Coffee Drama

In the world of "I may look like an adult but I am really 5 years old" comes a news story:

Company provides regular and decaf coffee to its small team of employees. There are 2 coffee pots. One is marked Decaf and the other Regular. Several of the regular coffee drinkers discuss the impact of caffeine and decide to start making half regular and half decaf in the Regular pot. Lets call them A, B and C. MONTHS later, another employee (D) learns of the change from an employee (E) who doesn't even drink coffee. Both D and E are usually non-confrontational employees, but D sends an email to E with bold underlined terms telling E she would appreciate it if she make regular coffee in the Regular pot and not the half and half mixture as it makes some people sick. (2 years ago we told D to stand up for herself to E and apparently she really took it to heart.) E, who doesn't make coffee since she doesn't drink it, shows the email to her supervisor, A.

Fortunately for me, I am out of the office that afternoon. When things are calmer I learn of the issue and sweetly ask A, B and C to make regular coffee in the Regular pot and just mix the half and half in their cups.

A buys a new coffee pot where they can mix half and half and clearly marks the top that the pot is for A, B and C. She points it out to me and tells me it is for anyone who wants any, and she is sure D is too lazy to make regular coffee and that pot will remain empty. (A decaf drinker has made decaf coffee already.)

2 hours into the day, and the Regular pot sits empty. Incidentally, D has a disability and many health issues. It may be difficult for D to make coffee. However, while some of the employees are sympathetic, many state they believe she uses these issues to get her way. (She walks very slowly to answer the door - some people have even left she took so long - but can move very fast when her cell phone rings or when going to break.) Either way, some really do think D uses her disability and is just lazy.

A, B and C have noticed the empty pot and continue to check it. Is it time for naps yet?



  • 11 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I'd say not only is it time for naps, it's time for somebody to be put in the corner for a nice long time out!:D

    We've had coffee drama of our own in the past. The corporate headquarters' offices orders coffee from a local coffee roaster, for our own use. A couple of people in other departments threw a hissy fit because we got the "good stuff" and they had to make do with something lesser, and it blew up into a huge dramatic thing...I'm sure somewhere in there my least favorite words in the world, "it's not fair" were thrown around, until finally the heads of the other departments said okay, they could order their own fancy coffee if it would just shut them up. And here's the really stupid thing: I think one of the biggest agitators was an individual who didn't actually drink coffee anyway.
  • In a former life one of the duties of the "Dir. of Personnel" was to also take care of the break room vending machines in the main office and distribution centers. We had free coffee to all employees for years and sure enough the non-coffee drinkers begin to complain that is was not fair they had to pay for their sodas, bottled water etc and the coffee was free. We ended up removing the free coffee and adding another vending machine to dispense hot coffee. The coffee was not near as good but it did cut down on the consumption of coffee.
    I recall the best item in the cold vending machines was a quarter pound balonga sandwich on Texas toast. It started out with only one slot but it was so popular we had to add three more slots just to try and stay in stock.
  • Update - it has been more than 2 weeks and no one has made coffee in the regular coffee pot. I strongly believe that if you aren't prepared to do it yourself then you should NOT complain about how it is being done!
  • I was in an office where a similar situation kept happening, except on the other side of the caffeine spectrum. People would make extra strong coffee. The coffee came in pre-measured packs, but some people would put in a pack and a half or two packs.

    Every couple of months, HR would send out an email reminding everyone to make coffee with only one pack, trying out different persuasive tactics like saying the coffee was measured for maximum flavor or that extra caffeine was an unwelcome surprise to many.

    I drink coffee only a few times a year because I'm pretty sensitive to caffeine, so I can imagine that it would be a truly unpleasant surprise to unexpectedly be extra caffeinated. However, I have good friends who have to have caffeine and I can understand how some would rather drink two cups of strong coffee instead of four regulars.

    Once, I was in early and walked in the break room as the manager of one of the larger groups was training someone new to make coffee with two packs, explaining that some people didn't like it so you had to do it on the sly, but that the coffee was just too weak otherwise. I felt like I had walked in on something illegal and didn't know where to look.

    We had 4 coffee pots, so I never understood why they didn't label one "2xs!!!" and be done with it.
  • Wow! Who knew coffee-making could be a covert operation?!

    One of the reasons I don't drink coffee very often is because my parents were of the "if it isn't pitch black and doesn't melt the bowl off a spoon, it isn't real coffee" mindset. Theirs was the first I ever tasted and it was just WAY too strong. I didn't bother to try any other coffee for years, and I never really learned how to make coffee.

    When I first came to work in this department, somebody asked me to make a pot of coffee for a meeting. I had no clue how much to use so I just kept scooping it in until I thought it looked like enough. The resulting coffee was so strong...well, let's just say that my mom & dad would've been proud. I was never asked to make the coffee again.
  • I have the opposite problem cnghr, so no one asks me to make coffee either.

    Update: coffee pot still sets empty, and people realize the subject is sensitive so don't talk about it. I guess we'll keep the 3rd unused pot until we are forced to get rid of it.

    By the way, did I mention that we also have a Keurig coffee pot available in another room? It is rarely used.
  • Hee! People are always happiest when they have something to be unhappy about. The twist of your office also having a Keurig just sent me over the edge into giggles.

    Watch out -- 2015 might be riddled with "Tea-gate" NaeNae! Best of luck!
  • Oh, I love this thread. I am not an HR professional, nor do I play one on TV, but my impulse would be to do what I do when my small children are misbehaving: Take away the problematic toy--the coffee pot(s)--and let people fend for themselves and Think About What They've Done.
  • Funny how coffee is a universal subject at the office.  One of my pet peeves is when I start a fresh pot and then come back 10 minutes later and it is empty again! Agree with Jen.

  • What about creamer? I rarely drink coffee, but when I do it's because I'm really tired and it has to have lots of milk and sugar. So when I see a flavor of creamer I like, I grab some and hoard them in my desk until the next time I drink coffee.
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