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The company I work for provides a water, tea, and coffee for employees to drink throughout the day. We have awesome water coolers that provide crisp, filtered drinking water. Our coffee machine makes 20 different types of coffee beverages and hot chocolate. We also have a nifty K-Cup machine!

Much to my dismay, the tea selection is severely lacking. When I first started, they only stocked one type of (non-caffeinated, the horror!) tea. At my 6 month review, I asked for a variety of tea selections as part of my benefit package (for all employees of course!). The CFO laughed, asked if I was serious, then gladly said he would tell HR to stock more tea. HR complied, now offering 6 different types of tea.

Unfortunately, the variety is very poor. 4 of the teas are green teas that are basically the same -Lemon, Lemon Zest, Lemon Zing, Lemon with tips. In addition, no one drinks those teas. The other two teas that they stock get consumed within days of being refreshed. The other 4 just sit there for months and months at a time! I have even created a tea club called TMI(Tea Masters Institute) that my coworkers participate in, but we really would like our employer to step up their tea game!

I have offered to help HR pick out their tea selection but was met with "Just drink what we give you, its all the same." I do have my review coming up next month, but not sure if I should ask for more tea again, especially since I am asking for a large wage increase. Workplace Stack Exchange Gurus, I beg you, How can I get my employer to stock a wider variety of tea?

closed as off-topic by Jim G., ChrisF, Michael Grubey, Chris E, Richard Says Reinstate Monica Aug 8 '16 at 15:37

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    Really you are going to ask for a large wage increase and more tea. Why don't you just factor the cost of your favorites teas into the wage increase and let the tea go. Tea is cheap, easily transportable, and a long shelf life - let it go. – paparazzo Dec 16 '15 at 17:08
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    While I am sympathetic to your plight and can appreciate your passion for tea, I urge you to re-evaluate your professional norms because this is such an outlandish thing to bring up during a discussion on salary/benefits. You want to be known in the office as a high-performer, not as the Tea Guy/Gal. – Lilienthal Dec 16 '15 at 18:13
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Befriend the people who make the choices.

That's a very secondary point, but a the same time very important to your morale. If you just "ask", you'll get laughed at. If you befriend the right person, and then say him/her "oh, by the way, it would be soooo cooooool to have vanilla tea", then you'll have vanilla tea rather quickly.

That kind of topic is from the family of topics that don't go well with formal demands. Don't ask it during formal review, it's career suicide. Befriend people, learn who makes the purchasing list, and befriend that person. I'm pretty sure you'll get more advantages like that. I know I do. I can even ask for chocolate, and get it. But the most important is that I do have my vanilla tea.

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    +1 for "Don't ask it during formal review, it's career suicide". In that context, it is a petty demand. – Mike Dec 16 '15 at 16:08
  • Could you elaborate on how it is career suicide? I did put it on my last list, at the end of negotiations, also as a way of injecting some levity into the situation. Is it more of asking for it again? – Anthony Genovese Dec 16 '15 at 16:12
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    Career suicide in the sense that while important, the topic is also a joke. Yearly reviews are not the place for jokes. Office politics, OTOH, are full of jokes. And still are deadly important. – gazzz0x2z Dec 16 '15 at 16:18
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    @agenovese Career suicide in the sense that you only are asking for two things: more tea and a large raise. If you ask for two things there's a good chance you're going to get just one of them. – user42272 Dec 16 '15 at 19:44
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    He means because people will take you less seriously because you are asking for something so minor to most people. Becoming known as someone who is obsessed with the quality of the tea provided is not career enhancing. You want senior managers to know you the guy who does awesome work not the PITA who isn't happy with the team brands. You make yourself a figure of fun to decision makers at your own career risk. – HLGEM Dec 16 '15 at 19:57
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Quite simply, you don't.

The fact that your company stocks free coffee, hot chocolate, and tea at all is a perk - many organizations don't even do that. You asked for more tea, and they gave it to you, which is awesome. Now you want to ask them to offer more because you don't like what you've been given, again, for free? Would you expect them to stock coffee from seven different countries for the sake of satisfying everyone's particular preferences?

The first time you asked, your boss laughed at you (though did pass on the request). When you offered to help select the tea, you were told to drink what they gave you. Do you really think asking again is going to be beneficial? If you don't like their tea selection, then bring your own.

  • He didn't laugh at me. He laughed at the request, I have a good rapport with the CFO. – Anthony Genovese Dec 16 '15 at 16:15
2

Sounds like good ol' office politics to me. There's no perfect answer, it will all just depend on the company policies, your interactions with the people around you, etc. Some ideas / things to keep in mind:

  • Does your company have an HR suggestion box, or something along those lines? It might be a better way to voice your concerns rather than in person to the same uncaring employee.
  • Have you considered just buying your own tea and keeping it in a drawer? That's what I do, for example.
  • The fact is that if you keep bugging people about this you may end up becoming "that one guy". Try to get some other people to champion this cause as well. If more people speak up then you won't come across as a trouble maker.
  • A polite request to rotate through different kinds of tea might go over better than "I don't like these tea's that you're buying".

Good luck!

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