Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Coworker Good at Dodging Coffee Runs

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: We have a guy on our shift who always puts in an order with whoever’s doing the drive-thru Starbucks run before our shift starts. He usually “forgets” to pay, and also always seems to manage to get out of taking his turn on the run, using the excuse he has to be in before everyone to take over from the earlier crew and get everything ready for the rest of us.

I’m not the only one of our coworkers who doesn’t buy this excuse. No one has assigned him to be the shift turnover man, and although he only usually gets a regular coffee, whoever does the run is often out the cost of it.

I am inclined to stop taking and filling his order when it comes my turn to make the stop. I know this may come off as being petty, but don’t you think it might teach him a lesson? --- COFFEE RUNNER

DEAR COFFEE RUNNER: It’s possible your coworker thinks he’s already doing his share for the team by starting earlier than everyone else, and so a free cup of coffee serves as one of those unofficial perks.

Seemingly small annoyances like this can build into bigger problems, so facing it down in a polite, relaxed way now might avoid harder feelings later on.

Rather than putting him on the spot in front of everyone, perhaps you should quietly clue him in that the guys are feeling like he’s taking advantage of them; that the problem is — here’s where you get to be magnanimous — you all don’t mind doing the run since he’s so busy, but you do want to get paid for his portion of it.

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