Catherine Gracey

Living Life, One Misadventure At A Time.

Get Me A Coffee, Would You Love?

on September 23, 2013

Over recent weeks my Facebook feed has been overflowing with posts about sexism in the workplace. An astonishing amount of this seems to be centred on men asking female colleagues to get them a coffee. The request is usually made in a thoughtless way, and not well received by the colleagues in question.

Ladies, we need to talk.

All of the protesting over the last few decades that we’re equals has obviously not taken us very far if so many of you are continually being asked to do the coffee run when you don’t want to. I spent a few years working in administration, where fetching the coffee was actually part of my job description, yet I can assure you that I have never been asked more than once by an individual I was unhappy to get coffee for.

In the spirit of sisterhood and furthering the cause through passive aggression, I’d like to encourage all of you to consider my simple strategy to eliminate unwanted coffee requests.

Step One: Evaluate the request.

Getting a coffee for someone else in the organisation is not an inherently demeaning thing. Sometimes coffee must be purchased from places on the other side of lovely parks, and you know how terribly slow that can be. Oh, how tragic, you must be out in the sun and fresh air while your colleague is stuck at his desk.

However, if this request comes with the modern equivalent of a slap on the butt, then clearly the person asking for this must pay. Dearly.

Step Two: Get the coffee.

If you’ve decided that getting the coffee is actually in your best interests, then this step is fairly boring. Get the stupid coffee and get on with your life.

But oh, what is this? The person requesting the coffee is a total jerk who needs to pay for their attitude problem? That sounds much more fun.

The problem with coffee is that it’s fraught with dangers. If – like me – you aren’t someone who drinks it, then making it is an arcane art that you will never perfect. Ever. Is it one spoon or ten? When they requested two sugars, what exactly does that mean? Two teaspoons? Two dessertspoons? Two packets? Is the drink supposed to be served hot or cold? Since we’re just stupid girls sent on a stupid errand, it’s a bit unreasonable of those clever misogynists to expect us to understand.

That’s such a shame. But do your best ladies. I know that none of you would *gasp* deliberately botch it.

Step Three: Give them the coffee.

Here’s the deal: you wanted me to get you a coffee? Then you’re going to drink it. All of it. And by god you’re going to pretend that you liked it.

You’ll get a range of responses to this one. My personal favourite was the man who began wheezing “are you trying to kill me?” Well duh, of course I am, but I’m not about to admit that to you. It’s much more fun to get all girly hurt and defensive. I do love the sickly smile of people pretending to drink it. It warms my heart in a way that tepid beverages never could.

Step Four: Gracefully accept the end of your coffee fetching career.

There comes a point when nobody in your workplace will allow you to fetch them coffee. My coffee making skills were so legendary in one company that I wasn’t even permitted to carry the pot if someone else had made it. I wasn’t allowed to pour it into mugs. I wasn’t allowed to touch the coffee tin in the kitchen. By the end I wasn’t allowed to wash the pot when they were finished with it.

When you reach the point where you’re not allowed to go within two paces of a coffee mug, you can amuse yourself by openly offering to get people coffee. I was in one meeting where three people leaped from their seats to make it while a fourth distracted me with something apparently critical that only I could do. They never accepted my offer, but I was still able to get points for trying.

Thank goodness men are so much smarter than us, ladies; they never make mistakes with coffee the way I do…


One response to “Get Me A Coffee, Would You Love?

  1. I can’t remember the name of the movie, office success story with Melanie Griffith (before surgery), Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver? But at the end, when she has ‘made it’, and one of her things is- I’m not going to ask you to make me coffee unless you’re getting one for yourself…. or something

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