September 27, 2023

Coffee Cups, Etc. by Brendon Marks


Since the birth of Mr. Coffee every office with one or more people in it has a coffeepot. Where there are pots, there are cups. Many people use a foam cup so they don’t have to bother with details like washing or keeping track of where they left it. These cups are handy when you must attend a boring meeting. You can do many things with them to stay awake. 1.) Break little pieces off and drop them inside to see how far down you can go before what is left is full. 2.) Use a ballpoint pen to doodle on them. 3.) Use the blunt end of the pen to make little relief maps by pressing hard enough to compress, yet not hard enough to break through the foam. I have a friend who has a life-sized model of Mount Rushmore that he created during a time management seminar.

Most people, though, have their own personal cup. The days of ugly, misshapen cups made by your kids in art class are a thing of the past. The cup that you took to work so that your kids would not keep asking why you don’t use it at home has been classified as a hazard. There are two distinct safety issues related to these cups. The first has to do with taking water that has traveled through miles of PVC pipe, adding coffee, and then applying heat. This process produces a solvent that will dissolve the glaze that was applied to make the cup waterproof. The cup will eventually leak.

The second issue is related to the high incidence of handles becoming separated from the body of the vessel. Most of the time this occurs when the unit is full. Both of these safety issues can result in hot coffee being applied to incredibly sensitive areas of the user’s anatomy, and should be avoided.

Statistics show 99.78% of all personal cups have something printed on them. Most are gifts, and from a vendor. Whenever I intend to buy a new product or attend another seminar, the first thing I do is check my collection of coffee cups to see which vendor can supply the product or service. It’s much more convenient than the yellow pages.

Every office has at least one person who uses one of those travel mugs, the kind that’s narrow at the top, and wide at the bottom. I feel it’s my public duty to tell you these are not recommended for office use. The design of the cup allows things to grow in the bottom corners that can only be killed by the internal temperature of an automobile left in the Arizona sun.

There is also the person who has converted to the metric system and who thinks the metric equivalent of `cup’ is `liter’. These cups are so big that they will not fit under the coffee pot spigot, or will require the entire carafe contents to fill it. If your office has one of those single cup brewers it takes three machine cycles to fill it. Some latitude would be given if they drank it all, but many of these culprits drink about half before the rest gets cold, then they dump the cold half out before draining the pot again.

Don’t get me wrong; I know what it’s like to drink a lot of coffee. When I’m at home alone I drink straight out of the carafe–why bother to dirty a cup? When I do use a cup it has ?Paris? and a life-sized picture of the Eiffel tower printed on it.

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