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I have just recently changed jobs and now have my hot drinks provided for by a nescafe machine.
Before my contract ended at my last job (I was a temp previously). Everyone in the building (all 16 of us) would stop twice daily to have the tea made in a great big metal tea pot and which point it was annouced over the tannoy that "tea's ready", and everyone would either sit outside if it was fine, or all squeeze into the kitchen and have a natter.
After sampling the tea from the aforementioned machine, I found it comes with a bag with a little foil strip attached. Aha I thought perhaps maybe they've discovered how to make a decent cuppa! However, not only does it taste foul, but the machine makes a strange buzzing noise whenever you ask it for sugar. For some reason, it doesn't like you adding your sugar after you have made your drink, (like most people do) but you actually have to put it in before any tepid water has been added to the powdery mix of your choice in the bottom of a paper cup.
I've now realised that not only does the machine force you to either go without any decent form of hot drink, (the drinks are never hot), sugar (if you forget it in the first place and at which point have to ask it for another drink just to get your sugar fix) but the water inside has been there for days!! Its only ever topped up when it flashes "fill" but never replaced! (bleeurrghh!).
I have tried hunting down a kettle and a mug in order to make a brew but with no luck, as I didn't fancy drinking the tea and catching cholera or some other water borne disease whilst at work.
Thankfully I'm lucky enough to be able to pop back home at lunchtime for a nice cup of co-op 99 tea (same nice people friendly principles as Fairtrade tea, but about half the price) and a sit down although I've now had to cut my tea drinking down to about 4 cups a day! :(
I wonder how many other evil machines have stale tepid water in them, waiting for some poor unsuspecting sod to keel over before they begin to take over the world and plan to rid us of our kettles forever...
||My first ever job was in an accountantís office and as the youngest and newest employee I had to fetch the drinks from the vending machine and clean said machine on a weekly basis. You would not credit the foul smelling sludge/slurry that had to be scooped out using gloved fingers! Twenty seven years later and it still gives me the shakes! Iíll have to have a nice cup of tea and a sit down.|
I remember the Nescafe heated coffee cans. They were useful on the odd occassion but had two major problems:
1. The chemicals required to heat up the drink took so much space that there was hardly any room left for coffee.
2. They contained Nescafe, which is a disgusting coffee and should be banned.
I also heard rumours that the heating chemicals were incredibly environmentally unfriendly.
Also on the subject of vending machines, if you type "110" into the Cadbury's chocolate machines on Tube station platforms, you get a status message. Usually, it's the cheery "OK! No problems", which reminds me of Eddie the on board computer in Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Following on from the current flurry of vending machine emails I thought people might be interested to hear the latest in vending machine developments over here in Japan.
As many people know Japan is renowned for people working long hours with unwavering dedication to their company and its leaders. This company culture leads people to work 12 to 15 hour days five or more days a week. The end result of this is that a good 30% of people on the train are asleep at any one time. This is a country in clinical need of caffeine, but with little time to drink it.
The Japanese solution to this? Canned tea and coffee of course! Yes! Walk up to any vending machine in Japan (there are 5 million of them at the last count, one for every 24 people or so!) and you will be presented with a selection of canned hot and cold drinks. Drop in 100 yen, about 60p sterling, and out drops a steaming hot can of "Royal Milk Tea" or "Mountain Roast Coffee" in a can.
'Sacrilege!' some may cry! But when you are standing on the platform at Kita Ickibukruo station waiting for the next train to Shibuya, the freezing winds of Western Russia streaming through your overcoat, the hot can vending machine yards away stops being a object of disgust and transforms into an oasis of comfort and warmth. The products in these machines are usually very sweet and slightly clinical, lacking the character and depth of a good, strong, cup of tea, but when there is little else on offer they do fulfil the need for tea.
So do you think this could ever catch on in the west? If you could be sure of a satisfying drink of tea from a can would you buy it? Or is tea too complex a drink to be mass produced in a factory in the back end of nowhere?
|Nicey replies: It all sounds delightfully cyber-punkesque. Hoorah for the Japanese and their hatstand ideas.
Gratuitous link to Oolong the sadly departed head performance rabbit.
Waiting for my train on Didcot Parkway station, and a coffee/tea vending machine nearby started beeping. Wandering over, I saw the display panel flashing: "Warning: Hot Flush", and true to its word, a few seconds later came a stream of boiling (well steaming in the cold atmosphere) water, aimed directly at the space where a cup would have been. Is this a sign of intelligence in the vending machine? or a sign of middle age? or a sign that it was trying to dispose of some unspeakable gunk?