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||Dear Nicey and the Wife,|
I have just been reading Iain Kay's description of the beverage choices on offer at his place of work. This "place" sounds very much like a large financial based company in Northampton where I worked a few years ago. Shortly before my departure, the vending machines were replaced with new ones (this coincided with a price increase) which looked more impressive but produced even less palatable tea and coffee than their predecessors. Luckily I was in the habit of picking up a cup of cold water on the way to my desk in the morning. The first cup out of the new machine was a murky grey colour and went straight down the sink.
An engineer was called out to clean the machine and the water was still grey on his departure.
Several weeks and several visits from the engineer later, the problem was still not resolved although I was assured that the beverages issued by the machine were perfectly safe to drink.
It was at this point that I decided to bring a flask.
My advice is to avoid the machines and stick to the long walk past the football tables for a proper beverage.
At my place of work we are lucky to have the choice of three, yes three sources of hot liquid refreshment, each inversely proportional in quality to distance from my desk.
Nearest to my desk we have a bog standard coffee machine spitting out hideous approximations of tea, coffee, hot chocolate and some weird orange thing that claims to be orangeade but more closely resembes some form of fizzy curry. Whilst the drinks from this machine are approaching undrinkable, much fun can be had by removing the plastic cup from the machine after it has deposited one serving of the hot chocolate mixture, allowing the water to flow into the overflow and mix it with another selection. Coffee obviously produces some kind of mocha effect, another helping of the hot chocolate produces a more than servicable paint and as for the orangeade, well, lets just say my fuel bill has halfed in recent times.
Slightly further away with have some kind of machine/real coffee hybrid machine, that accepts sachets of tea coffee and produces something that, whilst is tainted by the lack of real milk, is actually not too bad for a caffine addict such as myself. Interestingly, there is both tea and coffee whiteners. I have yet summoned the courage to try coffee whitener in tea.
And still further away, a good few minutes walk is a bonafide coffee shop selling real coffee and PG tips tea. Hurrah! An additional bonus is that the route to this source of hot beverage passes 2 table football tables and well, it would be rude not to.
Keep up the good work on the website...
||My Dad recently retired from Trading Standards, where he worked in the labsanalysing the various foodstuffs. Always one for telling me amusing, and often disgusting, tales of what they found he told me the tale of the 'Acid Juice'.|
A complaint was received about the orange juice dispensed from several machines in the West Yorkshire area. It seems that the orange juice dissolved the plastic cups it was served in. At first it was assumed to be a joke, but they were obliged to investigate. Phone calls were made and a supply of the concentrate was obtain from one of the customers. It was mixed as per the instructions to the correct strength and poured into several vending machine cups. After 10 minutes they returned to the cups to see what happened. Nothing appeared to be amiss so one of the labs assistants picked up one of the cups only to have the rim come away in his hand leaving the cup behind, neatly severed at the surface level of the juice.
Having proved the OJ was indeed disolving the cups they later found out that there was excess amount of orange oil in the concentrate. Orange oil is often found in heavy duty cleaing fluids and boast superb cleaning properties. Imagine if it dissolve a plastic cup, what is it doing to your insides, Consider that next time you go for the 'healthy option'
||Our college's vending machine is, like so many of these contraptions, a little temperamental. Undoubtedly this has something to do with the number of indoor Upper Sixth versus Lower Sixth football matches that use its hatch as goal, but it does have moments of entirely surreal behaviour. |
It is very original in terms of what it offers, from the sublime 'espressochoc', a truly horrible mixture of coffee and chocolate that seems to take your tongue with it on its way, to the ridiculous 'vegetable drink'- I've never met anyone stupid enough to try that one, so I can't even comment on how it tastes. Unfortunately, it has moments where it seems to take originality to far. Many of us vividly remember the week when instead of coffee/tea/vegetable granules floating on the top of the strange liquid, we got flies. The machine was fixed, and the day after- flies again.
Its most fiendish random moment, however, happened one very cold, very dark morning when our heroine staggered in needing a caffeine boost before a chemistry A-level mock. Striding up to the machine, she put in her coins, pressed the right numbers, and blearily watched the machine going through the motions. It was as the drink sprayed down into the cup that she realised that the plastic cup itself was gradually tilting further and further towards her as the liquid entered it. As she stood there, transfixed by the impending doom, the cup did indeed spill over and throw scalding espresso all over her shoes. There was no reason for the tilting, the cup holder apparently did it all by itself.
As she frantically mopped up, the machine watched with what could only be called a smug smirk on its hatch. Its work was done...
||My former employers prevented us from having a nice cuppa by confiscating the kettle from our own staff kitchen. The reasoning was that we hadn't been trained in using a kettle - oh dear! As a result we were forced to experience the wrath of the vending machine and the tea tasted strangely of fish. |