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||The following incident involves incompetence on the part of both man and machine.|
A number of years ago a colleague selected his free beverage (white "tea", two "sugars" I believe. Actually I think it was genuine sugar.)
The customary Tardis sounds were forthcoming but no cup. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the "drink" which started to dribble into the drip-tray. Game over, you might think.
Far from it. Our hapless hero decides that all might not be lost, and cups his unprotected hands beneath the nozzle. The dispensing action is over, and our man is standing there with the look of a slip fielder who has just taken a tricky chance. There is a pause, a scream and the alleged tea is on the floor. Would-be drinker is staring at his glowing hands in disbelief.
The question on most of the spectators' lips in the aftermath was: "What exactly was he planning to do with the tea after catching it? Take it to the burns unit, in case they needed to see the liquid responsible?"
I was forced to point out that no-one in the history of humanity has boiled a kettle, then poured the water into their hands due to cup-shortage. It is, in fact physically impossible, unless someone else does the pouring.
A water-tight case for the prosecution against the villainy of drink vending machines, and a headache for the Health & Safety Executive.
I'm enjoying yor site for the first time... got a link from an ex-pat friend in California. I remember the vending machine at Cornhill Insurance in Guildford. 2p per cup, 3p for hot chocolate. At 10am and 3pm for 30 minutes each, the company put them on free so we could all enjoy their wares. I'd get sent with a tray and everyone's orders. Awful stuff, it was, but being computer types, we'd eat and drink just about anything in the middle of the night.
In case you're wondering about the prices, I'm talking about 1975. Blimey, that stuff made a lasting impression - 30 years on and I still remember it.
||My lust for a decent cup of tea at work has been sadly neglected by my corporate employers. Our vending machines have yet to introduce me to anything resembling tea They have some options that offer various shades of brown water and differing concentrations of sugar but I can't imagine the tetley tea folk or PG Chimps recognising them as bona fide tea. There's plenty of coffee, soup and sacharrine flavour cordial to choose from but unfortunately I don't like any of those either. It does a reasonable hot chocolate but there's only so much cocoa and froth I can manage in a sitting. We did kick up a fuss about a year ago about the fact that there was no hot water so we could make our own tea. They did give us a hot water dispenser(can't have kettles, apparently they're a health and safety risk). Unfortunately, they have yet to provide us with a fridge to keep the milk in or a sink to wash the mugs in. I got round the lack of milk by switching to chinese green tea but there's a limit to the amount of stains on a mug i'm prepared to drink from.|
|Nicey replies: That's the advantage of working for a small/sensible company with a more realistic attitude to health and safety. You accept that if you are enough of a muppet to greviously injure yourself making a cup of tea then that's your look out. For their part they supply a kettle and a fridge, and usually a cupboard to keep the mugs and teabags. To be honest you are more likely to injure yourself carrying one of those flimsy cups from a vending machine.|
A long time ago, inspired by the comments and letters of other visitors to your website, i sent you my own dark and sorry vending machine story. The machine in question, i'm sad to report, is still installed here as the only source of hots drinks. So repulised was i this lunch time, when against my better judgement i attempted to drink tea from it, i was inspired to write this poem...
The air conditioning is on full blast
Its raging torrent is dry and vast
My throat and eyes are red and sore
'What a place to work', I scathingly deplore
Tetley, Twinnings, PG Tips
A smooth warm mug I taste on my lips
Yet a thin white cup burns into my hand
As I choke back chemicals that will one day be banned,
I am dry, this liquid is wet
But the relief I imagined curdles to regret
An unnatural bitterness, repulsive a vile
Sinks into my tongue and bubbles like bile
I'm a victim of fraud,
And I’ve paid my fee
20 sodding pence for plastic tea.
||Our vending machine obviously thinks it's a cut above your average refreshment discharger as it refuses to accept any coinage worth less than 5p. We only use the blessed things to rid ourselves of such unwanted small change. It's not as if anyone wants to actually drink the stuff stored within.|
It's not all bad though. If you want sugar you must move your cup from the point where water is dispensed to a second point under a large red button marked "SUGAR" where the sugar is released. Any virgin to this machine will fail to move his or her cup to the point under this rather prominent button and simply push it and watch as the sugar is spat into the drip tray to add a fresh white peak to the growing tea coloured soggy mound. This brightens my day