Preface: I’m an awful person 2 or 3 times a year. End Preface.
Ok, so I work in an office with three other men. Three of us drink coffee. One of them guzzles Diet Coke by the case load. We take turns buying a jumbo bucket of Folger’s Classic Garbage Roast. One of these guys owns the coffee machine and has all these rules:
- First one in makes the first pot
- Use the empty milk jug to fill the water tank INSTEAD of the carafe
- Refill the jug immediately after it is emptied
- Last coffee drinker to leave throws away the filter/grounds at the end of the day
- And cleans out the carafe
- And wipes off the counter
Now did he TELL us these were the rules? No. Did he tell us that it was his coffee machine? No. I didn’t know until there was a coffee situation.
So first off, I don’t even clean my own coffee cup. I let the coffee residue create a beautiful cake on the inside of the mug. I call it “seasoning” the mug. The goal is that if for some reason there were no coffee to be found, I could pour hot water into my mug and have coffee. Complicated, totally wouldn’t work, but I like to be “fake” prepared.
So anyway, I followed his unspoken rules for awhile. But slowly, my resolve evaporated until one week the guy was out of town and neither I nor the other coffee drinker followed the rules. So when I came in Monday morning, I grabbed my mug and went to fill it and found that there was no coffee machine!!
So I asked, “Where’s the coffee?”
He said, “The machine is broken.”
“Where is it?” I asked. “Maybe we can fix it?”
I started looking for it, and found it under his desk.
“Ok, so what’s wrong with it?” I asked.
His face screwed up and he pushed his glasses up on his nose and shouted, “It was a fucking mess! I come in here and there’s grounds and coffee everywhere! The jug is empty! A fucking mess!”
Did I apologize? Nope. Should I have? Maybe. But my attitude was that if he wanted us to follow his rigid rules, he should have said so. Plus he outright lied to me about the machine being broken. Should the behavior he expected be obvious and a point of common courtesy? [sheepish maybe]. Without a word, I got in my car and drove 30 minutes to my house, grabbed a coffee maker I wasn’t using, drove back, and set it up right next to his desk.
I stood there and addressed the room. “Ok, so here are the rules. Don’t change the filter until you need to except on Fridays. If the mess bothers you then clean it up. Feel free to use the carafe to refill the water. Enjoy.”
He just stared at me for awhile…humorless. Perhaps he was dumbfounded. Perhaps he was just plain pissed off. I didn’t really care. He never said a word and we get along just fine.
And another thing! His coffee maker SUCKED.