The Inappropriate Cup

The bank’s regional manager comes into the branch where I work once a week to monitor our performance and motivate us to meet unrealistic sales figures. He is a typical manager-type, speaking in acronyms and empty marketing rhetoric. I turn off to his talk, staring into space instead, willing brightness to fill my dead eyes. I knew it was tea time. I left my position at the desk and headed downstairs to the kitchen. I had to make the regional manager a cup of coffee – now this was the responsibility that I had been craving.

I looked over the selection of cups in the cupboard. Several were promotional cups from rival banks and building societies – I knew I could not give him one of these competitor cups. I noticed another one that said, “I love work. I just hate my job,” whilst this was probably true, it was risky to deliver a vaguely communist cup to the regional manager. There was a Simpson’s cup that I deemed too juvenile, not in keeping with his suited, respectable demeanour. I pushed a chipped ‘I Love NY’ mug to the back. It was becoming apparent that there were no plain cups to use. Then I saw it, at the back of the cupboard, behind the coffee was a white cup with red splodges on. I checked inside and it was clean. No chips or breaks. At last, after nearly five minutes of deliberation and mild concern, I had found a suitable vessel for his white coffee with one sugar.

I brought the tray of coffees upstairs with the practiced arm of a temp. I placed the cups down in front of each person until I was left with the regional manager’s coffee. I knocked on his door and placed the cup down in front of him. I turned without speaking, maintaining a silent servitude. As I was about to leave the room when he spoke, “Don’t you think this cup is more than a little inappropriate?” WHAT? I could not believe it. What was offensive about red splodges? My time and effort had been wasted. He pointed to the red splodges, saying nothing. My eyes slowly focussed in on the splodges and I realised that they were not simple splodges but in fact little devil caricatures. The main problem was in what the little caricatures were doing to each other in various positions. They were felatting each other, then assuming the 69 position, fucking doggy style, missionary, and other positions I don’t even know the names of.

I walked away, hoping at least that my mishap would be recycled and rewoven into a focal analogy in one of his motivational sales talks about the importance of an eye for detail.


Why not read more stories from the live of an office temp?

Or my experience doing data entry in a railway depot?

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Tom Spooner

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