Plinky asked,“Should coffee shops limit the amount of time that laptop users can occupy tables? Why or why not? What should the time limit be?”
That depends on the coffee shop and its clientele. If a particular shop isn’t having a problem, why should it set a limit? As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
On the other hand, if a shop finds that customers can’t find a place to sit because of certain people who habitually come in, buy one drink and then monopolize the tables for many hours, then yes, perhaps a limit would be reasonable. I would try to find other options, like instituting a minimum purchase per hour policy or something of that sort first. I’d also try to encourage the laptop users to share tables as much as possible. The tables aren’t personal desks, obviously.