coat. I was meeting her and she asked, politely, if he would mind if she occupied a chair and she would be joined by a friend. He said "no, I'm sorry, but I'm busy and I don't want to listen to anyone chattering." She was stunned. When I arrived she explained there was no place to sit and suggested we leave. She then told me the story. I asked why she didn't ask staff to intervene, particularly since he was occupying a table marked "for handicapped guests." Being the lady she is, she said she didn't think it was worth a scene. I frankly would have made one. What is appropriate here? Should management be prepared to intervene? Are an increasing number of people being raised by wolves?