Coffee Culture (How Microsofties Know I'm Not From Seattle)
When I first came out to the Redmond campus of Microsoft during my internship, I was really confused. As most people know, Microsoft gives the famous "free drinks" privilege--on every floor of pretty much every building, there are a couple beverage fridges filled with tons of different types of sodas, cans of juice, milk, "Talking Rain" sparkling water (it's a Northwest thing), a variety of teas, and a big office-style coffee machine. In almost everyone's office you can see the debris from this benefit--aluminum cans and bright-orange "Microsoft" logo cups are everywhere. My manager collects his cans on a tray behind his desk, waiting until he gets 20 or so to recycle them. Every Monday morning I'll watch my coworker carry an armful of cans down the hall, cleaning out his office for another week of Talking Rain-fueled program management.
So, yes, all of those beverages are free. Including the coffee. Downstairs, in the cafeteria, there is a Starbucks barista. They serve drip coffee as well. It's definitely better coffee. (The stuff they have for free is actually some of the worst coffee I've ever tasted.) The catch is that unlike every other beverage on Microsoft's campus, the good coffee isn't free. In fact, the good coffee is the same price as at Starbucks. As an intern, from a college life where I made my own coffee in my coffee maker at home, and drank a cup once in a while from a big coffee machine (the kind where the cup drops down first), people willingingly paying for coffee, when there's a batch of free coffee right next to the Starbucks coffee was mind-blowing.
Then I moved to Seattle, and started drinking more coffee. I'm slowly becoming more and more of a coffee snob (Starbucks is only the tip of the coffee-house iceberg), but still typically drink the free coffee. Whenever I walk by with my orange Microsoft cup filled with the free coffee, Josh will look and say, "Oh, I forgot that you still drink that..." in the disapproving tone that only a true Seattlite could muster. I walk on, and still smile to think that I'm getting my caffeine fix free-of-charge. :)
Well, I just finished my coffee (I paid for it this time), so it's probably time to stop for today... :)