Hey all, I’m the Imaginary Reviewer, guest posting for Alice today. Normally I only write reviews of things, but as Alice is currently seeking employment I thought I’d relate a cautionary tale that stems from the fact that I started a new job last month.
It was a split second decision on my part, really, and I had no idea of the consequences at the time. I must implore Alice (and anyone else about to embark upon a new career) to bear this in mind when sitting, as I was, in the office of the Human Resources Manager. She showed me a piece of paper with the headline “Coffee Club”, and offhandedly asked if I wished to pay a monthly amount for unlimited use of the canteen coffee machines. I figured that I could bring my own coffee from home, and declined.
This decision would have larger consequences than I could ever imagine.
In my office of around 100 people, the Coffee Club makes up about a fifth of the employees. On my second day working here I looked at the list posted in the canteen, saying which people can use the coffee machines, and saw them: the company bourgeoisie, the haves, the fat cats. All of them were managers, VPs and their assistants, the type of people who have their own names written on their office doors.
I picked up one of the packets of coffee to see what kind of blends the Club had access to, and one of the secretaries came in and batted it out of my hands. “Look with your eyes, not with your hands!” she shrieked, and I became aware of the vast gulf between those in the Club and those out of it.
As my time here went on, I became more and more aware of the mutual distrust. Members of the Coffee Club would eye me suspiciously as I filled my mug with water in the canteen, keeping an eye on me to make sure I didn’t surreptitiously steal a few illicit drops of Colombian Dark Roast. A bottle of salad dressing that I’d left in the staff refrigerator was unceremoniously smashed on the floor by a Club member after I’d put it in the space reserved for their cartons of milk. And then things started getting out of hand.
The flashpoint came when a new employee, ignorant of the rules, had a cup of Brazilian Rich Blend in full view of several Club members. This poor, unfortunate recent graduate was locked in the janitor’s closet for three days with nothing to drink but the sweat from his own shirt. In retaliation, a group of non-Club revolutionaries found the leader of those responsible and killed him with a Swingline 405 Stapler. His repeatedly-punctured body was left by the coffee machines as a warning to others.
Thrilled by the prospect of adventure, and maddened by the inequities of the office, I joined these brave men and women, the network engineers, the finance assistants and risk analysts fighting against the oppressive Coffee Club regime. I engaged in guerrilla tactics, pouring laxatives in the water section of the coffee machines and pissing in the milk.
Our last sortie ended in tragedy two days ago, when three non-Club members were found substituting the regular coffee with decaf by the Finance Manager and his PA. Retribution was swift and brutal. Their lifeless bodies, drained of blood by countless paper cuts, were delivered to the leaders of the revolution by a weeping mail boy.
By yesterday morning a memorial in their honour had been erected in place of the broken photocopier in the marketing section. Their deaths will not be in vain.
I write this now from my cubicle, where I have barricaded myself for the last 24 hours as I make my preparations. I was selected to lead a suicide mission on the coffee machines, and I hope my death – and the destruction of the infernal beverage makers – will bring about a utopia, a new Eden and a new beginning for the staff of DPO Hughes Office Supplies.