February 9th, 2004

Wedding day

Congratulations! You've won... nothing!

I imagine nobody remembers, but a few months back they started offering free coffee at work. This was a really unexpected at the time, and when I eventually asked about it, I was told that upper-upper-upper-top-level-and-then-some executive management decided that since the coffee is free at the corporate headquarters, it might be a nice gesture to make it free to all employees across the board.

What I probably didn't mention was that the coffee machine downstairs used to give away every 50th purchase free; it would beep, display the word "** WINNER **," and spit your coins back out. This was all well and good. I was spending about $5 a week on coffee at $0.35 a cup, and after doing so for almost two years, it occurred to me that at some point, I ought to be get a free drink. It happened very shortly after thereafter. It was the only free drink I got out of that machine while I was paying for coffee, but I was pleased. Within a month, the machine had been rigged to dispense regular and decaf for free, and again I was pleased. For a little while, anyway.

Today, however, marks the 22nd time I've gotten the "** WINNER **" message since I started counting in early October.

That's right -- two years of paying five bucks a week, and only after I no longer have to pay do I start winning free cups of coffee. Does the machine spit money out at me? No, of course not. It just gives me a free cup of coffee. The same free cup of coffee I was getting before I found out that I'm a ** WINNER **.

I understand that this is nothing to get upset about. I understand that being the ** WINNER ** 22 times means that I'm either extraordinarily lucky, or drink more of the free coffee than anybody else (probably a little of both), but still... If I were still paying for the coffee, I'd have won $7.70 by now.

Of course, statistically I'd have spent $385.00 on weak coffee, but it's the principle of the thing.
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