I am a coffee-lover. I am not shy about this. I have no qualms accepting this. And my coffee loves me back too.
For all the fuss I make about coffee, I drink only 2 cups a day. Alright, maybe three on a particularly stressful day.
But, I NEED two cups of GOOD coffee.
I cannot settle for insipid brown liquids that try to masquerade as coffee.
When I joined my most recent job a few years ago, one of the biggest problems I had was with the coffee vending machine. It vended really bad coffee. And I vented my frustration to anyone within ear shot at coffee time.
After much noise, and frequent complaints and several trials, the admin department finally found a machine that met my standards. Things settled down.
I got back to my routine. Walk into office, boot the laptop, wave to a few people, and head straight to the vending machine in the pantry. Bring back that hot cuppa, and then start with any pretense of doing any work. Before that first cup, I couldn’t even bother pretending to work!
After lunch, struggle to keep eyes open. Use toothpicks if needed to make sure the eyelids don’t close. Keep up this activity till about 3 pm. Head back to the pantry in zombie state.
Bring back a cup of the hot, frothy brew, and come alive again. Now I can have some real work related conversations. Aah!
The Day of the Trial
The admin department likes to experiment. They bring in new caterers sometimes, or a new juice vending machine comes along. And so on. I am ok with all that. After all, people need change.
But I am really nervous each time they bring in a new coffee vending machine. Suddenly, I am a great proponent of ‘If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it’.
So imagine my fright when yet another shiny new trial coffee machine suddenly manifested in the pantry one morning.
I ignored it completely. I refuse to be swayed by external appearances. This machine looked so proud with all its shiny steel exterior and fancy blue lights and touch interfaces. I know all about such pretentious machines. They cannot handle the pressure of doling out coffee in huge quantities. They breakdown with depression in no time. Hmph!
I headed straight to my favorite old brown machine where you had to sometimes sit on the button to make it work. But who cares. When it oozed out the brown liquid, it was perfection.
And the Horror Started
That day, my machine did not work. There were no lights. Nothing. It looked very dead. I looked around frantically for help. One of the office assistants was around. He came running to help me because he thought I might have hurt myself or something. My face must have conveyed my acute pain. I was actually close to tears.
I asked him what happened to my vending machine. He visibly relaxed. He could help. He had the answer. He gently informed me that there was a trial. Since the new machine was young and inexperienced, it could not handle competition. So the older senior machine had been switched off for the day.
If the pretty young thing cannot handle competition for one day, how did it expect to survive in this cut-throat world? These young ones, I tell you. All style and no substance.
I told the office assistant to plug in my machine. He said I would need to get the supervisor’s permission.
By this time a small crowd had gathered in the pantry. I wore such a shocked expression and looked to be so much in pain that people stopped to ask me what was wrong. I told them all in great detail about the cruelty being inflicted on me.
I went as far as to proclaim loudly that I would complain to my boss. My productivity was slipping dangerously, and the sole reason was the replacement of the coffee machine. By this time, many others had also joined the ‘bring back the old machine’ movement, swayed by my histrionics. The only thing missing was placards.
This scared the office assistant. By this time, there was enough chaos that the supervisor had also materialized. They huddled together and got deep into discussion about how to manage the situation. It was getting out of hand.
I left them to their discussions and rushed out since I was late for a meeting. The meeting was in another building. I got lucky. The head of the admin department sits in the other building.
When important matters are at stake, you use any amount of strategy to get your work done!
I smoothly engineered a way to run into him. While talking about this and that, I casually brought up the issue of the disconnected vending machine. I told him that many people in the other building were distraught. Of course, I never made any reference to myself.
I finished my meeting and went back to my building. I headed straight to the pantry to continue the battle that I had left mid-way.
The Aaah Moment
There was no crowd. What happened to the forces I had marshaled? Uh-oh! The office assistant was standing there looking smug. I think he was waiting for me. He pointed at my vending machine. The good old thing had been resurrected. The lights were on, and it was sitting there meditatively spewing some steam.
I burst into the pantry, grabbed a mug, filled it with that delectable, frothy brown liquid, took a sip, and almost fainted with the pleasure. Aaah!