The highs and lows of an office tea club

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There is no coffee

We have run out of coffee.  And very soon we will run out of tea bags too.  Jill didn’t collect enough subscriptions for March, so Jacqui decided not to buy any coffee until the kitty has been replenished.  We are a canny lot though.  We used up the coffee, then the crappy decaff stuff and now we have all become tea drinkers.  Except for the the people who keep their own stash of coffee who not only have coffee to drink, but friends to drink it with too.

Their is talk of a mutiny.  Several people have threatened to resign from the tea club and stop paying their subs.  Of course this might be a more effective stand to make if they had paid them in the first place, but let’s not quibble.  Meanwhile the governance team are proposing a rival tea club, suggesting that they can buy better quality tea and coffee for less if they go to costco.  They know about quality improvement after all.  The rest of us aren’t convinced that costco is the mark of quality but who are we to argue?

Anyway Jacqui’s tactic may have worked.  By Friday enough people had been guiltied into paying their dues to satisfy her and she has agreed to buy supplies at the weekend.  But only for people who are up-to-date with their payments.  There is a notice on a kitchen cupboard, informing anyone who cares to read it that the supplies are for the exclusive use of tea-club members.  Then there is another notice on another cupboard naming the culprits who are behind with their payments.  The hit list includes 2 people on long term sick and 1 on maternity leave; who presumably won’t be too worried that they are not allowed to access the PG tips.  It also includes most of the IT department.  And to think we didn’t even know they were old enough to drink coffee.



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Well we’ve been busy

Tea club 925 has had a break for half term and has been quite busy this week doing actual work.  Obviously actual work isn’t as important as monitoring the progress of the tea club, but sometimes it creeps up when you are not looking.

Fortunately not everyone has allowed themselves to be so distracted.  Jill has set about collecting the monthly subs, via her preferred method of sending an email and then expecting a queue at her desk.  The queue never quite materialises though, but if she’s lucky Pat who sits at the desk opposite her will pay her dues.  Everyone else either ignores the email or forgets about it.  Jill was last seen checking the money tin hopefully just in case any fairies had  chipped in.  They hadn’t.

meanwhile we could start running a book on which website Jacqui will be covertly studying, when she thinks no one is looking.  So far the has been spotted viewing weight loss pills, hats, cakes, venues and flowers.  Lets hope her daughter and her intended weren’t planning to make any of their own decisions. Lets hope too that no one needs our Jacs to meet any deadlines.

i wonder if she needs any cake testers.  Now that would be a queue.

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The Tea Towel Rota

It’s Monday morning, and the conversation by the kettle (we don’t have a water cooler so the kettle acts as a substitute), has turned to the state of the tea towels.  Not for us a feisty discussion about whether Oscar Pistorius is guilty or not, nor idle gossip considering if our ready meals contain animal, vegetable or mineral.  The most important topic is why the tea towels weren’t washed at the weekend.

Jill is nominally in charge of the tea-towel washing rota, and uses the same list as for the subs she doesn’t collect from us.  The idea is that each person in turn takes home the tea towels on a Friday and returns them freshly laundered on Monday morning.  It would appear to be a simple system.

In life though, and in the tea club nothing is ever that simple.  The flaw is that this modus operandi assumes that the person on the list is present in the office on their identified Friday, and again on the Monday morning.  There is no consideration of annual leave, part-time working, people working off site or any other reason that they may not be in the office on Friday to take the tea towels home even if they wanted to.  Nor is there any way to ensure that the tea towels get returned after the weekend.

Well who was supposed to do it? complained the parade of PAs who had discovered the crime.  It turned out that the Finance Director was next on the list.  This was never going to work.  He was at a regional meeting on Friday and doesn’t actually know where the kitchen is anyway.  It is hardly a surprise that he didn’t the tea towels home in his brief case.  It also turns out that they weren’t washed the week before either.  That was because the nominated washee was er Jill.  Who only works Wednesdays.  And who set the system up.

Perhaps inevitably, nobody has identified a better system.  They are too busy grumbling about the existing one.  And we still have dirty tea-towels.

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Working From Home

Today is a working from home day.  The coffee is wonderful,  the kitchen is clean and no one is having a tantrum, or at least not anyone over the age of three…  However it is important that homeworkers don’t get too carried away doing actual work when they have escaped from the office zoo for a day.  Regular distractions are provided by email and phone, to prevent you from concentrating on the report you took home to complete.

