The heat or the task?

July 19, 2011

I had a few random thoughts recently that I wanted to share. Were they inspired by the blistering heat or the formidable task? Your guess is as good as mine.


I am in the process of moving my office into the new space, which is a daunting process. My first task was to go through all my files and separate documents I need to keep that those I can recycle or shred. My shredder got a workout, so much so that it broke it.

Thought #1: Some things are so dispensable that even if you wanted to get them fixed, you can’t. I hate throwing away big, clunky appliances, such as paper shredders. At A&E Coffee Roastery & Cafe, we recycle so many things, that when we actually have to throw something away, and that thing is huge, it is upsetting. I Googled “recycling paper shredder” and came up with a few solutions. The easiest is to take it to Staples, conveniently located right across the street from us.  Apparently they charge $10, but will give you a $10 gift card to zero out the cost. I will let you know how that goes.


After finishing that task, I moved on to the storage cabinets. I pulled out a box full of old phones, phone cords, ethernet cables, an old printer cable, and a glue gun (?). I came across another box labeled “office”, apparently unopened since the last time we moved six years ago. That box contained phone books, lots of phone books from the early 2000’s. In fact, one of those phone books had the plastic cover to protect it from overuse. We actually have a phone book downstair s in the cafe, but I can honestly say I don’t know the last time it was used. So, if you are in a serious need of a phone book, you know where to come.

Thought #2: In ten years, phone books have become obsolete. What will be obsolete ten years from now? What will I leave in a box labeled “office” during this move that will remain unopened for five years or more?


All of this hard labor took place on some very hot days. It is hard to keep a coffee roastery/cafe cool on hot days, especially consecutive hot days. When you have an uninsulated oven heating up to 450 degrees to roast the beans, and three condensers behind the counter, it is downright hot. Our electric bill is hot too! We are in an old building which has more character than efficiency.

On top of that, the air-conditioning drain pipe on the second floor backed up and dripped on the floor, which led to these lovely stains on the cafe ceiling.

Thought #3: The payoff for efficiency is character. We have a lot of character, but we don’t churn and turn our customers. We like character, and appreciate all the characters that walk in our door. We may not have a drive-thru, or pre-mixed drinks that take 10 seconds to make. But we will know your name, your drink, and will hand-craft it for you.


The payoff for efficiency is character. This is what character looks like sometimes!

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