Saturday 7 October 2017

Worrying moment

I find it very difficult to be out on the town and buy a cup of tea or coffee. I know that you're paying for the waitron, the warmth and the seat out of the rain, but it just seems a big difference between 3c for a tea-bag and €2.00 for a tea-bag in a cup of hot-water. Cappuccino is somewhat different, that requires kit and skill that are beyond my pay-grade. aNNyway, my office at The Institute has a window! that looks out into . . . The Canteen. Proximity makes it convenient if I want to nip to the boiler and get some hot water to throw onto one of my tea-bags. I bring a handful of these things, as required, from home. I always bring 'lunch' to work, which is usually two slices of home-made sourdough on either side of a slab of cheese, with lettuce or rocket, if we have any in the garden. In my first week, I established that the rule was that hot water was free. Well sometime in the second week of term, a notice appeared above the hot-water boiler:
If you are bringing your
own tea/coffee
milk, spoon, cup
these need to be paid 
for at the till
I was there, with my septic mug with one of my tea-bag, the place was super-busy so I went ahead, filled up and slunk back to my desk. There was no way I was going to pay 20c for hot-water. When I got home that evening, I hunted through the kitchen closets and wider through the sheds looking through boxes of stuff for a 'spare' electric kettle . . . to no avail. The next day, I filled a couple of 500ml water bottles and resolved to drink cold water - which I basically never do. But over-night, probably through the medium of a nightmarish dream, I'd had time to reflect on the peculiar syntax, punctuation and fonts of the previous day's announcement. I went to check the wording at a slack time in the during and providentially found one of the caterers trick about with the machine next door. This lady patiently explained that the status quo ante applied, the new sign was to put a stop to the gallop of people who brought a tea-bag, yes, but used a company cup, wasted a disposable company spoon, and took an aliquot of company milk.

It boggles my mind that anyone would think that the cup and the milk etc. were sort of 'free'. Then again, the sugar, bucketfuls in sachets, is 'free'; as are the loathsome one-use plastic tea-spoons. I've reflected on my dubiously flexible ethical code; especially w.r.t. small-small spoons on/from airlines. But it seems wrong and sort of self-destructive to be looting the cutlery from your place of work . . . unless you feel really hard-done-by and exploited there. Cripes, I could walk off with a dinner plate every day, until I had a service-for-twelve and then sell it on Ebay. I think I learned this sketchy moral code from my Reasonably Honest father.

No comments:

Post a Comment