Wednesday, October 17, 2007

On the Coffee Burner Warpath: The Pot Thickens II

Hello, daaaahlings. I have been swamped (I know! No excuse!) what with the job and the job-hunting and the suit shopping and the stressing. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t really had much time to read other blogs or to comment on them (stressing takes up a lot of time), let alone post something on mine. None of that has really changed (except for the suit shopping), but I’ve got to write something before I lose the few readers I have left. So I will post on something near and dear to my heart: coffee.

I should say at the outset that I know that this is not something I should get worked up about. And I didn't, at first, but this has been going on for about a year. What, you ask? A silent battle between me and someone whose identity I have not yet established. Possibly more than one person. And I don't dwell on it, really, but when it happens, it temporarily gets my blood pressure up until I get distracted by work things and forget about it. What, you ask (again)? I'm getting to it.

We have a pretty simple coffee system here at work. We have one of those industrial-type coffee makers that’s always plugged in and thus always ready to go. All you have to do is put the grounds in the little cup thing and pour the water in, and it will start making coffee. No buttons need pressing, no switches need flipping. Just pour in the water.

Now, it’s possible, even probable, that all the freshly-brewed coffee in the pot won’t get nabbed immediately and could go cold sitting there. That’s why there’s a warmer. The warmer is not on continuously–it must be turned on. For that purpose, there’s a little switch to turn it on, helpfully labeled “warmer.” But letting the coffee sit on the warmer is not so much in the category of “good idea.” You know what happens when you let coffee sit on a warmer, right? It thickens and turns gray and gross. And for that reason, we have a coffee thermos/carafe thing that we pour the coffee in when it’s done. It’s right next to the coffee pot. Convenient, no?

No, obviously not, not for some people. At least once a week, I go into the break room to discover the pot just sitting there on the warmer. This bugs me for a number of reasons.

First, don’t be so lazy that you’re willing to make the coffee but not pour it into the carafe. And I’d say that someone just started the coffee brewing, turned the warmer on, and left (which also bothers me) (what, that’s supposed to be doing us a favor? Do it right or don’t do it at all!), but there is often coffee gone from the pot, so someone was willing to pick up the pot and pour a cup of coffee but not to take the extra step of pouring the rest into the carafe so that the rest of us wouldn’t have to chew our coffee.

But it also bothers me because I suspect that someone believes that you have to turn the warmer on in order to make the coffee. This despite the fact that the little switch clearly says “warmer” and not “brew” or anything like it. And so once, to be helpful, (and I think this will surprise no one), I made a little note that I stuck on the coffee maker. The note very nicely (no, really) reminded people that you didn’t need to turn the warmer on to make coffee and also, please don’t leave an empty coffee pot on the warmer because we don’t want exploding coffee pots or fires or whatnot. This note did absolutely no good. And then someone took my note down. I . . . I don’t know how to take that. Not only did it not change anyone’s behavior, but because I know the note was read but changed nothing, now I know that the bad coffee behavior is willful. It’s intentional and knowing. That’s a crime, y’all. I’m sure of it. AND “INTENTIONAL AND KNOWING” MAKES IT A FELONY. At least, in my book of things I consider criminal behavior.

And that brings me to my third problem with warmer use: the ever-present danger of fires. And exploding coffee pots. And whatnot. The coffee pot itself came with warnings--it clearly says that it should not be heated when empty, and that if it’s heated when empty it should not be used anymore, and dire consequences will result if these orders are not followed. Fires! Exploding glass! Whatnot! And this, I thought, was common knowledge for coffee drinkers. It’s in the great collective unconscious, right? And everyone has at some point been told that you don’t put an empty glass container on a heat source. Right?

Not everyone, though, apparently. Grr. Is someone doing this on purpose just to annoy me? Seriously, how many times do I have to walk down the hall with a stanky, smoking, burned-up coffee pot, looking for our custodian so I can show her the pot and ask her (a) can it be saved and (b) if not, do we have any more, and to talk about how lucky we were that the whole building didn’t burn down? And I wrote about it on my note, to no avail. Willful, y’all. Willful bad behavior. All this coffee ado does not put me in the proper mindset to get work done. What’s a woman to do? I’m out of ideas. I already left a note.


jes said...

Wow. Judging by that first paragraph, it seems you and I have been up to a lot of the same things lately.

jes said...

Wow. That's some serious coffee misbehaviour. (Am I British? Or even Canadian?)

In all honesty, I think what you need right about now is JD's Chippery.

JLR said...

I do! I do need JD's! And we should talk about the "same things lately" bit. I haven't talked to you in FOREVER.

RR said...

You should spend the day staked out in the break room to see if anyone comes in and practices bad coffee behavior. Well, it wouldn't really be a stake out because everyone else would be able to see you. Maybe just a wait out, then. And if people ask you what you're doing, you can just say, "I'm waiting." And when they ask what you're waiting for, you can ask, "Are you going to have some coffee?" And then you can see what they do.

JLR said...

rr: um, that is brilliant.

Heather said...

I just... go to Starbucks. Or Caribou.

Also, people suck.

Our office has a timer connected to the coffee maker (it's so rigged, it's probably a massive fire hazard) so that it won't be on the warmer for more than four hours. I think. Sometimes I... mess with the timer. Because it's my boss's coffee.

Bwuh ha ha ha!

Deals On Wheels said...

I'm considering eating coffee grounds from now on. Then you don't have to worry about coffee pot warmers and whatnot. Plus, let's be honest here, I need a caffeine IV. Regular coffee does nothing for me anymore. I drooled at my desk today. DROOLED!

JLR said...

Man, you guys are all on fire with the comments today. You are keeping me much entertained.

Heather: I think you might be an evil genius (the best kind of genius there is). I would hate to see what you and RR could come up with together.

Deals: I laugh every time I think about you drooling at your desk. Shall I start saving my old coffee grounds for you? They're used, but maybe their being damp will make them going down easier.

Deals On Wheels said...

Okay. Sounds good. I'm floor manager today, so I'll start looking for a spoon...

Amstaff Mom said...

At the end of paragraph two, I could almost hear you say, "I'm getting there, I'm getting there!"

Sorry for your coffee troubles. I'm a lazy coffee drinker and truly not addicted. I come to the office when the pot is freshly brewed and about 2 hrs later, I realize that I would like 1/3 cup of coffee. No warmer, as is.

But I REALLY like hot tea. :)

Heather said...

Deals, please don't eat the coffee grounds with a spoon.

But if you do, please take pictures. I'm imagining that it would be as awesome as my Thanksgiving last year when one of my guy friends did a shot of turkey fat for $5.

JLR said...

AM: I definitely had that quote in mind! I like hot tea as well, but it just doesn't have the same kick to it.

Heather: EEEEWWWWW! Ew, ew, ew. But what fun it must have been to say "I'll pay you $5 to eat the fat," and then to have someone actually do it. No one ever takes me up on my offers like that.