Todays daft email gems involve birthday cakes being left in the kitchen, a lost pair of glasses, and the regular fire alarm test being cancelled.  As if you care.  Then there are the phone calls; the mundane – where is the blah blah policy? to the ridiculous.  Can you just update the completely fucking pointless report by close of play? you only need to do your  bit of it.  Absolutely bloody fantastic if “your bit” of the report happens to be 25 pages long.

And what is with close of play anyway? What kind of moron uses phrases like that.  And you know, you just know, that after have busted your guts to complete the sodding report on time, in the full knowledge that you will now be doing the work you had planned for today on Sunday instead, nobody, but nobody will read it. And you could have done it on Monday.



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Love and Marriage

Well Mr Jacs (my Rob) must have done something right for Valentines Day.  Our Jacs is positively wreathed in smiles.  She has also been making a point of warning everyone she sees  that “she” is in a real sulk this morning.  Unfortunately she doesn’t make it clear who “she” is so we are all left to guess.

Apart from that Valentines seems to have passed most folk by, though Keith in finance was overheard making several phone calls to try to find a restaurant that wasn’t fully booked, and the Chairman arrived for the board meeting and loudly declared that he hoped that the agenda wasn’t too long, because he was taking Mrs Chairman out for the evening.  Perhaps Keith could take home the left over sandwiches and suggest a romantic picnic….

The mystery sulkee hasn’t been identified, but the cause of Jacqui’s happiness has.  She was seen to be looking at Mother of the Bride outfits online, and it seems that her daughter’s Boyfriend is planning to propose this evening.  Being a nice lad he asked My Rob for permission, and he let on to her this morning.  Cue beaming smiles. From Jacqui.  The rest of us are wondering how long we will have to endure all the details. Still at least the matter of the dirty Kitchen  has been forgotten.  For now.



Photo credit: Sean Molin Photography / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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Do you know what day it is tomorrow?

There is little love lost in Teaclub 925 today.  Jacqui still has the hump, because no one has followed her instructions to put their name on their food in the fridge and so there is unclaimed salad dressing, cream cheese and three half used tubs of low fat spread that are still just loitering, much to Jacqui’s chagrin.  She is promising to throw them away by the end of the day unless they are claimed.  Brave Katie from the governance team suggested that they might belong to people who weren’t in yesterday and so don’t yet know of Queen Jacqui’s requirement to label everything.  Alas her intervention was in vain.  “I don’t believe that”, harrumphed Jacqui “I’m sure that salad dressing is Claire’s and she was in”.

Meanwhile Viv who went to M&S at lunchtime to select a Valentine’s supper for her and her boyfriend tomorrow night is growing nervous that her carefully selected purchases will be thrown away by a rampaging Jacqui.  Consequently she has labelled every item, the bag her food is in, and put a big note on the front of the fridge making it clear that her food is NOT TO BE THROWN AWAY.

“I’m not that bloody stupid”, Jacqui said testily when she saw the note.  “And she had better take that lot home with her tonight, we need the space for sandwiches for the board meeting tomorrow”.

Well obviously she is going to take her food home.  That’s why she bought it.  Please let interflora deliver something appropriately impressive to Jacs before work tomorrow.  Or we will all suffer the consequences.

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The Pancake Race

Our annual charity pancake race took place at lunchtime. Competitors have to run from the main entrance to the cafe, flipping their pancakes at least 5 times along the way. Time penalties are added on for under-flipping, or dropping the pancake.

Irritatingly, Pete the sleaze, finds the event is an excuse to bring out his repertoire of tosser jokes. These comments about the biggest tosser, or who can have the quickest toss, would have shamed Bernard Manning in 1973, but of course that doesn’t stop Pete repeating them every year.

Most of the women conveniently forget about the race and arrive for work in tight skirts and high heels. “I would take part but I can’t, not in these shoes”, they wail.   As there is still snow on the ground, this excuse is pretty see through.  These dollies usually use bad weather as a pretext to come to work in Ugg boots, so it is a surprise to see them in heels.  The men, on the other hand, are equally transparent.  They pretend to have forgotten all about it, but just happen to have their trainers and gym kit with them….

Of course the real purpose of the race is to eat lots of pancakes raise money for the local hospice, and so while them men limber up for the race, Jacqui organises the sale of pancakes.  This would have gone better if fewer people had gone to the café for coffee and a toasted teacake during the morning’s tantrum.

The race got underway, and despite cheating, by joggling some of the other competitors mid-toss so that they dropped their pancakes, Keith from finance was declared the winner.

We raised £148 and 50p for the local hospice from the sale of pancakes. And Pete is still a tosser.