Is it rude to stop going on office coffee runs for the entire office?
I work in a small office (15 people). There is a coffee shop directly across the street from our office. As a caffeine addict, I usually make a coffee run at least once a day during business hours. I usually ask if anyone else in our office wants anything, and usually people do.
However, I’ve become increasingly weary of volunteering to get coffee for others. Some people, including the owner of the firm, in the office rarely pay me back. Others order complex drinks and complain if the drink is made incorrectly. For example, one woman routinely orders a medium green tea with one and half pumps of vanilla and exactly 4 teaspoons of honey. If there is too much or too little honey, I hear about it.
Moreover, going to get coffee for just me takes about 5 minutes, while getting it for 8 to 10 people can take upwards of 20 minutes — time I don’t really have to spare. The other day I went on a coffee run just for me. When I returned to the office, I was met with a chorus of “why didn’t you get me anything?” Later, I overheard two of our admins complaining about how I hasn’t gotten them coffee.
Is there a way to stop these daily coffee runs without risking the office backlash?
Dear Coffee Slave,
Look at what you’ve done! This could have all been avoided if you’d just followed the golden rule of working in an office: Keep to Yourself. I don’t care if it’s an office of 15 or 1500. Asking your coworkers if they want anything from a very close coffee shop is a one-way ticket to Coffeeinternsville, (not to be confused with the town of Coffeebitchburg, NE.)
Numbers never lie
The fewer number of people in your office, the more likely they are to say “sure I’ll take a non-fat-soy-no-whip-extra-sugar-unicorn frappuccino,” so the first mistake was offering to do something nice. If the coffee place was that close, you could have just asked if anyone wanted to go with you. You can still employ this option if you want. In order to avoid the constant complaints about incorrect orders and not asking if they wanted anything, just get someone to come with you, and pawn the work off on them.
It sounds like you’ve made the mistake of turning down payment at some point to add insult to injury here. If you’re going to go on a coffee run and someone (the leader of the company, for example.) says “Sure, how much is it?” You always ask for more than the coffee was worth. If you round up to the nearest dollar, those dollars and cents will add up and by next week you’ll be eating lunch on your boss’ dime. If you say “Oh, no worries I got it.” because it was your boss’ order, then you’re stupid and this is entirely your fault. If your boss never offered in the first place, the company isn’t doing well and you should find a new job. The key to life is always to look at the extremes and make wide, sweeping generalizations based on rash decisions and your own personal biases.
I guess what I’m trying to say here, is that in order to go ahead and get yourself out of this pickle, start wrangling someone lower on the totem pole than you into joining on your coffee run. They’ll think you’re taking them under your wing, you can make them carry your coffee, and your boss gets his frappuccino. Win-Win-Win.