Heated exchange

I work for one of those companies that still employs a tea lady. Apart from the fact that she’s an evil old hag who probably urinates in the coffee urn when we aren’t looking, she’s really lovely. The trouble is that she takes her job a little too seriously.

I wasn’t privy to the discussions that took place when she was first employed, but I can’t help wondering how strongly the branch manager stressed that she was to “keep the kettle filled”, because this is exactly what she does – with a single-mindedness that would be admirable if it wasn’t so damned annoying.

It takes the (urine-filled) urn a while to boil, so those of us who arrive early have to rely on the kettle for our morning beverage. So far, so good. However, she also arrives early, so as soon as it has boiled and anyone pours out so much as a drop, she lunges for it like a trapdoor spider and scuttles off to the sink to fill it up again. You have to be prepared to wrestle it from her grasp+ if you’re second in line and aren’t interested in waiting for the topped-up kettle to re-boil. It’s either that, or make do with lukewarm coffee.

Not the best way to start the morning.

+ and let me tell you, wizened crones can be deceptively strong

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25 thoughts on “Heated exchange

  1. Kyk, don’t let anyone mess with your coffee! That is unacceptable…
    Spend some time watching that Wrestle-mania or something so you can out-manouvre her. 😉

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  2. Almost as bad as our tea lady who leaves at 4, and locks away the cups at the same time, or, when she’s really being mean, locks away the coffee / sugar and milk instead. It’s always one or the other, I think she alternates just to spite us.

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  3. Ours hovers for finished cups. No sooner has the last drop spilled from the lip of the mug, but it’s swept out of your hands and washed furiously. It can be dangerous to get in the way.

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  4. Get a flask, as soon as the water boils, pour it in! Then she can refill/reboil as much as she wants.

    Add to her task list. She needs to ensure that there is always boiling water in the flask!!

    Problem solved. You have hot water and she will feel more empowered having been given extra responsibilities.

    DOUBLE WORD SCORE: Tell her to ask the branch manager for a raise as she has taken on addtional responsibility and watch him squirm!!

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  5. bosbou: But then I’ll be charged with battery.

    peas: If you’re thinking along the lines of ‘The Illustrated Guide to Giving Up Caffeine’, don’t bother. I have enough coffee-table books already.

    louisa: Yow. That’s a case of the cure being worse than the disease.

    parenthesis: When your tea starts developing a slight ammonia-like odour, that’s when you know for sure.

    xGW: There are only so many ways to say “okay, I hate you now” before it gets old.

    dolce: Can’t stand hoverers. Makes me want to swat them, although that really wouldn’t fly with management.

    revo: That there is nothing short of a fuckin’ brilliant suggestion. Simple. Elegant. Genius. I’ll ask Peas to send you an ant shaped vibrator as well.

    mrs B: Decaf? In the morning?? That’s seven kinds of ugly. Although now that I think about it, it could just be my boss making me twitchy and irritable.

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  6. There are rules at our company. Lots of it. We have little memos & little briefs on kitchen procedures and it has even made the agenda for the weekly company meeting. What made my head cave in was when it was stressed that we should please refer from using somebody elses “special cup”. NO MORE!!
    So to the owner of the “Jamaica me crazy” cup – thank you for being so upfront about your mental state. A special cup for a special person.

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  7. Not really an example of the fine moments to be had around a cup of coffee if you believe the commercials.

    Yeah, get a gallon sized thermos and be done with her for the day.

    She reminds me of the parking attendents where I used to work. They only had a *bit* of power, but they were going to squeeze.every.drop. to make life miserable whenever possible.

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  8. peas: Cool. Oh wait, nearest one’s about 7km away. Looks like it’s going to have to be an ant shaped vibrator after all.

    anicker: It still beats those stupid Garfield mugs.

    ol’ hoss: I could, but I think I might be a bit old to become a hermit.

    angel: They don’t call it “The Vale of Tears” for nothing.

    sophie: Gallon sized? Does they come with a “born to be wired” T-shirt?

    inyoka: True. It’ll also save me trips to the toilet in case I decide I prefer adulterated water.

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  9. Our tealadies are obviously related to all the afore-mentioned tealadies. We have two. They keep filling the damm urn so it takes two days to heat. They grab your mug for washing straight from your trembling early morning withrawal lips and then don’t wash said mug if you fight for the right to drink the very last drop. My alltime fave tho is when they decide that it is 3.00pm and they need to wash up so they switch off our personal coffee machine and whip away the pot and then…. gasp…pour the leftover coffee down the sink. Then if course they lock away the coffee,the tea, the sugar……cruelty they name is “Tea Hag”

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  10. She can be lucky she doesn’t work in my building – nobody, but nobody intereferes with my morning coffee…!
    You need a Starbucks nearby for those mornings, Kyk.

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  11. charmskool: I strongly suspect that there’s a hidden academy for tealadies where they learn the secrets of the the tea code – sort of like the Assassin’s Guild in the Discworld stories, except tealadies specialise in killing souls.

    terri: I’ll leave you to make the arrangements, shall I?

    livewire: I think that’s more of a perk than her actual job.

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  12. Hey, at least you have a kettle that works. Ours has this thing that if it’s been boiled recently (lie in the last two hours) the switch won’t stay down, so you have to hold it down.

    hey, my mom commented on your blog! two generations of fandom, dude, that’s pretty sweet!

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  13. Today our tea lady asked me if I was married and had kids, because for some reason she thought I was. I’m still mystified… (for those of you that don’t know me it’s pretty obvious that I’m not!)

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