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A couple of months ago we got a coffeemaker for the office (accounting, IT/Software, HR, Sales) And for me and my partner was "the best thing ever" since we drink coffee on a daily basis.

We agreed as departments to pitch in for the supplies(ground coffee, sugar, milk substitute) and to rotate the appliance's maintenance(cleaning) among the departments. But after the buying of the first "supply batch" no one seemed to really care for it, they stopped pitching in for coffee, they stopped cleaning it(IT/Software was the only department who would clean it daily) we got tired of asking them to clean it. And then they suddenly just stopped drinking coffee all-together.

My partner and I paid for the supplies most of the times under the "promise" that we would be paid back by our coworkers, which didn't happen. We even buy a big box with lots of different tea packets for those who don't feel like drinking coffee out of our pockets without asking for anything in return. Now, would it be wrong if we ask our superiors to move the coffeemaker to our department office? We've basically been maintaining and paying for everything related to the coffee in the office, and we can lose some time by walking all the way over to the cafeteria just to get coffee, and the only ones benefiting from it and using it are my coworker and I. (We don't need our money back, we just feel like having it in the office will reduce the amount of times we have to step out of the office during work hours and overtime hours)

  • Leave the coffee maker where it is and use the distance to the cafeteria as an excuse for a walk! (which should do every now and again anyway if you're doing a sit-down job) – colmde Apr 19 '16 at 8:59
  • I don't really need a walk, I workout for an approximate of 2 hours on a daily basis @colmde but I get the idea – Just Do It Apr 19 '16 at 14:03
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    @JustDoIt Exercise isn't always the point of taking a walk at work. I find taking a short walk after an hour or so also helps me organize my thoughts and work more efficiently, which may be what colmde was advocating. – kirkpatt Apr 22 '16 at 20:35
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Well no, it's not wrong. But it's also not the question you should be asking.

In companies I've worked for it was not unusual for one or two people to have a coffee machine in a corner of their own which they would only share with a few close colleagues. You could, and should have done the same.

However since the entire company has already agreed to a certain system (even if they don't follow it) you'll still be seen as trying to usurp a "company" resource as your own.

Your management team doesn't care who cleans the coffee machine, or supplies the milk. They care that people are happy and that no one makes waves. And that's what you're doing at this point.

So is it wrong? No, it is not. Is it wise? Not at all.

In your shoes I would keep quiet. Don't complain to management, or your coworkers. Start bringing in your own personal coffee supply. Bring it to the machine, brew your coffee, and take it back to your desk when you're done. Same with the sugar, or tea. Label the milk as your own and put it in the fridge.

If no one else does it you'll still have to clean the machine, but you've made your bed, now sleep in it.

This way you're not stuck buying coffee for everyone, and people who don't bother buying their own supplies don't get to use the machine. Alternatively, if you don't feel like walking to the cafeteria simply stick a cheap coffee maker on a cabinet in your area, and be done with it (assuming this is not against rules - and again: asking for permission to do this is "rocking the boat" after you first asked for a coffee machine in the cafeteria - it will not make management happy)

In the future don't try to hoist an entire system on your colleagues. If management was pushing for the changes that's one thing, but if you stick your head out like that make sure it's for something that matters, not for something as trivial as a coffee machine.

  • I didn't suggest a system, We agreed to it because it was brought to us. Another department was the one who brought up the whole schedule/pitch in ideas, we just accepted the terms. And we weren't going to complain, simply ask if we could move the existing coffeemaker to our office or at least close to it, since in reality we're the only ones using it – Just Do It Apr 18 '16 at 18:24
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    @JustDoIt - if that's the case it's even more foolish to ask for this communal coffee maker to be moved to your department because those other people - even though they don't pitch in - will feel like you're trying to "Steal" their coffee machine (the one they pushed for). By far the best bet is to get your own, or to simply keep your own supply of coffee/tea private. Also, by "volunteering" to bring in tea/coffee you set yourself up for this situation, so 95% of my answer still applies. – AndreiROM Apr 18 '16 at 18:27
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    @JustDoIt - I think I've established quite clearly that I don't recommend asking to move the existing machine. Also A) if you bring your own coffee and keep it private then why do you complain about being taken advantage of? B) if you make a point of supplying the tea to your coworkers then why point out that you're being generous while not receiving anything? If you feel taken advantage of stop supplying tea. Seems to me like you're complaining for things you provided out of your own initiative, which is .. silly. – AndreiROM Apr 18 '16 at 18:37
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    @JustDoIt - gotcha. I get how you feel; I've been there. The answer is to stop supplying people with freebies. There are some people that see nothing wrong with taking, and taking, while never providing anything in return. I work with such a guy right now. I make a point of not doing him any favors. For example when I go out for coffee I sometimes ask people what they want. I got him coffee once or twice for free (it's cheap & he didn't have cash). When he was going out I asked for coffee and he said "i'm not an errand boy". Never offered to get him anything again. Lesson learned. – AndreiROM Apr 18 '16 at 18:44
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    I drink a LOT of coffee, I bring a thermos flask to work and keep coffee, sugar in my desk and refill the thermos, saves walking for more, and would save all the grief the OP just described. – Kilisi Apr 18 '16 at 20:39
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We've basically been maintaining and paying for everything related to the coffee in the office, and we can lose some time by walking all the way over to the cafeteria just to get coffee, and the only ones benefiting from it and using it are my coworker and I. (We don't need our money back, we just feel like having it in the office will reduce the amount of times we have to step out of the office during work hours and overtime hours)

I would like to propose another alternative - consider getting coffee a good excuse to get up and walk away from your computer, perhaps meet a few colleagues on the way and a chance to take a (much required) break during the day.

I know it sounds silly but in the long run, you will find that these breaks help with concentration and productivity. I don't have any hard science facts to back this up, but I am speaking from my 10+ years experience in IT where I now make it a point to keep things as far away as possible from my desk; things like the printer, the whiteboard, the reference books - just so I have a chance to get up and walk and take a break from sitting at the desk.

It does wonders for your health and posture.

  • Something I would suggest as well. There is only so many opportunities to get out - why not take an advantage of it – Jakub Apr 19 '16 at 8:03
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OK to ask. Why not just buy a small coffee machine and put it in your office. It is less than $100. Buy supplies for everyone can come to $100 fast. Or just use hot water and a $20 french press.

  • Yeah that's probably what we will have to end up doing, I know asking doesn't hurt but it might come off as us having other intentions. – Just Do It Apr 18 '16 at 18:44
  • Just ask softly. – paparazzo Apr 18 '16 at 18:50
  • +1 for the French Press. A self-contained solution for one that nobody can get upset over. – Laconic Droid Apr 18 '16 at 20:48

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