I’ll Take No Icky Water For 90 Cents, Please!

Our office campus is undergoing a multi-phase renovation.  We have two buildings, and essentially one half of a building is being remodeled, with the intent to expand our space and bring us from the 1970’s era furniture and layout to a more modern approach.

My desk sits in the recently completed first phase.  It’s much brighter, cleaner, and laid out in a much more open way, definitely more conducive to today’s collaborative approach for teamwork.

Phase two is currently underway with the other half of the building (where I used to be) in the midst of being gutted and re-built.

Last Monday, I got in at my normal time of slightly before 7am.  I made my coffee as normal.  A little bit later when I went over to rinse out a bowl, no water.  I checked and it was out.

Turns out it was only out for about 30 minutes, and that it was because they were doing some connecting of the water system between the two parts of the building.

After the water came back on, it didn’t look very good.

Definitely not good enough to make my oatmeal, which is what I usually have for breakfast.

Hmmm…what do do?

My options were:

Skip breakfast.  Not an option.  I have to have something to eat.

Break into my lunch and eat some of the stuff there.  That would have worked for breakfast, but would have left me lacking in the afternoon.  Not a good long-term solution.

Go grab breakfast.  There are a couple of fast food places right around the corner.  I probably could have been there and back in 15 minutes.

Hit up the vending machine.

In the end, I went with the vending machine.  Breakfast at a fast food place would have probably meant at least $2-3 and would have been less healthy. Plus, I’m the type that, once I get somewhere, I really don’t want to leave.

I ended up with a two pack of Pop Tarts.  They were 90 cents.  Which, after I put them in the toaster, were pretty darn good.

Not something I plan on doing every day, but it definitely beats the alternative of oatmeal made with icky water.

Have you ever had an emergency change of plan with your meal due to circumstances outside your control?

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How To Get Free Stuff From The Vending Machine (Legally, Too!)

Years ago, I worked in a call center.  There were rows and rows of workers answering calls.

I got to be work friends with a few people, and one of them impressed me with a method where he was able to get ‘free’ stuff from the vending machine for over a week.  And it didn’t involve scamming anybody in the process!

The idea was simple: He basically went up and down rows (a couple at a time so as not to draw suspicion) and asked ‘Hey can I borrow a quarter?’

After spreading out his visits over the period of a couple of days, he’d collected over six dollars in change!  For the rest of the week, if he wanted a snack or something to drink from the machine, he would tap into his ‘fund’.

Obviously, this was not something he could repeat on a regular basis, because people will tire quickly of giving someone a quarter over and over.

But, his ingenuity impressed me, because he realized that a quarter, to most people, is no big deal.  We’ve probably all borrowed some change or had someone borrow change, and 99 times out of 100, it gets forgotten about and not re-paid, which is fine for everybody involved.  If you start borrowing a dollar or more, that’s when repayment is expected.

He was able to take the fact that a quarter was no big deal, multiply that on a grander scale, and end up with a few bucks in his pocket.


I’ve lost touch with him since, but this memory always sticks out as one that brought a smile to my face.

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