The Coffee-Creamer Mystery

matthew's picture

I bought two large jugs of coffee creamer: One French Vanilla. One Hazelnut. Both low-carb, low-calorie because I'm trying to drop thirty pounds so that I can qualify to fly light helicopters. (Yes, that's a totally different story about what I'm saving my money for, another time, another time...) I carefully labeled "BARNSON" on the sides of both containers in permanent magic marker.

I use 1-2 tablespoons of creamer with work-coffee. That seems just about right. I tried it out. It's good! It turns the coffee at work from bitter, barely-palatable brown goo into something resembling the caffeine-filled, rich, flavorful brew that I know it can be. I regard coffee as a bit of a treat, something I don't do every day. And bad coffee as a treat is every bit as bad as Asphalt Pie made with real, 100% asphalt.

I didn't have a cup of coffee at work for a week, and I came back to find out that my creamers are both half-gone. I had a coffee a couple of times over the following week, and the level dropped drastically. Soon thereafter, I shook the containers and heard just the smallest bit in the bottom. Maybe another tablespoon left. Wow, that's a lot of consumption from just my five cups -- maybe ten tablespoons -- of coffee.

The level of coffee creamer drops precipitously when stored at work. I know one fellow I work with has my "permission" to drink some... but even his proclivities aren't this prodigious. He's in the same boat as me, and drinks coffee irregularly, perhaps 3 cups a week if he's binging.

Experiment time! Let's leave the jugs in the refrigerator and see if they drop completely or are thrown away.

Every day, now that the level of creamer has dropped precipitously low, I shook the jugs to see how much was left. A week later, they remained at exactly the same level -- about 1-2 tablespoons each -- without diminishing further. This morning, I emptied out the dregs into a cup and tossed the empty jugs.

Hypothesis: The level of owner-labeled coffee creamer in shared refrigerators will approach, but never reach, zero, unless the owner takes the last sip. Corollary: Those who drink the creamer without the owner's permission feel too guilty about it to drink the very last of it and throw it away. It's as if finishing off someone else's food is a sin greater than stealing it in the first place.

I guess saving the last bit for the owner is the polite thing to do, after all. Allow him the privilege of tossing away the creamer jug you drank.

There is another way to look at it, though. By putting my name on the jugs, those who "borrow" creamer will know whom they owe for the privilege. Since so much of humanity works on the barter system and trading of favors, I can look at $3 a week for coffee creamer as cheap payments for future favors from co-workers.

Now if I could just figure out who's doing it, I could call in that debt...

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Timpane's picture

An idea..

Label "BARNSON ONLY PLEASE" on your creamer.. and then surreptitiously pour miralax (see: Dumb and Dumber) into it. Then you have your guy.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Don't do this.

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The milk I used for my

The milk I used for my cereal back in the dorm's kitchen fridge used to vanish just like that... until I started labeling it with "MILK EXPERIMENT #3. 08/15/2007. J. Gagne."

It helped that most folks knew I was a biology major.

The downside was that I could only use it covertly. Somebody spotted me using it once, and I would pay good money for a photo of her face when she saw me pouring "experimental" milk into my cereal. :D

weed's picture

Similar

You could label it

ATV Dosage for HIV Treatment: Week of 8/13/2007

And see if anyone's brave enough to drink it. You're in IT, so you'll have the pasty, sickly white skin thing down ;)

My $.02
Weed

My $.02
Weed

Timpane's picture

HA!

Thats fantastic.

Visit the Official Justin Timpane Website
Music, Acting, and More!
www.timpane.com

NVZ: NINJAS VS ZOMBIES - THE MOVIE - www.nvzmovie.com
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matthew's picture

Love it!

I love it! I think most people here would figure out it was a gag, since I was a Music Theory & Composition major. I wonder if I just put a "Mr. Yuck" poison label on it if that would be enough of a deterrent?

--
Matthew P. Barnson

--
Matthew P. Barnson

Love it!

Send out a group email to the office letting them know there is creamer available for public consumption in the fridge. At the end of the email, let them know that there are three different bottles of creamer, and you have only peed in one of them.

Sammy G's picture

Paul 'Bagel Man' Feldman

Matt, your experience is documented as white-collar crime by Stephen Levitt, the famed economist.

Maybe it's time to put out a collection cup...

matthew's picture

Cool enough...

That article is cool enough to deserve its own blog entry! I never thought about retiring from a well-paying job to deliver bagels and collect economic statistics for a hobby.

I really need to read Freakonomics one day. Talk about a lot of conclusions you wouldn't expect...

--
Matthew P. Barnson

--
Matthew P. Barnson