Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Crushed Leaves and Cow Lactations

There’s a theory going around at the moment that the best way to deal with anyone who is particularly useless at their job is to promote them to a level where they can no longer do any harm. This theory seems to be supported by the promotion of (TV gameshow regular and All-Round Upper Class Twit) Boris Johnson to the position of Mayor of London.

Barely a week into his term of office Boris was introduced to the current Mayor of New York. NY Mayor presented Boris with a specially created Faberge apple symbolic of the Big Apple worth hundreds of dollars – Boris returned the favour by presenting a novelty London T-Shirt worth £5.99

Let’s face it – the British image abroad is not the best. No one in the Eurovision Song Contest will vote for us and any fictional rendering of a Brit is usually of a sexually-repressed upper class twit or of a cool, calm villain. Whilst we do still have our fair share of both very few of us wear bowler hats and suits, carry an umbrella everywhere or hold our little fingers out whilst drinking tea.

Although: we do drink tea - lots of it. We’d have it intravenously through a drip if we could – particularly at work.

Personally I prefer a coffee first thing in the morning – the bitter taste reminds me I’m still alive and gives me something other to think about than the Excel spreadsheet I’m going to be spending morning staring at in a vain attempt to look busy – but the issue of tea in the workplace is a contentious one.

One of my roles in my job is to look after the supplies in our mini-kitchen, ensuring that tea, coffee and especially milk are in good supply. This is not always easy as the Evil Spawn Of Satan (people who take the tea milk for their cornflakes) will happily get through the first 2 pints by the time I roll in to work. They have been told that this action could lead to bloody rebellion, but they continue to take the risk…

If any of the supplies runs out you can guarantee that I’ll get an instant email or phone call from someone on the verge of emotional break-down, whereupon I have to establish if we received our full contingent of cow lactations or if we were short changed by the main kitchen. This is not easy as they lie to protect their own staff from the carnage that would ensue if they were unable to supply a hot brew of crushed leaves upon request.

You may think I’m over-exaggerating here, but I’m talking about a work place where some teams have resorted to signing up to http://www.itsyourround.com/ and similar sites to avoid the bitterness that results from someone persistently refusing to make a cuppa of an afternoon. Senior Managers are particularly bad on this – one Director recently requisitioned a flip-chart holder purely as a way of recording who had last made tea and how frequently. They tried to ban drinks at tables due to health and safety reasons and had to back-track rapidly, bringing in cups with lids especially to avoid further bloodshed.

At home I barely touch the stuff – meaning that when I do finally make a brew I actually appreciate it, but I doubt that even I could get through a whole morning at work without a nice cup of tea.
I guess we just do what we have to in order to survive the mundane nature of jobs clearly designed by scientists to see who’ll go mad with an axe first. My guess is the person who finishes off the teabags will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes – but I could be wrong. He does, after all, make a lovely cup of tea!


Anonymous said...


Still trying to detect scientists in a lab somewhere or time-traveling cats that rule the world.

Not to mention that one of those parties are: making you listen to old women screaming to talk to deaf men on the double-deckers; sit next to obnoxious, idiotic teenagers who curse like it has replaced the traditional alphabet; and now civil wars and revolutionary factions at your job (History books will talk about the battle of Crushed Leaves and Cow Lactations in 2008 at the United Kingdom).

If it's the scientists, then the sensible people are suffering for their experiments and entertainment. If it's the cats, they might be doing the same thing, but they have the ability to go back and change it all.

You must seek the truth. It shall set you free!!!

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Yes, of course! The scientists are in league with the cats!! Why didn't i see it before? Thanks for making me smile today :)

Honour said...

You mean you don't wear bowler hats over there???

(just kidding).

fascinating tea culture. it's the same here in Canada - except of course, it's coffee. My workplace has a higher number of people from around the world, though ... and now that you mention it -- we DO have a large number of tea drinkers. (Including myself, I don't touch anything with caffeine, having overdosed on it in university).

People get *very* upset when they boil water in our kettle, and come back only five minutes later to see their hot water has been "stolen" by someone else. Then, there are the folks who stand around the kettle as it boils, guarding their territory very carefully.

Yes, that would be interesting an anthropological cross-country study on office etiquette (including: communal hot beverages, cleaning microwaves, and emptying out rotten food out of the fridge)!

Very entertaining posting :)

Jenny said...

Some work places have very nasty kitchens, but the nastiest kitchens ever are the one you can find if you live in a collective.

That's true, you don't get so very high points in ESC. It feels like you don't give a damn about this competion over there, cause your song contributions always seem to be some kind of silly joke. I must say you had a quite good song this year though, so I guess it is so that the other countries are annoyed at the British image.

It's not very common drinking tea at the work places here, or not at least where I have been. It's always coffee, coffee, coffee. And I don't like coffee. So I feel a bit out of it. I really must learn to drink coffee. :S