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    Oct 30, 2014

    Student in Starbucks seat-hogging case apologises

    THE student at the centre of a Starbucks seat-hogging debate has apologised for her actions after being counselled by her school, Millenia Institute.

    Responding to queries from The Straits Times, the school's principal, Tan Wan Yu, said: "The school has engaged the student and her parents to provide counselling and support to help her reflect on her actions."

    She added that the student has apologised for her actions.

    She also said that students have access to the school's study facilities such as special discussion rooms in the library and dedicated study areas for self-study throughout the year.

    Yap Huixin had complained on Starbucks' Facebook page on Sunday that its staff moved her belongings, which were left unattended for 30 minutes. She and her friends had been studying at the coffee chain's CityLink Mall outlet.

    Her post went viral online and many netizens criticised what she and her friends did to hog seats, saying Starbucks was right in putting aside their belongings to make space for other customers. An online poll conducted by The Straits Times attracted more than 11,000 responses on Tuesday, of which 96 per cent agreed with what the coffee chain did.

    Starbucks Singapore said that, according to its policy, outlet managers are empowered to make decisions on what to do with unattended belongings if the situation affects the customers' needs or safety of belongings.

    Information on peak periods, where applicable, is also stated at each store. "We encourage our customers to refrain from extended use (whether it is working or studying) during those periods, so that our other customers can come in to enjoy their Starbucks experience," a spokesman told The Straits Times.

    Other studying hot spots also have ways to manage seat hoggers. For instance, many McDonald's outlets have signs to "gently remind" students that, while they may study, they need to be considerate to other customers during peak periods, said Ms Carolyn Khiu, director of corporate communications at the fastfood chain.

    When necessary, staff may also ask students if they could share tables with other customers, she added.