3/1/12 - Wasted money on coffee


Over the last week, I've gotten a ton of requests (three) to update my blog and put out a new post.  I've been trying to think of something that has gotten me worked up over the last several weeks or months, and finally decided it was the coffee maker at work.  Exciting stuff, right?

It all started back at the first of the year when suddenly we had a new Keurig delivered and installed.  It was tied in directly to our water source and everything.  No additional information was provided, but we had a fancy new machine in our break room.  Also, there were no K-cups provided either.

Let me back up just one second here.  I do drink coffee on a regular basis.  The primary reason: because it's free.  Yes, I'm a cheap person, and free drinks are right in my wheel house.  I do enjoy coffee, but Wal-mart brand coffee when given enough sugar tastes just as good as a Starbucks blonde roast triple filtered double etc, etc...My fear with this new coffee maker was that we would be providing our own grounds/K-cups, etc.

A few weeks went by and someone was kind enough to bring in a Christmas coffee sampler and we went through that as in office in a very short period of time.  Mind you, during this time, we still had our old coffee maker which is also tied into our water system, and can make a pot of coffee very efficiently, it has multiple warmers to keep multiple pots warm at once.  We typically had a warm pot of coffee, tea and strong coffee (1.5 packs of grounds instead of one).  If you finished a pot, it was common knowledge that you should start start a new pot.  It took all of about 30 seconds to get a new filter, dump grounds, etc...and we had instant coffee any time you walked in the break room.

After the Christmas sampler pack was gone, we did eventually get some instruction.  We would be getting rid of the old coffee maker and keeping the Keurig in it's place.  It was rumored that we would be getting a second brewer, but we have yet to see it.  (at $400, I'm not surprised we haven't seen it). Yes, $400 for a machine to make coffee...the same coffee that can be made by a $5 job from Wal-mart.  For that matter, you can get cheaper Keurig brewers for a fraction of that cost.  The biggest difference is having to manually fill the water reservoir...I'm lazy, but not that lazy...shoot, they could have paid me the difference and I would have made a trip to the break room every 15 minutes to fill the water back up.

Anyways, I'm getting off track.  While this was happening, conversations were going on all the time about the new coffee machine (my life is full of excitement) and how it didn't make any sense at all.  The industry I work in (not computers in general, but the industry that I right software for) has been hit by the recession, basically the company has not done "great".  Of course that is all relative, but they have done poorly enough they can justify being cheap.

So here is a quick break down of why this is such a horrible idea.

1) The machine cost $400.  Seriously, that's just ridiculous.

2) Each cup of coffee requires it's own K-cup.  That is the brand and flavor of been using, and as much complaining as I'm doing, it does taste good.  However, unless we get a better deal for buying in bulk, each K-cup I use costs about $.65.  You can't tell me that is cheaper than buying freeze-dried/sealed whatever Folders coffee packs in bulk.

3) Time...oh my goodness the time.  For me to fill my mug every time, I have to run three cycles through the machine.  The first is to get hot water to clean out my mug.  Our previous machine had a spout on the side that provided instant water at roughly 211 degrees, JUST below boiling point...trust me, I've spilled enough on my hands to know.  Then I have to run two half cup cycles because it provides more coffee than a single full cup brew.  Assuming I make it to the break room and no one is there, that's about 3-4 minutes.  If someone else is there, or if someone comes in while I'm making my cup, there is a wait time.  Countless hours are lost every day of people standing around waiting for their turn to get coffee...

Now that I've griped about that, here's my next part of the rant.  When this started going down, we also learned that the company would no longer be providing flavored creamer.  This wasn't a problem for me since I never used it, but still, I'm guessing they had to quit that to afford the $400 machine.

Then, about 2 weeks ago, there was a notice posted that did not apply to our office since we are so small...but honestly, it's just a matter of time.  No longer will the company provide K-cups for the larger offices.  I guess they still get sugar and basic creamer, but no coffee.  If you want coffee of your own, you have to fork over the roughly $1.00 per cup, but you do get to use the fancy brewers the company so kindly provided.

If that happens to this office, I already know what will happen.  Many of us will get together and start a collection to purchase a $5 machine from Wal-mart and weekly/monthly will chip in money to buy cheap coffee in bulk.

In summary, it's just a stupid idea, and somewhat insulting that the company would do something like this.  At the end of the day, it probably saves them money, especially when they quit buying the coffee altogether.  My problem is putting employees in a position where they have to spend MORE money to use a machine that they didn't want in the first place.

I'm not going to go back and re-read this because it's too long, and I can't imagine too many people will have the patience to read the whole thing anyways...Besides, I need to get back to work, and I'm out of coffee...I need to go spend the next 15 minutes brewing up a single cup...

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