Sunday, June 22, 2008

Differences between the US and the UK # 3

The Brits drink tea. A lot of tea. All the time. Its like a mania. Its a little excessive really. And they have tea breaks instead of coffee breaks. Nothing really strange about that, except that it isn't really a break. Its just an accepted thing that every couple of hours someone in the office will go downstairs and make tea for everyone.

And if you drink tea (or coffee for a few people), then you're expected to take your turn. And of course, everyone drinks it differently. Milk, or no milk. Or some milk, or a lot of milk. Or no sugar. Or two sugars, or one. Or black. We wrote up a list. So I can keep it straight.

And it really is little different. I think back to my army days. We all drank coffee. A lot of it. You wouldn't believe how much coffee is drunk by the Army. If the Army ever banned coffee, Columbia would go out of business. At least the legal business. But never in 20 years did I ever, at any rank, offer to get coffee for everyone in the office. They could get their own damn cup if they wanted it, especially if they were going to bitch about the amount of milk and sugar.

Things like that just aren't done in the States. At meetings, yes, but this is different. Everyone expects that. But not just sitting in the office working. We don't do that. But nothing like this. And don't screw and do something stupid like forgetting and getting a cup for yourself and not bringing one for everyone. IT JUST ISN'T DONE. AND AMERICANS ARE UNCVILIZED FOR NOT DOING THIS. I've been hearing about that for a week.

So I either have to stop drinking tea and coffee, or learn to go with the flow. Its not hard, just strange.

But to prove my point that I'm not a selfish person, and I'm willing to be a team player, I did something that I thought was funny. I had forgotten and got myself a cup, and didn't for everyone else. And they let me hear about it. So when I went to the water cooler to get a drink of water, I brought everyone else a cup also. It didn't go over well.

But I thought it was funny.

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