Tales of Subsidized CoffeeCare

So I saw that Bob Martin—someone I don't personally know—posted a note from Dana Puopolo—a person neither of us knows—which he in-turn copied from Brian Krewson's status. I thought it was pretty good, but I changed it from a soda machine to coffee to try and make it just a little more relevant. I rewrote the story a bit, but it's largely Krewson's work.

So imagine you are working for a company that doesn't have coffee on the premises. Instead, there are vendors outside that sell coffee and, if you want it, you get your coffee from one of them.

Jane posts a suggestion: all the other companies give their employees coffee so why can't we? Management asks people and nearly all your colleagues say they want coffee inside, but some don't want it for free because some people drink more than others and they would rather have higher pay than to have it free for everybody. Also, the coffee vendors get wind of this idea so they go to management and suggest they sell coffee inside instead of on the street.

Management likes this suggestion. To appeal to supporters of Jane's original suggestion, they add that the lowest-paid employees will get reimbursed 80% for one cup a day of the cheapest coffee, and everybody else will need to buy their own. (And, since coffee makes everybody more productive, people who don't want any coffee will have to pay a fee for their lower productivity.)

Once again, they put it to a vote, and when the poll came back, the majority of your colleagues said "yes": this was an acceptable compromise. So management sets up a department to handle the coffee vendors, and within a few weeks, there's coffee for sale in the break room.

Among the people who said "no" was Bill in accounting. He felt that this went too far: offering coffee inside was a waste of company resources, and worse, giving a discount to low-pay employees discouraged them from working harder. He campaigns throughout the office to get the coffee vendors kicked out.

Well, management decides "OK, we'll ask again" and again, the majority of people say "yes, lets keep the coffee for sale inside just as we agreed." Bill continues to campaign, and management continues to ask the employees, and every time, the answer is in favor of the coffee. This happens, lets say… over 40 times. Eventually, Bill says "OK, I'M NOT PROCESSING PAYROLL ANYMORE UNTIL THE COFFEE IS REMOVED", so nobody will get paid unless management removes the coffee vendors.

What should we do?

Answer: Fire Bill and get someone who will do the fucking job.

Bonus: Bill tells everyone that he was willing to "negotiate", to come to a solution where everyone got their payroll checks, but only so long as that negotiation capitulated to his demand to remove the coffee vendors. Bill is clearly an asshole.

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Firestone and Jitters

Well February is coming to a close and since we bought the Buick Wagon last year at the beginning of February, it was time for its inspection. Since I had a coupon I decided to go to my usual garage of Firestone (369 Jefferson Rd.).

I also brought along a coupon for "free coffee" at Jitters CaféMySpace link (3333 W. Henrietta Rd., in Southtown Plaza) since it was in the same plaza. It was a snowy day and it appeared that there was only one person working. They were hidden in back making someone else's sandwich — for around 3 or 4 minutes with not even an acknowledgment of myself or the woman who came in after I did. This didn't bode well. When the solitary employee finally got to me, I ordered a breakfast sandwich and the free coffee. She pointed out that the free 12-ounce coffee [I didn't notice whether the coupon even specified a size] would probably not fill my travel mug — all 14 ounces of it..

Ok, now I don't know everything about running a coffee shop, but I do know that the cost of a cup of regular coffee is almost completely labor — coffee for a whole pot (even fancy coffee) might cost 50 cents.

Me and the woman behind me got our food at the same time, presented collectively with bland indifference. Fortunately they were different kinds and it was clear whose was whose.  In all, I'm not very impressed.

But to top things off, the Buick needed a few things. I had intended on bringing it in soon anyway for a regular shakedown but today I just wanted to get the inspection done quick. It passed — but the power steering pump was leaking as was the pinion bearing on the rear differential.

I thought it funny that I had to step back and rethink the day. I had originally planned to stay and wait, but the repairs would take until early afternoon. I almost stayed anyway but decided instead to get a few things done at home. They offered me a ride back to my house. Later in the day I returned and paid for the repairs, and then Ali brought me back when she got out of work to collect the beast.

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Breakfast at the new Flour City Diner

Ali and I headed out to breakfast at Flour City Diner (2500 East Ave., formerly at 35 Chestnut St.) which has moved from their Chestnut Street location to the corner of East Avenue and Penfield Road — the Renaissance Apartments building just off 490. I think it's technically now in Brighton but, like all things suburban around here, it's still named after the city it abandoned.

We've found breakfast at the old location to be hit-or-miss. Generally the food quality was good but frequently the service left a lot to be desired. The new location is more of the same, only farther away [from us, at least, which is all that really matters]. I had the Cowboy Benedict which was eggs Benedict with steak — a good combination although a bit short on Hollandaise sauce.

I asked about credit cards and was told by our server that they are now accepted (they didn't used to be) but that cash is encouraged. I debated whether to go one way or another — I don't tend to carry much cash around, relying instead on moving money through plastic. I decided that if I got my coffee cup filled 3 times I would pay with cash.

Now what ever happened to that? Coffee refills, that is. I've noticed that Mount Hope Diner (1511 Mt. Hope Ave.) is particularly good about it, but other area diners seem to think that two cups is all you need. Well no, ma'am: keep it coming. Ideally, servers should have a coffee pot holster and be at-the-ready at any given moment to "warm up" a cup.

So I did get my 3rd refill, albeit long after we were done and from a different server. I ended up paying cash, but more because our server was so dreadfully slow that I was afraid we'd be there for another half-hour. And, you know — call me old fashioned [again] — but is it really too much to ask to be addressed and to have eye-contact when being spoken to? Our server seemed to always be telling us things while walking away.

So, to be honest, it's not all that different from when they were downtown. There are more seats (but apparently the same number of glasses and ketchup containers). Definitely a better-than-average diner, but I'm not sure if it's worth the trip.

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