Entertainment And News

Man Pens Article Slamming People Who Ask Him To Guard Their Laptop While They're In A Café Restroom & Gets Roasted

Photo: Katsiaryna Pakhomava / Shutterstock
Coffee shop

An NBC News op-ed article has gone viral online after tickling the fancies of thousands of people on social media platforms — like Twitter.

Home to only the most important and largest debates humanity has ever seen, Twitter users read the op-ed and felt personally attacked by the author — appalled that they would be called out for participating in one of the oldest traditions known to man when sitting at a cafe.

The opinion piece criticized people who ask strangers to watch their belongings at a cafe.

“Dear fellow cafe goers, please don’t ask me to watch your laptop,” wrote Brian Kateman, founder of the Reducetarian Foundation. “Asking a stranger to watch your pricey belongings is oftentimes irrational and disruptive.”

Kateman goes on to talk about his personal experience from the morning he wrote the article, and how he was “jolted out of his flow” by a stranger asking him to watch his things while he went to the bathroom.

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“Don’t ask me or any other stranger to watch it if you don’t have a disability that prevents you from taking your valuables with you,” Kateman explains.

He believes that it isn’t a problem of someone actually needing help, but a problem that the person asking for help is lazy or entitled.

He’s curious how people are capable of trusting the individual they asked to watch their things over everyone else in the entire room, and ponders how someone might not think them the thief.

“But perhaps you expect more from the stranger who assented to watch your belongings,” Kateman wagers.

“It’s hard to believe you wouldn’t, because asking someone to watch something of yours turns them from passive to active bystander.”

Here, Kateman enters an argument about how the person you asked to guard your stuff should be under no obligation to actually go out of their way to protect it, also arguing that by asking them to watch your things, you’ve now reduced their productivity and stolen away their focus, pulling up research about distractions.

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People on social media, however, don’t find the predicament to be all that serious.

Alex Abad-Santos, the entertainment and culture beat at Vox, responded by saying “literally just want to pee.”

He further dramatizes the situation to mock Kateman, adding a clip from The White Lotus where Jennifer Coolidge’s character shoots wildly at an intruder alongside the caption “me defending a 2013 MacBook Air while its owner takes a p-ss.”

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Other Twitter users were equally in disbelief that the act of asking someone else to watch their belongings would warrant this much vitriol.

One user wrote, “the article is reifying anti-social behavior. it’s a big problem in our society in many different places. even places as banal as a coffee shop.”

Another user wrote, “I really don’t think this common transaction implies a promise to risk one’s life lol.”

Some joked that soon, there would be articles about why it’s rude to hold the door open for people.

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Brian Kateman addressed the popularity and criticism of his article.

Kateman, responding to Abad-Santos’s tweet, wrote “Enjoy! Just be sure to bring your laptop with you.”

Many people rushed to Kateman’s Twitter to see if he had said anything about the piece — hopefully admitting that it was satire or that he was just joking, but they found more of the same.

“I entirely agree w/ my thesis, but it’s both hilarious & horrifying this piece has gotten more viewership & engagement than my 100+ op-eds on animal abuse, the climate crisis, worker rights violations, etc,” he wrote. 

“If only café warriors cared as much about issues that actually mattered.”

Kateman seemed genuinely upset that none of his other articles about (arguably) more important subjects had done as well as something so menial.

“Honestly, I just wanted to experience the joy of writing a funny and absurd article,” he wrote in another tweet. “I’ll get back to documenting all the real horrors of the world.”

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Keep up with his rants about current events on his Twitter.