I walked into the break-room/conference room at work this morning and found this:
The sign says, “Help yourself :).” Inside were pops (aka sodas or pepsi’s (even though they were actually Cokes) and iced-teas). Hmm, I thought, free pop? Just hanging out here on the table? From anonymous? I picked up a bottle and wiped dust from the lid. It must be outdated. I searched for an expiration date in vain. When I couldn’t find one I placed the bottle back in the crate.
I walked back to my office and saw my office mate. “There’s free pop in the break-room…” I started to say with a smile. My punch-line was going to be, “the pops are calling to us, ‘hey lee-dle giiirls. You want to driiiink me. I’m sooo gooood. And pleeeasant. And yuuumy. This is not a sin-ister plot at all. Truuust meeee.’” But I didn’t get that far.
“I know,” she interrupted. “I got me an iced tea.”
“Oh,” I said. “How outdated is it?”
“Is it outdated?” she asked.
“Well, I’m guessing it is because the bottles are all dusty and…it’s free…”
“I put my tea in the ice-box (that’s Texan speak for mini-fridge),” she said and retrieved her gift from the ice-box. “Expires June, 2012.”
Really? What gives?
“No wait,” she squinted at the date printed on the bottle. “January 2012.”
I pressed my lips together in a smug fashion. The look I was going for was something along the lines of, “It’s a curse and a blessing to be right all the time.” I’m not sure if I achieved it because she continued.
“I’m sure it’s still good.” She opened the lid and it popped. “Still pops. That’s a good sign.”
I nodded my head. As far as signs go, I guess that is a pretty good one.
She sniffed it. “Ew.” She pulled it away from her face quickly. Then sniffed it again. “Doesn’t smell pleasant,” she narrated even though I surmised as much by looking at her scrunched up face. She took a sip.
Boy, she is determined to get her money’s worth out of this free drink.
Her scowl only hardened.
“Taste funny?” I asked.
She shrugged her shoulders but couldn’t stop grimacing. “It tastes alright.”
Obviously. “Oh, okay,” I smiled.
An hour later, she commented, “That just doesn’t taste right.”
I looked up to see her still nursing the tea. I smiled. “No good, eh?”
“It’s just not the kind I buy,” she explained.
Oh, is that it?
Another hour later and I noticed the bottle had disappeared from her desk. Like a discreet mob killing, the iced tea was no more.
Even though I’m usually into free stuff, this crate of drinks broke two of my rules. 1) The anonymous note welcoming me to help myself to free stuff. And 2) the bottles were dusty. Okay, I just developed these rules today because my rules don’t cover every crazy scenario I might encounter in life.
I’m pretty sure the whole set up was a premise for a fairytale. A fairytale that might go like this:
Once upon a time, in an office in a small village in the land of Wyoming, two co-workers worked side by side. Or, one in front of the other.
One day, one of the workers happened upon a crate offering free drinks. Without hesitation, she took one for herself. She didn’t know that it was part of a sinister plot by an unknown villain. Unfortunately, it created a desire for her to visit the porcelain throne the rest of the afternoon.
The other worker, who happened to be the most beautiful employee of all (hey, I can’t help it if fairytales equate brains with beauty) also saw the crate. But her wise mother had taught her to beware of things too good to be true because they usually are. She did not take any of the proffered beverages. Our heroine was able to work uninterrupted all afternoon in peace.
Part of the fable is true but most of it is false. I’ll let you determine which part is true and which part is tale.